China Internship Experience in Human Resources Industry

[h2a]Cam Huong Huynh[/h2a]

Next Step Connections’ team

Each intern comes from a different background, but shares the same the wonderful staff to guide and support them while in Shanghai. Overall, the staff has been a tremendous help, like listening to my problems and helping me find a solution to my issues. Also, whenever visited the NSC office, I was always warmly welcomed. The NSC dinners tends to be a huge event, which allowed the interns to meet each other. Not only is Next Step helping you connect with the world through your internship, but also helping you make connections that last a lifetime.

Shanghai food – Pass the chopsticks!

From donuts to dumplings to everything on a stick, Shanghai has some of the tastiest food I’ve ever had. For breakfast, I would have baozi, soymilk, porridge, and convenient store food, but I can still find my donuts, cereal, and oatmeal. So, you may cringe when you hear chicken’s feet, duck blood, and pig liver, but you’ll never know what it taste like until you try it. It’s awesome!! One of my favorite experiences is walking down the street with a long row of people with grills cooking meat on a stick or frying something in a pan and you basically want to eat everything. Although there is a 50% chance of getting a stomach ache, it is still something worth eating. Also, there are also other great appetizers like stinky tofu (not that stinky!), xiao long bao, and fried dumplings you should try. With the picture menu and the art of pointing, ordering food can be simple even though you might not know what you actually ordering. Whether you are eating dumplings, rice, or noodles, you have to use chopsticks because when in China do what the Chinese do.

Shopping & street: “Hey lady, Purse, Watch, Handbags??”

Probably the popular phrases you learn when you arrive in Shanghai is “duoshao qian? (How much?” and “bu yao (I don’t want it).” When shopping in tourist areas you will always find someone trying to sell you fake designer stuff and with so many shop and boutiques to choose from it can be overwhelming, but overall it is a fun experience. You just have to learn the art of bargaining. However, always watch out for pick-pocketers!

Furthermore, as you stroll down the street on your right, you see modern, unique architectural style buildings and then to your left you see poor, old alleyways and shops. But, be careful crossing the streets because for cars, buses, and taxis green means go and red means pedestrians need to move out of the way or get run over. One of my favorite experiences was going to the Bund at 5 in the morning just as the sun is rising. You will also see old people exercising and little kids flying kites. Shanghai is one of the cities where you can get by without having to know the language because most signs and menus are in English, which it makes things easier. So, when you shop till you drop, don’t forget to bargain!

Personal Growth: You’re finally on your own as an intern in Shanghai, so what?

Having a strong passion and motivation to learn about the Chinese culture and language, I reflect on the work I’ve done, the lessons I’ve learned, and my purpose of coming to Shanghai. Nevertheless, being on your own is harder than you expect.  Although at time it feels lonely, I had the opportunity to step outside my ordinary life and see things from a new perspective. I might not like the overcrowded streets or people constantly bumping into me and not apologize, but if every time someone stops to say I’m sorry then I would hear it all day.

I might not know how to speak Chinese, but I do understand body language and try to listen to what they are saying. Whether it is talking with my coworkers, strangers on the street, or even other interns, I know I have improved my skill at communicating with others. I might not know it now, but I believe my stay in Shanghai has allowed me to grow and be a better person than I was before I came here.

China Internship: What is that?

I knew going into this internship I would have trouble with the language barriers and difficulty understand Chinese business etiquette. Nevertheless, I never understood how lonely and difficult it can be to not understand a language. I guess that is how foreigners feel when living in a new country. The language barrier makes it difficult to building a relationship with the employers, when you work harder to build the relationship you may end up having a friend for life.  My internship may not be everything I thought that it would be, but I gained a wealth of knowledge about Human Resources and improved my communication skills on a professional and personal level. I gained a new perspective of Chinese business etiquette and understanding the similarities and difference of Human Resource in China and the US such as the office structure and rules.

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