15 Jan A Day at My Internship in China
After almost 15 years of studying, the internship in China here in Shanghai would be my first working experience. Finally I could get a better idea of how is it to be “grown up”, and Shanghai is a great start!
I am currently working a large Chinese company in the Finance industry. It is actually a big company with offices throughout China. Here, the office is in the 14th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center, also known as the “bottle opener”!
As everything else here in China, my days start in a peculiar way: the metro. If you think the metro in your country has a lot of people during rush hours, that’s because you have never seen how it is here in Shanghai. No words describe it! A huge amount of people coming in and getting out in every station, pushing, squeezing, there is always space for someone else! Definitely, competitiveness skills are something you easily develop while here.
Walking from the metro to the office always gets me amazed; everywhere I look I just see taller buildings than the tallest one in Portugal! However, there is so much pollution sometimes than I cannot see their top. Finally, approximately 40 minutes after leaving home, I arrive at the SWFC.
At my office there are more than 100 people, full of those 4-people-cubicles you may frequently see in the movies. Four of them belong to the International Department, the one we interns belong to, and it is where I spend most of my day.
About the work itself, it has been a good experience so far. The main problem with Chinese companies is that few people speak English, and even those who speak have some difficulties. It is also hard to know what other departments are working on because of that; every paper, analysis or article is in Chinese. Therefore, our work is based on tasks that must be delivered in English.
The first thing to do in the morning is our daily task. There are some newsletters we must send to the Boss, to other departments or even to clients every day. Those newsletters cover not only financial but also macroeconomic topics, from Private Equity and Foreign Exchange to Commodities and Bonds, among others.
Personally, it has been great to be responsible for delivering one of them as it gives me the chance to be updated and check the most important news every morning. Definitely, someone working in this industry should always be aware of the daily market movements!
Although there is no specific time for lunch, we usually go around noon. Fortunately, there are many options, from typical Chinese to Western food. Obviously, the restaurants inside the building are expensive, so quite often we go outside. Despite what you may think, street food always ends up being the best, as well as the cheapest!
During the rest of the day, we are free to work in our projects. Up till now, I have been part of two, the first for the Boss and the second for a client. These are projects may be about any topic, depending on what the client wants, and require a lot of research. Besides, usually twice a week, we have Chinese lessons with a member of the firm! Although a bit difficult, it turned out to be very useful as we learn the most important things to have a conversation, like greetings, shopping or taking a taxi. Actually, I really think I have been improving in my Mandarin!
After a tiring day, we leave the office at 6pm. Once more, a crazy metro trip is waiting for me! Arriving home is also one of the best feelings ever. No homework. No studying. Free to enjoy the evening with your friends or just relax after a demanding day!