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Business and the Economy

Report from China: In Dalian

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/reportfrom_550.mp3

A delegation of business leaders and SMS officials have been in China this week. KSMU's Missy Shelton is traveling with them. She files this report by telephone.

Missy, what was it like when you and the others got to Dalian today?

MISSY: Well Michele, when we arrived in Dalian we saw a familiar sight, an SMSU baseball cap believe it or not. Our driver, Houhui Wu was wearing this baseball cap and he took us from the airport to our hotel. He's a driver in the SMS branch campus here in Dalian. We were also greeted at the airport by Yongwei Zhang. He's the director of university programs in Asia and chancellor of the SMS branch campus. Of course we had met him earlier in the week. Lucas Li met us also at the airport. He's a computer lab technician for the SMS branch campus. So it was just delightful to meet Lucas and Houhui, our driver. Like I said, it was also great to see Yongwei Zhang again.

MICHELE: And now this is the first time you've ever visited the Dalian campus. What is it like there?

MISSY: Well Michele, we actually did not get to spend very much time on the campus today during the daylight. We're going to spend virtually all of tomorrow touring the campus, meeting the students, sitting in on some of the classes. Actually, Dalian is a very modern city by Chinese standards. It's only 100 years old. Here, that's an extremely young city. So the buildings are newer. The SMS branch campus is part of the Liaoning Normal University campus. So the buildings are newer, but again it was a little hard to tell because we were there in the dark.

MICHELE: What did you do in Dalian today?

MISSY: Well, we spent the first part of the day traveling of course from Zhengzhou to Dalian and that was two flights actually from Zhengzhou to Beijing and then Beijing to Dalian. So that took up most of our morning. Then we spent the afternoon visiting some local tailors. The men who are here in Dalian from the Springfield delegation, several of them had suits custom made and the women had jackets and dresses custom made. Those will get picked up tomorrow so that they can go back to the States with the folks. Incidentally, those custom made items are greatly discounted from what you would expect a custom suit to cost in the States so that was really sort of a fun opportunity for the delegates to interact with the local people and also to get some nice clothes. After the stop at the tailor's the delegation went to a dinner and got to meet with several of the instructors who work for the branch campus. Many of them, the ones we met this evening, native English speakers. In fact we met Barbara Phillips, she used to teach communications and English at Central High School in Springfield and now she teaches here at the SMS branch campus in Dalian, English classes for credit. The courses that the students in other words are required to take to complete their degree. So we met her, and also met her husband, Gary Phillips. He used to work at SMS in Springfield in the lab at Taylor Health Center and now he teaches English as a Foreign Language here in Dalian. So we got to meet a lot of wonderful folks from the university here in Dalian. As I mentioned tomorrow we'll have the chance to tour the university and meet the students. I believe we're going to sit in on one of Barbara Phillips' English classes. So that I know is something the delegates are really looking forward to.

MICHELE: Thank you Missy. Missy Shelton reporting from Dalian, China.