My internship experience in Beijing was a fantastic opportunity for me to develop both personally and professionally. In one month, my perception and expectations of China had completely changed and I was surprised by how modern and advanced Beijing was in many areas. CRCC Asia, who dealt with the logistics of my stay and internship in China, were fantastic in organising everything us interns needed to have a rewarding and enjoyable time in China. Several different events were laid on, from networking events to business related talks, all of which were extremely helpful in introducing me to opportunities available in China. Our accommodation was very satisfactory and my internship placement with both public affairs and public relations companies was perfect for my degree in History and Politics and my own interest in political affairs.
During my internship I worked on a variety of different tasks all in the fields of public affairs or public relations. This internship was not simply the ‘tea-making’ experience some people experience when they get a placement, it was an incredibly insightful and enjoyable opportunity with interesting and enjoyable work. My first task, which I worked on throughout most of the month, was tracking standards and accreditation changes in China and Asian markets for a North American standards association. I had never been introduced to this type of work before but found that the research and reporting components of the task were perfectly suited to the researching skills I had gained through my degree. Furthermore, I was also tasked with helping my supervisor to write articles on British-Chinese relations, the results of the recent Brexit vote for China and the current political situation in the UK. This allowed me to put into practice the aptitudes which I have gained through my time at university so far and made the work I was doing applicable to my degree also. Additionally, my supervisors also gave me more opportunities to develop my business skills, such as attending the Annual Summer Networking Party at the British Embassy in Beijing with BritCham.
As well as the professional skills I developed whilst in Beijing, I also gained a lot personally from the experience. Working and travelling in Beijing gave me a new independence and has given me confidence in working in an international environment and foreign country. I now feel I certainly want to gain a career in the future which allows me to pursue travelling and working abroad. I found adapting to life in Beijing very easy and despite some language barriers I never felt culture shock because the experience was so amazing. It has encouraged me to continue travelling more in the future to meet new people and experience new cultures. Through my placement I was able to make many new friends with my Chinese colleagues and we would go out in the evening and weekends together to landmarks or restaurants. This is something I will really miss about being in Beijing. Before leaving China I accepted a freelancer post that my host company had offered me for my hard work and I am now writing articles in English to be translated into Mandarin for Chinese audiences. This has allowed me to continue my relationship with my Host Company and colleagues and given me continued opportunities to develop my abilities further.
Outside of work on the weekends myself and other interns would make full use of our time in Beijing to visit all the main landmarks and tourist sites in Beijing. Although I only had four weekends I managed to see everything I wanted to in Beijing, including the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Mausoleum of Mao ZeDong and the Summer Palace. I also got the opportunity to go and see the Pandas with colleagues from work and visited the Birds Nest Stadium at the Olympic Park. The highlight of my trip however was a camping trip overnight on the Great Wall of China. I have always wanted to visit this infamous landmark but to actually spend an evening on the Wall and see the sunrise on it in the morning was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even on weekdays we would make the most of our time and visit other events such as a spectacular Beijing Opera Show or shopping at the Pearl Market.
My internship has really assisted me in providing me with new possible opportunities and career paths which I was previously unaware of. I now feel far more confident about my future employment knowing that this internship adds a unique component to my CV to impress employers. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to undergo an internship abroad, whether in China or somewhere else, to develop their professional experience. I would like to thank Gemma Traquair from the Careers Employability Service at the University of Kent and Anthony Manning, the Dean for Internationalisation, for providing the bursary for the internship programme. I also thank CRCC Asia for organising the logistics of the internship and making the month an unforgettable experience.
– Daniel Quirk is a 2nd year student at the University of Kent, studying History and Politics.