I think the strengths that the fellow interns and I have is our way of navigating the web and finding out information that could help our team leader. We have access to the U.S VPN which helps greatly when it comes to accessing cites that the Chinese Government has censored. I am unsure about the strengths that my supervisor has besides his concentration on his task and developing English skills.
One of the most challenging aspects about my internship is ambiguity. Because of the language barrier and cultural differences in the workplace, sometimes it is hard for my supervisor to find the right words about the assignments we are given. Other times there is complete lack of direction on how tasks should be completed.
At times, our supervisor would give us a project, but the directions don’t quite make sense to us. It is hard to discern why the directions are so ambiguous. He may do this because he is busy and don’t take the time to think about what information employees need to complete the job. Or he may have confidence in our work and assume that we know what to do. In any case, a person who receives ambiguous instructions is left in an awkward situation. It’s hard to complete a task with incomplete information or instructions, but it may be risky to ask for guidance because it could potentially affect our Guanxi with our team leader.
One of the features I enjoy about my internship is that I can work on real, significant projects. I like not having a typical intern side project, something that gets thought up just for the summer.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed learning about is how incredibly important soft skills are in real life. What they don’t teach you in school is how to work effectively on a team, how to work collaboratively with others, and how to effectively and professionally communicate your ideas and objections not only to your own team but to other related teams who are working on the same project. I am constantly emailing, or syncing up with team members in person about design ideas, questions, or to work in sync on similar tasks. In just one month of my internship, I’ve learned how incredibly important communication is in the workplace.