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Internship Experience

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A Great Experience

As my final blog post, I wanted to reflect on my overall time in China over the past six months. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience living in China. I have learned so much not only about Chinese culture, but also a lot about myself. I think that doing an internship in China was a great way to set up a path for my future. By networking and being given many opportunities through my internship at LifeStyle Magazine, I have a solid foundation of connections for my future when I graduate from college. I feel like China forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and really make you also think outside the box and problem solve on a daily basis. I really enjoyed my time in China, all of the amazing people I have met and my internship! I will miss it so much!

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My first month as a designer in Beijing

Graphic details at the main counter.

Graphic details at the main counter.

Packaging uses for chocolates and home made cookies

Packaging uses for chocolates and home made cookies

Traditional hutong details contrasting with modern design

Traditional hutong details contrasting with modern design

Our aquaponic system on the rooftop.

Our aquaponic system on the rooftop.

First assignment – signage cut by laser

First assignment – signage cut by laser

Working at Re-up/Spoonful of Sugar has given me the opportunity to observe the design area in Beijing from a very privileged point of view. What I can extract from my current experience is that Beijing is a city which is in continuous growth towards product and graphic design, mainly based on its origins from traditional Chinese culture. I work in a hutong so every day I get to see both the local aspects of working in Dashilar plus the western atmosphere we have at the office.

The founder, Linlin and her manager Peipei, are both very concerned about the impression people get from the cafe when they enter through the main door. The upstairs terrace consists on an aquaponics system, by which the fish are fed from the kitchen’s waste, previously processed by a Black Soldier Fly composter. This closed nutrient cycle create a green cafe environment, which is a new concept in Beijing, where there’s still no great concern amongst people towards the need of the upcycling and recycling concept.

My tasks as the intern designer consist on the design of graphics used for the cafe’s promotion, amongst the preparation towards an upcoming highly expected and important event, Beijing design week, which will take place during the last week of September. 

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Rats in the Walls

More than excited

More than excited

Can you tell us about any projects or work experience that you have  gained in your internship?

Before I get into my intern experience let me explain what I am actually involved in.  I work under a company YMBY interactive, and also with employees who produce content for digitally design applications (iOS/Android-such as Audi and the Olympic Committee). More specifically, I am working on an interactive platform conference/competition that calls for a design for change; named “Interactive Beijing.” This year – as an official partner of Beijing Design Week- we hope to inform, inspire and incubate. To put a long story short, we are essentially a TEDx talk, with a general topic of Beijing’s air pollution. We implement unique speakers and specialists, hold mentorship camps, and eventually the competition; all in 2 days.  The incentive is we provide a grand prize of 100,000 RMB  + (seed money to finalists) the winner/ of our product/idea competition. When it is all said and done, we plan to accelerate and be their preferred incubator. We want to nourish their startup/prototype with supportive investors and our integrated skilled dev team. Least year there was over 300 participants, and 60 competitive entries. This year we plan to double this.

Are you learning new skills or knowledge at your China internship?

At my internship, I have acquired new skills and built upon many of my own. Being in China has grown my interpersonal skills immensely. Being a project intern, I get to work closely with the director, with marketing, design,  PR, and many other factors of . I work on presentations and present them. I helped private design companies create graphics on Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Dipped my toes in the water of mobile application. I developed press kits, official banners/posters. Talked with Chinese media/print. I worked down the spectrum of the entire project from heading event management to handling sticky refreshments, from presenting to Dutch embassies to picking up smelly trash after a party. I’ve made activity guides, handled countless spreadsheets, researched enough case studies for a lifetime, managed official social media pages, communicated to our partners and attended more meetings that I can keep count of. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to network and the power it truly holds. I learned that China is all about relationships. I’ve learned to keep hungry for new information/wisdom. I’ve learned that professionals are more than happy to give advice. I’ve learned that confidence comes with passion.  All in all, what I’ve gained in China is something very special. Its like jumping into a pool of complete foreignness and being expected to swim. There will be struggle, but if you survive you will be stronger.

And it hasn’t even been a month.

What is the strangest thing you have encountered so far?

Saw a woman holding her dog’s hand across the street, duck tongue dried snacks, and hearing rats scurrying in my apartment walls.

Is there any advice you would give to future interns, before they come to China?

LEARN MANDARIN, NOW.

Please describe a typical week in Beijing 

M-F WORK/NETWORK

S-SU ADVENTURE.

- Jonathan Wong

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Birthday Celebrations

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Birthday Celebrations

The Boss and the Intern

The Boss and the Intern

So, what I would call my Hell Week is finally over. WUHAO threw it’s 3rd year anniversary party which also signified the culmination of Spring and our event spree. Leading up to the event we changed two of the display rooms completely and set up two new installations as well as sending off over 2,000 invitations. Though I did not always enjoy staying at work until midnight, it was definitely a bonding experience (or whatever grownups in professional settings call bonding experiences).

I don’t have many pictures but I included the links below with pictures and information on the new designs we were showcasing.

http://www.dezeen.com/2013/06/11/shanshui-city-exhibition-by-ma-yansong/

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTcwNzE4ODAw.html

http://encn.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/914575/natural-wonder-elaine-ngs-climatology-smart-textiles-for-wuhao

I took a  picture of my lunch one day because it was some sort of seafood soup with these really cute striped seafood balls. We pretty much always order food for lunch at WUHAO from surrounding restaurants. There is a Taiwanese restaurant , a Japanese restaurant  and a Sichuan restaurant that we often order from. My Chinese speaking co-workers lovingly make sure I don’t get anything excessively spicy and to eat we sit or stand together in the small kitchen and share our side or main dishes.

 - Percia Verlin

Re-reading Things Fall Apart

Re-reading Things Fall Apart

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Biking Around Beijing

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After my first full week of work,what I’ve generally gathered is that working 9 hours a day for 5 straight days is rather exhausting. This is my first full-time job (internship). It’s all very interesting, since there are so many different parts that go into making a small business work. Though though the different parts work largely autonomously we all report back to the higher ups. I guess I shouldn’t really be explaining this because how a workplace works is only new to me.

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I largely have been working with retail. Which is good for familiarizing myself with the products we carry. A lot of the work we do is updating. Updating visitor forms, what has been bought, how the customers feel about our selection, and the new designer profiles. I really like doing research on designers so that we can know their background when explaining their work. I also recently researched a newsletter site because in order to send emails and invitations to our large clientele list gmail is not up to par. We needed a site that is able to send messages to upwards of 3,500 people.

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Unfortunately because I’ve been working I haven’t had much time to see the sights but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen Beijing from my bike. The two neighborhoods I’ve visited most extensively are my own (which extends to my workplace) and the downtown business/foreigner area. I live right below the subway stop Andingmen,which I rarely use because biking is cheaper and better for seeing Beijing. My bike was actually only about 150 RMB which amounts to about 25 U.S. dollars. I haven’t had any problems with it except for one day when I came down to go to work and realized my brakes had been mangled. It cost 20 RMB to get them fixed, but I’m still wondering why it happened. I guess my enemies in high places wish to cause me harm.

Anyway my neighborhood is really cutesy and personal and there are a lot of little Hutongs and shops and restaurants and at least 1 or 2 fruit and vegetable seller/ supermarket on every block (why aren’t the states like that?). The downtown area is usually where I go to meet Chris and Miranda (the people who are running this ship) since they work and used to live down there. I’ve been to networking event, peking duck restaurant night, and gotten a massage. I think what is so striking about Beijing is you can turn a corner and see massive steel and glass shopping malls and office skyscrapers not too far from sights more like this one:

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- Percia Verlin

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Internship Beijing Style

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I haven’t quite stopped waking up at 6 every morning. Whether from lingering jetlag or the light from my window, I’m usually up in time to talk to some friends before they eat dinner or go to bed. My small shared apartment has a kitchen so I make myself breakfast with food bought from any of the surrounding food markets and stands. I’m trying to hold off from succumbing to the foreigner supermarkets that carry things like cereal and cheese and instead eat eggs, vegetable and fruit.

My internship starts at 10 or 11 in the morning. Today will be my third day there. My internship is at a company called Wuhao. The idea is a bit hard to explain but they call themselves a curated shop or concept store. They work with designers of clothing and various home items and accessories to create events and shows and also have general displays. It’s all very artsy, and though I’m not sure I could be part of the creative process, the fact that their clientele is almost entirely international is central to my interest.

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I’ve been navigating the great city of Beijing via bicycle, a mode of transport which is not for the inexperienced. I actually enjoy the lawlessness (which really isn’t that bad, you just have to realize the cars who are turning don’t yield for pedestrians crossing the street). The area that I am living in is already one of my favorites. It has lots of restaurants and little shops as well as some really popular Hutongs (smaller streets or alleyways). I haven’t really noticed Beijings famous pollution but the dust and free-floating pollen wisps are irritating. Luckily the weather has yet to become unbearably hot.

- Percia Verlin

 

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Being an Intern in China!

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Being an intern at My China Opportunity has been a great success for me. The instant my plane touch down in Beijing I was  taken in by the team, which made this experience even more inviting.

China is a mysterious place to Westerners, which can make visiting/working to some less desirable. However the greatest wisdom I have ever been given is; “if you have butterflies about something and you decide to opt out; you’ll never grow”.   I came to China with those butterflies and have done nothing but grow….

With the economy booming in China, opportunity is vast; whether it be international or domestic. This, among many other reasons was why I initially decided to intern here. Economist have stated that by 2016 China’s economy will surpass the United States; which to me said if there was any better time to learn about this place, its now.

Through this program I traveled to many different parts of Asia, learned crucial business etiquette, studied the language, met a fun interactive social group, and made valuable connections through networking events. Everyday our network of friends would be up to do something; whether it was going to a market or riding a train outside of the city to go for a hike.

As far as the internship itself  went I learned a lot. Being from the West and having a western education goes along way in China. What I mean by this is that your advice/ideas actually get put into play, which comparable to the states an internship is more like having a babysitter teaching you how to due busy work. The Chinese need innovation and creativity, this alone aloud me to test the real currents in the marketing industry. I was not only part of the marketing team,  but in many case the team leader. The 3 months of experience I gained here, would have taken me two years in the US.

-Ryan Huerter

Beijing Intern for summer of 2012!

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My Experience Working as an Architect in China

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Name: Kristina Isabel Santana Lopez

Industry: Architecture Internship in China
University: Escuela De Arquitectura ULPGC
Home Country: Spain

Can you tell us about any projects or work experience that you gained in your China Internship / trainee program the past two months?

El estudio en el que me encuentro trabajando ha sido un descubrimiento. Oficina pequeña, jefe jóven, equipo de 6 personas, pero grandes proyectos. Tengo la oportunidad de desarrollar mis propias ideas en los proyectos asignados, una gran responsabilidad , ya que debo trabajar duro para que esté listo en el tiempo necesario, pero también una gran suerte. Al ser un equipo tan reducido cada uno tenemos proyectos individualmente, pero nos ayudamos y opinamos unos de otros, con lo que tengo la oportunidad de trabajar en varios proyectos diferentes. La gran ventaja es tener un jefe con mente abierta, muy accesible y dispuesto a escuchar y ayudar.

The studio that I’ve been working at has been an interesting journey so far. I’m currently interning in a small office around Sanlitun that has a team of 6 young leaders that are working on huge architectural projects in China. I have the opportunity to develop my own ideas in the assigned projects that i’m working on. I have large amounts of responsibility because I work hard and I’m always on time. I also might be a little lucky to have this opportunity. Being in a small team gives us the opportunity to each work on an individual project, but we are also able to help and inspire each other. This gives me the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of several different projects. The big advantage of having a boss with an open mind and easily accessible is that he is willing to listen and help when needed.

Are you learning new skills or knowledge at your China internship?

Durante estos primeros meses estoy desarrollando no sólo mis habilidades en arquitectura siendo responsable de la realización de dos proyectos, sino también sociales. Los proyectos son encargos de clientes, con lo cual tengo que presentarlos y explicarlos ante ellos, o visitar nuevos clientes potenciales, interesados en contratarnos para algún proyecto.

During the first month, I developed my skills, not only in architecture, but to also be responsible for carrying out two projects. At this time, I had to build solid communication structures with my teammates and clients. Since projects are commissioned by our clients, we have to present and explain more in detail our design. Also, when our company finds new clients we need to present ourselves in a professional manner to help us acquire projects. So far, my internship in China has been an interesting experience.

What is the strangest thing you have encountered so far?

Si quieres hacer arquitectura, no hace falta ir a un estudio muy grande o famoso, sólo personas dispuestas a trabajar mucho. Creo que China es uno de los pocos paises en los que actualmente se pueden realizar proyectos interesantes y de todo tipo.

If you want to do architecture internship in China, you do not go to a very large studio or famous company. You find companies that are willing to work hard. I feel that China is one of the few countries that is able to make projects as interesting as possible because people are so open to new ideas and concepts.

Is there any advice you would give to future interns, before they come to China?

Para viajar, vivir y trabajar en China se necesita mente abierta. China es tan grande que siempre se puede encontrar una gran variedad de oportunidades, en arquitectura aqui se pueden encontrar grandes oportunidades, y una gran variedad de formas de trabajo. Además existe la posibilidad de ir mejorando o cambiar si no es lo esperado.

To travel, live and work in China requires that you have an open mind. China is so big that you can always find a variety of exceptional opportunities in architecture here. It is always possible to find better opportunities, even if it’s unexpected.

Please describe your week. What did you do at work?

La elaboración de un proyecto necesita muchas horas de trabajo, dentro de la oficina y fuera

Cada día empiezo a las 10 p.m. y trabajo hasta las 7p.m. aunque existen días en que hay que trabajar más horas por tener que entregar el trabajo o prepara una presentación para un cliente. A veces tenemos que reunirnos con los clientes para exponerles los poryectos, y otras veces para considerar nuevos encargos.

The development of a project requires many hours of work, in and outside of the office. Every day this week, I had to start working at 10 pm and finish at around 7 pm, although there were a few days when I had to work longer hours for completing deadlines or preparing presentations for clients. This week I also had to meet with clients to show our designs of some projects. One other meeting I had this week was to access the needs of a new client.

- Kristina Lopez

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