19 Feb Our first week in Shanghai was definitely one to remember
Our first week in Shanghai was definitely one to remember. I was lucky enough to fly in with two other interns on the same flight from Sydney so once we collected our luggage it was about 6pm and we went to the apartments with a cab driver. I feel like it is necessary to point out that the cab driver who didn’t speak English, took my suitcase and bag off me to carry as soon as he saw me and the two other guys, who says chivalry is dead! We had a little trouble finding the apartments but that first night pretty much ended with the three of us having a late night coffee with Will, the Program Director. It was pretty obvious after the first conversation with him that the managers were more like our friends rather than figures of authority. In hindsight it was probably a great idea to catch a flight that landed at 6pm because I got to sleep at a time that meant I wouldn’t have any jet lag for the rest of the trip. On the first night and first day, I got introduced to a few other interns who had been here the previous month. The afternoon of the first day is when the rest of the interns checked into the apartments. The thing about this new group of interns, is most of us are from Australia and a few are from America. This pretty much meant the first week was spent celebrating the Aussie spirit. One of the best parts of my first week actually has been learning about Chinese and American culture, including slang phrases, common behaviors and accents too.
Over the weekend, Absolute Internship hosted a few get-to-know-you events like the welcome dinner. I could not think of a more perfect way to chat with the interns than over amazing Asian food. The great part about the restaurants here is that the dishes you order are placed in the middle of the table and everyone shares the meals unlike western dinning where everyone has their own servings. After our first taste of china (pun intended), the program managers took us to a place called Phoebe’s. Phoebe’s was a completely different experience to anything in Sydney. Right above Phoebe’s there is a bowling, I guess somewhat arcade-type place that we spent the rest of the night. To sum up the night in the most tasteful way would be to say it was mental.
The next day was a Saturday and we had an orientation and walk about through the city. The orientation was great. It was pretty much a China 101 lesson with a quick intro into the culture here. Safe to say, some were more awake than others. We also had a quick Mandarin lesson at the orientation, which I am still drawing on today so I can say it was definitely really helpful (especially for me seeing as how I came with no ability to speak Mandarin). The walk through the neighborhood was good to show us where we could find the essentials like ATMs and Tesco. We all did a little shopping to stock up that day. All the interns got along so well that we decided to have a little family dinner night that night. There is a food delivery service here called Sherpa’s and I cannot express how handy it is! Basically any food you can think of, you can order it to your door. This was a great night for us interns, we laughed the whole night over some great food.
Sunday night was amazing in so many ways. It was the night of Australia Day, and since our group is predominantly Australian, we had to go to an Aussie bar. The night was filled with meeting new people and putting Australian flag temporary tattoos on the Americans, as well as ourselves. At the end of the night we caught taxi’s home. Taxi’s are a really convenient mode of transport here. They are cheap and as long as they charge by the meter, they are completely trustworthy.
My first impressions of the city of Shanghai are utterly amazing. I love the people here and their way of life.