“The business environment in China is fast moving. You start out with one team, and at the end of your internship, you leave a completely different one.”
Anna finished her three-month internship at Alain Charles Asia Publishing Ltd, where she worked on the latest edition of the China Business Handbook, an indispensable guide for anyone seeking to do business in the Middle Kingdom. She began her internship editing the handbook, “but my main task ended up being research.”
Like in any foreign work environment, Anna said there were challenges, which included colleagues who did not speak English, limited and slow Internet access and little contact with her supervisor.
“My boss was away for 2/3 of my time at the company. Our communication was therefore restricted to Skype chats, and as we were in different time zones, even these were constrained.
“In relation to tasks, you are often thrown in the deep end. What you get out of your internship is therefore directly proportional to what your put into it.”
Beijing left Anna with a lasting impression.
“This experience, and summer, has been incredible. I have met a distinguished group of individuals whose company I have enjoyed immensely.
“I love how the city somehow grows on you. You arrive feeling jetlagged, confused and overwhelmed by how different it is from home. But, as time passes, you become accustomed and intrigued by the randomness.”
Her major complaint about the Chinese capital is one that both locals and visitors shake their heads at.
“The smog and pollution is horrendous.”
Anna’s says Gi2C organized weekends trips to “help you experience the city.”
Adopted as a baby from Anhui Province, one of China’s poorest, the 21-year-old had a unique experience compared to most of our other interns. Having grown up in Sweden, Anna speaks little Mandarin and signed up for Gi2C’s Mandarin Chinese Language Program. Still, her appearance led to plenty of assumptions.
“I have definitely had my fair shares of awkward situations with this one. Whenever I go with a group of friends for dinner, waiters direct their questions to me. My exterior is misleading, and all I can do is to not take offense and see the funny side.”
A return to Beijing is a possibility down the road.
“I commence my final year at Durham University after summer. After that, I hope to do some work before getting my MBA. I have loved the experience I had in Beijing and would definitely consider coming out here for a year or two after university.”
Like all our interns who complete their internship, Anna’s got some advice for anyone considering an internship in China.
“For anyone going to China for an internship I say: you get what you put into the experience. Going to China through an agency, you are provided with a set of tools that allow you to explore and settle into the country. But, this experience and internship is your own, so go beyond the ‘required’ and be open minded towards everything, and you will get the best the country has to offer.
“Try everything, see everything, and be tolerant to everything.”