Hey guys! I’m Esther, a commerce student from the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia. Having majored in accounting and finance, I am so excited and cannot wait to begin my finance internship in Shanghai this winter through Absolute Internship and finally apply some of the things I have learnt at uni to the real world. I spent my childhood in Singapore and have lived in Perth for the past 8 years, so I think (hopefully!) that I have a good enough understanding of both Eastern and Western cultures to make a good impression with fellow interns, colleagues and clients, and to avoid obliviously committing awkward etiquette no-no’s, fingers crossed.
I paid a visit to Shanghai last summer and wow, what an amazing city!
Coming from the quiet, semi-sleepy city of Perth, the hustle and bustle of Shanghai is simply addictive – it is truly a city that never sleeps. Merely thinking of the food is saliva-inducing (xiao long bao!), and having the convenience of dirt cheap taxis everywhere is great when a 30 minute cab ride from the city to home sets me back about 80 AUD in Perth. And the shopping! Clearly no elaboration necessary. If that doesn’t convince you that you should visit Shanghai, I also got my hair trimmed and dyed there for about $10 AUD. And the dogs dress up.
If I had to marry a city, it would be Shanghai – hands down! Nobody else would stand a chance. Perhaps that summer in Shanghai was what planted the first seed of thought that I may one day return to this city and build my career there, should the opportunity arise. Absolute Internship is the perfect stepping stone to this dream and I cannot wait to be back.
But of course, I am expecting a very different experience this time round. Being a commercial and financial hub that is constantly changing and boldly advancing (Shanghai recently established the first Free Trade Zone in China), I expect to meet an economy that is fiercely competitive, filled with forward thinking corporations, and a population of hardworking, goal-oriented people. This will be my first finance internship and, needless to say, I am nervous. What do I wear to work when it’s the coldest month of the year (and temperatures can drop below 0 degrees celsius)? How well will my basic command of Chinese serve me when I am placed in a business setting? Will I be able to keep up with things when I get there?
You could say, well, time will tell – but I am going to prepare myself to the best of my ability, push myself, persevere and hope for the best to make the most of this opportunity that not everyone gets to have. I hope to learn practical skills that are transferrable to a wide variety of settings, relevant skills that I can apply to future work in the finance sector, interpersonal skills to help me relate to people from different cultures and build my network, and communication skills by improving not just my mandarin but also my knowledge of business etiquette, among other things. Over the next month, I also look forward to meeting important industry experts, getting to know new people from around the globe, and taking my first steps towards starting a professional career in the finance industry.
So far, Absolute Internship have been great with replying my emails, arranging interviews and maintaining regular contact. I am so fortunate and grateful to the team for providing me with this fantastic opportunity to be a part of this valuable experience, which I know I will never forget.