I chose the Internship in China program and stayed in Shanghai for two months. Given that I chose consulting as my first preference for this internship, the company Startup China chose for me- a private equity consulting company specializing in corss- border technology investments- was ideal.
Though I was involved in a number of projects, my main focus was on a project that involved a US company that wants to enter the Chinese market to convert nutrient-rich wastewater into protein-rich aquatic biomass suitable for sustainable bio-plastic materials. My main tasks here included general market research, meeting with potential investors and experts in China, as well as working on a financial model for the market entry.
Other projects included the creation of consulting reports for a jet fuel project in the US and an analysis of the real estate market in Portugal- I never felt bored...!
Most of my co-workers were from the U.S. and the atmosphere was therefore, not really different from what I knew from Germany or the US. My Chinese co-worker occasionally showed me around the local area, recommended restaurants etc., whereas one of the co-workers from the US became a really good friend with whom I even went out at the weekends. All in all, the atmosphere was great and I really enjoyed my time at work.
I chose to do an internship in China for a number of reasons. First of all, I have always been interested in China and the idea of combining the cultural experience with an internship appeared to be a good one. Furthermore, I saw it as an opportunity to improve my Chinese language skills. Also, I thought an internship in Shanghai looks quite nice on my CV!
The biggest part of my time in China, obviously, was my internship and there numerous great moments. The welcoming dinner after my first week with the whole team, where we went to a bar and got to know each other in a really relaxed atmosphere was definitely a great start. But all the exciting projects I was working on and the positive feedback I got were all really great as well. I felt a member of a team and not just like an interns, and that was the most important thing for me.
The highlight of my time in China however, was probably the people I met. Our little Startup China family had such a great mix of personalities and I am really happy that I met each and every single one of them. We experienced so many great moments that it would not be fair to name one particular highlight. What I can say, though, is that the two months were way too short.
I chose Startup China because I felt the application process was very professional and they were really interested in me. What I mean by this is that they really wanted to get me an internship in the sector I was most interested in. Whenever I had a question, they were able to help me and they just gave me a good feeling about the program from the first moment on.
The good impression I had at the beginning got even better when I arrived in Shanghai. We were picked up at the airport, they showed us around in Shanghai and whenever there was a question, they were able to help immediately. Luckily, I never had a problem with my internship, but the weekly phone calls from Startup China gave me a good feeling nonetheless. It's a really nice team, really supportive, and always willing to help no matter if your question is related to finding bookstores in Shanghai, helping you set your mobile phone, or just getting some general info on China or how to do business in China.
Orientation was a really good start and helped a lot as it clarified some basics concerning the internship in China. We were taught basics about China, how to conduct business here, and whatever question we had was answered. I also enjoyed the numerous activities offered by Startup China throughout my two months in Shanghai, were all great fun.
The Survival Chinese classes were intense! But intense in the most positive way. The teachers are super friendly and I think I have never learnt as much and as quickly as I did during those two-hour lessons.
I was overwhelmed by Shanghai at the beginning and I needed some days to adopt. But the group of interns is great and if you stick together in a group, you can experience so many things! Hence, my advice is to just go out and explore this wonderful city with great people. I have been in Shanghai for two months and it has been way too short. As long as you are open-minded and just try as many things as possible, you will make great friends and have a superb time in Shanghai!
I would definitely recommend Startup China. From the pre-departure guidance, picking up at the airport, the orientation, etc. until the very last day, the support was really great. The internship they chose for me was perfect and I am really thankful for the wonderful experience I had in Shanghai due to the Startup team.