For my internship in China, I worked at an international law firm. I worked during the summer after graduating from my undergrad and before starting law school. My responsibilities in the law firm were more business based given my business background and included conducting market research and sector analysis as well as researching and outlining legal procedures for use in analyzing potential joint ventures,international filings and proceedings. I found the office environment to be very welcoming and hospitable. I loved going to lunch with my coworkers each day. We always went to the same restaurant where we ate family style sharing various dishes of authentic Chinese cuisines and; in my opinion, was the most valuable cultural experience of my entire time in China.
Although most of my coworkers did not speak any English and I rarely knew what they were talking about during the lunchtime conversation, they always made me feel included and like I was a part of the group. The group even gave me Chinese names and the other international interns questioned us about why we came to China and what we thought about the country and our experience. I learned that the Chinese work environment is very much relationship based and that the bonding that occurs over the lunchtime meal was just as important as the work that was put in during the time spent at the office each day.
I have not participated in any other internship programs with which to compare CRCC Asia; but when I was doing my research, I chose the program based on the types of internships and locations in which they were offered. I had been wanting to go to China after learning a lot about its great presence in the international markets in my business courses. I also wanted to work in a law firm since I knew I was going to be attending law school and thought it would be good exposure for me. In my research I found that CRCC Asia had law firm placements in Beijing so I decided that this program would be a good fit for me. I had previously studied abroad with different programs including IES Abroad in Nantes, France and CIEE in Budapest, Hungary during my undergraduate study and I will say that with the CRCC Asia program, while not a study abroad program but an internship abroad program, I felt that it offered much more flexibility than the other programs I participated in while still providing the ongoing support that is so appreciated when doing a study or internship abroad.
The benefit of using a program like CRCC Asia is that it guarantees you internship placement as well as housing in a foreign country where it is so difficult to find anything on your own unless you already have contacts in that country. It is challenging enough to find an internship in the place you are currently residing much less in a foreign country. CRCC Asia handles the difficult logistics that I know I could not have done on my own. Especially in a country like China where not knowing the language makes things so much more difficult, it would have been a nightmare to find an internship and accommodations without an organized program and the support that CRCC Asia provided for me.
To do well living and working in China, it is necessary to be flexible and positive. You have to know that you won’t be able to control everything but that there is a lot to learn and see and experience. The interns that gain the most from their experience in China are the ones that are able to adapt easily and can maintain perspective when facing new and different experiences in a culture that is so different than anything they’ve experienced in the past.
I think my internship in China was great for my professional career. Since I am currently in law school and now applying for jobs in the legal field, employers are especially interested in my experience working in a law firm in China. The experience has also been relevant for my knowledge of international law as I am more aware of the legal restrictions in China; such as the internet restrictions I faced in my researching efforts as Chinese laws are much more restrictive of internet access.
I really enjoyed my internship in China and I highly recommend CRCC Asia as an internship program. I was very pleased with the staff as well as the level of support I received. I faced health problems while abroad and the staff was very helpful in directing me towards medical facilities as well as checking up on me while I was sick. I think the program has provided me with a great network as well as many friends who I am still in touch with. It was a great experience culturally, professionally and socially and well worth the investment of time and money.