03 Feb I am absolutely loving life here
I arrived in Shanghai at Pudong International Airport on the 24th January at 6:50am. It had been a long 24 hours! I started flying at 4pm the previous day, had a 3 hour stop over in Kuala Lumpur and arrived in Shanghai. After waiting 30 minutes for my baggage I finally walked out of the gates into the waiting area of the airport. At this point I had no internet, no working phone and no way of contacting anyone from Absolute Internship/my Mum (who thought I had been taken and hadn’t heard from me until 2am the next morning) to tell them I had arrived. To calm myself down I decided to sit down in the waiting area and do what I do best – watch Sex and the City on my laptop. I was to be picked up by Absolute Internship at 9am and it was roughly 7:30. Midway through an episode I hear my name being called…and I recognised it was William, the Program Director, and two other interns. We all introduced each other and I soon found out the other two interns were Michelle and Tom. We all went to sit in Starbucks to have a coffee and get to know each other while waiting for another intern named Jordan to arrive. During this time we met the Program Coordinator, who organises the events during the trip and Will answered a lot of questions we had about China. Will explained lots of things about our internships, including whether our offices were nice and how long it took to get there, and Chinese culture. He went to the extreme of demonstrating that Chinese people keep to themselves by screaming in the airport and having only 2 Chinese people look at him. He also made me take a photo with a random Chinese girl to prove they love having photos with Westerners. Eventually Jordan arrived and we all got into a taxi and headed for our hotel.
When we arrived we met a couple of the other new interns, Sarra and Freddie. As a group we all then walked to the large shopping center across the road known as SML for a lunch of Shanghai dumplings. They were SO SO SO GOOD! The new interns then went for a walk together around the hotel in search of a tailor to get cheap suits made. It was amazing how fast we all bonded and became friends! It did help that all of us except two are from Australia.
We then went back to the hotel, unpacked and got ready for our Welcome Dinner, which was at a nearby Chinese Restaurant. After dinner we all went to a nightclub called Phebe’s to celebrate the first day. For only $20 AUD you could get unlimited drinks all night – not a bad way to start the trip! At 11:30pm we went BOWLING, which was so much fun! I then went back to the hotel to get some sleep after getting none in the past 48 hours.
The next day I woke up at 9:30 and got ready to go to the Absolute Orientation breakfast. After indulging in bacon, eggs and chocolate croissants we listened to the staff members of Absolute Internship discuss the program and our internships. To finish the breakfast off we were lucky enough to have a quick Mandarin lesson. It was so fast I had not one clue what was going on, but it was still great fun. This began the competition between Tom and I – who can learn the most Mandarin by the end of our month in Shanghai. Lucky for me I won a free Mandarin lesson at the school, which should easily put me in the lead. IT’S SO ON TOM.
After breakfast we went to SML once again, registered our Shanghai phone SIM cards and had lunch there. We also made a quick trip to Tesco to buy some groceries for the week. That night, after relaxing in the hotel for a few hours, the new interns decided to have a family dinner. We ordered from Sherpa’s, which is a website where you can order and get delivered almost any food you like. We had Thai curries. It was such a fun night, especially when we made the Americans compete in naming the 50 States of America. By the end of this night we were even closer as a group.
Sunday morning I slept in then my roommate, Michelle and I went shopping at SML. We had a beautiful lunch at a restaurant there and I made my first clothing purchase….floral leggings with wool on the inside! Perfect for the chilly Shanghai air! At 4pm the new interns along with the Absolute staff members went for a walking tour along the Bund and Nanjing Road. The Bund had a stunning view of the river and the city, including the Pearl Tower and the World Financial Center. Nanjing Road was full of lights and was absolutely beautiful. It reminded me of Broadway or Las Vegas. We then had a lovely dinner at a Chinese restaurant, where we all decided that we would go to Beijing to celebrate Chinese New Year! We then went to an Australian bar called Sliders to celebrate Australia Day. We had way too much fun putting on temporary tattoos of Australian flags, guessing the Triple J top 100 countdown and screaming out ‘STRAYAAA’ along the street. We then went home to prepare for our first day of work.
Monday morning I woke up at 7:15 to get ready for my first day working at the law firm I’ll be interning at. We were taken all together in a bus to our offices for the first day so we could be introduced to our bosses and would know how to get to the office. My office is not too far away from the hotel and is in a fantastic location. Firstly I was introduced to Catherine, who works at the firm and was taking care of me for the day as my boss was away for the morning. She gave me two research jobs to do, which were both very interesting. The jobs were supposed to last my fellow intern Emma and I 3 days, however we completed them in the first day. We had a long lunch break, which was spent at the café under our office called ‘Paris Baguette’. I cannot explain how amazing this place is. It is similar to BreadTalk but SO much cooler. After lunch we met with out boss Jessie for the first time, who was absolutely lovely. After work we caught the metro to a burger bar called Malone’s where we had dinner and discussed with the other interns our first day at work.
I expected great things before coming to Shanghai. But never did I expect so many great things in only the first few days! I am absolutely loving life over here! It is more than I could have wished for! Can’t wait for more amazing adventures to come!