Lau gains business experience, skills in China


Photo by Courtesy of Mikayla Lau

Senior Mikayla Lau spent 12 days in Bejing, China at the Global Positioning Summer program with Chinese student buddy and translator Saul*. The intensive program focused on many aspects of Chinese and global business and economy. *correction 8/22, Saul was previously incorrectly identified.

By Destinee Murray, features editor

Senior Mikayla Lau was chosen to represent Hawai’i and the US alongside seven other Kamehameha Schools Kapālama students and two of their teachers at the 2014 China Global Positioning Summer program in Bejing, China.

“I loved it,” Lau said. “My eyes were more open. I was more open-minded.”

GPS is a program that focuses on business with students and educators from four delegations including, the mainland US, Hawai’i, New Zealand, and Mexico. It’s a 12-day course that emphasizes economics in China.

Hawai’i represented both themselves and the US with Idaho lacking funding and California also unable to return to the program this year.

Each day consisted of two presentations in the morning and afternoon focusing on China’s history, culture, economics, and politics, which were conducted by Central University of Finance and Economics. Seminars were held at night with Chinese journalists, experts and directors.

They also were taken on field trips like to the Great Wall, various embassys, and temples.

“One of the most moving parts [of the trip] was walking the Wall, being with my friends and being with the Chinese students. It was why I enjoyed the Great Wall,” Lau said. “It wasn’t, ‘Oh, I walked it. Bucket list check off!’… it was being with them.”

During the trip, each delegation gave a presentation. Lau said that the Hawai’i delegation struggled with their presentation due to communication problems. The students used Skype for their meetings until they all met for the first time in person at the airport.

“We focused mostly on Hawai’i, and the culture, and our school,” said Lau on her delegation’s presentation.

Their presentation involved the Hōkūleʻa, Kamehameha Schools, immigration, and other aspects of Hawai’i.

Lau said she learned a lot of Chinese phrases from bargaining, which she said was a fun, yet scary experience. Each delegate was assigned a buddy who spoke English and Chinese to help with translating. They stayed together for the entire program.

Lau applied to GPS by filling out a form and completing an essay explaining why she wanted to take part in the program.

She said she became interested when Mr. KealiʻiMossman brought up the program in his Global Studies class. This was the first year in which Kamehameha Schools Maui took part. The Kapālama campus has for many consecutive years.

The trip encouraged Lau to pursue a career in business with an interest in international trade marketing and public relations.