Thomas Parker Concannon - 2014 Program Participant
Introduction to my host internship company
What inspired you to intern abroad in China?
I started learning Chinese back when I was a junior in high school and actually went to China to do a language study abroad language program, which was affiliated with my high school back in the U.S. From then, my trip to China really sparked my interest for an international future working career. So, last year I decided that I would go to China again and gain some much needed work experience, and an insight into China, given the fact that it is part of my university major. I applied for an international program as really a continuation from what I had already experienced during the time when I was in high school and first traveled to China.
Why did you choose Go Abroad China?
I was already clear that I wanted to take part in an internship in China but I was not too sure how to go about it. However, after a lot of research I made contact with Go Abroad China and got introduced to the type of services that they offer at affordable prices; we kept communicating until I was ready to make the final decision that I would experience China with their arrangements.
What was your favorite part about your placement location?
The location of my internship was in Shanghai and I was happy with it because I had been to Shanghai before and it felt familiar. Another reason was that because I wanted to get experience in the business development sector, it was very fitting that I choose a location that offers the best environment for business, and is a hub for a lot of international companies which I aspire to work in one day. Shanghai is also a very modern city and it was important for me to also spend time in a city that I could also enjoy myself in.
Meeting my host family - homestay accommodation
What made your internship experience unique?
I think that combining the internship work experience together with Chinese lessons really helped me; it felt like it was a “two in one” type of package deal. I liked the company that I was working for, its business mainly involved import and exports of food products. At the company, although not all of the staff I met were able to speak English, the HR manager and my supervisor were very helpful and could speak English.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
I think Go Abroad China did a great job arranging the internship and accompanying me to for the first meeting with my host company, then introducing me to my host family in Shanghai that I would be staying with during the program. I think that some improvements can be made with regular communication even when the internship has started, not just during the application process.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
First it’s wishing that I could have done the internship for a bit longer (mine lasted only for a month). I felt that there was a lot to do but in a very short time. Of course, I see that personally I still have a lot to learn about professionalism.
What did an average day of work entail for you as an intern in Shanghai?
I was part of the working staff in that I clocked in everyday and reported to my supervisor to map out my duties for the day. I assisted in presentations, events, competitor data gathering and analysis, and customer information.
Successful first meeting with my supervisor!
What did you enjoy doing outside of your internship placement?
I actually liked my Chinese lessons that Go Abroad China arranged because I was learning about the things that interest me, and anyway learning Chinese here is definitely quicker than back home. Besides learning, I liked living in Shanghai; it’s a nice city full of different entertainment places and lots of people to meet if you are social.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
I had the homestay accommodation and my Chinese host family was very friendly. Of course, in the beginning it is strange to be living with a complete new family different from you, but after a little while you start getting used to it. Besides, it was great that sometimes in the evening they would help me practice my Chinese!
How has interning abroad in China impacted your life?
The plan for now is to finish my course at university, but after the trip I’m definitely inspired to seek employment abroad and get to a high level of Chinese fluency, as I would like to work in a company with ties to China.