Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chinese takeaway, pandas, The Great Wall, Terracotta Army, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Growing up as a kid, that was all I knew of China. It was enough to set off the imagination, and I could only dream and hope that someday, maybe someday, I’ll find myself wandering around in the land of Zhang Ziyi.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself studying for a Master’s degree in International Political Economy at King’s College in London in 2017. By now, I of course knew all about China as an economic and political powerhouse in the global scene. Yet somehow, all those images of China still stayed with me all throughout these years, and a combination of my childhood image of China and my academic rendezvous with the Chinese economy led to me apply for an internship through the King’s Global Internship Programme.
It was finally happening. Or would it? The application process was simple yet long, and I was delighted when I finally got an email saying that I had been selected for an interview. I was so excited. Could I be finally headed to the land of pandas? Just like pandas, I too like to eat and sleep a lot, and my inner panda had a feeling maybe this was finally going to be my chance to check it all out.
After a surprisingly fun and chilled interview with ImmerQi’s student advisor, I was notified by some more emails that yes, I had it made it! I waited for a bit longer, and ImmerQi helped me find exactly what I wanted to do for an internship, work with a company that deals with renewable energy advocacy and think tank group focusing mainly on the transport industry. Mitigating the environmental and climate crisis we all face today is something I want to pursue as a career, so this was perfect.
After sorting out the logistics (visa, booking flights, packing, occasionally dancing in my room knowing I was going to China), I found myself in Heathrow, London. This was it. “It’s all happening damn!”, I thought to myself. I might have used a different four letter word other than damn in my thoughts, but this was a big deal for me, and I use certain four letter words when I’m excited.
After a gruelling flight that took me from London to Munich, and then to finally Beijing, I was here. I had made it. Hello Beijing! After making it smoothly out of immigration and customs and claiming my one suitcase back, I made it out of the arrivals gate and was greeted by ImmerQi staff. I was soon joined by others, and then we were driven to our hotel by ImmerQi.
What happened after that, is what’s still going on. Endless fun, and endless adventures with people who were once random strangers, but are now close friends. From the 798 Art District, to the Forbidden City, to the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, an assortment of clubs, bars and restaurants in Sanlitun and the Hutongs, Beijing is a charming city that always leaves you wanting to explore more and find out the next hidden gem after you have done all the major tourist sites.
A few friends of mine and I also went to Shanghai last week for a little weekend getaway. Shanghai is also a wonderful city, but for me, Beijing is where it’s at. Words can’t really do it any justice. Beijing’s grandeur is enchanting, and the locals are sweet, kind people. Apart from maybe the rush hour on the metro, which at times feels like being in the Hunger Games. The scorching summer heat was tough to adjust to, but somehow it adds to the magic of Beijing when you’re sweating your ass off exploring some Hutong late at night.
The food is one of my favourite things about living in Beijing. It is one of the best I’ve ever had, and you can find just about any kind of cuisine here if you do some solid research. I am all about trying out Chinese cuisines, but I’ve also ventured out to try Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Indian food while in Beijing. Beijing food joints beats any takeaway or restaurant of those cuisines back in London hands down! Simply delicious.
Again, words can’t do it any justice. If you’re reading this, I highly encourage you to come over to Beijing, find something that you want to work on, and in your free time, go out there and explore Beijing. The beauty, the chaos, the smog, it somehow makes perfect sense, working in harmony to blow your mind away. Most of the times in a good way, I promise.
Doing this internship in Beijing has been one of the most fun experiences of my life so far. As my hero, author Hunter S. Thompson once said “buy the ticket, take the ride”. Well in this case I would add make the application, do the interview, get selected, do the visa, pack your bags, and then buy the ticket, and take the ride. I can’t recommend it enough.
Nazif Nazmul, project assistant from Corporate Internship Programme – King’s College London Global Internship Programme, is placed in Beijing for 8 weeks, from King’s College London, United Kingdom.
To find out more about Corporate Internship Program, please click ‘Corporate Internship Program‘.