17 Jan Shanghai: A metropolis hot pot
Ni hao, comrades.
I’m a Bond University student whose Bachelor of International Relations is rapidly drawing to a close. Throughout my degree, China has featured heavily as a subject of interest – politically, economically, militarily, and historically. Pursuing an internship in the Middle Kingdom thus seems a natural progression of my studies.
With the assistance of Absolute Internship, I’ve been able to secure placement at a multifaceted international aid and development project management consultancy. Whilst I’m familiar with the larger multilateral aid organisations and their development agendas, I’m quite curious to experience the more specific approach of the company I will be interning at. Given the regulative nature of their programme sponsors, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, I imagine my internship will be research intensive and a matter of imbibing protocol. I do not, however, expect such structure to be echoed in the city of this undertaking.
This not being my first time in Shanghai, I’ve learnt not to have expectations of this economic hub. With Tasmania as my hearth, surrounded by wildlife, mountainous scenery and quaint buildings, the sprawl of Shanghai has always been surreal to me; that this one coastal city contains the equivalent population of my entire country is a fact I constantly marvel at. Although I’ve been here on two other occasions, I don’t pretend to know Shanghai; the only consistency I’ve come to expect from this city is change. To this effect, others deride Shanghai for abandoning tradition and sometimes unkindly refer to it as the ‘Whore of the Orient’. To the contrary, however, I find that this ‘Paris of the East’ has absorbed, and in turn exudes, China’s past and present experiences. Pockets of historical wealth, from the 1921 site of the First National Congress of the CCP to the Longhua Temple heralding from the Three Kingdoms Period more than 1700 years ago, are scattered across the city. Simultaneously, with more than a thousand buildings exceeding thirty stories, Shanghai’s urban silhouette is composed of modern skyscrapers. Further still, across from Pudong’s infamous skyline, rest the classic colonial buildings of the Bund. The result is a metropolis hot pot; a fusion of architecture that, to the careful observer, will tell you tales of dynasties, Opium Wars, and revolutions- I shall keep my eyes open!