I started my internship with Pico Exhibition Management on Wednesday. It’s quite far from my accommodation (about an hour and a half) but I don’t mind the time to myself. My supervisor’s name is Maria and she is a project manager for Pico. Her English is remarkable, so I have gotten to know her well in just my first few days. We talk about what we like to do, the movies/ music we like, and our lives outside of work. I think we are going to be good friends.
Pico Beijing has its own building in the Shunyi District (pictured) with four floors for different functions; the second floor is the project floor, where my team is set up. The office is an open floor plan with short cubicles. Different teams work in different sections of the space. Even though the floor looks like it could hold around 100 employees, I’ve only ever seen 25 max. It’s a very relaxed culture with no dress code and a “work when you have work” atmosphere. Right now, my team is waiting for a contract for an event for Audi which should be completed next week. Until then, I am spending my time learning about the industry and about the daily lives of people in Beijing from my coworkers. My team’s boss, Grace, said that if we get this contract for the Audi A5 Launch then we will need to take a business trip somewhere is Southern China. I am enjoying my time and cannot wait for the hard work to begin.
Through this internship experience I hope that I can improve myself and my language and business skills. I am mostly focused on improving my Mandarin. Maria and Grace are the only English speakers in the office so the conversations are mostly in Mandarin. I can understand brief interactions but have a hard time responding quick enough. I can put a sentence together on paper but out loud, the grammar gets mixed up. I have asked that Maria teach me one new phrase each day, so I can practice. Beside language, I hope that I can learn a lot about the event planning business and the technical aspects of budgeting and project completion. I never thought that I would be in this industry but now I realize the items on my resume all share an event planning aspect like fundraising events for Camp Kesem or conference planning for The Mortgage Firm. Working for Pico, I am fully immersed in event management and it will be interesting to see how I feel about it at the end of this internship.
Beijing is incredible and I am loving working with people that are so open and friendly. This experience is unique because I can ask them all of the questions I have about living on this side of the world. I miss my family and friends back home but my classmates on this adventure with me are so awesome, honestly. These are long time friends, not just the two months we’ll be here. This week we have explored the 798 “QI JIU BA” area, negotiated our way through the Silk Market, became VIP in Beijing nightlife, saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie in English (with Chinese subtitles), and even found Beijing Hooters tonight. Works starts again tomorrow and even though I don’t get to see my friends that much because people’s commute times are so different, we do all have Mandarin lessons on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to studying this language again and for the rest of the week!