by Nick Goldstein
Two Week PMSA Language and Culture Programme
I’m not a very good writer, but when asked to write a piece on my first two weeks in Zhuhai as part of the PMSA Programme I volunteered. Not only because I want to get better, but because coming here under InternChina’s culture and internship program taught me the value of doing things you are scared of. That’s why I ended up here writing about InternChina’s program, having already wasted the first 60 words.
The first two weeks were packed! My personal highlights were tea making, calligraphy and Tai Chi classes. Although lots of fun, I also learned a lot. Much like learning about the history of your country helps you understand it today, learning about the details of Chinese culture helped me understand the big picture (it’s a really big picture!)
During this time, we visited two companies operating in the free trade zone. In the same way as our cultural activities, learning about the companies taught me not only about the company itself, its processes and operations, but also the way western firms interact with Chinese. I saw two models, although on the surface very similar, in practice very different, and I felt the difference. If I were to set up an operation in China, I know what I would do differently.
Part of the program was two weeks of intensive language classes. 3 hours a day in a room with other kiwis trying to learn Chinese was invaluable, and although my Chinese is not comprehensive, it is enough to make a contribution to the language gap. In China, at least where I am, the effort is more appreciated than required.
The third part of the program was the homestay experience. Make no mistake this was an experience, living with my own family was difficult enough, someone else’s is downright terrifying. Despite this, however, the most valuable aspect of the course was the homestay. Visiting companies and learning about culture is useful, but you only learn so much by teaching. Living in a homestay opened me up to the culture, exposing me to the intricacies.
Examples of what I have learnt are 1. That, at least in my family, no matter how loud your child’s friend is screaming, you don’t tell them off and 2. People really don’t like it when you wear shoes in the house, like REALLY don’t like it!
What I’ve Learnt
Jokes aside, I learned about the details of the culture, and I have made friends that I will take back to New Zealand. Reflecting on the past fortnight I think the most valuable thing I have learnt are soft skills. Cultural appreciation, empathy, an understanding of the Chinese approach, and an ability to work in Chinese culture, as well as, I believe, an improved ability to work with any culture. I think the friends, contacts and memories I have made are all important. Overwhelmingly, however, participating in this program has been mostly beneficial to my appreciation of different cultures, expanding my mindset.
Being from Scotland, and looking for a challenge I decided to travel to one of the most unusual areas of the world I could think of; Chengdu, China.
Having attended one of the InternChina talks held at Dundee University, I was intrigued by the description of the various locations on offer, but none stood out to me more than Chengdu. The mix between traditional Chinese living and modern surroundings seemed like the perfect combination and grabbed my attention immediately.
From there I sent off my application, went through the Skype interview process and after finishing my third year university exams, I am now an Intern in the InternChina Chengdu office for 6 weeks. Much like through the application process, arriving in China I was immediately supported and given all the help I needed. As in contrast to some of the other interns both in the office and in placements around the city I have never been to Mainland China before so I am at a slight disadvantage in this regard. However I was greeted at the airport by my manager Paul, and was put at ease straight away and the whole team has been great at helping me settle in!
Thinking of the Adventure to Come
Having been here for a few days now I am taking my time to get accustomed to the culture and way of life, (however I have been told where I can find a few home comforts if needed!)
Throughout this internship I am hoping to achieve not only a greater understanding of Chinese culture, but also a way of working life. Having spent some time in the office already, it is refreshing to be tasked with real responsibility and trust, which is unlike many of the internships back home in the U.K. Although the office is a very welcoming and a fun atmosphere, the client-dedicated focus of InternChina means there is always something to keep you busy.
I am looking forward to see what the next few weeks will bring for me, and the challenge ahead, and hopefully I’ll be able to leave Chengdu with a few stories for life!
If you think this sounds fun why not apply now!
I don’t know about you, but for me a new year always means a new opportunity to get a fresh start. It gives one a chance to look back at the past 365 days and to reevaluate whether life is going in the right direction.
Especially when it comes to career goals it can even kick-start the motivation again. But in case you don’t know how to make sure your new year is off to a great start, here some tips for you:
Set realistic and trackable goals
In order to set goals you first have to figure out what it is you want to accomplish in the long-run. Once you have done that, you can start breaking your long-term goal into smaller, easier to achieve goals. This does not only enable you to track your progress throughout the entire year – or even years – but also helps to stay motivated.
And here I can speak from experience. I tend to set myself pretty big goals and while trying to accomplish them I often feel I’m moving on the same spot, that my progress is not going fast enough. Big mistake!
So how to break these goals down?
There does not seem to be THE ultimate strategy but depending on whether you’re a free spirit or tend to be super organized, it makes sense to write down an agenda with quarterly goals, monthly goals or even weekly if that’s what drives you forward. Set yourself deadlines so you have dates to focus on and don’t get sluggish after that rush of motivation that pumped through your body at the beginning of the year has worn off. Don’t wait for miracles to happen.
How can such a to-do list look like?
Here is an example from my last exam phase. Exams always come with a surprise, it’s just like Christmas. You technically know you have to have presents for your family and friends on the eve of the 24th of December (or 25th for our British friends) but I could bet most of us rush every year in the shops – maybe even on Christmas day itself – to find some last minute presents.
So exams: the closer you come to exams week, and you still haven’t started studying for them, the more you feel like this is going to be an impossible mountain of information to climb.
You may even downgrade your goal from writing an excellent test to a simple pass… Don’t panic! Break your ultimate goal of “writing good grades” into smaller ones, such as Monday: Chapter 1-3, Tuesday: Chapter 4-6 etc. and you will be able to go motivated through the pile of presentations and books and eventually you will be able to accomplish your goal!
I am just not that kind of person!
All of this may sound like nothing you can see yourself doing. Maybe you think you are too lazy, to unorganized, or you simply don’t want to live off such an agenda, and want to be more flexible and free than that. Well fair enough, you cannot be blamed for that. However, you probably have some sort of goals in your life you find hard to achieve, may they be of a private or career-oriented nature. In that case, write yourself some sticky-notes so you don’t get off track – even without a detailed agenda.
Give yourself a break! No matter what you are trying to achieve, passing your exams, writing a thesis or even starting a business, make sure to reward yourself for small accomplishments. It is impossible to power through from the early morning to the late evening on a daily basis. Have a conscious break! Have a coffee, meet or call a friend, go for a short walk to get some fresh air or anything else that could distract your thoughts for a little while and gives your mind a chance to relax.
Try something new!
If you don’t feel like you have the energy to go through an entire process of finding new goals, breaking them down, working hard every day to achieve them, then try something new! Maybe you just need a change. Explore a new country, do an internship abroad, volunteer, educate yourself about possibilities so start off entirely new! Don’t get stuck in a life you don’t feel comfortable with.
Stay flexible and be open to adapt!
A last tip for a great start of the new year is to be flexible and open-minded for changes in your environment. This is definitely easier said than done. But I’m sure if you made it all the way through this blog and you are ready to pursue new goals, you are fully prepared what 2016 has in store for you!
In case all of this wasn’t motivational speech enough, check out what Shia LaBeouf has to say:
Get a fresh start with InternChina and apply now for a life-changing experience!
If you follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, you’ll probably have been aware of an event InternChina was a part of last week called ‘Experience Asia 2014’. InternChina helped organise it in conjunction with the University of Manchester by working closely with our connections at the university.
We managed to attract several prominent organisations from across the UK that were able to offer students opportunities to travel, work, intern and study in Asia – it’s always great to meet people working in a similar field to you!
The number of enthusiastic students that came to talk to us at the InternChina stand was brilliant. It’s great to see so many young people intent on travelling to China to gain invaluable experiences.
Suffice to say, the event flew by, and many of the hundreds of students that attended, left with exiting new plans to go to Asia this year! Don’t worry too much if you were unable to be a part of the event, it’s not too late to apply for an internship with us this summer. We also have funding opportunities available so be sure to take a look!
We’re hoping to attend future Experience Asia events and look forward to the next one with keen anticipation.
Do you want to join those going to China this summer in Qingdao, Zhuhai or Chengdu? Join in the adventure here!
My name is Helen and I’m from the UK. I arrived a few days ago and I am looking forward to the 6 months ahead as part of the InternChina team in Chengdu.
I have actually been to Chengdu before, so it’s very familiar to me. I first came in 2011 to study Mandarin. Initially a plan of just staying one semester turned into three semesters! I decided to stay longer when my friend came to visit me after the first semester, I was her tour guide for the week and I must admit I sometimes struggled with the language barrier which made me feel as though I hadn’t learned enough! Nevertheless we still had a great time and almost freezed ourselves to death visiting Emei Mountain during the Spring Festival period.
I started to grow more attached to Chengdu the longer I stayed. The culture, the food and the lifestyle. So, why did I leave Chengdu? Simple. I had used all the money I had saved, so it was time to return home. When I saw that InternChina had opened an office in Chengdu and were looking for an intern, I just had to apply, so now I am here again having on left earlier this year!
From the very first day, I have received a very warm welcome from everyone at InternChina (including lots of welcome messages from the other two offices based in Qingdao and Zhuhai). They have already made me feel at home and as part of the team! A very special thanks to Brigitte and Paul who waited at the airport until 2am with snacks and water at hand! Surprisingly, we all still managed to get into the office for an early start the next day. 🙂
I had a spot of a trouble with my luggage, it didn’t arrive in Chengdu as it was suppose to but it finally made it’s way back to me within a couple of days. InternChina have been extremely helpful and it’s only my third day here! If you’re a new intern coming to work at InternChina or even through them, don’t worry, if you have any problems just ask someone and they will provide support for whatever your needs may be.
I will be spending Christmas here again, and it will actually be my third one away from home and I know that it will probably be like my first but with the interns in Chengdu.
Hej med dig!
Er du på udkig efter en praktikplads i Kina, fordi det er obligatorisk for dine studier? Du er ikke alene!
Hver dag, får vi masser af henvendelser fra studerende, der har brug for en praktikplads som en del af deres studier. Vi er klar over, at moderne universiteter, i dag kræver at deres elever rent faktisk at tilbringer hverdags arbejdsmiljø.
Studerende undervurderer ofte, hvor meget konkurrence de har, og begynder tit at søge efter praktikpladser alt for sent. Især i Kina, vil virksomhederne ofte ikke svare tilbage og lader dig være alene i en sådan vigtig situation.
Det er derfor, vi ønsker at give dig et par tips til din obligatoriske praktik
1. Ansøgningsfrist: Tjek med dit universitet, hvornår man skal bekræfte sit praktikophold med dem. De giver dig normalt tid nok, du bliver bare nødt til at begynde at søge efter en praktikplads i god tid.
2. Dokumenter til universitetet: Find de nødvendige dokumenter din praktik- virksomhed skal udfylde og tilføj dem til dine ansøgningsdokumenter.
3. Søgning: Kontakt dit universitets karriereafdeling eller det Internationale Kontor. De har som regel gode kontakter til virksomheder eller kan anbefale dig partnere, som kan hjælpe dig med at finde en praktikplads i Kina. En masse universiteter tilbyde gratis adgang til jobboards hvor virksomheder indlægger deres praktiktilbud. Der er også kommercielle jobboards (f.eks goabroad.com eller kopra.org), hvor du kan finde gode tilbud.
Fokuser på dine søgeord: Brug egnede søgeord, du kan prøve forskellige kombinationer og giv ikke op for hurtigt! Nogle gange skal du klikke dig igennem masser af sider, før du kan finde et egnet tilbud til dig selv!
Vær opmærksom på ”sorte får”: Det er virksomheder, der tilbyder dig en praktikplads for vildt høje priser! Dyrere betyder ikke nødvendigvis bedre. Tag et kig, og se om de vil gå den ekstra mil for dig.
4. Find praktikken du ønsker: Hvis du er færdig med din søgning og din ansøgnings dokumenter er klar til at blive sendt ud, er det tid til at starte ansøgningsprocessen!
På vores hjemmeside har du mulighed for at indtaste dine krav til en obligatorisk praktik. På den måde kan vi anbefale dig de bedst egnede virksomheder, og endeligt kan du få lige dét praktikforløb du vil have!
Vi ønsker dig held og lykke med din ansøgning og forhåbentlig kan vi snart byde dig velkommen til en praktikplads!
Hvis du ønsker at vide, med hvilke universiteter InternChina er i samarbejde med, så se venligst vores hjemmeside: university partners. Hvis du ikke er sikker på, hvordan man skriver et godt CV, kontakt venligst vores kontor ledere Jack, Phil eller Jenny direkte!
You are looking for an internship in China because it is mandatory for your studies? You are not alone!
Every day, we are getting a lot of requests from students, who need to do an internship as part of their studies. We are aware that nowadays modern universities are requiring their students to actually spend some time in a real-life working environment.
Students often underestimate on the other hand, how much competition they have and start searching for internships way too late. Especially in China, companies often don’t reply and leave you alone in such an important situation.
That’s why we want to give you a few tips for your mandatory internship (German: “Pflichtpraktikum”):
1. Application deadline: Check with your university, when you have to confirm your internship with them. They usually give you enough time, you just need to start researching for an internship early enough.
2. Documents for the university: Find the necessary documents your internship company needs to fill in and add them to your application documents.
3. Research: Contact your university career department or International Office. They usually have good contacts to companies or recommend you partners who can help you with finding an internship in China. A lot of universities offer free access to jobboards where companies post their internship offers. There are also commercial jobboards (e.g. goabroad.com or kopra.org), on which you can find good offers.
Focus on your keywords: Use suitable keywords, try different combinations and don’t give up too quickly! Sometimes you need to click yourself through plenty of pages before you can find a suitable offer for yourself!
Be aware of black sheep: There are companies which offer you an internship for crazily high prices! More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Have a look, whether they would go the extra mile for you.
4. Find the internship you want: If you are finished with your research and your application documents are ready to be sent out, it is time to start the application process!
On our website you have the possibility to type in your requirements for a mandatory internship. That way, we can recommend you the most suitable companies and finally you can get the internship you want!
We wish you good luck with your application and hopefully can welcome you for an internship soon!
If you want to know with which universities InternChina is co-operating, please see our website: university partners. If you are not sure how to write a good CV, please contact our office managers Jack, Paul or Morgan directly!