Today is our last full day in China and it seems crazy how quickly it has all gone by. To be honest, I was not expecting a lot of things, both good and bad things, before coming to China mostly because I have come here before multiple times with my family. However, coming here without my family and actually living here for two months is an entirely different experience than just merely touring the city as a tourist.
The internship really taught a lot about what it is like to have a full-time job. The long hours and the busy commute was very taxing on the mind and body–something I believe most college students do not know or get to experience until they pick up their first full-time job after graduation. Working really required all that I had everyday. I had to be responsible with my decisions and also with how I behaved.
I feel like over the two months, I was able to accomplish the goals I previously set to a degree. Yes, my Chinese language skills improved a lot over the course of the internship. What seemed daunting and intimidating before felt normal and comfortable now; for example: Asking directions where to go or telling a coworker about what I did over the weekend. I really feel like Beijing grew to become my home in these two months. Adjustment is not the word I would use to describe us moving here, but assimilation. On the other hand, I still feel like I could’ve learned a lot more at my internship before I left. These last few weeks have been quite lenient on me because my company became very busy planning and preparing for a large event taking place in Shanghai this week. They did not need me for anything, but rather needed someone who was more fluent and knowledgeable about China to help. I felt disappointed because I, personally, was not good enough to help them, but I tried to always ask and see if there was anything I could help out with. In the end, I was only needed for help with smaller, simpler tasks such as translating and researching. If I ever come back to China, I would 100% need to work on my Chinese skills a lot more.
Nonetheless, the experience has been more than valuable. I’m absolutely excited to go back home and see all my friends and tell them all about the wonderful adventures and memories from this Summer. Beijing will hold a special place in my heart forever.