Ekaterina Ermolaeva - General Business Projects in China
Studying International Business at university spurred me to expand my knowledge with a real life experience and take part on a voluntary business placement in China. On my first day I was nervous but excited about how the office would look, who the team were that I would be working with and what type of work I was going to be doing.
The office I was working in was located on the 23rd floor and had an amazing view of the streets of Shanghai. It was an ideal distance of half an hour from the flat I was staying in. The people I worked with were responsive and helpful, but most importantly a lot of them soon became my friends.
Once, during lunch, I asked my manager about the Shanghai Wildlife Park as I knew it is one of the biggest animal parks in the world. It appeared that he loved animals too and although he heard about the park, he had never been there. My manager, myself and two of my colleagues went together to the park, where we could feed the kangaroos, touch the lemurs, ride an elephant and hold a baby tiger!
My internship was interactive, involved a lot of multi-tasking and was a truly worthy experience that will help me to overcome any difficulties in the future. The company who I was working for was Italki.com which is a global language educational social network and a marketplace where people from different countries communicate and learn new languages.
My primary responsibilities were the development of a marketing plan and marketing materials targeted at Russian speaking markets, identification of potential partner website and blogs as well as placing marketing materials on various media sites. In addition, I helped with QA testing and translation corrections of the website and teaching processes.
I was also given the opportunity to test the website myself and successfully completed ten lessons of Mandarin language. Last but not least, the internship was not limited to the office only. Our manager showed us around the city and we learnt how the advertising is different from in the West, what kind of advertising is the most popular in Shanghai and how it all works.
I will definitely come back to China after I finish my studies to spend time visiting Beijing and travelling around the country. My voluntary project was for one month which meant that I had four weekends to explore the Expo, visit the historical sights, buy souvenirs, go to the Shanghai Wildlife Park and, of course, enjoy the famous nightlife!
As for the social events, Projects Abroad organised enough gatherings where all the volunteers got together and had the opportunity to get to know each other. One of my favourite nights was when all the volunteers met in the Southern Barbarian Restaurant, which is located in the modern Pudong area with all the skyscraper surroundings and the view on the famous Pearl.
I would like definitely recommend for any new volunteers who are going to Shanghai to make the most of their stay and I would like to thank the Projects Abroad staff for the help and support during my stay.