12 Feb Shang-Hi: Week One in China Complete
I have arrived and survived my first seven days in the New York of the East! It feels as though I’ve already been here for half a lifetime, so much has happened and I honestly don’t know where to start! A quick update on how the major aspects of my life have changed over the last week is in order:
- I have some new friends.
- WeChat is now the most-used app on my phone.
- I work in an office Monday – Friday in a tall building in the financial centre of Shanghai.
- My dumpling consumption has exponentially increased.
- Coffee is no longer an affordable addiction.
- It’s really cold outside.
- People everywhere. Everywhere.
- I sometimes wear masks outdoors because of pollution.
- I’m fluent in chopsticks.
- I don’t check Facebook, Snapchat and Gmail 10 times daily because I can’t.
Since arriving, I have loved getting to know the other interns from Absolute through all of our new experiences together – from selfie-sticking on the Bund to grocery shopping to karaoke, it’s a great group! We are here for the same reasons from lots of different countries and always have the best time together. Having an instant network in a foreign city really is an exceptional advantage, especially where so few people speak English. It makes any issue you might have much less overwhelming knowing you have someone else in the same boat as you or who knows how to deal with the situation from their own experiences.
My finance internship placement is going well. I was lucky enough to have a fellow Absolute intern with me at my firm which definitely helped ease any qualms I had about starting work. The environment can be fast-paced but the degree of difficulty is very manageable – it is nice to see that what I am learning at university actually DOES apply in real life! We spend a lot of time in the office together with our supervisor; he gives us extensive insight into the industry, how it works and his experiences. We have also been attending various networking events. This has probably been the greatest extension for me out of my comfort zone but it gets easier every time and is a great way for me to develop my professional skills.Chinese New Year happens around this time every year (it is based on the lunar calendar) and is the main holiday the Chinese have, so for most Westerners it’s like having a Christmas/New Year 2.0. This means I get the whole last week off, which is both good and bad. It is a benefit in the sense that I have an additional week to travel and see the sights. It is somewhat of a problem because I was planning on having the additional week of work for experience and it’s now difficult to get tickets to Beijing and other places in China at such short notice. This is because everyone goes home for the New Year – it is the largest human movement event on Earth! Hopefully Shanghai doesn’t wind down too much though for the holiday period and we can continue to make the most of all the happenings here!
I already have so many great memories from my time here – can’t wait to see what the rest of the journey brings!