Why did you choose to go Shanghai? It’s so far away from Europe and the culture is completely different. Are you crazy? Maybe.. But after my second month here, I can happily assert that it was the best choice of my life!

There are many other cities in the world where I wanted to do an internship program: New York, London, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Melbourne…but I was sure about the country. The only choice which required some and more research and to think about was the city. The historical Beijing, the modern Shanghai or the crazy Hong Kong? I figured that Shanghai is a halfway between the 2 other cities.

Beijing is the fascinated capital city, but maybe it was not the perfect destination for someone like me that cannot speak any word of Chinese. On the other side, the thrilling Hong Kong might be too much Western for my Asia and China desires.

“But, why China?” It was the most common question before leaving. In fact, people who asked me the reason have never been in China or Asia. On the other side, while speaking with the ones who have already experienced China for work, study or tourism was happy about China. They were really excited about their trips, much more than the others they had been around the world. And, now I can easily understand the reason.

Comparing with Europe and to be more precise Italy (yeah! I’m Italian :D), I can say that China is not a weird country as the most of the people believe, but only different! Due to its old and fascinating history and geography, “Zhongguo 中国” has only its own culture full of magical customs and habits.

To be honest, I was a little bit afraid a few days before my departure. My main concerns were the language, food and living in such huge city. I thought it was normal to be! But only after few weeks here, I personally believe that Shanghai is really an amazing place to live.

Certainly, you should face with “big cities” problems, such as traffic and chaos, but it offers a lot of things to do and experience: places to visit and discover, from the historical to the modern ones, events and different activities, and never forget about the nightlife! It’s a “360° city” to experience as a tourist, student or intern at the same time.

Work, that’s why I’m here in China.

First of all, I’m doing an internship in an amazing Chinese start-up company. Interns usually do the most boring duties, but here they’re giving me the possibility to do and deal with the real and tasks. As a start-up and particularly as a Chinese start-up, I can only say that it is very dynamic. Things change so fast without having time to realize them. Moreover, my team is composed of young people who want to do a lot and wish to improve themselves and company’s result at the same time. Everybody collaborates and learns from each other, me as well! Shanghai is the perfect place for quick and innovative start-ups and for interns too. Here I have got the chance to learn and experience a new working place, completely different from my hometown.

Secondly, I’m a student. My first target which inspired my trip was learning the language. Mandarin is completely different from my mother tongue and for this reason, it’s quite difficult to take it up. But I’m really determined on my goal: trying to speak a little bit of Chinese is one of the best things I can do in my life for myself and for my future career. China is the future of all the businesses (no matter in which country you are or come from). And it’s a fascinating language to discover: pinyin (written Chinese) and logograms are full of meanings and amazing history.

Last but not the least, I’m also a tourist! In general, there are plenty of possibilities for expats to go around Shanghai and China. The location of this city and its great organization in each kind transport lets you discover the world around! Not only monuments or places but also people with its customs and habits. As a matter of fact, I’m trying to travel as much as I can!

Shanghai is magical: a mix of past and future where you may find out amazing and hidden secret places. It is a city with 100 of different shades to enjoy. Shanghai million’s faces regard also social and nightlife, which is also another aspect to experience here: having a drink on the Bund or on the top of one the highest skyscrapers in Pudong district is just amazing!

Coming to China was a challenge. I think (and hope) that this experience may not end at the end of this internship program. But I really would like to stay in Shanghai more and enjoy the millions of possibilities that the city has to offer! It is full of activities and different proposals for young people like me who has a lot of desire to learn and discover.

Although I know that Shanghai is not really a traditional city, something totally different with its own magical atmosphere. But here, you have the chance to open your mind and learn about the world. Different countries, cultures, traditions and different aspects of daily life mix together in an amazing melting pot of culture. Pump up your future and join the program to experience something you cannot do overseas or in other countries!

Beatrice Viganò, a marketing intern from China internship programme, is placed in Shanghai for 16 weeks, from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy.

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