Living in Beijing: A Series of Unpredictable Lessons

As my internship begins to wind down, I find it difficult at times to reflect upon my proudest moments. As mentioned in my previous entry, one of the biggest things I have learned from interning in Beijing is the reality of working for a large company. While this is preferable for some, I did not realize how much I desire a workplace that I feel I contribute to. Before coming here, I thought I would be okay working and just doing what is assigned to me. I have realized that doing what is assigned to me and helping the team can be different. Learning this about myself has been interesting.

With this in mind, I get around to my proudest moment. I mentioned this instance briefly in an earlier post. At the time, I’m not sure I thought it would end up being one of my proudest moments. I once was discussing some of my research with my supervisor and another co-worker about education in the United States. Throughout this discussion, they asked me more questions than they usually would during a discussion about personal experience and knowledge I have with this topic. As they physically took notes of my comments, I felt proud. I felt proud that I was giving them information that they thought was important enough to write down, which then caused them to question me further. I felt proud about contributing to the team and giving them insight that they may have otherwise would’ve had a hard time finding. My office is busy; my co-workers attend meetings at least once a day, and their computers are always flooded with information. They don’t exactly always have time to discuss with me all of my research in its entirety. Therefore, this moment I am reflecting on is surely one that felt important to not only me, but them as well. While this may seem miniscule, and it surely seemed this way to me when it happened, I now reflect upon this with pride.

As 7/13 will mark the 7th week that I have been living in Beijing, I wonder how exactly I have been doing it. We think it may be extremely difficult to live in place where virtually no one speaks your English (fluently). How will I get around? How do I ask questions? Moreover, this becomes more difficult when you can’t read most things either. I ask myself how I have been able to get by with hand motions and a handful of words and phrases. I reflect on times I have been frustrated not being able to ask for help when I am alone. Facing problems here is much more difficult than in the states; finding answers and fixing problems is hard with a thick language barrier. That being said, living here has taught me that everything will work out in the end. No matter how big or small the issue I have faced during my time here, it always seems to work itself out. I want to take this lesson back to America with me, as I often times get caught up in small problems. I’ve learned to relax a bit and let things take their course.


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