17 Jun First Impressions of Shanghai
I arrived in Shanghai about a week ago with another program (a business delegation). While I was with my other program, I was able to see a little bit of the city. For example, I stopped by Pudong, went to a few restaurants, and visited a couple bars. Although those things were a lot of fun, my Shanghai experience with Absolute internship has just been… Well, amazing.
I knew that I was entering a great program from the moment that I arrived at the Absolute Internship housing. I was greeted in the lobby by the program managers/coordinators/directors. They recognized me by face (because of my participation in this blog), and it seemed as if they had already memorized my profile. That introduction really stood out to me. I felt like it was such a nice gesture because it placed an emphasis on me as an individual person rather than me as just another intern participating in the program. (That sense of personal attention has since become a re-occurring theme throughout the first week, which has definitely helped my transition into the program).
After the introductions, it was time to check into my apartment. The program managers gave me the keys to my room accompanied by a welcoming gift；then，I headed for my apartment. Prior to arriving at the Absolute Internship program, I had spent the past 2 weeks staying in different hotels throughout China. So it was a nice change of pace when I was able to finally unpack and settle in. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I arrived at my apartment. The quality of accommodations had varied during my first few weeks in China.
Nevertheless, the Absolute Internship housing managed to exceed my expectations in nearly all categories. The amenities included: wifi Internet, a large flat screen tv, a DVD player, a dining area, a living room set (that can host up to 6 people), a king sized bed, a balcony, a gym, a sauna, housekeeping, a dry cleaning service, and room service. Plus, there is a hair salon and massage parlor in the building. [Keep in mind, not everything that I mentioned is free of charge… But even the things that aren’t free are reasonably priced. For example, a 60 minute full-body massage is about $16 usd… And yes, that’s the best $16 I have spent in a long time]
Outside the hotel, the city of Shanghai has really impressed me. I was a bit taken back by the city’s size at first; especially after I heard it takes 50 minutes to drive from one side to the other. What’s even crazier is that Shanghai is still growing as new buildings are being constructed everyday (if you pay attention you will see building projects nearly everywhere you look). With that said, I would have been completely lost if I was forced to navigate the city by myself. But fortunately, the Absolute Internship program has taken the time to ease me into things. As a group, we have taken several trips that have helped me to gain a better understanding of the city’s layout and transportation systems, while also allowing me to meet the other interns and explore some great attractions.
Another positive feature of the trip is the fact that I have been able to experience some local activities in Shanghai that I might have otherwise not known about (if I traveled by myself). That is because I am able to speak to the Absolute Internship staff members who have lived in Shanghai and know a lot about the city. That has been such a valuable resource. Personally, I really appreciate that aspect much more than some of the other interns because that type of familiarity was lacking in my other program. During my other program, I was forced to go out and find things on my own. Although that doesn’t sound too bad, it was very stressful and frustrating when I wanted to find something specific, close, or timely. [Keep in mind… I still go out to find things by myself from time to time, but it’s nice to do that as a choice rather than a default].
I feel like I have said so much, and still so little. There are so many other topics I would like to touch on right now about my experiences here in Shanghai… But in the interest of time, I cannot. I would however like to say that I am glad that I chose to come to Shanghai, and I’m even happier that this program has offered me so much. I’m excited to start my internship, and I’ll be updating soon about my experiences at work. [Oh, and I apologize to all of you readers for the length of my blog… But maybe next time, you’ll remember to wear your glasses.]