Grégoire did his internship in China through EasyPass International program. He has been officially invited to meet French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit in China in January 2018. Grégoire shares his feedback on this internship in China.
What was your motivation for going?
Going to China for four months, for me, represented a tremendous opportunity to discover a new professional setting and a new culture. I had been learning Chinese for two years, so I didn’t hesitate when I received an offer in Wuxi, a city located between Shanghai and Nanjing in Jiangsu Province.
What were some difficulties you encountered?
In the beginning, I had a difficult time communicating in my new environment.
Connecting in English was not always possible with Chinese people, so it was necessary to adapt and be flexible in order to understand and be understood.
What did you learn or discover about the country and its culture?
On site, my greatest wish was to be able to continue learning the language in order to better integrate within the company. To be able to communicate well was of the utmost importance for me. I was able to take classes and gradually became more confident. By the end of the trip, I even went to with with my Chinese friends in some of the big cities in Jiangsu province.
Chinese culture and history are very extensive. There is a multitude of things to discover in museums, in the streets or even in the encounters we have. The Chinese were both curious and open, and I learned a lot thanks to them.
What did you learn about life in business?
All of the methods and operations we are used to encountering within a company are different; the relationships with superiors or with colleagues aren’t handled in the same way, for example. However, the trend toward globalization drives them to apply Western methods in project management or customer service.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned to be humble. As a foreigner in the business, I thought that I could make my contribution and bring my expertise, but it is also essential to not have a feeling of superiority. An internship abroad is a time of exchange, learning and discovery.
Faced with problems encountered, it was necessary to be both rigorous and adaptable, and to glean positive lessons.
What is the most important part of this experience for you?
This experience was a tremendous means to discovering a world different than our own. It is thus important to want to discover and learn despite the difficulties that could be encountered. It is necessary to be both capable and open in order to have a rewarding experience during this internship. Indeed, opportunities are not lacking outside of the business to visit, explore and have encounters with people whose philosophy of life is different than ours.
It’s a remarkable opportunity to improve ones Mandarin, but you still need to know the basics in order to get by there.
What would you like to say to a future recruiter?
Going to China, as with going to any foreign country in general, requires one to have personal qualities like the ability to acclimate oneself within a different environment. You learn how to collaborate with foreigners by opening yourself up, making this internship is a success filled with both professional and personal lessons.