Living in your comfort zone will kill you. For someone who’s understanding of the Chinese language can be rightly called mediocre, it was intimidating to say the least to intern in China with such a professional and fast-paced company such as Across China (ACC). The company works with large names such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz therefore my personal expectations to do my job well were not small. Although my fears were many, I quickly found my rhythm. After all one can only be brave when they are afraid.
While my work was kept to relatively simple tasks, they remained vital to the success of the project as a whole. Furthermore, the opportunities to prove myself in more difficult tasks were plenty, which proved rewarding as well as motivating towards my work ethic. Aside from the usual duties given to an intern, such as scanning or copying documents and moving things from one place to another, my experience with ACC has given me more opportunities to travel around. Even better, the business trips to different provinces of China to support my team were paid for. This included transportation as well as my accommodation at comfortable hotels. My most recent adventure brought me to the city of Chengdu, the largest city in the Sichuan province. Even though I had to work long hours on-site, I got to see exactly what my company was doing. Extravagant is the word that would describe this larger than life car show, which can also be used to describe the rest of China, which I soon realized lovs to make all things extravagant. I got to see booths from legendary brands like Lamborghini and Aston Martin, among the myriad of other brands which attended this exhibition.
When I wasn’t working, I was exploring. My colleagues quickly became my friends and tour guides, taking me to local restaurants and famous places. I got to experience first hand the Chinese culture, and more so the plethora of sub-cultures within it. The food was diverse and delicious. Chengdu is known for its spicy cuisine which I was fortunate enough to try many times. I was able to hear the local dialect which differed greatly from the Beijing or Shanghai dialects. Additionally, I felt the uniqueness of Chengdu in its romantic architecture and environment. The buildings were gorgeous and sky scraping. I quickly learned that it is part of the Chinese culture to go out with your supervisors to eat and drink all night, never rejecting their offers and staying up with them until the middle of the night chatting. But even just walking down the streets of Chengdu one can truly feel the dynamic atmosphere and relish in its abundant culture. It was the Paris of China, a genuinely beautiful city.
I owe my enriching experiences in Chengdu to those very same fears I first confronted in working on my own in a foreign country. Your comfort zone will kill you, and I’m so glad I didn’t stay there.
Across China Public Relations Intern