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Volunteers' Stories




Journalism and Photojournalism Work Experience Internship in Beijing, China


The work experience I am gaining here at the Magazine is wonderfully extensive and interesting. The office dynamic is casual, easy-going, and incredibly friendly. Andy and the team are fantastic. With such a small and new publication, even an intern plays a large role in the writing process and in meetings. I often get to provide "the foreigner perspective," as the magazine is geared at expats in China and students interested in the culture of the country. The focus of the magazine is also great because I learn a lot of China-related tips and snippets of history that I wouldn't get from any other magazine.

The best part of the placement has been the opportunity to get comfortable in a city that is so opposite from my own culture. I was surprised by how easy it was to adjust to Beijing.

The other contender for 'best thing' would be the unspoken bond between foreigners in this city. Since it's so easy to tell outwardly who 'doesn't belong'. It is very common for people to reach out to other English-speakers and become great friends instantly. I often find myself in a group of the most random and interesting people, with everyone getting along great regardless of age or nationality.

I would certainly recommend this placement to anyone who has never travelled before. Without Travellers' help in arranging the hostel and job, I wouldn't have known how to visit Beijing.

The person that prospers in this placement is someone who has never travelled before. He/she would need to be very open-minded, as so much of Chinese culture is unlike anything I have ever seen before in the West.

The trip is far more casual and easy to adjust to than I expected it to be. Work is serious, but formal-wear is certainly not required, and everything one could possibly need is readily available at countless stores/markets/malls within easy walking distance.

Can you describe a typical day?

9:00. Wake up, shower, get dressed.

9:30. Start the walk to work. For breakfast, I'll pick up the Chinese version of a bread dumpling or a crepe with egg and sauce at a street counter, and a drink at the 7/11 by the office.

10:05. Arrive at work. Get to my desk and computer, and begin writing/checking email/whatever other tasks I've got for the day. Every so often we'll have a meeting to go over old content or plan for new issues.

12.00. Sometimes in the middle of the day, someone initiates the lunch break. We sample new restaurants around the office with a random mix of Chinese and foreign employees, and the meals are always delicious. Every so often, I'll break away and do my own thing for lunch to satiate a craving. We always stop at either 7/11 or Starbucks after lunch to pick up snacks and drinks for the next few hours.

1:00. Back to work. Basically just time spent doing whatever random tasks the editors give me - writing the newsletter, assembling data-bases of festivals or facts to reference in upcoming issues, working on the occasional article, and every so often I'll get a design job.

5:00. Work's out! Walk home, with a stop at the supermarket, bank, or restaurant if we're especially hungry.

5:30. Reach the hostel; relax for a bit with a book or my laptop. This is when I'll go shopping, stop by a cafe, do laundry, or other similar things.

9:00. If we didn't eat before, my friends and I will go out to dinner around 9. We generally walk around until we find a restaurant that looks good, but we try to eat at different places each night to keep it interesting.

11:00. If we're back at the hostel, we'll play cards, watch a movie, sit on computers, or hang around talking until we start heading off to bed.

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