Xiamen Internship: Week 1
Blog – Week 1
Ugo & Laura
Hi! My name’s Laura, I’m 21 and from Belgium/England and I’ve just completed my second year at Newcastle University, studying International Business Management with Spanish. And my name’s Ugo, I’m 21 and from Oxford and I’ve also just completed my second year at Newcastle University, studying Economics. We are two of the three interns from Newcastle University taking part in the Xiamen Internship this summer. We are all first-timers in China and have had a very exciting first week exploring Xiamen and working at Amoysen Design communication co. ltd.
China has the second-largest economy in the world and we applied to this internship to not only gain global work experience, which today is extremely valuable, but to have the chance to experience working within this global giant. This internship is giving us the chance to apply skills learned during the past two years at Newcastle to real business operations, which is great.
We arrived into Xiamen airport on Saturday evening where we were greeted by our Chinese buddies. It was a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport (north of the Island) to Xiamen University Campus (south of the Island) and on arrival, our buddies helped us check in to our accommodation.
We woke up on Sunday morning to the gorgeous view of Xiamen University. We spent the day exploring Xiamen: this included the ‘twin towers’, one of which is a massive shopping complex with a huge number of restaurants and a cinema which we intend to check out later this trip (!). Our main concern was finding somewhere to watch the England-Panama World Cup game that evening. Last year’s interns recommended a bar called ‘Mojito’ and with trusty directions from some people we met at our accommodation block, we set off with a comfortable two-hour margin, to find the bar. What should have been a 20-minute walk, somehow managed to take us an hour and a half, unaware that we were in fact taking a tour of what felt like the entire island. We eventually made it, feeling very entertained and surprisingly pleased with ourselves and of course, the 6-1 win to England made it all worth it.
(View from our accommodation)
On Monday morning, we arranged to meet our buddies in one of the universities’ cafeterias (they have 5!) and were surprised to find people eating chicken drumsticks, soup and dumplings with noodles for breakfast. We were reasonably un-adventurous, and all opted for the little vanilla and chocolate muffins but by day 3, we had branched out to yellow egg-filled buns (Liu sha bao) and giant churros and have agreed to try something new every day.
Every morning, we get the bus to work at 8.20am to be there for 9am. The bus costs 1RMB which is 12p! The morning journey is relatively calm however the bus journey home can get very packed with drivers not moving off until people have crammed themselves in to allow for more passengers. (No passenger limit!) We are all working for Amoysen Design Communication Co. They moved offices two months ago and are now located in a very stylish building on the 17th floor. The view is very impressive, we can see the sea from our desks and the office is small and modern. All of our colleagues were very welcoming and friendly, and we’ve found ourselves in a very comfortable and enjoyable working environment.
(View from the office)
(The bus getting very busy!)
We were all assigned individual projects and a supervisor, who we report back to at the end of each day with our ‘daily job brief’. Laura is designing a marketing plan for Amoysen and finding ways in which they can reach out to international companies and Ugo is gathering information on activities to do in London for creative professionals and creating a sample travel itinerary to present to Amoysen. We have a two-hour lunch break during which we can eat in the cafeteria or go out for lunch, and in the second hour, the office gets very quiet and the Chinese like to nap at their desks which we have wholeheartedly embraced. On our first day, both our buddies and ourselves were treated to lunch by two of our colleagues, which was both delicious and very kind of them. They took us to a restaurant and introduced us to the Chinese way of eating out, which we were huge fans of. It consists of unlimited rice and a huge variety of dishes for everyone to share.
(Our Chinese buddies and fellow interns)
(Meal out with fellow interns)
Perks of the job definitely include the huge snack table, found in the corner of the office, which is covered in Chinese sweets and chocolates which we are encouraged to try, and do so without much hesitation. We were also delighted when they announced they would be bringing coffee into the office and were interested to find that they ferment it in the office themselves, by leaving it for 12 days in the sun to dry.
Our buddies have been very friendly, and we couldn’t have asked for more, they’ve made us feel very welcome. They’ve been a huge help in advising us on what food to order and pointing out what is vegetarian-friendly, which has proved to be a lot trickier than anticipated but manageable! The first time we had to fend for ourselves was a very interesting and entertaining experience, we went to a very small local Chinese eatery and after a lot of pointing and smiling, the chef was able to decipher the general gist of what we wanted – and the meal was absolutely delicious. Although slightly more complicated, we definitely felt a sense of satisfaction in being able to order on our own!
All in all, we’ve had a brilliant first week and we can’t wait to see what the next three hold in store for us. We really do feel increasingly grateful to have been given this opportunity and have the chance to fully immerse ourselves in this wonderful and exciting culture. First impressions: FANTASTIC.
(Lunch at the office cafeteria)