Finding my Feet in China – Robbie’s Introduction
Hi, all! My name is Robbie and I’m a new intern in Zhuhai. I’ve been here for just under two weeks, and I’ll be staying till late January. I’ll post regular updates on how I’m getting on in China. In this article, I’ll write a bit about myself, what brings me to China, and my experience so far.
First off, a little about myself. I’m from the UK, and I’ve been fortunate to grow up with an international background, having previously lived in the USA for several years and in France for a year. I graduated in the summer from the University of Leicester, where I studied Management Studies and Economics with a year abroad in Denmark. I had great time at university, and I hope to always be a student at heart. I’m a food-lover, and not to brag, but I can make the best blueberry pancakes in the world. I enjoy travelling, meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and staying fit.
I applied to the British Council Generation UK programme run by InternChina, because I wanted to do something different after I graduated, gain some more international experience, and I’ve always wanted to go to China. These three reasons combined made InternChina the perfect choice for me. On top of this, my internship is in the financial industry, which is an area that I am exploring as a future career path. This will provide me with a valuable ‘foot in the door’.
As for my experience so far, it’s been a pretty wild ride. For the most part, my journey over went smoothly, although I didn’t manage to get much sleep on the long-haul flight to Hong Kong thanks to the constant slamming of the lavatory doors, one of which only occasionally flung open so wide as to hit me in the arm. Not to mention the chorus of endless flushing. However, I did see the funny side – an attitude which has already served me well during my short stay, here.
After two flights and a short ferry ride, and a day of what felt like fading into and out of consciousness, I arrived in a hot and sunny Zhuhai – a pleasant change from wet and windy UK – where I was met by Janice from Intern China, who helped me with some of the basics and took me to my apartment, which I’m sharing with two other interns.
Never having been to Asia before, the culture shock is real. But it’s surprising how quickly I’ve gotten used to things that would seem strange back home, such as the chaotic traffic that amazes me how I haven’t witnessed or been involved in a horrific accident, yet, and the loud throat-clearing noises and spitting, as well as the lack of adherence to what is a sacred institution in Britain – queuing. However, I don’t want to paint a bad picture of China. In fact, I have met plenty of friendly and helpful people here, they have a beautiful culture, and the people are similar in many ways. Being here for such a short time has already made me more open-minded.
As well as the culture shock that I’ve mentioned, there are a number of simple things that I have found to be challenging, such as navigation, using public transportation and buying food. Most of the difficulty is down to the language barrier, where few people speak English. I started self-studying a little bit of Mandarin before I came, and my limited knowledge of a few words has been a big help in a number of situations.
Another challenge that comes from that food has been food poisoning, which hopefully won’t be a common occurrence. The Chinese do seem to have iron stomachs. This is one thing that may take me a while to develop!
I’m really enjoying myself so far. It’s been tough at times, but I’m aware that difficult experiences are valuable. And on a brighter note, it’s really easy to make friends here, probably because all of the international people realise the challenges that others face and understand that we’re all together in the same boat. I have also made friends with a number of Chinese people, who are very fun and outgoing. I’m having a great adventure in China – one that I won’t ever forget
If you’d like to get to know Robbie and experience the real China, apply now!