Staff Spotlight: Astrid Soetanto

Program Consultant

What is your favorite travel memory?

Last year I went to the Yellow Mountains. I am afraid of heights but I still decided to climb the mountain. I was luckily to be surrounded by people that motivated me to continue and don't give up.

I was so happy I reached the top. I learned that living abroad is just like that. It might be scary at first but if you don't try you will never know.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I started as a Hutong School student myself.

That first internship in China changed my life. I changed on a personal and professional level. The longer I was in China the more confident I felt in China and I was so grateful that my consultant was there to support me.

Now I can do the same thing for our new students, which makes me very happy.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

In the beginning it is always a bit difficult for the student to adapt to the new culture and environment. There arrive in a country where they don't understand 80% of the people. However I see them open up from the moment they become friends with the other students.

It makes me happy to bring people together and let them experience this China adventure together. Then when they have been here for a few months, they help us welcome the new students and guide them. Our community makes sure that no one ever feels lonely!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the Intensive Chinese Program since I have done the Internship Program in both Beijing and Shanghai. I never studied Chinese full-time so this program would definitely boost my Mandarin skills.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our team makes us unique. We have such a strong connection and the atmosphere in the office is great. When you enter our school you can feel that we are a community.

Also our team is very international so we have native speakers from different countries which makes it very nice for our students that they can express themselves in their own language.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Employees who are passionate about their job. I really enjoy being a Program Consultant. I get a rush when my students want to stay longer then they initially intended.

We regularly see our students blossom in this international environment. Being able to witness this, is the reason that we do what we do. We make people fall in love with China.