We recently checked in with Natalia to see how her China internship was going. Here’s what she had to say:
I’m working at a Chinese law firm and sometimes it can be difficult as some of my colleagues don’t speak Russian or Chinese; therefore, I do most of my work in English such as looking for some information about laws in Russia, translate it in English, explaining some rules about Russian legislation, international contracts, etc.
I’ve so far learned about working with people from different countries and English speaking Chinese people, how to deal with international contracts, the differences between Chinese and Russian legislations, and have improved my English speaking and listening skills.
Most surprising so far was that I expected Chinese people to speak English very well (which is not quite reality!) and they constantly say “Sorry!” for any misunderstandings we have. But we eventually understand each other just fine.
Life outside of work has been very interesting, or in Chinese “hao wanr”! I saw all the cool places in Beijing, not only the must-see venues but also museums, the ballet and new eating places. There are so many places in Beijing to choose from for dinner and lunch. There are cuisines from all different countries with very rich choices of food and ingredients. To keep fit with all the good eats, I am going jogging every day despite the air pollution.
The best thing about the city is it’s good location and transportation. It’s easy to find most places, and since it’s such a large, diverse city, there are always new things to try and experience. However, there are not very many cultural events that I have found. For example, there are many events every evening in Russia. I miss that a little. And most of the people here don’t speak English and don’t understand me which can be frustrating at times.
Learning Mandarin has been tough. So far, I could say some words at restaurants or in the subway, but I am not very confident that I’m saying it correctly. I think people are probably laughing at my pronunciation. But my Chinese teacher is very good and I haven’t given up yet. I think I will continue to study Chinese in Russia. It’s interesting for me.