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I finally started my internship!

I finally started my internship!

Hi everyone, I have been living in Shanghai for a little over a week and a half now and I have finally started my internship!

To give you a bit of an idea of what my life is like at the moment, I will give a bit of a rundown of events in the life of an intern. I will begin with the morning commute to work. The address of my placement is actually not too far from where all of the interns are staying. However, in saying that, I do have to catch three separate metros (transferring to different lines twice) before reaching work. This morning trek does take a bit to get used to, especially the timing. Since I always wake at 7am to leave the building at 8am in the morning with the intent to reach work by 9am, I find that sometimes I am exactly on time and others I will arrive up to half an hour early!

The office is in a high-rise building with offices on the 25th floor. The view from the office is amazing, even more so at night when we leave the office at 6pm. My desk is in an open space that I share with four other colleagues. So far, I have really enjoyed interning at this law firm. The office atmosphere is quite relaxed for a law firm, however, I suspect that the recent Christmas holidays are the culprit behind this. My colleagues are kind and very friendly, they have already included me in a welcome lunch on my first day and continue to share their work experiences and knowledge with me. I was quite surprised to see and hear about the differences in approach between Australia and China, especially in the way they do business and negotiations.

At the moment I am one of two interns at the firm, therefore, I share a mentor with the other intern. Our primary mentor, is a Senior Associate at the firm specialising in M&A (mergers and acquisitions), and general corporate and commercial law. So far we have had an introduction to M&A, joint venture agreements and licence agreements. The introduction usually consists of us (the interns) reading through draft agreements, notarising points of interests and then discussing the content of the agreement with our mentor. So far I have already noticed the differences between learning in the classroom and learning in the field. I feel that learning in the field is much better than learning in the classroom. The strong focus on the theory work, while necessary, often leaves little time for practical work and because of this, I find that students rarely get to really engage with the topics we study and usually exit the course with only a limited understanding of the topics covered. During my time here, the contracts that I have had the opportunity to look at and discuss with my mentor have really highlighted the differences between the contracts that you find in textbook and assignments as opposed to contracts that you come across in the field. They are never neat and tidy, in fact they are, more often than not, much more complicated and multi-faceted, often involving creative and sometimes complex solutions.

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