Yvonne Wilkie

Being an intern with CRCC Asia really has widened my outlook on life. There is so much out there to grasp and take in. I was one of the lucky ones that got picked to do a “taster internship“ for 2 weeks in Beijing funded by the British governments amongst some other parties.

I got the email through from my University office and thought to myself “why not apply? The worst they can say is no.” I guess what I’m trying to tell you is what I learned most: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. This motto is going to stay with me for life. It changed my life and maybe it’ll change yours.

For my internship I was placed in a travel and tourism company called Gray Line. I was involved in doing basic cleric work, correcting English in letters, their tour brochure and their website, since I have learnt basic Mandarin, I was glad to get an internship focused on language/written work. Being a native English speaker I found it easy and felt I was contributing to the company, half way through the internship they told me how much they appreciated my help as they explained that a professional look can only be given through perfect English. I had a sincere interest in the company as it was my first time in Beijing, researching information for the brochures and website was fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now for the fun part, as I had the perfect internship placement I had the chance to play James Bond style. I had to go to a hotel that we had a contract with (i.e. should be selling our tours to customers) and ask to book a tour. The whole point of this was because they were selling tours by competitor companies, some that weren’t as reputable as our own – which consequently was losing money for our company on many different levels. I had to review the conversation when I booked it and then I went on the tour the following day (as a result, I got to see all three parts of the Great Wall there is to see in Beijing!). Whilst on the tours I took photos and made notes on the tour guide, the places/shops they took us to and the concierge. I found it very interesting yet astonishing. In the office the next day I would write a report for Gray Line with all of my findings so action could be taken with the hotels that were breaching the contracts.

On a social level, Beijing was amazing. The karaoke event organised by CRCC Asia really brought everyone together, the atmosphere and friendliness of everyone there is overwhelming. I was fortunate enough to get to celebrate my birthday there and it really was an unforgettable night with the other interns of CRCC Asia. There really are no words to describe the people I met and the experience I had there. The markets turned into a main attraction, returning every other day with my eye on something else and getting it haggled down to the price I was willing to pay.

I feel I am more valuable to employers now as I have a broader spectrum on the business world as a whole. I would urge anyone with even the smallest interest to apply, as it really will change your expectations of life. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything and if you do snatch the opportunity then I promise you, you’ll have the time of your life!