Mark Gifford

Lisa Pham
17th August 2012
Ma Zhen
20th August 2012

Having nearly completed my undergraduate degree in civil engineering, I wanted to make the most of my last university holiday break and try something different. I really wanted to get some practical work experience relevant to my degree, so I applied for an Internship through CRCC Asia, and one phone call later I was boarding a plane to Shanghai, China, not knowing what to expect.

For one month I worked in the heart of the CBD at a small electrical supply chain management company. The nerves and anticipation I had on my first day of work were quickly dissolved as I got to know my co-workers and learnt about the exciting opportunities that lay ahead. Initially I spent time researching electrical cables and specifications for various electrical products which was incredibly valuable work, having limited exposure to this technical field during my studies at university. Other tasks involved redeveloping a website used to facilitate the exchange of solar products, and to design a video that would be used to market the services offered by the company. What’s more, I got to meet the CEO of the firm and attend a business meeting with him at a large electrical manufacturing plant in Yangzhou. My experience gained during my internship was everything I had hoped for and more. I was even fortunate enough to have worked alongside two other interns during my placement, which was great when we needed to develop ideas and work in a team on a project. It was also a pleasure being able to explore the local restaurants and markets with my co-workers during our breaks.

Every night after work I spent exploring Shanghai with my fellow interns, who all stayed at the same hotel. The food and restaurants in Shanghai were incredible, but rest assure there are plenty of western eateries out there for people wanting to enjoy some home comforts. There were also plenty of local bars and karaoke venues, which are quite popular and definitely worth experiencing whilst in China.

During my weekends I often went to the local markets to find some hidden treasures and enjoyed bartering with the local salesman whilst practicing my Chinese language skills at the same time. Having experienced much of Shanghai already, a bunch of interns took a weekend trip with the Dragon Trip to visit some neighbouring cities and towns known for their majestic scenery and mountainous views. This was a relaxing couple of days spent getting to know your fellow interns a bit better and to escape the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, well worth the trip. Having not known a single person in China from when I got off the plane, I now have contacts from across the world. I hope to stay in contact with my network of business professionals in Shanghai in addition to the friends I have made amongst fellow interns.

The opportunities provided by CRCC Asia for the duration of my internship in Shanghai were exceptional. The Shanghai survival guide issued to each intern was definitely worth its weight in gold, having used it every day to locate restaurants, tourist attractions, markets and more. I hope to return to China in the near future, and experience the endless culture still waiting to be explored. It was an experience I’ll never forget.