On our first day of work, we were taken by Absolute Internship staff to our respective offices and introduced to our work colleagues and boss. I have to say, it was intimidating but the feeling died down once I met everyone at work and got settled in. One of the advantages that most of us had was that we could travel with fellow interns from the Absolute group. In my case, I met lovely, motivated people both from the Absolute group and from other internship programs. We had plenty of time to get acquainted with each other on our way to work, back and during lunch. I was fortunate to be able to work both in an office environment and on-site. This invaluable experience was definitely one of my biggest expectations before signing up to this program.
The site itself was situated in Suzhou, this involved a 40-minute travel (metro) to the railway station, followed by 30 minutes of travel in the bullet train to work and back. We were given practical, hands on work while on site which involved observing and documenting our findings. We also had the opportunity to work with an experienced architect and project manager who was kind enough to show us around the development area and inform us about the major planning issues and the stakeholders that were involved. I soon found out that this site would be a major retail site with high-end stores such Gucci, Prada, Valentino (you get the picture) and that was just phase 1 of the development!
The thought of having a part to play in this major project was quite a privilege. More importantly, the practical work that we did involving daily report writing and on site visits was another factor that I found was beneficial both in gaining experience and also getting myself familiar with the processes involved where Chinese companies are involved. Overall, my work schedule so far is busy, which is always a welcome distraction from the cold (especially in Suzhou). I would like to think that my hectic schedule is more or less an accurate representation of what my real-world work life would be like and more importantly I being exposed to it earlier on in my education. Another welcome distraction is the simple, tasty (and free) food offered to on site workers. Whist the food you find in restaurants is often fancy and very flavorsome, I really enjoyed the food presented to us in Suzhou. It had a homemade feel to it, which was a perfect remedy to the biting cold weather in Suzhou.
Another pleasant surprise was the new office that we get to work in. Originally a foundry, it has been renovated into a fully functioning office with a tasteful, contemporary look which makes turning up to work all the more enjoyable.