Learning to Build

It’s hard to believe that I landed in Beijing 4 weeks ago. Since I began working, time seems to race by faster each day.

Last weekend I ventured to Shanghai for Dragon Boat Festival – a traditional Chinese holiday. Shanghai was breathtaking! Its modern, distinctive architecture surpassed anything I’d ever seen, both in scale and design. I even got to ascend to the 100th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center, overlooking the waterfront and urban landscape. Shanghai is truly an international city, and it was great experiencing Chinese culture in a different setting.

Nonetheless, I was excited to return to Beijing. This last week I progressed in my work, and I was assigned the task of redesigning the Services’ component of MullenLowe Profero’s Beijing webpage. My supervisor has already begun developing Beijing’s home page, so based on his themes and styles, I sketched out a wireframe for how I envisioned the Services’ page. Next I began to build the page, primarily using Jade and Stylus. Jade is a templating language that compiles to HTML, and Stylus is a pre-processing language which makes CSS easier to develop.

At first these new languages seemed foreign and strange to me, but as the week progressed I grew more comfortable with their syntaxes and structures. They use fewer brackets and jargon than HTML and CSS, and moving forward I think they will enable me to work more efficiently.

Up to this point I have created a fresh color scheme for the site, added a few jQuery elements to make objects more interactive, and started making the page more cohesive. The old services’ page featured many hyperlinks and sub-navigation. I want the new page to be more navigable and user-friendly. Eventually, I hope that my web page template can be featured on the company’s updated website. I feel that even though I am an intern with limited experience, MullenLowe Profero can benefit from my fresh perspective. The company prides itself on digitally transforming its clients, and if I can help digitally transform the Beijing site, then the company stands to benefit significantly.

One of my favorite components of this internship is my coworkers. The office has many different teams and departments working on different projects, but ultimately everyone works hard to ensure the company succeeds. My supervisor has many strengths. He is a tremendous designer, developer, and most importantly, communicator. He has an innate ability to visualize a template or webpage while planning, and using his coding experience he can put together a stunning final product (website). Moreover, he always shows great care when teaching me new concepts. He does not leave my side until he is confident I understand the new project or code.

My supervisor’s strengths pairs well with my strengths. I am an inherently curious learner, which is a necessary prerequisite to learning new front-end languages. Even though sometimes I am slow to master new concepts, I am always eager to learn. This makes for engaging interactions between coworkers (namely my supervisor) and myself.

Aside from work, I continually learn more about the dynamic city which is Beijing. Above all, I have learned about the people – they have been so warm and kind toward me despite my differences in background and language. Wednesday night I tried a different restaurant across the street from my apartments. It was late, perhaps 9:00pm, and I was the only customer sitting down. My server was about the same age as me, yet he spoke no English. Nevertheless, he beamed a smile as soon as I walked in the restaurant. I got the impression that foreigners rarely frequented this restaurant because every time an employee walked past me they seemed enamored with me. They showered me with extra food and juice (despite never charging me money). Even though we didn’t understand each other linguistically, there was no mistaking how kind these people were toward me.

JF

JF5

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