By Henry Woodburn
I have already lived in China for a year and a half, six months of which have been in Chengdu, so I don’t have any new story to add about culture shock or jetlag upon arrival from the US. However, as the day was drawing near for me to begin my internship here at InternChina Chengdu, I realized that although I already had a lot of experience living in China, this would be my first time working in a formal job setting in China. I wondered, “How would it differ from my previous jobs back home in the US? What would the company culture be like?”
InternChina made me feel right at home since I moved to, well, my new home. This past fall, I was studying Chinese language at Sichuan University through a Chinese government program. I lived in a small room with poor insulation and no air conditioning or heat. There were some mice in the kitchen, and the shower was located on the toilet. Unfortunately, these can be common among cheap accommodations in China. So when I moved to my new apartment provided by InternChina last week, I instantly felt spoiled by the cozy temperature and Western style bathroom. My favorite feature, however, has been the spectacular view of the river and city from my 33rd floor balcony.
What would work be like, though? Well, the office doesn’t feel like my previous 9 to 5 office job, where employees are confined within a maze of cubicles, and coworkers often see each other as competition rather than as good friends. The InternChina office, in contrast, is much smaller but much more lively. Our team of six is a small family who supports each other, eats lunch together, and meets up for ping pong. The diverse team is composed of British, French, German, Chinese, and American cultures, giving us various interesting backgrounds and perspectives. The family feel is not restricted to our office group, either, as we hold events for all of the Chengdu interns and alumni every week, such as dinners, cultural activities, and trips. Even just one week in, I already feel like a part of this new family.
Our ‘extended family’ goes well beyond Chengdu as well. We communicate constantly with our other branches in China, Germany, and the UK. I am already working on projects with team members all over the world. Despite obstacles posed by time zone differences, everyone is willing to go the extra mile for the job and for each other. It is a big change from some of the cold and detached attitudes I have encountered previously in large corporations. There, some people just worked for that next promotion or salary bump. Here at InternChina, everyone genuinely cares about what they do and who they work with.
I can already tell I will immensely enjoy my time here, not simply because of the valuable experience to be had with an international company in China, but even more so because of the unforgettable memories to be made with this new family. I’ll keep you all posted with new stories on my ICCD adventures!
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