Having completed my first week as an intern at Beijing 99 Interactive Entertainment, I am now filled with mixed feeling. On one side, I really enjoy the workplace environment and the people there. On another, I have experienced first-hand how ambiguity plays in Chinese culture and the challenging nature of the internship.
On the first day, we were told to meet in the lobby at 9:00 AM. Even though I was not able to sleep the night before, I was able to get ready by 8:00 AM. My body was filled with adrenaline at this point. Interning in another country is not something that many people, including myself, dream of doing; yet, here I am. I got to my company at around 10:30 and was introduced to my supervisor Sun. At first, I was quite intimidated by my lack of understanding of the Chinese language. However, my friendly supervisor made it a lot easier for me to get acclimated. Even though he was busy, he made time to get lunch with me. I was able to bond with him on a personal level right on the first day, and got a chance to clarify any questions that I had. I did not get to do much on the first day, but I could tell that I was in for a challenge in the next 1 and a half month.
Beijing 99 is exactly what I imagined it to be. Their corporate culture deeply reflects their root as a gaming company. The office configuration is in a cubicle format, yet every employee made it a point to not confine themselves to their own space and interact with one another as much as possible. Each employee has the freedom to express themselves within their cubicle; some even brought their own gaming chair to work as an emulation of their home computer system. From my observation, the corporate structure is less hierarchical and more intimate. Managers are still addressed by their title, but everyone treats one another like friends and always seem to be willing to talk about their day or get lunch together. This level of flexibility extends onto attire as well. Employees get to wear anything they want to work, as long as it is socially appropriate, of course.
China is a great place for internships. Not only because of the opportunities that it presents but also the challenges that come with it. Chinese corporate culture works a lot different from their American counterpart. As an intern, I am expected to perform tasks assigned to me under heavy ambiguity. To succeed, I will have to strengthen my people skills in order to understand the context of the jobs given to me everyday. On top of that, I have to learn to be more patient than I have ever been in order to maintain a perfect communication channel with my supervisor and colleagues. In the long run, these skills will also be transferable to my future professional career in America, and help me go above and beyond the standards within the American corporate culture.