Why did you choose this program?
I selected CIP's Internship plus Chinese Language program because it offered the exact opportunity I had been looking for. The mentoring and coaching programs are transformative and administered by career experts. My university also vouched for them, this was an extra assurance.
I opted for CIP because I found they combined Chinese language, internship, and career development modules.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
CIP has a very comprehensive program which dealt with all logistics necessary for a foreigner to enjoy an Internship in China. Aside from preparing me for the program and the cultural elements which I deem very important, CIP provides an internship placement, visa support, accommodation, airport transfers, traveling within China, Chinese language lessons, etc.
My role was to provide all professional documentations including a CV, cover letter, and description of projects I have worked on in the past. I also need to research the companies and opportunities presented and select one with the help of my program coordinator.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I did thorough research about China reading reviews articles and watching videos. I must say this rather delayed my decision because the internet has a lot of incorrect information. When traveling abroad, the primary task is selecting the right platform, this will come with making sure you choose the right program combination. When you get this approach right, the rest will fall into place.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
I will discuss an average week itinerary since it should give a clear picture of my life in China. I was scheduled for a half-day Mandarin class from Monday to Friday with Fudan University. I also worked from 2 pm until 6 pm (Mondays to Fridays as well).
On Wednesday evenings, all CIP interns and program participants gather for a mid week get together where we share our experiences and laugh off the stress. Friday evenings are usually for networking events; we visit business seminars organized by Chambers of Commerce or business groups.
Weekends come with social activities, cultural events, and trips. A fulfilling part of the week comes with volunteering with various institutions. I remember a trip to the orphanage and also participating in fundraising events to provide for the needs of an Autism center
For the first 12 weeks, I also needed to find space within my tight schedule (once every other week) to meet with my career advisor and work on my career strategy.
I developed close friendships with other participants, many of who are very brilliant and full of interesting ideas. This combination of activities, volunteering, and work left no space to be homesick, and to me, this is a perfect program combination.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
Travelling to China for the first time, I did not know what to expect, but my fears grew when the time was due for me to start the process itself. I was scared about the fact that I don't speak Mandarin and how to survive all by myself. My parents were also worried, but some of my friends have been in China, so I had the chance to be briefed about survival skills.
Overcoming the fears associated with doing an internship abroad involves selecting a good platform where you are assured of safety, a good support system, a comprehensive insurance package, and great accommodation.
Lots of my views changed after I arrived in China. The country is on a serious growth trajectory with plenty opportunities for young graduates. Upon attending several networking events, I noticed several foreign expats are living and working in China as well.
The Chinese culture is deeply rooted in social engagement, communal living, humility, and service to humankind. The people are so helpful and supportive to foreigners. These are rare qualities to find in the west.