Internship: Ringier AG is a multinational integrated media company that distributes three magazines that cater to expats in Shanghai: City Weekend, Shanghai Family, and Home and Office. At my internship, I primarily helped research, prepare, and execute events for these publications. I worked for the branding manager, who provided me with insight on the strategy behind upholding a strong brand reputation. The marketing department was extremely small – which was great because I was given so much responsibility. I was given several cool creative tasks because of my familiarity with advertising to Westerners, such as designing advertisements for upcoming events or creating slogans for marketing campaigns. Many highlights came from my internship experience, some of which included dressing as the Easter bunny for Shanghai Family’s “Easter FunDay,” or being in charge of the VIP section of City Weekend’s “Readers’ Choice Awards.”
What I Learned: I learned so much about Chinese culture that goes way beyond textbooks. For example, I got to really experience and understand the long process of building and maintaining relationships. Whether it’s just a friendship or conducting business, having a genuine relationship is fundamental in Chinese culture. I also learned that cheese is impossible to find.
What Surprised Me: I was actually shocked by how convenient everything was. Cabs were always available and incredibly inexpensive. Food was dirt cheap and delicious. Not to mention, McDonalds delivery is 24/7.
Hardest Part: There are numerous difficulties that come with living in China –censorship, ambiguous meats, Wi-Fi that’s slower than 1999 dial-up, everyone constantly staring at you. It takes a lot of adjustment but at the end of the day that’s what makes the experience so unique.
Best Part: Becoming friends with the locals and learning about the hidden gems in the city. On the surface, Shanghai is pretty incredible, but locals can show you where to find the city’s best pork buns or the most beautiful spot to see the Pudong skyline.
- Do NOT eat snake
- Take the giant slide down the Great Wall
- Brush up on your Chinese before coming
- Be willing to play basketball or badminton with Fudan University students – they are incredibly friendly and welcoming
- Order eggplant at any and every restaurant.