Arion Franklin’s Gi2C Internship in China
Why did you choose Gi2C Group to help you find an internship in China?
I came to China in 2012, but I was only here for a month. During that time, I said to myself, if I have an opportunity to come back to China, I will. One night, I was on LinkedIn and I was looking for job when I saw an ad, “Do you want to work in China?” Of course, I want to work in China! I researched Gi2C and I really enjoyed all the testimonials they have. My research on the company was good and I liked what they offered especially how they help interns with everything they need to intern in China. After that, I obviously made my choice to intern with Gi2C.
What have you gained from the orientation and introduction to China given by Gi2C?
It was really useful for me. During my first visit to China, I didn’t work. It was more like culture trip where I traveled a lot. This time in China, Gi2C introduced me to Chinese business culture and the Chinese working style.
How did you like Gi2C social events?
I really liked the events and the other Gi2C interns. There was only one other intern, Roberta, who joined the program at the same time as I did, but after I joined a few social events, I met a lot more Gi2C interns and they were all very nice. We shared a lot of stories and had some good times.
How was the amount of support from Gi2C?
It was great. Anything that I needed help with, Gi2C really helped me with. Whether it was solving problems with my phone or telling me where to go on subway system. The Gi2C support system is excellent and they are always available. Any time I needed something, I could get in contact with someone. Any question that I had, I received a response very quickly. I never felt that I was here alone.
Which company did you intern with?
I interned with a Graphic Design Company Duia Communications. They work with several famous brands in China. I did quite a lot of interesting work especially two big projects. I worked on designing posters, brochures, promotional videos, and other promo items for a startup company. And I also was working on a project for a coffee shop where I designed the logo, the menu and the business cards.
How did you like your placement? Please describe your typical workday during your internship.
One of the things I love about being a graphic designer is having non-traditional working hours, so you can work from anywhere and I can work at anytime. I usually woke up around 10 am and I arrived at the office around noon. After that I would work for a very long time.
What was the biggest surprise for you in terms of a Chinese working environment?
The biggest surprise for me about China is that the workers spend a lot of time at the office and when you compare this to the work environment in America, you might say that Americans have it easy or are lazy. I had to work a lot harder and lot longer than I would have in America. It was really a surprise to work until 8:30 p.m. I would never have worked that late in America.
What was the best thing you gained from this internship?
I gained a lot from my internship. I met a couple of clients here, which is great because one of them is a very large company, Baidu. It definitely helped to jumpstart my career. Just being here more than two months gave me so much, I learned a great deal from my boss. She used to work at CCTV (China’s biggest media company and TV channel) and was very critical about my work which actually helped a lot because it pushed me to be better than I was.
How do you like China?
I like China overall. The main thing I don’t like is that they are so many people here! Another thing I don’t like is that I am foreigner. I stick out because I am black and tall. People always pay attention to me, want pictures with their children and things like that. I don’t usually mind it as I am a friendly person, but sometimes I have a bad day and I don’t want talk anymore and just want to listen to music. It’s hard to do that here. I also don’t like having to use a VPN to get to the websites I typically frequent. The thing that I do like about China is that the Chinese are very friendly to me. I love that I met a lot of foreigners here. The friends that I made here are great and I think it is awesome to be the minority here.
What do you think you are going miss most after this internship?
I am going to miss China, people, the things that I don’t like and like, and simply living in Beijing. Last time I went to Taiwan, I missed Beijing. I am lucky enough to have a China visa that lasts for 10 years, but I have to leave every 60 days so I went to Taiwan. I love Taiwan. It was hot. It had lots of mosquitoes, but I enjoyed it. So when I am in Beijing, I miss Chicago, when I am in Chicago or Taiwan, I miss Beijing.
What was your first thought when you found out that you were the winner of the Gi2C Share Contest?
I was very happy! I used to check all the hashtags on social media to see how many other people were participating in the contest and where I ranked.
How did you find information about the Gi2C Share Contest?
I didn’t know about the contest until I heard about it from a Gi2C staff member, but it is available for people to find on the Gi2C website. I think it’s a really good contest, because it forces interns to share their experiences in China. Sometimes I wanted to go home so much that I was missing moments that I should been enjoying here. I feel that the contest encouraged me to post pictures, experience more things and write about my experiences. This way I will always remember the moments I had here. I think the contest is very, very good. I am very appreciative.
Any advice for newcomers?
You need Wechat, you need to get a VPN, and you need to be on couchsurfers. The people in China are very friendly, and very welcoming, and love foreigners. The other foreigners also love foreigners. The best thing that you can do is to network and make new friends so that you can take your mind off of being homesick. I was talking with my academic counselor and I told him that this was the best decision I have ever made for my career. If you want to jumpstart your career, if you want to get international experience, and if you want to meet amazing people and have amazing experiences, intern with a Gi2C company.