GoAbroad Interview

Zoe Wang - Head Program Coordinator

Zoe Wang - Head Program Coordinator

Zoe is the Head Program Coordinator at Go Abroad China and oversees and supervises major plans for clients. She’s experienced in administration, speaks both English and Chinese, enjoys meeting new clients, and is there whenever clients call with further questions or issues.

How did you get involved with Go Abroad China? 

It has been a long time now since I got involved with Go Abroad China. When I first joined the team, Go Abroad China was still in the developing stages. But, I liked the organization nonetheless, and the changes that I have seen throughout my time here are just remarkable.

Networking event in China

Go Abroad China participants networking

What are your main responsibilities as Head Program Coordinator?

I oversee prospective participant related requests and provide advice when our team is planning out a program. I supervise and make sure that each program participant’s itinerary for their time in China is ready for them and is done as best as we can, according to what they were first promised and signed up for.

What is a typical day like for you at Go Abroad China?

To ensure that our participant’s programs are up to date and preparations are in order. My day is usually defined by a lot of phone calls, emails, and coordination. I oversee communication between Go Abroad China and the participants, as well as coordinating with third parties, such as internship companies or language schools.

If you were a participant in a Go Abroad China program, what would your program of choice be?

I would pick the internship program, and since I would be in China already, I definitely would take advantage of the fact that I have access to language tools. I would actually combine the internship experience with Chinese language lessons just like some of the Go Abroad China participants are doing.

How much daily support do you give participants? How much time do you spend working with them one-on-one?

In the initial stages, communication happens almost every day as we try to map out the best itinerary possible for program participants. We personally make face-to-face introductions between the participants and their host companies. For those registering with universities here in China, we provide assistance with the actual registration and teach them how to take public transportation in China. However, after several weeks, participants usually have a good grasp of foreigner life in China. At this point support is still available, but not as intense as their first weeks in China, as most of them have gained a bit of independence and start exploring more on their own.

How do you go about finding and vetting the third party internship companies and language schools you place participants at?

We have some existing partner companies that we have cooperated with for a number of years now, and they are the first ones we contact. Meanwhile, we are always open to even more new companies that want to work with us and invite international interns to their companies. Of course we make absolute sure that they are operating within the legal parameters of business in China. 

When it comes to language schools, we have partnerships with some renowned universities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing. Apart from universities, we also work with some solid language schools, that are smaller than universities.

What advice would you give participants headed to China for the first time?

The most important advice we give to our new clients is about the existence culture shock. China is your typical Asian country and the culture here is widely different from the Western world. We let our clients know that they will experience all kinds of feelings on arrival in China: excitement, confusion, frustration, wonder, etc. But, ultimately the bigger picture is always “why?”, for the candidates to remember why they are here.

Chinese cooking class

Zoe with participants in a cooking class

What type of pre-departure programming do you have for participants prior to their arrival and then once they are on site?

We provide information about the general and major things that our clients need to be aware of. In the last days before they come to China, the majority of the communication is making sure they have everything that they might need, and letting them know what they can already get in China.

On arrival in China, clients are picked up from the airport and accompanied to their apartments (unless they have chosen otherwise). On the following day, there is usually an orientation session to help them get familiar with their surroundings and how most things work in China. The final stage of our arrival orientation is taking them to the internship companies for an introduction, going with them on the first day of university classes to help them register and such things.

What is the best part about working for Go Abroad China?

The best part about my job is getting to interact with totally new clients when they come to China. Sometimes things can get into a routine and seeing new clients for the time is quite refreshing. It makes me feel excited again, especially when I witness the way they see China for the first time.

What are your goals for 2015?

2015 started on a relatively good note for Go Abroad China and the immediate goal is to keep the momentum and see where we end up with that. On the whole, we seek more cooperation with a wider variety of partner companies to place our interns in.