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China Internship Testimonial: Joost van Opstal

We recently interviewed Joost a few days before his arrival in China and look forward to hearing an update from him now that he's arrived!

Joost

Joost, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from Breda, Netherlands.  I am 27 years old.  I majored in International Tourism Management.

Which company will you be interning at? 

I'll be interning at a five star hotel in Beijing.

What do you know so far about the kind of work you’ll be doing?

I'll most likely be working in different departments within Rooms Division like Front Office and Guest Services, ensuring guests have a care free and memorable stay!

What are you hoping to get out of your internship?

I'm actually taking a step back by conducting this internship. I worked as a Guest Service Manager in the Netherlands, but due to the crisis in Europe there are few spaces left for personal growth and creativity. I hope to prove myself to the hotel management and work my way up the ladder. I am therefore also planning to stay for multiple years. Besides that I want to learn as much as possible about the local culture and language.

Why did you decide to do an internship in China of all places?

China has one of the only rapidly growing economies right now, and brings a lot of opportunities. I believe I have much better chances there to develop myself into a successful manager. Also I have always had an interest for  ancient Chinese culture and want to experience it for myself.

What preconceived notions do you have of China?

I realize all too well that China will be a completely different working environment than what I have experienced so far. I heard that ancient philosophy and politics  play a much bigger role in daily life than here in Europe.

Why did you choose Gi2C to find a placement?

I have tried a couple of agencies before, but all with great promises and no result. With Getin2China I instantly noted more professionalism (for example through the selection procedure and interviews).

What are you doing to prepare for the big move?

Basically reading as much as possible. As for the journey and living abroad, I'm quite used to that as I have worked and lived abroad 3.5 of the last 5 years.

What do you anticipate learning Mandarin will be like?

I'm following a Rosetta Stone course in Mandarin Chinese. I found that pronunciation is the hard part. Grammar wise it is (in my opinion) quite easy to understand. However, I'm  sure that when I need to start reading Chinese characters instead of pinyin, the easy part will be over.

When you told your family that you'd like to do an internship program in China, what was their reaction?

They were happy for me, they know I love to work abroad and support me in everything. They've gotten used to it over the last few years I guess.

What are you going to miss most about home?

Friends and family obviously, but also being close to the water. I love water sports and have lived only minutes from the beach for the last five years. I'm sure I'll get used to it and find other sports and entertainment.
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