Kai Powell - 2014 Program Participant

Interns doing a presentation in China

Doing a work presentation

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

Just like any other young person out there just out of university, the next step before actual formal employment is to take part in an internship to improve your job prospects and gain knowledge. I found myself with a particular interest in China and started researching what options were available, but ultimately the end result was to improve myself so that I could get the experience and move on further to some even better employment. Besides, I also needed a really fresh experience from the jobs that I have done back in Australia.

Why did you choose Go Abroad China?

At the beginning of my application process, I already knew that first and foremost I wanted to do a really good internship; the question was how I was going to apply for one. When I came across Go Abroad China, I realized that they seemed to be very well established and I could register with them and have them find me an internship with a reputable company in China. It really helped me because I think it would have been difficult to arrange something like that by myself without any help.

Foreigner with Chinese colleagues in China

An outing with my Chinese colleagues

What was your favorite part about China?

I specifically chose Beijing. I was just interested in the city and wanted to experience how it felt to live in China’s capital. Also, I had read about Beijing being the cultural center in China and wanted to see it for myself.

What made your internship unique?

The internship was really what I had hoped for and so much more. I was placed in a financial company (which is what I requested) and I quickly found that most of the things I was learning back in university were evident in the company dealings, and I got really excited about that. Generally the service provided by Go Abroad China was also good; I think they tried hard to meet all of my requirements and arrange exactly what I wanted.

How did the local staff support you throughout your program?

Go Abroad China arranged a professional internship for me like they had promised, so I am really satisfied with that. Of course during the course of my program and time in China, they arranged some activities and outings occasionally on the weekends. I tried calligraphy, which was really cool, I toured the old side of the city of Beijing, and when I wanted private tutoring classes, they got me a good tutor. Generally everything went smoothly.

Is there anything you wish you could go back and change about your experiencec?

At this point, I feel really pleased with what I have accomplished in the six months that I was in China.

Meeting Santa at Soho, Nexus Center in China

First Christmas in China

What was a typical day like for you in China?

My working days were exactly like everyone else’s at the company; my assignments and work duties came through my supervisor and I reported back to her. I helped with market surveys, financial projects and assignments, and business development efforts.

On the weekends, I normally had my Chinese language classes and caught up with new friends. In the end, the highlight of my program, besides successfully completing the internship, was taking the HSK Mandarin Language Proficiency exam and passing level three.

What did you enjoy doing outside of your internship placement?

I actually really enjoyed my Chinese lessons. I started off joining a small class and made friends there; then later on had a personal tutor, who took me to some really cool places. I also liked culture activities arranged by GAC; specifically, I took a hand at calligraphy which wasn’t as easy as it looked.

What kind of accommodation arrangement did you have during your internship in China?

I had the homestay housing option, and my Chinese host family was really friendly towards me. They had a lovely home and welcomed me to join them for dinner as a family. Sometimes on the weekends I would play with their kids; I taught them English and they helped me practice my Chinese. It was a really special experience to get to see how a normal Chinese family lived every day.

International interns at an office in China

Taking a break at the office

Now that you're home, how has interning abroad impacted your life?

It’s good to be back home and now I feel more confident looking for my ideal job, since I know that I have some background experience now, especially from China. I am positive about my career options and the way I’ll be able to share my experiences with people back in Australia.