If I could encourage only one of you to pursue this opportunity, I’d be happy. The internship placement programme in Beijing with CRCC Asia was an excellent stepping stone for me in realising the benefit of international internships.
I worked in a law firm by day, and at night I learnt Mandarin, tried new foods and saw more of the beautiful city of Beijing. I had never thought of China in my future career but having been there for a number of weeks, I could already foresee my return. Yes, it is different there and yes you may feel different to those around you, but one thing is for sure, the on the ground CRCC Asia team are incredible. I quickly felt comfortable with the other interns, where I lived and I looked forward to dinners and the weekend.
My favourite memories included visiting the Great Wall of China, Temple of Heaven Park (my favourite afternoon) and roaming the hutongs and 798 Art Zone. To those who will soon embark on this experience, carpe every diem and don’t be afraid to try something new.
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 an internship in Beijing, 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!
British Council Generation UK China Program
I applied for my internship programme in Beijing 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.
“El primer mes hice clases de chino mandarín y aprendí mucho más de lo que pensaba. Gracias a ello, me pude manejar mucho mejor en mi segundo mes en una empresa de consultoría de negocios. Me gustaría dedicarme al sector de las relaciones internacionales, por lo que esto va a ser muy beneficioso para mí, sobre todo porque he conocido a gente no sólo china, sino de todo el mundo, con diferentes formas de pensar, y de culturas diferentes”.
“I worked in a local Chinese law firm, where all my colleagues were Chinese. I did a lot of research on western law and worked on many different projects. I helped my colleagues review many contracts written in English, I got to participate in meetings. This is the main difference from internships at home – I did research and then got to see where it went.”
“The language Shanghai Internship program was great. I loved the extra free time as well as learning about the language and culture.”
“China is the best of both worlds. I definitely want to focus on Chinese law and become an expert on that. You can network and try and get a job here, which is not hard as an expat.”
Hi my name is Alessia, I come from Italy originally but now live in the UK. I graduated from Durham University and will be starting an LLM at Cambridge University in October. I’m doing an internship in Shanghai for one month.
The firm I’m working at in the moment is focusing on the immigration business between the United States and China. I found the working environment absolutely amazing, the supervisor was very kind and welcoming, and my colleagues have been really excited to have international interns in their organisation as well.
I like that everything is so cheap and likes the attitudes of the people in China as they are so friendly.
“Ciao a tutti, mi chiamo Lino Bellucci e sto facendo uno stage a Pechino nel settore Legale per un periodo di tre mesi. In Italia ho studiato Giurisprudenza all’Università LUISS Guido Carli di Roma e mi sono specializzato in Diritto Internazionale del Lavoro. Sto lavorando in uno studio legale cinese e mi sto occupando di Securities e Capital Market e aiutiamo società cinesi ad entrare nel mercato dei capitali statunitensi.
Durante il programma ho potuto interfacciarmi direttamente con i clienti, ciò mi ha permesso di farmi conoscere, mettermi in gioco e mi sono anche state fatte proposte lavorative molto interessanti che sto valutando. Ancora non so se lascerò Pechino a Marzo ma se lo farò sicuramente mi mancherà il gruppo di persone che si è creato, è stata un’esperienza complessa almeno all’inizio ma ci siamo aiutati a vicenda ed è nata una grande amicizia tra noi.”
“Hi, I’m Krish, I’m doing a Law internship in Beijing with CRCC Asia. I graduated from university last summer with a Degree in Law from the University of Oxford. And in the past year I’ve been doing a mixture of pro-bono work and academic legal work.
Fortunately my supervisors have been great so far, my project at the moment is analysing patent law data from the United Kingdom.
CRCC Asia have arranged a number of events over the course of the internship, to ensure they have a balanced impression of Beijing. During the evenings and weekends, for instance we have weekly language lessons, we had a dumpling lesson, and have also visited The Great Wall in China. “