Amy Ha, a Bachelor of Journalism student from Hong Kong, recently completed a two month internship at the People’s Daily, the main organ of the Chinese Communist Party.
Here is what her experience was like:
The two months I spent as an intern at the People’s Daily in Beijing not only give me vivid working and life experience, it also widened my career possibilities.
I worked as a reporter covering Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan for the People’s Daily Overseas Edition. I pitched story ideas, conducted interviews, attended press conferences, and wrote articles.
My supervisors trusted me and encouraged me to be creative in my writing. My publications include an opinion piece on Hong Kong art development, an article on cultural exchanges between China and Taiwan, and features on mainland and Hong Kong student issues. I was once sent to Shandong province to cover an event. It was a great experience for me to work independently and make friends with Chinese journalists. The work schedule is intensive and mentally draining, but the frequent practice of producing articles definitely boosted my Chinese writing skill.
The internship also gave me a better understanding of China. This was my first time in a Chinese central organization structure. The staff got along well with each other and acted as though they were living in a community rather than solely working for a company. There are a bunch of facilities in the office including canteens, a clinic, a convenience store, and sports facilities where I had great time watching the annual men’s basketball match and cheering for my colleagues.
I learnt that the working culture in China means that a lot of business and interpersonal relationship rely on meals and drinking. Higher level managers express their gratitude and respect to subordinates by asking them to finish glasses of alcohol, and their requests are unlikely to be denied.
The mainland has a better work-and-life balance, and a slower pace, than Hong Kong. People there treasure their life as much as their job. Don’t be surprised that people would take time to exercise and nap during their 1.5 to 2 hour lunch break.
Two months were just enough for me to explore and understand Beijing. I woke up at 6 to go to the morning wet market to hunt for fresh fruits. I walked 10 km from east to west to see the hustle and bustle of Beijing. I also visited some hutongs, streets with old buildings that date back to the 1200s, to see the real history of the city. Now I can use “North, East, South, West” to direct your way, as every Beijing local does.
I was very lucky to make a lot of great friends in Beijing. I like how people there accept each other, work and live with people from different countries, provinces, and counties. I am very much in love with the historical and humanistic atmosphere of Beijing.
My internship experience was unforgettable and inspiring. The diversity and opportunities in China opened up my career planning, which is no longer limited to Hong Kong.