It was well known to me that China is one of the BRIC countries and, therefore, one of the fastest developing countries in the world. I have always been fascinated by Chinese culture because it is genuinely so different from the Western culture that I grew up immersed in. These are two of the main reasons that I decided to apply for a scholarship through CRCC Asia to intern in China. I was in my second year of university when the Law Department circulated an email from CRCC Asia’s Irish office. I intended to defer my upcoming academic year and if I was awarded the scholarship I had applied for then that would seal the deal. The application process was relatively simple and hassle-free. I was contacted not long after and informed that I had been awarded the Silver Scholarship which ensured that I could gain invaluable experience and really improve my CV by interning in China!
The staff at CRCC Asia were helpful in terms of suggesting a location and informed me that Shenzhen was a good location for those involved in the legal sector. I applied for my own visa through the Chinese embassy in Ireland as I did not want to send my passport abroad. I was assisted by CRCC Asia in obtaining a letter of invitation from my host company etc. CRCC Asia never hesitated to telephone if you requested and they tried to help in any way they could. I would particularly praise some of the staff who helped me when I had an issue with flights and the travel agent wanted me to pay more money!
Shenzhen itself is an amazing city. The CRCC Asia staff on the ground were excellent and extremely friendly. The other interns were a great bunch of people and I actively miss them!! I made great friends from all over the world there and it was great that we all got to experience something so different together. The food was different but delicious, you have to be adventurous and just try things or else you starve! The internet was an issue but just ensure you have a VPN of some sort and do not bring devices only set to Google (as I did), as they will give you a great amount of hassle. My host company was Royal Law, headed up by Mr. Wang Dong. The company specialises in intellectual property law, commercial law and provides legal advice to foreign companies in China. The team working under Mr. Wang were extremely welcoming and very helpful, I felt right at home when I was there. The workload was not great and from time to time I was bored but then again I was a non-Mandarin speaking intern in a Chinese law firm. I greatly appreciated how the firm treated me as just another one of their employees, they were a wonderful team.
My time in China was unbelievable and one month was not enough for me. The independence was a great new experience and the fact that it was in a place so alien to me, made it ten times more valuable. I feel like I gained a lot in that one month and I am more confident now in terms of travelling and living alone etc. I would strongly advise anyone considering a CRCC Asia programme to just apply because that is what I did and it was one of the best decisions I made. In Irish we say, “De réir a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin” which loosely translates to “As time passes, castles are built”. Time in China flew in and it changed me for the better, that was all in one month, I can only imagine how I would have changed in three months. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I cannot recommend it highly enough.