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Business Internship in Shanghai, China

I'm Rosanna Bartley and my gap year internship in Shanghai was arranged with Projects Abroad.

Shangahi is just completely different to England - it takes a couple of days to get used to things, especially the amount of people, in all places, at all times. The supermarket on a weekend was almost like playing in dodgem cars. Although not too many people speak English, the general population were very friendly and always willing to try and help you (the use of pointing was a useful backup). All public signs were translated in to English as well so transport was surprisingly straightforward - and it's possible to use mobile phones on the Metro; my roommate and I found this very exciting.

My placement in Shanghai


I began work at the Shanghai Mergers and Acquisitions Club for my business internship and started commuting which is an interesting experience. Sometimes there would be so many people on the metro that everyone would push and force themselves to fit. It was surprising and really quite funny to see old ladies elbowing others out of the way to get a seat.


It took around two weeks for me to settle in to my placement as my supervisor and I worked out what tasks I was interested in and what my strengths were suited to. I researched merger and acquisition news every morning which was very interesting as I could note trends, developments and effects over a two month period. From this I also learnt about the processes and time-scale involved. One topic from the news particularly attracted me and by analysing implications I gained enough material to enable me to write an article for the club's blog.


My main task was to help draft a speech with my supervisor for our boss. It was for the opening speech at the Lexis Nexis 2011 conference on topics such as the Chinese economy and trade during the past 2 years, the Chinese merger and acquisition market, and trends for the upcoming year. We spent a great deal of time researching all possible information required, and analysing and inferring implications. I discovered many websites which could be very helpful for my university course. There were many other smaller tasks too; as you can imagine, the work day was busy.


All my Chinese work colleagues were so nice and friendly which made the whole working Enjoying Shanghaiexperience extremely pleasant. I also always worked with at least one other intern from Projects Abroad during my time there and we were taught a few Chinese words over our lunches together. Our colleagues took us to so many restaurants were I learnt to love spicy Sichuan food - my supervisor loved extremely spicy food! Previously I found anything other than a chicken korma spicy and after 2 months in China I was eating the chillies from dishes.


During my free time in China


Outside of work, my friends were other volunteers in business law, journalism, medicine and education. We explored so many restaurants where an amazing meal could be eaten for under £3 (Yang's have the best fried dumplings). Of course we had to explore the incredible nightlife too. We visited one of the world's highest bars, some clubs had massage chairs and one other was even complete with a shark tank (including live sharks).


We were able to sightsee so much on the weekends and truly understand their culture by living Chinese New Year is an exciting time to be in Shanghai with Chinese dragons and lots of fireworks.there. By a happy coincidence, I found myself in the midst of Chinese New Year halfway through and for a solid week there were fireworks everywhere, day and night. It was near impossible to walk on the street without hearing (or being within 500 yards) of an exploding firework. On New Year's Eve we watched the city from a rooftop and witnessed the skyline erupting in fireworks all night for 360 degrees.


Tai Chi on the bund in early mornings is really popular with locals. However nobody could quite manage that early start and Projects Abroad organised a Tai Chi lesson for us all. We learnt some slick moves but mostly it was very entertaining watching less coordinated people (such as myself) attempt to rapidly progress through many different steps.


The Projects Abroad interns have many traditions which were so nice and really enabled everybody to make close friends. Burgers on Monday and brunch on Sunday also made a welcome break from local cuisine to feast on ‘home' food such as French toast and bacon.

Living in China


My flat in Pudong was a tad far from the other interns, however there was another flat close by. A night out with other volunteers in ShanghaiTowards the end of my stay our flat became the English apartment and we all got on really well. We regularly tested our improving chopstick and Mandarin skills at the local ‘Top Dumpling' with the volunteers from the other flat (5 dumplings for 6RMB (£0.60) there).


Before I came to China I was worried about my roommate and whether we would like each other enough to go sightseeing together. It turned out that my anxieties were a waste of time and we became really close - exchanging Valentine's Day cards and everything. There was a gym downstairs though we could never muster the energy to go; perhaps this was why, upon leaving China, I slightly resembled a Chinese dumpling.


Walking on the Great Wall was a memorable experienceI feel that my time with Projects Abroad was perfect - I gained invaluable experience, made really great friends, saw jaw-dropping scenery (when we visited Beijing, the Great Wall of China and Hangzhou) and had so much fun every moment. The Projects Abroad staff there were extremely helpful, always answering any questions and helping if there are any problems.


Although I miss it, I will definitely return at some point and we have organised a big reunion in London for all the European interns which will be great and I am really looking forward to that!







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West, west, west, West, west, west, demacrocy, demacrocy, freedom of expression; Come on guys stop jumping on the China hate bandwagon! Do you want them to become insular again? And bring the world closer to nuclear war? Because by constantly demeaning Chinese achievements, which are progressing at a rapid rate, you are making an enemy out of a country we can ill afford to fight. Alot of people have to visit China in order to change their perception and educate themselves about modern so called tyranical' China.
Comment made: Monday 21st May 2012

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