I was given the opportunity to undergo the two week CRCC Asia Business and Finance Course and a six week internship with deVere Group which is a financial consultancy firm specialising in offshore accounts for expatriates in China. Arriving by myself in Shanghai was very daunting however once I got my luggage and came through customs the CRCC Asia banner was the first thing I saw which immediately comforted me.
We were then taken to the Rayfont apartments which were so modern with massive bedrooms and a living room and most importantly a fairly decent gym. The first two weeks consisted of the Business and Finance Course; the first week being in Shanghai and the second Beijing. Most of our lectures were very informative and overwhelming for me personally as I had never studied finance before in the UK let alone China. However coming back to start a Masters degree in International Finance it was very eye-opening and beneficial.
The social etiquette in China is very different to what I am used to, which is what I expected, and my advice to someone who is travelling to China with CRCC Asia; it is imperative to always be aware of the smallest things even crossing the road with a green man, cars do not stop coming from different directions. Subway stations especially in the morning are so crammed there is no awareness whatsoever of personal space but looking at it positively the subway is so cheap and any part of Shanghai or Beijing can be accessed within two hours. I was very thankful that the second week of the course was in Beijing because obviously that is where a lot of tourist attractions are that is imperative to see when travelling to China and Beijing is known to be a more traditional Chinese city whereas although Shanghai breathtaking, is westernised.
The course also took us to a town outside Beijing called Tianjin which is a full city built consisting of hospitals, schools, apartments, everything needed for a fully functional city however had just been built therefore not many people lived in it. To be there and to be lectured by the company TEDA that financed it all and seeing the floor models of the entire city gave me first hand insight of just how innovative and forward thinking Chinese companies are.
After arriving back in Shanghai I started my internship the following Monday. Kelley, one of the course reps drove myself and a few others to the company offices for our first day. Luckily for me my supervisor was Scottish and therefore I did not have a language barrier to contend with. The work given for the first week was mainly research of different financial products that deVere provide for their clients which I was more than happy to do as I went to China in the hope of learning as much about international finance as possible. I am very happy with my choice of company as portfolio management is my hopeful career path and the staff took on board my personal development and by the end of my internship I was analysing existing client portfolio’s and being given work that showed me the practical side of portfolio management instead of textbook. Everyone interning at the same time were so relaxed and genuine, the dynamics of the group got on so well, making it very hard to say goodbye to Shanghai and new friends.
My advise for anyone travelling to Shanghai is definitely do it, don’t even doubt it, the experiences were so amazing and there are so many sightseeing points in Shanghai you will never be bored. The bars are so much nicer than what I am used to especially bar Zeal or Bar Rouge have a terrace overlooking the Bund and being a female and going on ladies nights you will gain free entry and free drink, what more could you ask for. Be careful of the street food although I would definitely recommend at least trying it, avoid stinky tofu. Sherpas.com is an absolute must and remember you can pre-order for the next morning, absolute life saver. The best advice I can give to you if your missing homemade food is to visit the pancake house, it’s on Sherpas and it does pancakes with syrup, bacon and scrambled eggs. You may need to wait as it is a small cafe however it is so worth it. Also take the subway to the Bund and go to the bottle opener building and you are allowed to go to the 87th floor for free as there is a bar – this is a must as you practically overlook Shanghai. Word of warning, the sooner you get used to the overcrowding in the subways the easier your life will be, it is the Chinese way of life it’s not worth your while getting angry about it. Also avoid red taxis as they are renowned for ripping tourists off. Avoid the ‘tourist tunnel’ at the Bund, it’s a narrow tunnel with a few different coloured lights, very overpriced and underwhelming.
Enjoy your time as when you come back home, you will wish you were still there.