My name is Arthur Moore and I am 26 years-old and will be turning 27 during my internship here in Beijing.
I graduated from the Australian National University at the Strategic Defence Studies Centre in 2011 with a Master of Strategic Studies and since then I have been living and working in Canberra. In April I left Australia to come to Beijing for a two-month internship with an international charity, in addition I am also learning Mandarin at a basic level every Tuesday night after work.
I originally grew up in Melbourne before I moved to Canberra, so comparing Melbourne to Beijing is a lot easier than compared to Canberra because whilst Canberra is the capital city, it is artificial, lacks history and vibrancy. A fellow intern and I were on the topic of trying to describe Beijing and he made out Beijing to be a city that flows. Despite its sheer size and number of people, everything keeps ticking over and flowing nicely. To get a city of approximately 18-19million to do that is amazing.
However, growing up in Melbourne I am use to playing sport and seeing cricket, footy ovals in every suburb. In Beijing there are a lot more concrete surfaces, but this is expected for a city the size of Beijing. With regard to the locals, a lot of them stare at you and continuously glare at you in curiosity whilst taking public transport or visiting sites. They are also slightly chauvinistic, for instance I was asked to have a photo taken with a Chinese woman whilst I was walking the Great Wall of China. Asking a foreigner in any Western democracy would most likely be frowned upon and considered bigoted! But hey, they are very accommodating and a lot do speak English and will help you if you just ask.
At work I have been editing newsletters, end-of-year reports and briefs on inclusive education in China for children with abnormal standard learning abilities. At the moment, I have been given responsibility for updating the company’s national contact list.
Outside of work, I have visited the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Huiling Community, which is an institution for down syndrome and psychologically challenged children and adults. The other day I went to the Dawn Service for ANZAC Day at the Australian Embassy, which was a very unique experience.
I am learning and gaining a lot by living in a foreign country. I have lived in Canada for 5-months, but living in a country that has a different culture, language and customs is much more rewarding. In Beijing, I have been taken outside of my comfort zone numerous times and it is through these times that you learn about your strengths and weakness and have them tested. I find it important to be challenged and tested and Beijing tests your skills and capabilities very well.
Also, throughout my studies I learnt a great deal about China, but it was only by reading books and articles. Seeing it first-hand and actually living here is a lot more valuable than all the studies and research I have done. There is some Chinese quote which is perfect for this, but I can’t think of it now!
The most surprising thing I have seen was a protest by one woman at Tiananmen Square who was quickly whisked away by the guards and police.
The best thing so far has been watching the sunrise over the mountains whilst on the Great Wall of China.