Interning in Tokyo challenged me 24/7 day to night. From trying to nail down my transit routine to adjusting to my workplace, I was always in a hurried state of learning, growing, and adapting. I truly owe my success to my coworkers for being so helpful and patient with me throughout my internship. They treated me as their own, even taking me out to lunch and exploring the city. Looking back at my time in Tokyo, I realize how much I’ve grown as both a professional and global citizen. I’ve gained international working skills and cultural perspectives from simply maneuvering through Tokyo’s dynamic streets. It’s quite impossible to write down everything I’ve learned, but I do know that because of this internship opportunity, I’ve grown to become a more globally aware individual than I was two months ago.
British Council Generation UK China Program
I applied for the programme whilst studying for my LLM in International Law. This opportunity seemed to perfectly fit with my aspirations to work in a multinational environment on international matters and to be able to travel.
Having never travelled to Asia before, I decided that I would do my due diligence and research as much as I could about China before I arrived. That way I wouldn’t be blind-sided and would be able to overcome culture shock. At least that’s what I thought! I heard stories from friends and family about being stopped in random places to have photos taken, the large crazy markets where you could be cheap knock-off goods and Guanxi; the system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings in China. However, actually experiencing it in real life was so different to anything I could have expected.
One thing that stuck in my mind from the orientation talk was that we were now “functionally illiterate”. Meaning the things I took for granted at home, like reading menus or road signs, or ordering a taxi and awkwardly talking to the driver about the weather to avoid awkward silences were a thing of the past. It took a few weeks to get used to life with limited communication skills, during which I became an expert at charades. All I can say is I’m glad most menus had photo, I have no idea how I would have begun to mime “tofu”.
Whilst, there was a lot to get used to in day to day life. Personally, having studied Law and completed a number of legal work placements before I was able to slide straight into working life with ease. Luckily for me my supervisor spoke excellent English and I was familiar with a lot of the legal matters we worked on. I worked on company and commercial legal matters, processes which were pretty similar to those back at home in the UK. What was interesting about these matters was the influence of international politics on Chinese business, something that I could use to demonstrate my commercial awareness in future interviews. For example, I learnt about the Sino-American trade war and the impact it has on Chinese exports to the US, particularly focussing on Chinese electric cars. I also attended a number of conferences on international arbitration and the differences between international regimes and Chinese arbitration. During these conferences, I was able to network with international lawyers and discuss their experiences of working in different jurisdictions and their regime preferences.
I felt my time in China is best summed up by the phrase “Work Hard, Play Harder”. I took full advantage of my weekends, booking various excursions from; hiking up and camping on the Great Wall of China, visiting Shanghai, going to Baishi mountain and much more. One thing I loved about living in a megacity was that there was never a dull moment, whether you wanted a chill weekend exploring different cafes, bars and restaurants or you want to explore the art/ music scene or even do tourist activities. I know that in the future I would go back to China.
My internship in Shanghai, China has been enlightening. I was in the HR department, which gave me a chance to practice my language and interpersonal skills. I really liked the fact that I could communicate with people in Chinese and interact with professionals from various cities. If I can go back to this internship or work there for long-term, I would in a heartbeat. I wish I had more time with the organization to fully understand and immerse myself in my second home.
My time in China was truly an eye opening experience. I was blown away by the country’s breathtaking views, bustling economy, and intimate relationship with technology. China had so much to offer. From hours spent learning about the country’s rich history, cosmetics and health food market trends, and regulatory affairs to days spent trekking and exploring the cities like Hangzhou and Qibao, China has equipped me with a global understanding of international business and regulatory affairs and given countless memories that I will cherish forever. I am a more culturally aware, self-reliant, and communicative person because of the time I spent in Shanghai, China. The experience forced me out of my comfort zone and try things (foods, activities, social settings etc.) that I never considered prior. I encourage all students to take the opportunity to intern abroad. Your life will be changed forever!
Through CRCC, I was able to gain experience in a Chinese IT company. The company itself has seen huge success offering blockchain and cryptocurrency related services, and the department that I was placed in offered me the opportunity to gain meaningful development experience in this dynamic new field!
As part of CRCC’s “Intensive Mandarin” program, the experience that I gained in my Mandarin courses that preceded my internship were absolutely invaluable in helping me to make the most out of this experience. I was able to learn from my peers about IT, language, culture… So much more than if I would have just gone in on my own. CRCC helped me set myself up for success with my host company.
As a result, I’m walking away from this experience able to come back to live and work in China, and utilize the skills in data science and machine learning that I continued to develop this summer!
“Sono sempre stato molto attratto dalla cultura asiatica e quella cinese, volevo fare un po’ di un’ esperienza lavorativa significativa. Pendo che il valore aggiunto di fare un porogramma di stage di CRCC Asia è prima di tutto un fatto di ambientazione. CRCC Asia mi ha fornito di un supporto eccezionale. Le aziende con cui CRCC Asia collabora sono tutte aziende di cui CRCC Asia si è assicurata della loro serietà e del loro valore dal punto di vista fomativo. Penso che quest’esperienza ha avuto un’ impatto molto significativo sul mio futuro.”
“The internship has been a really solid experience, with so many things happening in the work place, you really get thrown into the culture and are able to experience everything. To sum it up I’ve had an absolutely amazing time here, doing things that I’ve really enjoyed.”
“I’m working in risk management, I came onto the program to gain some diversity in my practical skills, giving me a good feel for an area which I have never worked in previously. I’m working on projects with specific clients and assisting with the compilation of these reports.”
“Beijing is an amazing place, the day time, the night time, there are so many things to happen, see and do within and around the city. I like the social events and the planned nature of the program. You don’t have to worry about how everything is going to play once you arrive, it is all taken care of.”
“I am doing an internship with a social networking website, as a marketing intern I am doing research and analysis into the luxury cosmetics industry. I love Beijing! It’s such a fast-paced, crazy city, it’s such a friendly place with so many things going on happening every day.”
“I think the CRCC Asia program will definitely help me in interviews, in terms of being able to have this experience on my CV, and by being able to meet so many different international people.”
“I worked in a travel marketing company, where my tasks included finding potential partnerships for the travel company, contacting companies and travel comparison websites to see if they are interested in partnering, and also to write a travel blog each day on my experiences in Beijing.”
“Having never been to Asia before, it was just a completely different experience from in the UK – its just so interesting as you never have been aware of the differences until you get to the country. You can’t describe it until you get there – I just loved the different experience.”
“My experience in China has been really helpful for my interviews with jobs – its really sets you apart from the other candidates and has helped me demonstrate I am self-motivated and driven.”
“My internship so far has been very useful, it has given me the chance to use the theorectical knowledge I’ve learnt at university in a practical environment. I have gained a lot of insight into the finance industry in China and general business in China, as well as finance all around the world.”
“One of the highlights of the program was the KTV Karaoke night! Everyone has a lot of fun, everything is typically Chinese with everyone to have a lot of fun. It was a very enjoyable nights and one of my favorite nights of the entire program.”
“I think the experience will boost my employability based on the fact that it has given me exposure to an international working environment. By actually being able to use the skills I have been learning at university I will be at an advantage over other applicants who haven’t yet had an internship like this.”