Contributed by the 20 interns working in Suzhou and Shanghai, China in Mar-Apr 2012
Excitement filled the hearts of the twenty of us from SP Business School who were ready for our Overseas Internship Training Program (OITP) at Suzhou and Shanghai in March-April 2012. It was a very precious opportunity for many of us who hardly travelled outside Singapore, let alone working overseas. Cold was the only word we could find in our dictionary upon our arrival but very soon for the next few days, we were overwhelmed by the eye-opening orientation at Suzhou and Shanghai!
Internship training started after the orientation and everyone was anxious about the first day of work! Not only because of the differences in culture and environment, were we also entirely on our own without the shelter of our parents and lecturers. Things turned out well as we quickly settled in with our friendly supervisors and colleagues, as well as having a taste of self-independence.
Cultural practices are very different from Singapore, from the crazy traffic to the exotic food. Objects on wheels have higher priority than those on legs and we have to give way to the drivers (“Shi Fu”) or a long horn would be sounded. Food wise, there are just so many different types of Chinese cuisines from different provinces for us to challenge our taste bud to the extreme.
Cost of living in Shanghai is comparable to Singapore and the high-rise neon-lighted buildings and sceneries signify the beauty of Shanghai. Meanwhile, Suzhou offers a natural poetic environment with greater Chinese elements from beautiful canals, lakes, garden, authentic local cuisine and cultures. Travelling between Shanghai and Suzhou is merely a 40-minute train ride. Therefore, interns stationed at Suzhou and Shanghai would visit each other over the weekends as we planned and bonded with each other over many interesting activities.
Despite our different office locations, we would try to have dinner together after work to share our daily happenings with each other. Nothing feels more comfortable than sitting together with friends from Singapore Poly in a different country and sharing with each other our encounters.
All of us were touched by the effort and care our teachers showered us with. We could see the effort our teachers and the school put in. They were very concerned about us even after they have returned to Singapore after settling us at our work place. They were constantly in touch with us to see how we are doing.
These six weeks are unforgettable for the twenty of us. The time we spent together will be missed, including the exotic food and crazy traffic. All of us from different diplomas of SP Business School look forward to meeting each other after we return to Singapore, a place of familiarity, a place where our friendship will continue to grow after the six unforgettable weeks.
Thank you SP! You have given us an once-in-a-lifetime experience that neither can be replaced nor repeated, but will always be remembered fondly!