Many teens leave international school each year to head off to the college of their dreams. I recently caught up with some former high schoolers who used to live in Beijing. After their freshman year in college, they are back in the city for the summer. But although the battle to ace freshman year has ended, they are not resting on their laurels. These girls are not only experienced expats, but keen workers as well; they are doing internships in different businesses and organizations. Hear what they had to say about returning to Beijing as an intern and what they are getting out of their internships.
Amy Wan, Business Major at The College of William Mary in Virginia (Williamsburg, US)
Returning to Beijing as an intern is a great way to make full use of my summer. Unlike past summers in high school where I sat around doing literally nothing and wasted away three months, I am now learning so much from my internship at Harper’s Bazaar China. What is interesting is that the internship is teaching me about the professional world and the way people communicate with each other that high school could have never taught me. Certain things in life can only be understood through experience, and I definitely feel my internship in Harper’s Bazaar China has helped me gain useful knowledge to use both in college, and any other job or internship opportunities that I may come across in the future.
Rachel Wang, Materials Engineering Major at Northwestern University (Evanston, US)
My internship at White Collar, a top-tier Chinese fashion brand, is more of a job shadowing. Under the guidance of the fashion designers, I construct my own pieces and learn the process behind it, from finding inspiration to sketching to communicating your idea to constructing. I’ve had the chance to create my own cross back LBD. In a month, I’ve learned a lot about the fashion industry, which to me is an amalgam of creativity and advertisement, especially the methods of establishing a brand and the need to understand your customers.
I’ve learned fun facts, like how the average person looks at a window display of a shop for around 2-7 seconds. Thus, the display must be able to attract and welcome customers in the shop in a short time frame.Being back in Beijing is one the pluses of the internship. Getting to meet friends and family and basically being in a familiar environment is such a perk.
Jenny Wang, Double Major in Business and International Relations at University of Southern California (Los Angeles, US)
As just a college freshman graduate, coming back to Beijing as an intern is merely a means of finding something a little more meaningful to do than sitting on my couch and watching TV for the long summer holidays. My internship involved statistical consulting for the pharmaceutical market.
After starting my internship, I developed a strong sense of responsibility for my position and a genuine care towards its impact on the company, no matter how big or small. It also means getting up ridiculously early when I could have slept in, and sacrificing hangout time with old friends. For me, it has proved to be worthwhile, in tasting a bit of independence, of what it’s like in the working world, and how a business is run. So I encourage all Beijingers to return to this exciting metropolis as an intern, despite the petty pay or boring offices, because you’ll find it’ll be worth your time.
“Life Beyond Beijing” is a series of posts that chronicles a former international school student’s experiences in college. They’re written by Elizabeth Wu, a returning beijingkids summer intern. A former student of BWYA and CISB, she just completed her freshman year of journalism and will be returning to The New School in New York City this fall.