Collecting some information before applying for an internship abroad could be a very useful strategy to plan to live better once one has left home for the coveted destination.

This time, Elisa Conterio, was asked to answer this topic. Efficient and essential in her responses, Elisa has been chosen because of her International background – she studied at Universities of Venice (Italy) and Lyon (France) – and she had work experience in Shanghai and Beijing. Today, she is an International Account Manager at Skye Media Ltd. based in Bejing, a company that engages in digital marketing into the Chinese market.

So, here it is her outcome:

1. She has a Bachelor Degree and a Master Degree in Chinese Language and Literature, which she has studied for 5 years at University. Her first advice is that: “Studying Chinese for 5 doesn’t mean you can ACTUALLY speak Chinese” Thus, do not take your academic education for granted.

2. What about a good and warm welcome? Absolutely not: “Being a Foreigner doesn’t necessarily means be treated well in a foreign company”.

3. Oh, you are fluent in the language, that’s would be an advantage for sure! You would have more chances to be successful within the company. Wrong: “Working with Chinese can be hard even if you speak the Language”.

4. Therefore, what other skills and competences should I need to master? “You just will learn to endure patience and dealing with stress from the time you wake up in the morning”.

5. What is the best and most popular means of transport in Beijing? “Bikes. There are not that many bicycles in Beijing” 🙂

6. What about holidays and free time? “Chinese Holiday system is a non sense: ok, you have 4 days off but since one of the day is supposed to be a working day you will have to work next weekend”. I agree, it’s quite odd.

7. Any tips to get into the culture faster and avoid misunderstandings? “Yes is actually a NO. That is typically connected to the Chinese culture. They will never say NO to your face, so they say yes…but is actually a NO”. Oh, that’s tricky.

8. Will I establish social life over there? “Of course you will. Meetings during weekends and staying up late in the night or during holidays are completely normal. Money never sleeps.”

9. Is there anything I will miss from my country? “Sometimes you miss the “boring” quietness of your countryside”.

10. How will I end up to after this kind of experience? “Calling Beijing your home”.