My name is Rimal Prasad, I am 21 and currently in my fourth year at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. I am studying a Bachelor of Arts/Commerce majoring in French, Accounting and Commercial Law.
It was a big decision to join the CRCC Asia program, but it’s the best decision I have made in my life so far. Straight from the application stage to living/working in China, CRCC Asia is there to provide help and support along the way. I had other offers available at the time, but I knew that going overseas, getting international work experience will be more beneficial…and I was right! In this testimonial I want to share how I grew both professionally and personally and how CRCC Asia fitted into the picture.
This was the first time travelling anywhere so far away from home. I was excited, thrilled, nervous, scared and a bunch of other adjectives to describe my trepidation. I didn’t know how I would fit in, let alone survive! Before heading off, I wasn’t too sure about where I wanted to be in the future. I always said that I loved the idea of travel, but I never experienced it until this trip and this was my chance to really try what I dreamed of doing.
I interned at a leading international accounting organisation in Beijing located in the China World Trade Centre and had the best view of Guomao CBD. I was assigned a number of tasks including analysing competitive environments in China and New Zealand, giving presentations, providing feedback on proposals, suggesting marketing ideas, proof-reading business documents and meeting with business partners. From the start I felt comfortable in this new office environment. My supervisors were a great bunch of people, they always asked me to lunch and were really inquisitive about my life back in NZ and open to answering the thousands of questions I had. One of the reasons I decided on China was because of how fast it was growing and the expansive connections it had with NZ businesses and companies around the world, therefore learning to do business in China and developing key relationships was at the forefront my decision. My advice, learn from every task you do because there will always be something to take away from it. Take the chance to ask questions about China, it’s culture, it’s business customs and how meetings are conducted, learn the art of networking and developing these relationships, as well as maintaining them over the years.
Personally, I grew beyond what I expected. I know that when people go overseas they tend to discover themselves and this is exactly what happened in my case. Living in a foreign country, with a new group of people gave me freedom and independence and showed that I could survive on my own. I made life-long friends and we would spend most evenings together enjoying the variety that Chinese cuisine had to offer, experiencing the nightlife and activities held by CRCC Asia. It’s been 3 months since I’ve returned from my trip but I still miss everyone and these memories and friendships I’ve made will last for a life-time. Every person on this programme were in the same mind-set, so fitting in was not a problem. I found myself using the term ‘Beijing Family’ when I got back, but it is true…by the end you feel like you were part of a family. Moreover, getting to travel around China and seeing the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven to name a few, are surreal. Beijing is the epicentre of ancient China, the city’s architecture is truly amazing and you will find yourself in awe.
CRCC Asia have the best people looking after you. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to fund this trip from CRCC Asia, which included submitting an application and completing a telephone interview, which is basically around your motivations for applying. They are very easy to contact if you have issues, concerns and problems. Throughout the year they sent monthly updates leading up to my departure. In Beijing, they are there to help you with anything you may need – once again they are always contactable and check in with you once a week during your program to make sure everything is alright. They are very flexible and understand that you are making an investment, so if you have any particular areas of interest or seek to develop specialised skills, they will do their upmost to place you in a position where you get the maximum benefit. Moreover, they host a number of activities during the program, so our group went to see an acrobatic show, enjoyed a Chinese banquet and took advantage of several KTV nights. For me in particular, I really enjoyed listening to two entrepreneurs, one who started up a T-Shirt company and another who started up a Bio-Gas firm, from scratch in China. It was interesting to hear about the obstacles they faced as well as how they overcame them. What I took away from these two speakers was the importance of relationships – it’s about who you know in China. Another activity was volunteering at the Huiling Community Service for people with learning disabilities, it was thought-provoking listening to how this group of the population were treated but seeing them happy, smiling and dancing was pure delight!
When I got back from Beijing I got stuck into doing my applications for more internships. This international experience shone through and created a source of differentiation. It allowed a greater degree of separation between myself and other applications and provided a point of discussion when networking. During these recruitment processes, from my experience “Personal Branding” is important, think of yourself as a product and market it – show-off your China experience and the skills you developed along the way (professionally and personally). The impact from my Chinese experience was evident as I passed every initial screening, attained a number of interviews and several offers. Ultimately, I selected PwC NZ to complete my summer internship starting in November.
It is a big decision to take the plunge and investment into your future but this experience is definitely worth it. I am really happy with how this adventure turned out and I wouldn’t change anything. My month of work and travel in Beijing flew by in a flash. I met amazing people and had the time of my life. It’s hard to quantify and describe how great this trip was and how it’s changed my life, but I know it has and I can see it too. It’s fuelled my desire to travel and see more of the world. As I look back at my blogs on the CRCC website, photos and the goodbye notes from my Beijing family, I still get emotional and the memories come flooding back. I would strongly recommend this programme to any student wishing to broaden their horizons and I hope this testimonial gave you a taste of what you can expect.