The CRCC 3-Month internship program was definitely a life changing one. It’s one of the best spontaneous decisions I’ve ever made in my life and gave me a chance to finally live away from the family and just do whatever I wanted.
Before going to China I admit I was filled with a pretty weird mixture of excitement and angst.
After doing a lot of research and talking to quite a few people, I had painted the image that Shenzhen was nothing but a shonky red-light district trying to copy Hong Kong. There were of course the ideas that girls would be hunting for foreign husbands too. I also had the concern that the company I’d be interning at would be pretty unorganized.
However, on the other hand – some of my other research had led me to believe that Shenzhen was in fact a new ex-patriate (“ex-pat”) hotspot (which it did in fact turn out to be). I found that Shenzhen was in fact home to that 57-story skyscraper that was built in 19 days – making headlines around the world.
As you can see, the chaos associated with China was getting to me. I was absolutely dreading the choice I had made. I was going into unknown territory. “Why didn’t I just choose Shanghai , Beijing or Hong Kong?” I asked myself.
That was when I remembered, I chose this program because I wanted to be afraid. It wouldn’t be a worthwhile experience if I wasn’t outside of my comfort zone, trying to craft a life-changing experience.
The First Few Days
I’ll admit, China actually blew me away – although the information being thrown around to sort of wear me out. It wasn’t uncommon to have other foreigners scream at you, “Hell no! Don’t drink the tap water! You’ve got to boil that stuff!” or “Always shoot for 40% when you buy things at the markets!”. It was definitely a pretty different world.
I’ve got to say though, the work CRCC Asia put in was really exceptional. The serviced apartment I spent 3 months in was absolutely amazing. I had a kitchen, bathroom, queen-sized bed, sofa, cable TV, internet connection and best of all … FREE DAILY CLEANING SERVICE. It was crazy to think I had all this along with the fact I was right next to Wal-mart and street markets.
The Actual Program
I’ll have to admit, starting at Yingke Law firm had me a little iffy. I was often questioning, “Why would they need a finance intern at a law firm?” I’m glad these questions were quickly answers as I became a key player in Asia’s largest law firm (by number of lawyers) and actually got to shadow a variety of consultants.
Overall, the work experience I gained was amazing. I never felt excluded because my whole office of 300 workers could speak at least a little bit of English – with the number of ex-pats walking around the office making this work experience even easier.
I’m so glad I got to meet the people I did in the office. I was treated like a star there. I had yum cha about once a week, drinks paid for by the company and basically got to sit in on big international deals a few times a week. I was mind-blown I was being given access to the privileges I did.
At the end of the day, I think I’d recommend this program to anyone wanting to skip a few steps and have a peek into what they could be doing later in their career.
Nightlife is Shenzhen is absolutely fantastic. In all honestly, these were the most memorable moments of my life. Shenzhen night-life is actually pretty divided between ex-pat catered and Chinese catered venues. Night clubs were pretty much only consisted of rich, young Chinese money and foreigners, whilst karaoke (known as “KTV”) appeared to be the craze with the rest of the young population.