Hi Everyone, so after several months of planning, three attempts to pack and a ten-hour flight, I finally made it to Shanghai! It wasn’t the wisest of decisions to wear clothes made for summer in Sydney and I was quickly made aware of the fact when stepping out of the warm comforts of Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Due to my late arrival, I had to independently discover my own way to the apartments – but luckily, I had made a friend along the way who was also in the Absolute Internship program. Tiani was from Tasmania and fortunately had travelled and stayed in Shanghai a couples of times, so we weren’t completely lost!
Before arriving in Shanghai, many of my friends and family told me that the locals would be very confused by me because I looked Chinese but did not speak Mandarin. This turned out to be very true when Tiani and I were trying to direct ourselves out of the airport. What surprised the locals even more as well as myself, was when the taxi driver tried to converse with me but Tiani, of Irish descendent responded with flawless Chinese advising that I could not understand him. We took an hour-long cab ride to the apartments – Tiani in the front, having an animated conversation in Mandarin with the taxi driver and even receiving a declaration of love.
Unfortunately, we missed the Welcome Dinner so we went straight to our respective rooms to settle in. The next morning, we finally met the Absolute staff as well as the other interns for a brief orientation and learnt about the differences between the Eastern and Western culture. We also received a quick lesson on Mandarin 101 and put our names in a draw to receive a free Mandarin lesson!
I started work on the following Tuesday, where I was quite nervous on where I would fit within the company. I was pleasantly surprised at how the comfortable the environment was, as I was welcomed warmly by the Director of the company. Primarily surrounded by other interns, I was able to successfully integrate myself within the team in no time. I was briefed about the project by Will and Max who had already been interning for a month and caught up on the status of the company’s social media platforms. Being the only employee with an IT background, I was able to take ownership of their whole social media strategy and began working independently – completely managing the marketing of my company.
I’m really looking forward to what the rest of the month has in stored for me. This weekend we will be making our way to Suzhou – which should be a lot of fun!