I first became aware of the CRCC China internship program at the start of 2012. I knew I would have completed my degree by mid 2012 and without a placement year under my belt I wanted to strengthen my CV with valuable work experience.
In the UK especially many employers look for candidates with a period of work experience to compliment their academics as they are seeking well rounded individuals to join their company. I wanted to obtain this experience however I also wanted to go somewhere exciting and do things I had never done before at the same time. After exploring many options throughout the year I always found myself drawn back to the CRCC Asia website as the possibility of working and living in China was very exciting. In the end it was the numerous testimonials and comprehensive package that CRCC Asia offered that convinced me to apply for what could be a daunting yet thrilling experience.
Within 6 weeks of my application I was landing in Shanghai feeling anxious but excited. As expected friendly CRCC staff were on hand to greet me and bring a small group of us to our new home for the next month. During my time in Shanghai I worked in a bespoke international Architectural office renowned for sustainable and green design. On my first day I was made feel very welcome and later that day met my boss whom to my surprise and delight was the managing director of the company and from the UK also. He quickly set about making me feel comfortable and we discussed some of the tasks and opportunities he had planned for me. Coming from a very technical orientated background in some tasks I found myself thrown in at the deep end however my boss was always on hand to help and work with me. I could not have imagined the amount of insight I gained from him and the office as a whole on how to run a successful business in China. Not only was I able to contribute to the company’s marketing strategies and design proposals I was lucky enough to be invited to dynamic business presentations to the Chinese government and one of the biggest vacation resort developers in the world during my time in Shanghai. If this exposure wasn’t enough my boss was kind enough to include me in his social schedule as he knew it would be a good networking opportunity for me. Of course it proved to be brilliant as I met many high profile expat business men from all industries at several business lunches and social events. All of the people I met expressed an interest in my career path and were quick to offer advice and give me their business cards would I ever require their expertise. In hindsight I have no regrets about taking all the opportunities available to me and this type of experience really is as good as you make it.
If I wasn’t in work or at a social event I was at Mandarin class once a week and an event organised by CRCC such as ‘KTV night’ where I got a real glimpse into Chinese culture and entertainment. The weekly emails from CRCC were very informative and it was re assuring knowing they were only an email away if I needed any advice or guidance.
Visually stunning by day and night Shanghai is a ‘Wow’ city and by this I mean the more you embrace it the more it will show you. It is extremely beautiful and diverse in every way from the people right to the architecture. It was an unforgettable experience exploring the city with friends trying different culinary delights and interacting with the locals before riding the subway home to get right for a night out at one of the picturesque roof top bars. By experiencing Shanghai you can also appreciate the growth of China at the minute, even though the lack of communication, hectic traffic and overcrowding can be frustrating at times it just seems to work and adds to what is an unforgettable experience.
During my one month in Shanghai I met some amazing people and made long standing friendships. I gained professional experience and business insight which was well beyond what I expected. I improved existing skills and developed a lot of new ones. I feel this internship will put me in a great position in the future as the skills gained and ability to work, live in and appreciate a different culture will prove invaluable. I would recommend the internship to anyone as it is a great life experience and looking back being able to mention it on your CV is simply a bonus.