SEEING THE REAL ASIA THROUGH THE EYES OF INTERNS
September, 2012. Each summer, the East Asia Internship Program provides Stanford students with an extraordinary opportunity to extend their classroom knowledge and ideas about East Asia to a real-life working and cultural experience. This past summer, 25 students from a wide spectrum of majors were selected to participate in the program - 2 freshmen, 11 sophomores, 5 juniors, 2 seniors, as well as 5 MA students in East Asian Studies. Here’s what students had to say about their experience.
“I was able to intern in Shanghai this summer and benefitted from a memorable summer and work experience. Living and learning about Shanghai was a rare opportunity. Although I had briefly visited Shanghai a few years ago, I discovered this summer how much the city had transformed within just half a decade. Shanghai has evolved into a first-class international city, and yet, the city still radiates a unique Chinese cultural and historical flair—one that has intrigued and engaged foreigners and locals for over a century.
I worked as a summer intern associate at InterChina Consulting in the Mergers & Acquisitions advisory group and the firm was very welcoming from day one. Their bicultural background and value-added emphasis contributes to a dynamic corporate culture. InterChina’s expertise is in multiple industries and I was exposed to conducting business in China as well as the intricate and rigorous atmosphere of M&A. From drafting project proposals to sector research, I was able to deepen my knowledge on topics of interest while honing my business skills. My supervisors provided me with many opportunities, such as including me on important meetings and conferences; I was even able to attend a trip to Shanxi for fieldwork, due diligence, and face-to-face interviews! Official office work was conducted in English, while fieldwork and due diligence was often in Chinese, thus providing an ideal balance for me. Everyday, my co-workers and I would have lunch together where the discussions would range from China’s economic climate to current Chinese pop culture, allowing for interesting conversations along with great company and food.
This unique summer experience has significantly molded my perspective of business in China as well as providing me with a better sense of corporate business. Furthermore, working in Shanghai and at InterChina Consulting has definitely confirmed my desire to work in China in the future. Thank you ICA and ICC for such an exceptional summer and work experience!” Aline Bass (International Relations/History) interned at InterChina Consulting, Shanghai
“Before my internship with Arirang Television began, I tried to keep myself from forming expectations about Korea. This effort may have been pointless, however, for the Korea I experienced this past summer was something that surpassed any expectations I could have formed. I climbed mountains, I helped backstage at concerts, I ate still-wriggling octopus, and I formally greeted celebrities in Korean.
My internship at Arirang Television was with a production team working on a show about traditional Korean music. While the television station broadcasts in English, most of the production team was more comfortable talking to me in Korean, despite my limited knowledge of Korean. Soon I found myself picking up both production terms and common small-talk vocabulary. The experience was immersive not only language-wise but friendship-wise. The work was highly collaborative; there were two other interns on my show’s team and we were assigned work collectively. These interns were Korean, but had attended school in the United States. Spending over 40 hours a week speaking about our show and our lives in a strange yet comfortable mix of Korean and English tied us together in a way little else could.
We had shared interests that had brought us all to the same internship and we were able to help each other experience Seoul in new ways. These friendships are invaluable to me. My internship experience has convinced me that I would like to return to work in Korea and my friendships formed this summer created a family of sorts to whom I can return.” Caroline Bank (East Asian Studies) interned at Arirang TV, Seoul
“This summer was really rewarding for me on many levels and I was able to explore both my academic and personal interests. The internship was a perfect fit and I was even able to do some of my thesis research while at the company by talking to reporters and editors.
During my internship, I experienced the inner workings of a high quality media company (Caixin Media) that does impressive and groundbreaking work. I was surrounded by talented and friendly colleagues. I improved both my writing and translating skills while also becoming familiar with the landscape of Chinese media. I got the opportunity to be involved in important reporting and played a part in generating content online and in print.
On a personal level, I was thrilled to be back in China. Using my Chinese was a big priority for me and being in Beijing provided the perfect environment for constant practice. I also had the opportunity to travel to parts of China I had never been to before, including Inner Mongolia. I made friendships and connections that will stay with me. Most importantly, this summer has helped me decide that China will always be a big part of my life and that I would love to work or live there in the future.” Lilian Rogers (International Relations) interned at Caixin Media, Beijing
“I interned at the Tokyo office of Morrison & Foerster LLP, a law firm that deals with international corporate deals such as cross-border M&A deals and patent litigations, mainly representing stereotypical large Japanese conglomerates (e.g. Mitsubishi, Toshiba) in their dealings in the United States. Having grown from the small foreign office founded by the now legendary Ken Siegel in the ‘80s to the largest foreign law firm in Japan, and having an office in a posh high-rise building next to Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, Morrison Foerster is the American law firm in Japan. Although my status as the only “clueless” undergraduate intern in an environment full of seasoned legal professionals and law students ensured that a not-insignificant part of my work would consist of doing what everybody else told me to do, I was able to help attorneys on a number of interesting cases, such as a pending merger involving Japanese and American telecommunications firms, and a case involving patent enforcement for a Japanese firm in the United States.
More importantly, I had the opportunity to sample what life and the corporate culture are like at the Tokyo office of a western firm. Even if I do not decide on a career in law, it seems highly likely that I will work in such an environment in the future, and thus all in all, I found the experience of interning at Morrison & Foerster a rewarding privilege.” Christopher Landkamer (Undeclared) interned at Morrison & Foerster, LLP, Tokyo
“I had an amazing time working as a research assistant in the Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital Research Lab in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. My principal investigator and coworkers were more than willing to guide me through each step of the research process. The lessons that I learned will prove to be invaluable in my future medical career. My experience this summer gave me a greater sense of independence, knowledge about a new country, and more interest in research.
I would not be doing justice to my experience if I did not mention the wonderful food and people. There is no better way to appreciate Taiwanese culture than to go to a night market and sample all the exceptionally inexpensive and delicious food possible (especially stinky tofu!). In addition, the hospitality and kindness shown by the Taiwanese people are unparalleled. The slightly cliché tourist slogan is “Taiwan, Touch Your Heart,” but by the end of my trip, I realized that this tiny island had deeply touched mine.” Alex Chen (Biology) interned at Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
For more information about the East Asia Internship program and how to apply for Summer 2013, please go to: http://ceas.stanford.edu/students/internship.