Sheep Kidneys, Chicken Hearts & New Friends

It is difficult to believe that this will be my last week at ITCCC. Time has flown by and I am not ready to go back home yet! These past weeks have been a whirlwind of making our remaining time count, and I think we are in denial that it is almost over. This experience has challenged and pushed me out of my comfort zone so much and I am very grateful for it. I believe the most challenging moment of my internship was when I was first given the ISSDC papers to evaluate. I was given minimal explanation on what to look for and how to record my feedback; simply trying to read through the first essay was difficult. It took me a while to understand what I was looking for in each section and decipher what was considered good and bad. After the first couple, however, it became systematic and went much quicker.

Even with the challenges, my internship has made for a memorable time in my life and I am extremely happy that I chose this program. The many positives by far outweigh the negatives I have encountered. The best moment of my internship was definitely our company barbecue a couple weeks ago. They ordered a ton of food, including kabobs with all kinds of crazy meats. I was given chicken heart, sheep kidney, cow tendon, and bone marrow (of what animal I still don’t know) by my coworkers who all found a great deal of delight in my facial expressions and comments when they told me what each mystery skewer was. Getting to spend time with everyone in a laid-back fun setting was definitely my favorite.

Living in Beijing has exposed me to so much and proved that I can handle more than I think. Knowing I am capable of dealing with difficult situations has boosted my confidence; if I can find my way home without speaking the local language I definitely can in the US! Similarly, in my professional life I have learned to work with ambiguity and realize that I do not need every little detail before starting a project. My networking skills have also improved because I have been more open and self-assured when introducing myself and building relationships. Finally, my critical thinking skills have been sharpened profoundly because of the environment in general. I am going to enjoy my last week of work even though it will be bittersweet, and I have Zhangjiajie to look forward to this coming weekend!

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