Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Imperatori

Sarah loves exploring the world. She always tries to find opportunities abroad and she looks forward to learning more about new cultures and trying new lifestyles.

Photos

Why did you choose this program?

I graduated in July 2018 and I wanted to gain experience while traveling. Asia is quite strong in the industry I will one day be working for, so this program was an amazing opportunity. The intern group offers lots of destinations and their website is well organized. It was easy to apply and I got a reply the day after. Each program is based on the city you pick and they offer to get you an internship whatever your field is. They’re friendly and for any extra questions, you can contact them by email or Skype.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Being an internship program, the agency helped me with finding an internship role in my career field, an accommodation and they kept in contact with me throughout the whole interview process.

Although I had to sort out the visa myself, they helped me figure out how to fill in the visa application, what kind of visa I needed and what documents I needed in order to apply.

The program includes activities such as trips around near cities, dinners together, Chinese/ language classes, mainstream tourists activities haha and you will be sharing all these adventures with all the other interns too so you are literally never alone.

The guys from the agency here in Shanghai love to organize extra dinners or cinema nights with us as extra activities just to keep in touch with us, which is appreciated by all of us, interns.

I had to sort out my own flight, but as soon as you’re done with that they will organize a taxi ride from the airport to the hotel and vice versa for your departure back home so you don’t have to worry about missing your flights/ finding your accommodation. You get a SIM card organized as well with credit for the first month and a metro card with credit for the first month as well.

In the welcome pack, there’s a bunch of apps they recommend to download.

They won’t tell you to get a VPN, but your workplace probably will.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

The agency explains everything you need to know, they tell you which apps are blocked in China, they organize a language class / cultural class in your first weekend so that if you have questions on how to behave in China you can get answers and tips.

I probably just wished I knew how cool and fashionable people are here.

The only piece of advice is to get a good VPN; even Google is blocked and, trust me, you don’t want to have to research stuff in Chinese on Baidu (well, unless you speak the language).

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I wake up, quick breakfast and then I go to work until 6:30pm, then I usually meet up with few internships to have dinner and a walk around the city, Tianzifang by night is absolutely gorgeous.

We go on an adventure on Saturdays and Sundays. Shanghai is massive and visiting all of it can take quite the time.

Saturday nights we usually go clubbing (and clubbing in Shanghai is an experience as well, haha). It’s great for foreigners and the agency knows few PR’s us interns can ask for deals and free entry clubs.

There are lots to do so we always try to organize things together, but going on exploration alone is something I always do, so some Sundays I just wander by myself.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Personally, I am used to travel to other countries.

I have never been outside Europe before, though, so I didn’t know what to expect. You know, you can read about things and try to imagine, but it is never how you expect it to be so I just let it happen.

I had no fear. I got told that Shanghai is an international and strong city and I just went with it.
It’s a rich city and, although poverty is a reality here as well, I got to realize how safe Shanghai is.
Maybe the only big question in my mind was “what if I don’t like it?”.

Well, guys, at the end it’s only a short amount of time and it’s all experience gained. You might have to stand some behaviors and you have to be understanding of another culture, so it might go against your beliefs and point of views, but traveling is all about adapting and understanding.

Luckily, it’s not my case. Shanghai is amazing and I love the people, the food, everything! It’s a real shame I will have to go back to normal life soon.

I totally recommend visiting Shanghai.

What's your advice to other travelers?

Don’t be afraid to travel. It’s an eye-opening experience and the most interesting people I got to meet were all travelers.

I am from Italy, but I moved to the UK about 6 years ago and I have traveled to Germany a few times and France and places, haha. You get to realize things, seeing the world from different prospectives helps you to understand. I’m glad I went to China, I had no clue what a beautiful place it is and what a culture!

Hopefully, I will be able to explore Japan and South Korea soon too, with all the other countries here in Asia. You’re never too young or too old to visit new places. Mixing an internship experience with traveling was a great idea and not only it looks good on your CV, but it really does improve who you are as a person.