Years ago I spent some time travelling through China, witnessing first-hand the definition of a nation of superlatives, as the raw majesty of this country battled against aggressive industrialisation. I saw the middle kingdom rapidly approaching a crossroads as increasing coal consumption and consequential pollution levels threatened to destroy not only the natural environment, but the people’s way of life. I thought about how I could make a positive impact on this challenge in the future, and found CRCC Asia to be the enabler of this action.
The company I was placed at was called GDTP China (Green and Low-Carbon Development Think-Tank Partnership), a research group in Beijing who specialise in investigating varying methods of reducing carbon emissions and promoting green awareness domestically through work with a panel of experts from academic institutions and associated agencies across the country, publishing reports via media outlets for public dissemination. My role as a research analyst was internationally focused, with an aim to bring foreign ideologies and methodologies to the table, providing comparative and referential works for applicable domestic policies. I felt a high level of responsibility issued to me from day one as I was actively involved in meetings, encouraged to share my thoughts on upcoming projects and direction, and had my own work used to assist the company’s publications, whilst also being welcomed with such incredible warmth and hospitality from my fellow colleagues and management.
I arrived in Beijing having never worked abroad in my life, but was given a fantastic level of support from the CRCC team, who helped me with any issues or grievances that arose. In a city which can be overwhelming, I never once felt alone, both thanks to the team and the fact that all the interns are housed in the same building, providing an incredibly social environment to live in. The city itself is a cultural hotpot, and the perfect example of China now at this proverbial crossroads, with the traditional vs. modernisation juxtaposition visible on every street corner, making for an exciting experience, whilst also providing a real challenge outside of most people’s comfort zones. Beijing is most definitely not for the faint-hearted!
The advantages of international work placements for those looking at gaining experience in a prospective field are immeasurable, and undertaking this internship has been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life, both for my career and as a person. As a result, I now have a clear vocation in mind for my future, a strengthened moral compass, and a stronger grasp of mandarin, whilst further developing my cultural understanding and abilities to adapt to new and challenging environments.
I am now under overseas paid employment with my host company after a successful summer with them, working in London for them with the aim of returning after graduation to work in China again.