global internship program

Life at Deloitte

Nicole’s Shanghai experience

Global Internship Program

When preparing for my internship in China, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know a single person, and I would be the only American on my team. As I boarded my flight, I was filled with anxiety and excitement for my month in Shanghai.

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When preparing for my internship in China, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know a single person, and I would be the only American on my team. As I boarded my flight, I was filled with anxiety and excitement for my month in Shanghai. Now approaching my last few days here, I can honestly say that this experience has exceeded any and all expectations I had. From gazing at the beautiful skyline from rooftops on the bund to exploring the “Western” district of Xin Tian Di and feeling completely and utterly lost while navigating through the crowded streets and metro station, Shanghai has captured my heart. I can honestly say no amount of time would have been enough to soak up everything Shanghai has to offer. But, I’m so honored and thankful for this experience, even if it was only for a short time.

In the four weeks I spent here, I have met the most incredible people both inside and outside of the Deloitte China member firm. My Deloitte China client team welcomed me with open arms (and a packed work plan), which allowed me to grow as a professional and enhance my business skills. Their commitment to the client inspired me to produce quality deliverables and I am thankful that I was given the chance to work with such amazing individuals. Outside the office, I was lucky enough to have another one of the global interns, Laura, as my travel companion. Together we embraced Shanghai; we laughed at the funny things that happened, justifying them by saying, “Well, it’s all about the experience.” Most Shanghai locals claim that Shanghai isn’t the “real” China, so Laura and I traveled on the 12-hour overnight train to Beijing where we experienced true Chinese culture. We walked on the Great Wall of China (and tobogganed down!), enjoyed the views at the Summer Palace, and learned some history in the Forbidden City. 

Of course, traveling (especially when the only two words you know are ni hao and xiè xie) takes some adjusting. Two aspects of Chinese etiquette that differed from the U.S. are gift giving and the meeting style. While I read that the giving of gifts was part of the culture, I did not realize the extent. Basically every week, there was someone returning from a trip bearing gifts for everyone! (Thanks again!) What really took some getting used to was the difference in meeting style. In the projects I have been on in the U.S., after the first meeting we do not go through many of the formalities that are expected in China. I came to realize that the work style here is more reserved and respectful than back home, and I had to adjust my demeanor to fit in. Although, with my blonde hair and blue eyes no matter how much I tried, I, of course, still stood out.

Now as I begin to pack my bags to go home, I am overwhelmed with sadness. As much as I missed some American luxuries like ice cold water at meals and access to social media sites, Shanghai has become a second home for me. People say that after you travel, “you will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere.” After just four short weeks, I have met people that I will miss seeing every day and made memories that I will never forget. So thank you Shanghai and everyone that made this trip possible; you’ve changed my life. 

Home office: Chicago, USA
Host office: Shanghai, China
Education: Indiana University, Finance & Technology Management major
 

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