More than a title, this is a line we heard multiple times during our study abroad trip to India and China. In each of the countries, businesses are realizing they can skip the storefronts and create online marketplaces that deliver products to customers efficiently and in real-time. Rather than the customer going to the business, businesses are going to the customer, and in droves. Like our Amazon and eBay, China is seeing a boom with e-commerce companies like Alibaba and JD.com.

From e-commerce to technology companies like Lenovo in Beijing and IBM in Delhi, to social ventures in Bangalore, we were introduced first-hand to a variety of businesses in an international context. Our trip spanned three weeks of time, but thousands of years of culture. In such a short period of time we could only hang on to the subway handle and go along for the ride, soaking in as many of the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences we could. In Beijing, a highlight was the Great Wall, where we walked, danced and marveled for two miles of this awe-inspiring world wonder. In Shanghai, we stayed on The Bund and gazed at the modern Pearl Tower from the old European side of the city. In Hong Kong, we were tourists at Victoria Peak, taking in the vast expanse of sky-scrapers lit up at night.

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From Hong Kong, we landed in Delhi and ventured to Agra to visit the iconic and breathtaking Taj Mahal. A two hour plane ride south to Bangalore and we had the amazing Koki for a tour guide (check out her amazing photography at Kokiimages.com). She introduced us to her city from a local perspective through the delicious food and brightly colored markets, with the confidence that comes from having traveled the world, but knowing you belong in the place you call home.

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Before our 14-hour plane ride home, we completed our round-the-world trip with a stop in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We went on an adventure tour that included riding in Land Cruisers over miles of desert sand dunes, camel riding and henna tattoos.

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While many of us were excited to return home for the holidays, we are all incredibly appreciative, changed and inspired thanks to this unique, once in a lifetime experience.

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Until next time,
Amy

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