Lisa Pham

At the point of my life where I was still unsure of what I wanted to do, I knew an international working experience would make me stand out from the crowd in terms of career opportunities. My academic background and strong interests in the rising economic powerhouse of China motivated me to seek first hand experience in the Chinese business environment. Having met a CRCC Asia representative at an information session presented at my university, I was convinced to apply for the program. Upon my acceptance in an initial one month internship in Beijing, I was a little unsure of what to expect. In hindsight, I have gained everything and more of what I wanted from the program, which is reflected in my decision to extend my stay by an additional month.

I was placed in a small not for profit organisation within the ‘Green Consulting’ sector. At first, I was a little sceptical about the responsibilities that I would be given due to my limited experience in the industry. Despite this, I am extremely grateful of the experiences and opportunities given to me.  My tasks varied from research and analysis, updating the client database, evaluating survey results, acting as a scribe in a Board meeting and also assisting with the organisation and implantation of a high profile discussion and networking event co-organised by my company to stakeholders in China’s climate change sector.

Due to the strong connections between China and Australia, I believe that this experience will give me the competitive edge in my future career endeavours. The challenges and opportunities for professional and personal development presented to me by the CRCC Asia Internship program has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and experience everything from the language, culture, social and business environment in China. My time spent in Beijing has sparked a greater interest in the Mandarin language and I am now currently undertaking beginner lessons in hope of returning to China with a greater knowledge of the language and the ability to communicate with the locals.

The benefit of the program was the flexibility to do whatever I pleased outside of my working commitments to enjoy the vibrant city life of Beijing. I was able to explore different parts of the city on the weekends as well as after work, allowing me to immerse myself with the locals. Two standout day trips were of course, the Great Wall of China and Bungee Jumping in Shidu. In addition to my internship placement, I was offered beginner language classes, business networking events and cultural and social events. The coordinators were extremely helpful with the living experiences in Beijing, as well as providing assistance to any problems or questions I had. Furthermore, the friendships I have established with people around the globe are ones that will last a lifetime. There was never a dull moment as the city of Beijing has a unique nightlife, a numerous variety of restaurants and many things to see and do!