Learning about the importance of cultural awareness as an Intern in China

One of my key responsibilities is to manage the ‘Chirpy Dragon’ Project along with my teammates. The project involves the participation of three primary schools in Guangzhou. I have already learnt from colleagues that cultural awareness is vital to ensure the success of the project. For instance, I have to draft and translate relevant consent forms and information sheets for teachers, parents and students. It is important that the language we use in the information sheets does not arouse any misunderstanding that would prevent students or schools from participating. Building trust with people  is particularly important in modern China because citizens are always alert to protect themselves, especially external organisations from other countries.I have realised that contextual and cultural understanding is essential to ensuring effective communication and cooperation, especially on an international scale.

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Through undertaking my internship, I am learning more about Chinese working practices.  For instance, every Wednesday, we rotate to collect some home-made sweet soup and bring it to our department. We also take turns collecting water from the ground flood when the water runs out from the water machine. I have worked in a big company before and have found that often little things are  taken for granted and employees focus on themselves. Through this internship, I have learned about the difference between the collectivism(oriental culture) and individualism(western culture). Having an insight into both working practices definitely gives me perspective on how to balance my own working ethos.

By Tzu Yiu Brian Lee

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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