I’m sure most people have watched Walt Disney’s Mulan (1998), but if anyone has not, I recommend it as a great story and a classic animation. Mulan is based in China, so it’s a perfect way to get in the mood for your internship.
The Huns, led by the ruthless Shan Yu, invade Han China, forcing the Chinese emperor to command a general mobilization. In order to save her old father from death in the army, Mulan, a young girl secretly takes his place by pretending to be a man. She becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process and is helped along with a talking dragon and lucky cricket as companions (Disney style of course). At first, it is difficult as she knows nothing about becoming a warrior, but her determination and drive eventually gives her great recognition. In addition, she falls in love with her handsome captain.
The real story is quite similar; Hua Mulan is a legendary figure from ancient China who was originally described in a Chinese poem known as the Ballad of Mulan (木蘭辭). In the poem, Hua Mulan takes her aged father’s place in the army. She fought for twelve years and gained high merit. The emperor gave her a horse and a bagful of wealth, and wished her a safe trip home. In fact, it is one of the first poems in Chinese history to support the notion of gender equality – Go China!
So…How can we relate to Mulan? The Hua Mulan story can teach us interns at InternChina a great deal actually. Firstly, we can see that being confident and brave is a prerequisite for success. Self belief is important when starting a new internship or job and Mulan never stops trying to integrate herself in the group. Practice does make perfect. You may not become a Chinese warrior overnight as it can take time to defeat initial fears, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Appearances can also be misleading so we should never judge a book by its cover. Your boss may seem different to begin with but you actually may have many similarities and work very well in business together. And lastly, the possibilities are endless, like Hua Mulan, don’t fit in a box! Show people what you can do at work and impress them. Make friends along the way and most importantly be yourself!
Want to challenge yourself like Mulan? Apply here for a fantastic adventure in China with one of our internships!