There’s a third space in your life that’s outside the home and office. Whether your third space is a particular bar, gym, friend’s apartment, or someplace on campus, you know you can go there to relax and let your mind zone out. Starbucks became successful by becoming the “third space” for millions of people around the world.

Here in the Vericant office, my mind has its own “third space” called Quality Review.

During my weekly Quality Review or “QR” session, I review our student interview videos to make sure they meet Vericant’s exacting standards before they’re uploaded to our

Online Platform for Partner Schools to view.

Among all of my responsibilities, QR falls the furthest outside of my Marketing Manager job description. All Vericant team members are committed to helping institutions qualify Chinese applicants, and are committed to every aspect of the process.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.09.10 AMDuring our respective QR sessions, Carrie, Andy, and I check all of the elements of each video. Does the sound fade in properly? Is the interviewer’s name spelled correctly?  Are the displayed pictures, the same as those given to the student during the interview?

I always look forward to my QR time. Whether I’m writing, analyzing web traffic, or designing, I stop whatever I’m doing, strap on my Sennheiser headphones, and comb through each interview video carefully.

Each interview introduces me to a Chinese youth between the ages of 11 and 18 from throughout China. At time of writing, I’ve been in China for 3 years. I’ve gotten to know many Chinese youths of all different ages, and have interacted with them on a daily basis. Vericant’s QR process grants me access to their lives and emotions—something advertising agencies, market research firms, and insight companies would kill for.

I give the credit to the introspective questions we ask, such as:

  • What are three things you want to accomplish before you’re 20 years old?

  • What do you think “courage” is?

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

These types of questions aren’t asked in China. Individualism and personal pride take a backseat to the group unit in China.

I think for many of the students, Vericant’s interview is one of the first times they’ve ever felt they can be honest and comfortable talking about themselves. They finally get to describe their hopes, dreams, and discuss their achievements without fearing rejection or embarrassment from family and friends. Perhaps there’s a third space for them too?

QR isn’t an option for you. But if you have the chance, try listening to Chinese youth. Listen as you pass them on the street and within your educational institutions. Chinese youth are ambitious, determined to succeed and have big dreams. They want to see the world, and create businesses that will shape our future.

Ignore economic reports and white papers. Getting to know and understand the youth is the best way to determine the pulse of any nation.

What are your experiences with listening closely to Chinese youth?  What concerns do you think they have?

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