I chose CRCC Asia due to the range and quality of companies CRCC could provide. I definitely feel I was placed within a relevant company. Additionally, the other activities CRCC organised and offered whilst out in Beijing sounded really good and would give me the best chance to meet lots of people and take part in amazing experiences. Some of the events I took part in were: an acrobat show, Mandarin lessons, a Man City v Arsenal match at the Birds' Nest Stadium and numerous nights out to local bars and restaurants. The pre-departure drinks evening in London was also great for meeting fellow interns before heading out to China a few weeks later.
Whilst interviewing for my first job (as a Project Manager in a bank) as well as a few others at the time, talking about my internship was amazing. It made me stand out to employers and in a few interviews it ended up with them asking me all about my time in Beijing more than anything else! During interviews I found myself having a lot more interesting situations to call upon and refer to, as well as finding that the interviewers seemed a lot more interested in my answers to their questions. Since becoming a teacher, I really feel the confidence and life experience I gained in China has really helped me become successful in my job and be able to tackle any problem in front of me (since after being lost in a massive city where no one understands me any problem doesn't seem so daunting!!).
Professionally, my confidence in dealing with the unknown and being able to improvise in any situation was improved. I also gained my first experience working with international clients and having to adapt quickly to different working styles and cultures.
Personally, my confidence was given a huge boost by this adventure. After returning home I was immediately more motivated to go out and make things happen for myself, not as afraid to put myself out there and take (calculated) risks.
This trip has also gave me the travel bug, since 2012 I have travelled to more than 20 countries and have no intention to stop anytime soon! Prior to this trip I'd never left Europe, yet here I was preparing to work in one of the most contrasting countries to my own. I also began learning Mandarin prior to my internship Mandarin (which I am continuing to this day) and being able to experience and use the language first hand was excellent for my progress.
It's really hard to pick a favourite moment from my trip! I was mesmerised by the vastly different culture and spent a lot of time interacting with my work colleagues and locals in order to immerse myself in their way of living. Beijing is a fantastic city for seeing ancient history (Forbidden City etc) as well as sparkling new architecture (CCTV Tower etc) and I loved being able to experience both, sometimes within metres of each other!
My advice to future interns would be to make the most of every opportunity. You never know how contacts made in a random meeting in the middle of a massive city like Beijing could have a positive effect on your future. Also, enjoy the best of both worlds during your internship; take on everything possible during your working day, challenge yourself and test how far out of your comfort zone you can go. On the other hand, after work, enjoy everything amazing places like China has to offer. Try the strange food, talk to the locals in an unfamiliar language and visit the fascinating landmarks around you. Even to this day I am still not over how amazing my time was in Beijing and my friends and family will tell you, I'm still not finished talking about it quite yet!!