Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 25, from Belgium. I was born in Brussels and I'm living and studying in a city called Louvain-la-Neuve. I have a bachelor in accountancy and I'm studying finance.
What do you know about your internship and hope to get out of it? Why China?
I’ll be interning in the financial sector in Beijing and will be looking for investment opportunities and also doing risk and solvability analysis. I hope to go back to my home country with a unique experience that will help me for the rest of my career. I also hope to have a different perspective of the sector I have been studying and a new way of facing the different issues we will meet.
I chose China to do my internship because, for the last 20 years at least, China has been drastically changing and opening itself to the rest of the world. This is a great huge country with a long history and a strong and old culture and I think we can have many things to learn about it. Moreover, it is also becoming an important actor in my sector and it gives you a lot of opportunities, such as building a network that you couldn't find anywhere else.
Do you have any preconceived ideas about China?
Back in Belgium, most of the Chinese people are really shy and hard to get to know so I guessed that it would been the same here but I quickly found out that once the ice is broken they are incredibly friendly and only want to welcome you warmly.
Why did you choose Gi2C Group to find a placement?
Well, at first I tried to find an internship in China by myself, which revealed to be almost impossible. Then, when I was about to let it go, I found out about Gi2C Group, gave it a try and things quickly progressed. Now that I’ve arrived in China, I can say that Gi2C is a real advantage for me as they helped me prepare this adventure and helped me meet new people only a couple of days after my arrival. It is also always good to know that you have someone that can give you assistance anytime when you are 8000 km from home.
What did you do to prepare for the big move?
I tried to read as much as I could about Chinese culture and history and talked to a Chinese friend of mine that gave important tips about the country.
When you told your family that you'd like to do an internship in China, what was their reaction?
They were mainly encouraging as they knew that discovering a new culture has always been one of my dreams and they supported me during the whole process.
What are you going to miss most about home?
Well, a bit of everything. My family, friends and so on. It is always difficult to leave behind you everyone you know and care about and to not be able to see them for three months.
Now that you’ve arrived in Beijing, how does it feel?
The first days were confusing because you feel like you stepped into a new world. Everything is different and you have to adapt yourself to a lot of things. Once you go through this step, you can quickly enjoy the country and its people and have a really good time. Beijing is an immense city and everyday you can discover something new. In Belgium I live in a small pedestrian city of 20,000 inhabitants so we can say it is completely the opposite from here. Beijing's size is half of my whole country but there twice as many people who live in Beijing; this is truly another world from what I’m used to.
What is one cultural difference that stands out to you in particular about China?
There are many but if I had to point out one in particular, I would say the Chinese way of driving. They are a bit crazy and pedestrians must be really careful.
What was the first thing you did upon your arrival?
I went to Tian'anmen square to see the flag being taken off. I have already tried many things like tofu and bamboo among others. Chinese food is really tasty.