Initially, I applied to the CRCC internship scheme as I wanted to improve my employability. Graduate jobs in the UK can be so competitive and so I was looking to gain unique experience abroad that would help my CV stand out amongst the rest; demonstrating global networks is particularly important in today’s globalised world. I thought that an internship would be a really good opportunity to get a flavour for the media industry, as well as gain valuable hands-on experience, better preparing me for what to expect for media-related roles back in London. I would say that the internship met and exceeded my expectations in this respect.
Whilst working for Shanghai Family magazine, I was kept extremely busy by my supervisor almost every day. My tasks involved editing content on Adobe InCopy to cut down on words and check that grammar, spelling and information was correct, as well as improving the articles for them to read well. I also wrote my own content for both the company’s WeChat subscription page and the cover story of the magazine. I found it super rewarding to see my name printed in a magazine as ‘Assistant Editor’! Of course, there were some challenges at times, such as juggling my own deadlines, being thrown numerous different tasks that were to be done quickly and efficiently, but I found that I thrived more from being busy at work than when work was a bit slow. I learnt to write to a standard I was proud of in much shorter time frames. I attended events, represented the magazine and mingled with the expat community in Shanghai. However, one regret is not integrating more with my Chinese colleagues, which perhaps would have aided a more authentic China experience.
Nonetheless, I found living in China to be an exciting challenge. The language was way more of an obstacle than I imagined it would be (which, in hindsight, was perhaps a bit naive of me), but luckily, my supervisor was native British and so the language barrier was not too apparent in the workplace, and more when it came to weekend trips away. Difficulties such as VPNs and menus entirely in Chinese were still apparent despite Shanghai being more cosmopolitan and ‘Western’ in comparison to the rest of China. I liked that traditional Chinese culture was easy to find, even just in the local park on my walk to work every morning.
I really gained a lot from the experience in China. I learnt that I am pretty resilient person, and I proved to myself that I am capable of thriving, professionally and personally, whilst being completely out of my comfort zone. I was genuinely surprised at just how strong my support network was whilst I was in Shanghai. I feel as though made friends for life through the CRCC scheme and I am extremely grateful for the experience.
China is an incredibly vast country, with such a distinct culture, I feel like I barely scratched the surface - 7 weeks is such a short amount of time! Although I have no immediate plans to return as of yet, I am sure that I will return to China in the future. Going forward, I feel more confident to seek work both abroad and within the media industry.