My internship with a legal non-governmental organisation in Shanghai has been a pivotal experience in my career. It equipped me with professional research skills and helped me to realise that legal research is an area I would like to gain more experience in. Since completing my internship, I have secured a position with a London-based legal organisation. My experience in China was critical in helping me reach this next stage in my career and the skills I learnt during the internship will be invaluable in helping me to succeed in this new role.
British Council’s Generation UK Program
My graduation date was approaching and all I had was many rejections from law firms, which made me realize that I needed more professional work experience. However, I was seeking for a something that would make me stand out in such a competitive job market.
One day, at my University, careers fair, I met the CRCC Asia Team where programmes were being advertised. I thought: ‘’ China? Yes, I love China!’’- I had butterflies in my stomach as I knew this programme would be IDEAL as it provided professional experience in my desired industry and the opportunity to develop language skills in Mandarin!
I applied for the programme in the capital of China. I must say, I fell in love with Beijing! This city was cosmopolitan and very developed, yet the Chinese culture was very much alive! There was something for everyone in Beijing including delicious foods, trendy nightclubs and plenty of historical sites!
CRCC Asia found me a great company match! I worked for an international law firm, within the securities department which dealt with capital markets, stock markers and RPO’s. This area of practice was completely new for me, but I was so excited to challenge myself. My work consisted of researching regulations and other factors which would impact Chinese companies going public in the US market and producing reports on potential clients. It was a particularly interesting time to work in this sector due to the current China-US trade war, which affects the business of our clients. In this role, I was able to experience the corporate ‘’lifestyle’’, which involved intense work but in return, I had the opportunity to attend exclusive events and lavish dinners in Beijing.
Professionally, this internship has given me a competitive advantage in the job market. In fact, as soon as I added this internship to my LinkedIn Profile, I have been receiving many job opportunities worldwide! This internship has supported the development of my adaptability skills, my interpersonal skills, and my cross-cultural communication, which is skills that lawyers need nowadays. Also, I have noticed that I have received many more positive responses when applying for legal vacation schemes in the UK! In addition, upon the completion of the programme, I was offered another internship in Beijing at an Embassy.
My advice to future interns is to go with an ‘open-mind’ and instead of feeling frustrated about certain cultural differences, EMBRACE IT! Emerge in the culture, liaise with the locals, try the new food, practice the local language and explore the city as China is an amazing country with so much to offer!
CRCC Asia provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime and I will forever be grateful. Working in Tokyo was a wonderful, indescribable experience I will always remember and cherish. The team on ground are very helpful with providing support and events for all the interns. Especially considering how small the team is.
My host company was very great as well. They treated me with the utmost respect, gave me a considerable amount of responsibility and made every day I worked there a day to remember. I honestly do not think I could have had a better internship experience anywhere.
Thank you CRCC Asia.
I speak not a word of exaggeration when I say CRCC Asia supported me since the day I came in contact with them. As cliche as it sounds, I genuinely believe my Tokyo internship proved to be the most challenging yet best time of my life! My company really encouraged me to exhaust my intellectual talents as a market researcher, digital content creator and data analyst. Confidence is one thing I gained, but an appreciation of Japanese work ethic is another; working in such a fast paced environment and simply being at the vanguard of technological innovation is an achievement I will cherish forever. I witnessed how teamwork and respect is successfully fostered for the betterment of a company and society more broadly. These principles that stem from an ancient tradition, is something I can now actively apply in my attitude to life. Overall, a two-month internship I wish I could go back and repeat.
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.”