Hey AIESEC Western! Our EP Spotlight this week is our very own Vice President Talent Management, Connie Wong! Connie went on a Marketing Internship to Beijing China during her first year last summer, read on to find out more about her experience and how she managed to adapt to the foreign culture!
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be” -Douglas Adams
What Program are you currently in?
Political Science and French
What did you do (work/volunteer)
Worked in Beijing China, in Foreign Business Development and Marketing
How did you find the culture?
Before going to Beijing, I was afraid. I was afraid of getting lost on the subway or buses unable to ask for directions in Mandarin. I was afraid of starving to death, again because I thought I wouldn’t be able to order food. I was afraid of so many things but when I arrived, the number of foreigners in Beijing helped me adjust as I could easily ask for directions in English or French almost anywhere inside the city!
Favourite part of the trip? Least favourite part?
It’s never boring in Beijing.
Beijing is both an ancient city and a modern city. In the midst of 10 skyscrapers would be a 100-year-old temple. On top of that, there are things happening everywhere!
I went to a famous park, and in the middle of all everything was a karaoke set. People were huddled around these two people as they battled it out in the middle of a park. How did they even bring the TV into the middle of the park and what was it connected to? I still don’t know but it was cool.
24 hours for everything.
I could be feeling sushi at 4 AM and it would exist. I could want anything and it would be open. I still remember going for sushi buffet at 3 AM with my coworkers once. I guess this would be my least favourite part because I think I gained weight LOL
Something that surprised you about the trip?
The number of Western students and other AIESECers in Beijing surprised me! I met up with maybe 10 and I got to travel and experience ancient Chinese culture with these friends who just happened to be in Beijing at the same time as me!
I remember climbing the great wall, and my friend and I were on our way to one of the highest points and it started to rain. People started descending but we both felt like we would make it to the top and get back down in time. We ended up stranded at the top screaming for several minutes as the rain poured down onto us. The wind was so strong at the top that the steel garbage can flipped over several times. I look back at these moments and smile.
How did AIESEC Western facilitate your experience? How was the local AIESEC community?
AIESEC Western is an amazing group of committed individuals who were really supportive!
Were you able to learn anything new/develop any skills from the trip?
I actually was able to learn mandarin! I went to China to experience what “China” really was. Being Chinese born Canadian I never really knew and I am very glad I went because now I can understand Mandarin and it has already become very useful to me!
What advice would you give people setting out on an AIESEC exchange?
Just do it. – Nike.
No matter where you go, as long as have an open mind and reach out to people you will always find yourself smiling.
I made an insane amount of close friends in Beijing who are all from several parts of the world. I met them through friends, work, and even on the bus! Being
Finally if you were to rate it out of 10 (10 being best), what would you give your experience?
I wanted to gain professional business, hands on experience. I got that and so much more. I learned Mandarin, taught English, volunteered at day cares, travelled around China, and made so many precious memories! I cannot even begin to explain all the things I did that I didn’t think I could do!