I live in a tropical area with an excessive amount of palm trees. As my plane departed, that was the last thing I saw; The palm trees swooshing by. I knew 'that was it' and there was no going back. Despite the endless research I did on Shanghai, I couldn’t help feeling clueless about the upcoming 6 weeks. I convinced myself that the feeling was just part of the adventure and experience.
I dream of becoming a foreign affairs reporter. I came to China to get my first glimpse at what it is like to report in a country with a different language and different press regulations. My journalism internship at an online media publication, has given me the opportunity to do so.
When I imagined my summers of college I envisioned myself with a backpack that weighed roughly the same as a small child wandering around Europe. I’m very happy to say I’ve had my share of wandering, but with help from Absolute I was able to swap the backpack for a suitcase and wandering for exploring with a map.
Arriving in a new city, especially one as big and busy as London, can be overwhelming. I come from a moderate sized suburb, where the greatest decision one has to make for weekend activities is whether or not to go to the mall or the movies. So coming to London with its plethora of daytime and night activities was both an exciting and scary prospect.
If I could tell someone who was pondering upon the idea of interning in a different country and has the opportunity to do so, I’d say, go for it. It changes the way you think and view the world. It’s a place out of your comfort zone that will only lead to growth and endless stories to tell when you get back home.
A full time internship does not mean having to work all summer long. In fact, traveling can be done and should be done.
Traveling in China was full of fun and some of my favorite experiences abroad. What surprised me was how easy it was to get around in China given the affordable prices and various transportation methods.
While working in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to make weekend trips to Hangzhou, Suzhou and Beijing.
To reflect on this experience is one of the best things I can do. Reflecting allows you to relive moments that are unique to your perspective, which allows you to recognize how much you have grown from the first week to the last week. You could say that China changed me for the better.
I believe my favorite cultural activity that Absolute organized for us was the trip to Nanjing. Since we stayed in Nanjing for the weekend we were able to take advantage of the city.
After a quick train ride from Shanghai to Nanjing we hit the ground running and made our way to Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum. As soon as we arrived I noticed that the skies were blue and the trees were lush with varying hues of green. It was meant to rain, but instead we were left with this reward after climbing 397 steps.
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I arrived in Shanghai — I hadn’t been anywhere like it before. China itself seemed like such a big entity to me at the time that to conceive what I would expect seemed like an impossible task. So after the first few days of living in Shanghai I was able to build a relationship with it and understand it a bit more with each passing day. I have found that there are many cultural similarities between Shanghai and my country and even state.