Staff Spotlight: Cathy Watts

Cathy is the UK Regional Manager at CRCC Asia. Prior to this role, she taught English for one year at a primary school in Shenzhen - a city at the forefront of changed and changing China. She is very much enjoying working at CRCC Asia in London; building connections between our European interns and China.

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Tell us more about your role at CRCC Asia. What's your most enjoyable aspect of the position?

Cathy: I interview all UK- and Europe-based applicants to the CRCC Asia programs, and I manage pre-departure and visa processing support.

I really enjoy speaking with interns about their interest in China, their study and work experiences so far, and their aspirations for their trip to China and for the future - both over the telephone, and in person at our monthly pre-departure drinks event in Leicester Square, London.

Have you ever interned or worked about? What was the most rewarding part of your experience?

Cathy: On graduating from university, I taught English and French at a Chinese primary school in Shenzhen for one year. I learnt a lot about China, and about myself - my strengths and weaknesses. I met people from all across the world. I quickly came to love the children at my school - it was very rewarding to get to know them, and to see them grow.

As an undergraduate, I took part in two short-term study abroad visits to Beijing, which first drew my attention to all that China has to offer. I also studied abroad for three weeks in Delhi, India, including a one-week work placement at a printing company.

I spent my third year in Seville, Spain, studying abroad through the Erasmus scheme. For the first term of my final year, I was based in Venice, Italy - learning about the history of Florence and Venice during the Renaissance.

Studying and working overseas has made me very independent and resourceful, and confident when facing challenges outside of my comfort zone.

How do you see the international internship market changing over the next 5 years?

Cathy: In today's competitive job market, young people need to stand out from the crowd. We live in an increasingly interconnected world, and intercultural awareness is now imperative for success in a wide range of career sectors: business; finance; law; charities; green technology; healthcare...

As global economic might and political influence continue to shift east and south, understanding of China in particular will become even more highly valued and sought after by employers everywhere. Students and recent graduates will continue to choose China for their first step onto the career ladder; as an extraordinary place in which to develop both professionally and personally.

What's the most memorable story/experience you've heard from a past intern?

Cathy: This video, created by an intern who went on the CRCC Asia China Internship Program this summer, made me miss Beijing!

It is great to hear feedback from interns, as they return from China to their home countries. Or indeed if they stay out in China, or plan to go back, if offered a job after their internship.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering interning in China?

Cathy: I would suggest learning as much as possible about China before going out there: watch Chinese movies; read about the history; keep up to date with news; pick up some basic Mandarin... Travel with your eyes open. China is unlike anywhere else. There are so many different China experiences to encounter - both in the rapidly expanding cities, and off the beaten track. Make the most of every opportunity; of living and working in a fascinating country at an incredibly exciting time.

Anything else you would like to share?

Cathy: If you would like to know more about the CRCC Asia programs, please do call or e-mail our London office, or visit us in person. I look forward to speaking with you. Best of luck with your application!