18 Feb The life of an Absolute Intern
If you’re a reader interested in coming on an Absolute Internship, it’s kind of hard to give a specific outline of what to expect. Every intern’s day is different. Some start at 8am, some start at 10:30am – but might have to leave earlier cause their place of business is further away. The range of internships are diverse and intriguing when compared. Here’s a typical day for me.
Set an alarm for 7:30am. Set a few more just in case. 7:30am comes. Beep, beep, beep. Snooze. 7:40am comes. Beep, beep, beep. Snooze. This happens a few more times, but you get the drift. I try to be on the Metro by 8:45am, 9am at the latest as it takes me about 25 minutes roughly to get to work once I’m on the train. I might stop on the way to pick up some delicious street food as second breakfast (which is totally a thing guys, just accept it). Down to the nitty gritty. The Internship. The reason we’re all here, I suppose. I’ve been place with an international marketing firm, which have been operating in Shanghai for twenty years now. They deal with international clients, mostly from America, and provide marketing and public relations tasks for companies wanting to export their products.
The firm is located on the 20th floor of the second International Financial Centre building(s), which are kind of like the Twin Towers of the Pudong Financial district. Working in the 2IFC Building is pretty swell, I’m not going to lie. There’s a shopping mall underneath me, and a Metro station just outside the building. Not to mention the security; I have to use an access card to get into the building, then to operate the lifts, then to get into my office… now this seems like a lot of hassle, but honestly, every single time I use that swipe card, I feel like a boss.
I am here as a Public Relations intern, but am also studying Advertising and have studied marketing previously, so this fits quite nicely. Many of our clientele are agricultural or food-oriented, meaning we’re often selling an edible product, which definitely comes with perks. Some of the tasks that have been bestowed upon me are:
– Proof-reading and editing reports and correspondence
– Creating promotional material
– Assisting with campaign strategies
– Communicating with English-speaking clientele, via phone and email
– Managing social media for the marketing firm
It’s a really relaxed workplace in the sense that everyone can joke around and have a little fun, but that’s because work gets done when it needs to be. The bosses are very welcoming and their doors are always open, which I’ve been told is not particularly common in Chinese culture, where there is more of a hierarchical system in the workplace. I’m kind of glad that this isn’t the case, as the bosses have made me feel quite comfortable from the beginning, and I’ve settled in. The only thing time I don’t feel like I’m part of the team is when they’re all joking in Mandarin and I’m just like “heh, yeah guys, that’s really funny… I think?”, I suppose that gives me even more a reason to start learning, yeah?
My day wraps up around 5:30, even though work stays open til 6:30. A few of the junior staff members (not just myself) get to leave early on a daily basis as the more senior staff wrap up each working day together. I’m quite lucky to be in the workplace I’m in as it’s atypically relaxed compared to other Chinese workplaces, and there isn’t as much as a focus on office hierarchy, therefore I didn’t experience as much culture or workplace difference as others. My advice for anyone preparing to do an internship? Just be open-minded, and accept anything that comes your way. Every experience is valuable in some way or another, and you’ll learn more about yourself along the way.
Til next time,