Travelling to a foreign country is always unnerving when you don’t understand the language and culture. That is why going for the internship program with CRCC Asia helped eliminate those insecurities as they provide full support from airport pickups to periodic updates and follow up to ensure that I was satisfied with my work placement, accommodation as well as intern activities.
It is always good to have an open mind when you are in China because you never know what to expect. I had my fair share of culture shocks and some might be disgusting, weird and totally inappropriate, but it is something new to me and the whole internship experience would not be complete without it.
Work wise, I was in a business consulting company which specialises in industrial chemical products. I understood going in I would not be able to contribute much to the existing work as I had not much experience. I was upfront of my experiences and skills to my manager, and in any situation this could backfire resulting in no suitable work for 2 months, but I was given researching assignments on some tough topics which challenged me and was quite fulfilling. The key is to be proactive and ask around, and if not the CRCC Asia consultants would be happy to speak to the employers on your behalf.
After work is always a time I looked forward to as I get to see other fellow interns; go for dinner and socialise. The area which we stayed in is littered with restaurants and trying out different places every night was exciting and fun. It can get quite expensive with western cuisines, but don’t fret there’s always cheap, cheerful Chinese food around. Whenever I was stuck with dinner decisions, I would go on thebeijinger.com or Timeout Beijing to search for restaurants or places to go nearby.
During the weekends, there’s so much to see and do in Beijing that it’s hard to decide what to do. Planning is crucial for any sightseeing during the weekends, especially commuting to and fro. Some of the sights are not directly connected to the subway so there’s ought to be plan B when things go wrong. Also, planning helps to make the most out of the time I had as frankly, there just isn’t enough weekends!
All in all, my experience in Beijing as well with CRCC Asia was exceptional. The people I’ve met and befriended the sights I saw and the experiences I’ve gone through was invaluable and would serve me well in the future.