A day in my Shanghai intern life always begins the same, but always ends differently. Once 7 a.m. rolls around, I am up and preparing for my day. (Well, theoretically that happens, realistically I’ve figured out I have the ability to get ready in 15 minutes flat.) I am out the door before 8 with my metro card in one hand and a yogurt with a straw in the other – an innovative product of the Chinese market I have come to love.

jin maoMy 45 minute commute brings me to my company next to the Jin Mao Tower in the financial district of Pudong. The company I work for is a system of clinics all across Shanghai that cater to expats seeking medical treatment in a language in which they can communicate. As a result, the doctors hail from all across the globe, and many speak multiple dialects.
The Jin Mao location is quite small in comparison to the other clinics in the city in both physical size and client base; however, their services are abundant. One can see a psychiatrist, dermatologist, cardiologist, and even get an x-ray performed in the same compact facility.

What drew me in to visit China in the first place was the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. I was thrilled to see that TCM and acupuncture are additional services provided at my clinic. On my first day, I got the opportunity to sit down and speak with the TCM physician about her line of work and how it compares to Western medicine practices. She explained the two as working in harmony, each approach with its share of strengths and weaknesses. I know that even when I am back in the United States, she will be a great resource to have in that field.

My role at my company is front desk assistant which consists of checking in patients for appointments and preparing their medical records for the physicians. I’ll admit, it’s not the most thrilling work, but my favorite part of the job is meeting people from all around the world on a daily basis. This has even given me the opportunity to practice some of my Spanish with native Spaniards which is always the highlight of my day.

As a pharmacy major with a Spanish concentration, I could see myself working in a similar setting in the future. I enjoy hearing the patients’ stories of what brought them to China, and I find the possibility of being an expat someday to be an exciting notion. The opportunities that are out there are truly endless as I have come to discover in my time here in Shanghai.

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