Fabio Stella - SLI Participant in 2012

“读万卷书不如行万里路”

“It’s better to travel one thousand miles than to read one thousand books”

Before deciding to apply for the Summer Institute, China had never stepped into my plans for the future and for my personal career, I had classes on Chinese Contemporary History and Asian Culture, but never thought to leave even for a short period and experience something totally different from the never changing Italian background. I decided to apply for the Summer School, obtaining the opportunity to undergo a 6 months internship to the China – Italy Chamber of Commerce in Guangzhou cause I realized that Asia in general and China in particular were the places to be in this very moment. 

4 days after my graduation in July 2012 I took the flight that brought me to China, a flight that after 9 months still doesn’t see the comeback ticket, nor the willingness to pack and leave this incredible country.

The first impression about China, is something really different from the common sense talking of the average Joe in the western world: beside presenting the typical features of all the developing countries (contrasts, the spread between exaggerate richness and moving poverty…) Beijing keeps that mysterious look that can be easily drafted by its historical attractions and millenary traditions. The real surprise was that the common tourist or student or visitor doesn’t feel any cultural shock at all, given for granted the fact that he packed his luggage leaving a lot of space for the tons of patience and open views that are a must for anybody leaving for such a challenging experience.

After having studied and commented the difficulties of the intellectual property protection in China and its differences with the Western legal background and having tried to understand China’s new policies towards a more sustainable path towards development, it was time for me to put in practice the notions provided by the Summer Institute, it was time for Guangzhou.

If the lack of a cultural shock had impressed me in Beijing, Guangzhou was probably an even bigger surprise, since I had just stepped in one of the most dynamic cities in Asia, which had a massive but green development before and after the Asian Games held there in 2010. The experience in the China – Italy Chamber of Commerce, the relationship with colleagues, members, contacts opened to my eyes a reality that could never be disclosed otherwise, by waiting for something to happen in a small provincial city in the outskirts of Milan. This very opportunity got me the chance of finding a job in a Tax, Accounting and Corporate Services Company based in Hong Kong, from where, after a short and intensive training, I was sent back to China, destination Shanghai, the business hub of the country.

If there’s something that this experience thaught me, I guess it can be found in the last tip received by Prof. Farah, few days before the end of the Summer Program: “Never deny a talk to anybody, never show you’re not interested or willing to learn from anybody, every single second of this experience will last for years and shape your personality in the challenges to come”.


I wish to every single pair of eyes who will read these short lines about my experience during and after the Summer Institute to enjoy the same experiences that finally got me to include a future in this impressive country in my plans by catching the keys to open your gateway to China.

April 2013

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