Days can start off terribly yet end wonderfully.
The first day of my Shanghai Expat internship began with immediately regretting the nude pumps I wore in the rain while walking to Chinese class. Note to self: Don’t expect that rain will ever really stop in Shanghai, despite what the forecasts tell you. I should’ve known better, but the shoes don’t look too bad after such a long day.
My chipped white nail polish also irked me, since I (along with ever other girl in the program) didn’t bother bringing or looking for where to buy nail polish remover. How unprofessional would I seem with chipped nail polish? I thought throughout the morning, while trying to pick away as much as possible (pleasant, I know).
I ended up arriving almost an hour early, but I took this as an opportunity to explore the shopping center right across from my office and then found a bakery a block away. Things were starting to look up.
Then there’s the office. Above the couches in the reception area, passersby can see the many awards parent company Ringer and its companies have earned.
It was unexpectedly warm throughout the office when I arrived, with some still on their lunch break. Yet, you could still feel the bustling vibe of a newsroom/media company (technically, three in one office). Everyone sits in their own section at long tables in an open-office setting. Another intern and I sat at a small round table in what basically was the kitchen/printer area. I’m okay with that.
In the interest of time (I’m writing this the morning after and have to prepare for Chinese class and then my second day at the internship), I’ll cut to the Wednesday night mixer at Brotzeit, a German bar and restaurant where Shanghai Expat hosts these casual meet-ups every week. Around 6:30, the marketing supervisor and I took the subway to the bar, where we were treated to a delicious dinner before the night began at 8. She’s only two years older than I am and is very friendly, so we immediately—get ready to cringe—hit it off. Yeah, I don’t like using that cliche, either.
So, up to the first hour, I checked people in and chatted with them before they went off to buy drinks (40RMB/drink) and network with other expats and even the Chinese locals who attended to practice their English. At these events, nearly everyone has WeChat and those who do all add each other. By the end of the semester, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had 100 new contacts just from working this event every week. I ended up having a lot of fun listening to everyone’s stories and backgrounds and am looking forward to meeting even more people.
Even though I wasn’t back in my dorm until 12:30 a.m. (the mixers last from 8 to 11 p.m. but we didn’t leave till around 11:40), I definitely enjoyed networking and talking with people (oddly enough, the locals more than the expats).
Needless to say, it was a very long but fantastic first day. 🙂