Intern Update: Anna Setterberg

A short time into her internship in Beijing and Anna Setterberg is knee-deep with work over the next three months.

“The first month, I will be editing the 2014 edition of the China Business Handbook. This involves updating data, cross-referencing and deleting any uninteresting information. The second month, I will look at distribution of the handbook. Lastly, I will look at the marketing of the book.”

Anna is also learning that working in China is a lot different that in Europe, where she was raised.

Anna Setterberg


China being a communist country has a censored and limited Internet. Although key web pages are accessible through VPN services, you have to be careful not to misread information.”

Top tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are home to a number of professional and migrant workers from across the country. In Beijing and Shanghai in particular, don’t be surprised if the majority of Chinese you meet are from elsewhere, something Anna quickly discovered.

“The biggest surprise was the realization that many of the local workers in the office live very far away. And many have traveled across provinces, away from their family and friends to live with distant family relations and pursue work.”

There’s also one other pleasant surprise.

“My workplace is in a tall building out by Nan Lu Hotel and my office is on the 25th floor. When the skies are clear, I am able to see the mountains from where I sit.”

Previously, Anna told Gi2C that because she was adopted from China, she expected to face challenges, particularly due to her appearance and expectations that she know the local language, Mandarin.

“One problem, which I think is especially difficult for me, as I look Chinese, is the culture clash. I have had times when taxi drivers and sales people start shouting at me for not understanding. Other times, they just seem confused by the fact that I am adopted.

“Then again, people here keep pointing out how lucky I am to be alive, to be physically and mentally well, and to have visited other countries than China.

“Personally, I think that my unorthodox background makes this trip even more special.”   

In addition to the mix of traditional culture and modernity, Anna appreciates how “vibrant” Beijing is.

Just like New York or London, there is something appealing to anyone and everyone. At the same time, you can experience this at a much lower cost.”

Like many others, both Chinese and expats, the city’s pollution levels don’t impress her.

“Some days in the city, you can’t see the buildings next to yours due to the smog.”

Regardless of the pollution (and not everyday is bad, mind you), Anna’s sure of one thing when it comes to China’s capital: It’s never dull.

Whether you are into gastronomy, sightseeing or just out for some fun, you have it outside your door. Basically, you never get bored. There is always something to do and someone who wants to join. It is difficult to do all the things you want to.

I am glad to be staying here until September, although I reckon that still won’t be enough time.”

Looks like you’re China internship program is off to a great start, Anna! We’ll check in again soon.
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