I am sure most people have watched Walt Disney’s Mulan (1998), but if anyone has not yet, I recommend it! Not only because it is a great story but also because it became a classic animation. As Mulan’s story is based in China, it is the perfect way to get in the mood for your internship.
The Disney’s Story
The Huns, led by the ruthless Shan Yu, invade Han China, forcing the Chinese emperor to command a general mobilization. To save her old father from death in the army, Mulan, a young girl secretly takes his place by pretending to be a man. She becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process and is helped along with a talking dragon and lucky cricket as companions (Disney style of course). At first, it is difficult as she knows nothing about becoming a warrior. However, her determination and courage eventually give her great recognition. Also, she falls in love with her handsome captain.
Derivated from a legendary story
The real story is quite similar; Hua Mulan is a legendary figure from ancient China who was originally described in a Chinese poem known as the Ballad of Mulan (木蘭辭). In the poem, Hua Mulan takes her aged father’s place in the army. She fought for twelve years and gained high merit. After the victory, the emperor offers her a place at his council, without knowing that she is a woman. However, she refused and only ask for a way to return home safely. The emperor gave her a horse and a bagful of wealth, and wished her a safe trip home. In fact, it is one of the first poems in Chinese history to support the notion of gender equality – Go China!
What can we learn from this story?
It is true to say that Disney’s version is different from the legend, but it may also be good to remember that there are many version of the legend itself. These differences do not take off the merit and the bravery of the character.
But…How can we relate to this character? The Hua Mulan story can teach us, interns at InternChina, a great deal actually!
Firstly, we can see that being confident and brave is a prerequisite for success. Self-belief is important when starting a new internship or job and Mulan never stops trying to integrate herself into the group.
Practising is the key to progress.
You may not become a Chinese warrior overnight as it can take time to defeat initial fears, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Appearances can also be misleading so we should never judge a book by its cover. Your boss may seem different from you, at the beginning but you actually may have many similarities and work very well in business together.
Lastly, the possibilities are endless! Like Hua Mulan, don’t fit in a box! Show people what you can do at work and impress them. Make friends along the way and most importantly be yourself!
Want to challenge yourself like Mulan? Apply here for a fantastic adventure in China with one of our internships!