Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Australia, but grew up mostly in Auckland, New Zealand. It is a very multi-cultural city with a large Chinese population and is famous for its beaches and harbor. I'm currently 35 years old and studied Psychology and Philosophy at uni, and then later Graphic Design at an online college.
What do you know about your internship?
It will be in the design department of a Beijing-based company. So far, I don't know what I'll be doing exactly. I was not given a very clear list of duties and have had very little contact with the company itself. I was given some basic info from Gi2C but no details. I hope this internship gives me the experience I need to become a full-time graphic designer in the end. Until now I've worked as a freelance designer and I'm looking forward to seeing how graphic design work at a company fits in with the rest of the team and to get some hands-on practical experience.
What was it about China?
I looked at internships in several countries, but China seemed like the best opportunity, partly because of the growing economy and also because I have lived in Japan for 10 years so am somewhat familiar with the eastern way of thinking (of course China and Japan are very different however). I've heard for a while that it is a rapidly expanding and changing environment that there are some habits and customs that will take me some time to get used to, and that Chinese people will be very friendly once I get to know them. I chose Gi2C Group because they seemed to offer the most accessible placement with good customer service. In order to prepare for my move to China, I've been learning Chinese, reading books about China, and preparing myself mentally for the potential shock of moving to a new, much bigger place. In terms of learning Mandarin, so far I have found the basics fairly easy, but pronunciation is quite difficult.
Will leaving home be difficult?
My family thought it seemed like a good idea because I have been doing the same thing for 10 years in Japan and they know that I'd like to be a full-time graphic designer. However, I'll miss all my friends in Japan, and also the cleanliness and ease of life here.