13 Jan Here I Am, Shanghai!
So I am finally here in Shanghai! I guess I was too “geared up”, as I ended up sweating profusely upon my arrival to the crowded Shanghai airport, having worn 3 layers of clothing. It was a wonder that I spotted the Program Director among the massive crowd who were waiting – he brought me to the group of interns who were already waiting together. After greeting each other, I realized that we were all studying in different universities in Australia; I even met 2 interns from my university! Well, it felt like another small Australian community to me. We got to know more about each other, and played ‘bullshit’, an interesting card game. The airport was too crowded, in my opinion; there were too many people bustling around, chattering, and through these overwhelming series of events, we even witnessed an awkward wedding proposal while waiting! As soon as we got out of the warm airport to wait for our bus, I felt so grateful to have worn so many layers of thick clothing which kept me warm, while standing out in the cold air. Some of the interns were obviously underdressed, as they were shivering and hugging themselves. The view from the airport to the city was pretty bland and I think I dozed off, halfway through the ride. When I woke up, we had arrived at our accommodation.
We received a warm welcome from the Absolute Internship Directors, and a goodie bag packed with gifts….I really enjoyed crunching on the potato chips provided, and the cute Absolute Panda has been keeping me company every night. As it was quite late, we were immediately brought to an “all you can eat” restaurant, to have a taste of China. It was a good opportunity to meet the other interns, and I enjoyed chatting with all of them. It was good to understand each other’s background, and their reasons for doing an overseas internship. Personally, I thought that the food wasn’t suited to my taste, I am very sure that there will be better food in China, and that I will have plenty of time to explore Shanghai. I am glad that we are provided with this cosy accommodation in Shanghai, where I have a huge king sized bed which I can snuggle into every night.
The highlight for the second day was the orientation, where we learnt about the methods in which people do business in china, as compared to western countries. It was an eye opener and I thoroughly enjoyed the speech presented by each staff member of Absolute Internship. Most importantly, I learnt how important “Guan Xi” and “Mian Zi” are in China. Our Sunday kicked start in a restaurant where we got to savour Chinese dim sum and dumplings. The food was AMAZING, the Xiao Long Baos were really juicy and had a great texture; the vegetarian dumplings were chewy on the outside and crunchy on the inside; and the yellow egg bun was so sweet and tasty that I am drooling as I think about it now. As I was really famished at that time, I thought that the food was extremely delicious, and had a full belly after lunch! Walking to The Bund after the heavy lunch wasn’t really the best idea, I was pretty stuffed, and felt a little drowsy. On top of what I thought was a ‘harsh’ and cold weather, I really felt like heading back to the housing. But I was glad that I stayed for the tour to The Bund – it was a wonderful sight, overlooking the city of Shanghai, the beautiful and different architectures from far, I took a few good pictures. The building which I thought was the prettiest was the Oriental Pearl Tower, which is easily recognized from far.
I had done quite a fair bit of exploring and visiting around this weekend with my new friends, I thought it was a great experience, being out with new people, in a new environment, experiencing a different culture. I wonder what other surprises and interesting events will approach me in the next few weeks. Super pumped up and excited for my internship on Monday!