Why did I come to Shanghai?
There comes a time in life when you need work experience, and not just the casual work experience at your local bank or newspaper, but the type of experience that will put you on the global stage. Especially when we are living in an increasingly globalised world, where only knowing one language puts you vastly behind others, getting international experience of which shows that you are capable of understanding other cultures and working well in other countries, is extremely essential.
It is for the above reasons that I chose to get an internship with the Generation UK programme through the British Council, leading me to CRCC ASIA, where I got the opportunity to Intern in Shanghai. Why Shanghai, you may ask, well firstly Shanghai has a large developing media scene. As China’s economy booms so those its creative industries, and I especially chose Shanghai because I was certain I would get the opportunity to intern for a developing media company, and as a result I would get more industry experience and a lot to do.
I specifically chose to intern in China, because China is currently the star of the global sphere. It has the strongest economy, and a powerful GDP and every year its industries are getting more developed. China is currently the place to be and by working in China and getting experience in a country that is such a hot topic, than I myself become more hireable.
How did I get my Internship?
As I previously mentioned, I applied to the Generation UK programme via the British Council and they placed me into the CRCC ASIA programme, which has international work experience programmes all across Asia. To apply to Generation UK via the British Council you must have British nationality, however you can still get on the CRCC ASIA programme even if you are from a different country, by directly applying to them instead of via the British Council.
When I applied through the British Council I had to fill out an online application form, basically asking why I was applying for this internship to China, what my motivations were, and asking for a copy of my CV. Mostly standard interview questions. After around a week I received an email stating that they liked my application, and that I had made it to the next stage and I would soon receive a phone interview from a staff member on the CRCC ASIA programme. I got to pick the date and time for the interview.
When I received the phone interview I prepared myself by making notes of answers to possible interview questions I could get asked. The interview went smoothly, the staff member ‘Matthew’ was extremely nice. He asked me questions such as why I chose China, what did I want to get out of this internship, what would I bring to the programme, and questions about my strongest and weakest skills. I answered to the best of my ability and I was excited when I received an email a few days later, saying I had been accepted onto the programme.
I had already picked which cycle I wanted to go on for the programme, which was the cycle from the end of July to September. The programme is two months. I applied early in the year, around January time, so I had a while to prepare for my trip. CRCC ASIA offered a lot of assistance throughout the preparation process, they helped me through getting my visa (which was help I seriously needed as I was studying in Belgium- on Erasmus- at the time and had to do the VISA application process at a centre in Brussels). They also offered a student discount on flights and a pickup from the airport.
They sent lots of emails giving helpful tips in preparation for the trip, and when I had questions about travel or my visa they replied within 24 hours, and when I called their office there was always someone there, they had a very helpful service.
The only things I had to pay for, in preparation for this internship, was the flight and the visa, but CRCC ASIA provided travel insurance, health insurance, and accommodation. When I arrived they also provided me with a pre-paid metro card, and a China Unicorn sim card that has 30GB a month available on it. The accommodation also has wifi, ensuite bathrooms, and is extremely spacious.
When packing and looking at what to bring to China, CRCC ASIA also provided decent pre-departure packages that had a packing checklist, telling me what money to bring, what international cards to prepare, and they got me up to speed on some Chinese culture I would need to look out for. And by following all the information they had provided I was more than ready to come to Shanghai.
Choosing my company
Of course, the main point of doing an internship is the work. I forgot to mention this earlier but when I originally applied online they asked me which sector I would like to work in. I had to pick three sectors out of the many that were available. As I study BA Journalism, communications and Politics, and I want a career in media and publication; I chose the media sector, the PR and advertising sector, and tourism sector out of the three.
This later became important when I got my placement, as CRCC ASIA used my CV and the sectors I had chosen to find me a company to work at in Shanghai. Through CRCC ASIA two companies reached out to me, one was JITU a media company that specialised in promoting and advertising. They wanted me to be a Project Management intern and a Animation intern. The other company was ShanghaiWow! a mostly Chinese online lifestyle magazine that had an English department where they were publishing online content, they wanted me as an Editorial Assistant. I had phone interviews with supervisors from both companies and I made a choice and decided to work with ShanghaiWow! as they were the type of industry experience that I wanted, and it looked like I would have a fun and developing time with them.
And that was the predeparture stage of my internship in Shanghai. As I write this I have been in Shanghai for a week. I have been surprised by the culture and the heat (it’s almost 40 degrees every day, thank the lord for air-conditioning) and I have had a great time meeting the other interns on the programme, exploring the city, and beginning my work at ShanghaiWow!
Soon on my blog I’ll write about my experience being in Shanghai for a week and I’ll write about my Erasmus experience in Belgium.