For me, graduating from university felt a bit like being forced to get out of bed on a chilly winter’s morning: alone, shivering and anxious to get back under the covers. Then again, making the jump from my warm, cosy life as a student to the seemingly cold, icy world of work, paycheques and overtime was never going to be an easy one.
To make that transition a bit more comfortable, after graduating from Edinburgh University in May 2016, I decided to wrap myself in my proverbial pillow and blankets and head across to the sunny isle of Taiwan, to hide from the cold a little while longer. During my 6-month stay studying at Cheng Kung University in Tainan, I wrestled with the infamously mind-boggling yet beautiful traditional Chinese characters, cycled along the remote and rugged Eastern coastline, and tasted the dazzling array of street food as I wandered the night markets of Taipei.
As my half-year stay drew to a close, I decided it was high time I set myself a real challenge. I had been studying Chinese for four and a half years, and it was time to put it to the test in the workplace. For me, Sichuan and the West of China has always had a certain allure – who could resist the chance to see the far-flung reaches of the Tibetan plateau, to conquer the notoriously numbing Sichuanese peppercorn, or peer in at the leafy home of the Giant Panda? With this in mind, I set my sights for the great Western capital of Chengdu.
To cut a long story short, I scoured the web for opportunities to do a 4-month internship in Chengdu, and no more than 6 weeks later – here I am! I haven’t been in the office very long, but already I feel like I’ve been thoroughly immersed into the local culture and cuisine. In just the few days since I arrived, I’ve been on a trip to Huanglongxi (黄龙溪), an ancient town full of original Qing dynasty architecture, eaten Chongqing Flat Noodles (碗杂面wánzámiàn) and enjoyed a suitably spicy Sichuanese hotpot!
Perhaps more worth noting, however, is how well I have been welcomed into the InternChina family – the friendly and relaxed office atmosphere, communal lunches everyday and general level of support have made my first few days go without a hitch. Even though leaving the comfort and safety of student life and entering the workplace might have felt like a cold winter’s morning to begin with, I’m already starting to feel the warmth come back to my toes…or maybe that’s just the hotpot.
If you want to be part of the IC story, apply now!