My role at my internship varies day to day. Some days I am just an observer learning new tasks and ideas. Other days I am just a native English speaker, proof reading documents and contracts. Most days, I am an American doing research on industries and businesses that reside in the states. My favorite days are when I am doing more financial work on other companies. I have been able to use my still basic knowledge of finance to study and understand financial records. I have also learned how to make prediction about future numbers, especially in respect to EBIT.
I spend most of the day at work researching or talking to my coworkers about various projects. Occasionally I get to sit in on a meeting, usually in Mandarin. They give me a translator, but that usually consists of a one-sentence translation every 15 minutes. The hardest part is not the language barrier, but fighting off sleep for each of the 7,200 seconds of those two-hour meetings. The meetings that are in English are much more interesting and engaging, of course.
The best feature of my internship is the fact that I am actually learning. I have a much better understanding of why it is so hard for a foreign company to enter China and how to go about doing it anyway. I am also learning just how quickly China is moving its state owned businesses to the private sector. My previous understanding of finance was only textbook related. Now I at least understand real world application to some extent.
The challenging parts are usually just my inexperience. I have been asked to do work that I have absolutely no idea how to do. Asking my supervisor or co-worker for help almost always solves this problem. They want to help me and teach me, which makes my entire internship experience all the better. So far, all the challenges I have faced, I have been able to overcome to some extent with patience, practice and help.