Monday, March 26, 2012

Our First Language Course Offering: Mandarin 1 for Business

class in session
Posted by Tina

We started off the New Year with a completely new offering:  a ten week course in Mandarin Chinese.  The course not only focused on language skills, but also offered cultural tips, especially for a business setting. Even the book that we used was very much focused on a business environment.   We partnered with Penn State York, and our participants received a Penn State certificate of completion as well as a non-degree transcript and 20 Continuing Education Units.
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Tina and our instructor,
Cherry Bearer
also known as Lài lǎoshi

The class was not easy, but we had a great group of students and a wonderful teacher!!!  What made it even more challenging was the fact that most of our participants frequently traveled to China, so at any given time, we were missing 2 or more students. Of course, those students had the advantage of total language immersion.

I have to say, personally, I found this to be a very challenging language to study. Not just because of the characters (we used pinyin to start off, which made it a bit easier), but Chinese is a tonal language, which adds just another layer of complexity.   Luckily I have a long commute, which allowed me to listen to our language CDs again, and again, and again....

Here are some useful websites our instructor shared with us:

It was very impressive to see how much the class participants had learned at the end of the 10 weeks.  We had oral group presentations during our last class and it was amazing to see the progress everyone had made in such a short time.


Friday, March 2, 2012

"Wilkommen" to Pennsylvania!

Posted by Tina

Last month we hosted a visiting trade delegation from Germany in the southcentral PA region.  The group was sponsored by the  German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology  and was comprised of 9 advanced manufacturing firms who visited the East Coast in search of potential business opportunities.  Click here for a listing of the participants, their technologies and their business objectives.

The World Trade Center partnered with the German organizers of the mission, AHP International, and we were responsible for identifying and qualifying partner opportunities for a very diverse group of German manufacturers.  The project got underway several months ago and culminated with the group's visit to Reading on February 21st and 22nd.
Jon Scott with the Berks Economic Partnership
and Darrell Auterson with York County EDC
present the welcome briefing
We started in the afternoon of the 21st with a  welcome briefing at the hotel.  This was followed by a wonderful dinner at Bistro 614 in Reading, which was sponsored jointly by the Berks Economic Partnership and the York County Economic Development Corporation. 

Everyone had a wonderful evening and enjoyed the good food
and company at Bistro 614

Meetings for the team from Schragl Industrietechnik

Throughout the next day, appointments with interested American firms were set-up at the Crown Plaza hotel in Wyomissing, outside of Reading.  US companies traveled from several states to meet with the German firms, and we had also arranged for some meetings via phone.  A few on-site meetings with regional firms also took place.

During lunch, we were fortunate to host Susanne Cooke, chair of the International Business Group at Cohen and Grigsby, based in Pittsburgh PA.  Ms. Cooke specializes in helping German and other foreign firms structure their business operations in the United States and she presented a most helpful seminar on a "softlanding" approach to doing business in the United States.
The group then continued on to other parts of Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Philadelphia, before heading back to Berlin.

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