Internship Reflections

Niujie Mosque

Pudong from the IFC

My favorite gate guardsman Mr. Fang

Moving out

Reunion with my previous study abroad Chinese family

What I learned/Gained from the Internship:

It exposed me to US-China relations, getting involved in one facet of business (NGO/NPO), utilized Chinese and English language skills, provided an insight into the future financial hub of the world, and got to talk with the movers and shakers of Shanghai’s global market economy has been the cherry on top. This is the area that I’ve always been obsessed with, but was afraid with only a minor in business and as a mere undergraduate, I would never get a chance to experience. It’s really helped open my eyes to the fact that I have the potential to go after I want, and with an introduction into U.S.-China commercial relations, this is just the beginning of so many opportunities I have waiting for me.

Strengths/Weaknesses of the Internship:

In my experience, honestly no weaknesses. I still remember back in March during my phone interviews that regardless the task I just wanted the internship so badly. But what surprised me most was they asked, “What do you like to do most? We would like to place you in a position that you will enjoy.”

Though it may sound sickly of me, this internship has provided opportunities for me to work under pressure, allow me to excel in what I enjoy, multi-task to the extreme and really utilize all my skills in any given day.

Interning Abroad in Shanghai:

Opinion on Shanghai: If you want to get involved in any business, trade, up-and-coming transformations of the global economy, Shanghai is the place to be. If you do not speak Chinese but want to go to China, Shanghai is the comfiest place for foreigners. Lines of foreign brand products, the influx of expatriates and Starbucks on every corner will subdue any lingering culture shock. It feels like New York more than any place in China I've ever been. With it's opening as a free-trade zone, it'll be exciting to see how the economy transforms.

How the organization helps to further the goals of students:

AmCham Shanghai provides the potential for interns to go above and beyond. When it comes down to the fine details, it’s ultimately dependent upon how much the intern wants and can take on. I could have sat here for the past four months on Chinese Facebook and gotten away with it, but that’s not why I went through four phone interviews, accepted an unpaid internship and hopped on a plane four days after graduation. My advisors and staff have helped immerse myself in the issue of helping small business expand abroad, the intricacies behind governmental, NGO, NPO and Public Private Partnerships, and I’m extremely thankful. But what I'm most thankful is their adherence in really showing me that I'm not just an intern, but a valuable asset in advocating for economic prosperity for both the U.S. and China. Though it was only three months, I learned as much as I would in a year at school. This internship undoubtedly has strengthened my foundation in business practicality, day-to-day logistics and providing the best I can for my company. With this experience, I now have the confidence that I can apply to jobs in any industry and any field.

Shanghai Shenanigans

A few insights of the culture that make Shanghai and China so unique. 

That's so China... 


Shanghai, Jing'An District Theme Songs:

What you hear 24/7 strolling down Nanjing Rd. 

Shanghai People's Park 'Marriage Market'


July 28, 2013 Sunday Saunter-

Went guy searching but instead just walked around the park ;) In the photo are paper profiles of single men & women (mostly young girls with their height, birth and reason for not being married yet) information. Matchmakers will try to pair up possible dates for parents of those who haven’t married yet.

Marriage Market Matchmaker

Fantastic article on the 'marriage market' by CNN

Fantastic article on the 'marriage market' by CNN


单身 Dānshēn:Single 

帅哥 Shuàigē:Handsome Guy

美女 Měinǚ:Beautiful Girl

臭美 Chòuměi: Smug; purposely dress up to impress

That's so English...?  英文。。。么?

Perks of Being an Intern

Even though pay isn't the incentive here, AmCham Shanghai provides several opportunities for interns to attend member events, training sessions and mixers.  The fact that I get the chance to rub elbows with some of Shanghai's movers and shakers of today's business world, as well as listen first-hand to China experts on issues in U.S.-China relations makes this experience priceless.

Three of the Orientation China Guidebook chapter authors, Kunal Sinha, Chief Knowledge Officer at Ogilvy & Mather, Founder and Managing Director Chris Wingo of China Sage Consultants, and AmCham Shanghai Vice President of Programs & Services Scott Williams.

Three of the Orientation China Guidebook chapter authors, Kunal Sinha, Chief Knowledge Officer at Ogilvy & Mather, Founder and Managing Director Chris Wingo of China Sage Consultants, and AmCham Shanghai Vice President of Programs & Services Scott Williams.

China E-commerce and Managed Services Event: Advanced Outsourcing Models Emerging in China

China E-commerce and Managed Services Event: Advanced Outsourcing Models Emerging in China

Getting to meet with the Mayor of Raleigh, NC and CEO of F7 International Development!

Young Professional's Forum evening mixer at Kartel

Grapes. For days. Everyone got a crate of organic grapes as a lil' summer thank-you. 

 Some of my favorite events this summer:

June 21- 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Conference

June 5- Orientation China Guidebook kickoff event 

June 19- Young Professionals Forum featuring cookie business entrepreneur Lexie Comstock

June 26- U.S. Direct Marketing Association (DMA) – Social Marketing Practice (Chinese session)

July 17- SME mixer on the Huangpu River

July 23- Intern luncheon with Chairman of AmCham Shanghai's board Mr. Robert Theleen

May Member Mixer at Glamour

May Member Mixer at Glamour

Launching the SME Virtual Center

Staff team building with WOW! Fitness.

Celebrating office birthdays each month with tons of cake! 

My beloved AmCham SME team! I'm going to really miss them.

Shanghai Nightlife & Networking

Perhaps my favorite view of Shanghai at night, the Bund. Canon Powershot SX120 15", F5.6, ISO 800

Perhaps my favorite view of Shanghai at night, the Bund. Canon Powershot SX120 15", F5.6, ISO 800

One distinguishing feature of Shanghai is the majority of people aged 20-25 here are either participating on study abroad programs, internships, or are just working temporarily. The hustle and bustle of working from 9 to 5 however doesn't stop after that. 

Networking is one of the biggest aspects that inevitably you need to engage in if you want to start building any sort of connections in China. Firstly, you should always befriend the locals. But if you have time, you should also join expat communities like Shanghai's InterNations , vamp up your online business card A.K.A. your LinkedIn profile and use printing services for actual business cards. Read up below on the University of Utah's social media tips:

Tips to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile  

Tips to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile


The Pearl Tower

June 22, 2013 Deep Summer Yacht Party

June 22, 2013 Deep Summer Yacht Party

“Gentlemen help one another achieve good things, they do not help others do evil. Small men do the exact opposite.”


更多选择 More Choices

One of my favorites when there's not a swarm of tourists, the Old Shanghai Teahouse.  (Built 1784)

豫园 Yuyuan Garden

First built in 1559 in the Ming Dynasty, but had gone through renovations and war and pillaging, then repaired again in 1961 and declared a national monument in 1982. This is just a small piece of the place.

In the clip I wanted to show how claustrophobic it can get. The Chinese saying “人山人海”  transliterates as"people mountain, people sea" (a.k.a. a ton of people) works well in this context. My fault for going on a Sunday afternoon.

Though smoking and drinking laws are polar opposites from Utah's, you don't necessarily need to partake in this. You should get used to being around this environment though because it can come up frequently. But if you really abhor smoky environments, or can't be around alcohol, perhaps be the first to suggest a smoke-free restaurant (they're growing) or a local tea house.  Yuyuan Garden happens to have a great lil' teahouse. Weekday early, or post lunch when there aren't so many tourists is a good time.



Business Card Etiquette

This is more important than your LinkedIn, telephone number etc. Especially when working at AmCham, we see entrepreneurs, commercial service directors, as well as U.S. and Chinese government representatives daily.

I ordered the basic, cheap pack of 200 black and white business cards at the printing shop behind AmCham for ¥60RMB. I've gone through 100 already just attending a few events here and there, random visits to the SME office, as well as evening events. 

*To note: Status is of greater significance in Chinese culture than how much money you make. I would suggest not putting 'intern' (实习生) on your card and perhaps using something vague like 'representative' (人员) 

Be sure to lay your cards out nicely so you can reference them. 

Be sure to lay your cards out nicely so you can reference them. 

Chinese For The Day: 

实习生Shíxí shēng:  Intern

幽闭恐怖症Yōubì kǒngbù zhèng: Claustrophobia

恐怖症: “fear terror disease” a.k.a. phobia.

老外Lǎowài:"Foreigner" (typically referring to individuals of non-Asian countries)

外地人Wàidì rén:"Outsider" (In Mainland typically refers to outer provinces, non-local Chinese)


To give and receive a business card, you must do it with both hands. When receiving, take with both hands, look at it endearingly (or at the very least you need to look at it to show you care) and say '您好' or 'nice to meet you' or start asking about their company. It's important not to tuck their card away immediately, but instead almost cherish it. Only respectful.

Check out the video to the left for more information.

The exchanging of business cards at AmCham usually occurs at the beginning of an event, so make sure you're there for the first 15 minutes of what we call 'networking' time.  And once you sit down for a meeting/event, be sure to lay your cards out nicely so you can reference them.


关系Guānxì:"Relationship" "有关系,就没关系。没关系,就有关系。"

This, much like 气 or 道 cannot be transliterated in English because of the deep-rooted cultural meanings behind the character. In terms of business, as economist Howard Davies once defined it, “a set of personal connections which an individual may draw upon to secure resources or advantage when doing business or in the course of social life.”

But these personal connections are not formed by a mere handshake or one-time dinner. That may actually inhibit your guanxi. Chinese connections are developed based on long-term, trusting and committed mutual reciprocation of good guanxi. In the development and dedication to building relations through face-to-face interactions, respect and reciprocation, it supports a network of individuals who trust each other, does not inhibit exchange and increases economic and cultural prosperity.

Celebrating U.S. Holidays: 4th of July

June 29, 2013 Putting on our annual big event: AmCham Shanghai Independence Day Celebration  down at Mandarin Oriental in Pudong. Had over 2,000 members and family attend the event. Got to help with t-shirt painting, listen to a few live bands and bond with the AmCham team. Our outgoing president Brenda Foster is such an inspirational individual, and it's been an honor to get to know her and work around her, even though our time was so brief. Just her presence spoke louder than words when she entered a room. At the event, we got the opportunity to get on stage and sing her a farewell song back to Hawaii. Fantastic bunch of staff I get to work with. Successful weekend no doubt.


This is my third, fourth of July in China, but it always feels so bizarre to be out of the country. It really makes you sit back and think. Lunch on the fourth was pancakes at Mr. Pancake and dinner we all got burgers at Beef & Liberty. 

93% of Fireworks Consumed in the US are Made in China

93% of Fireworks Consumed in the US are Made in China

U.S. & China- Inextricably linked:

Invention of paper:  China, Han Dynasty  around 105 A.D.  +

Invention of gunpowder:  China, Song Dynasty c. 1000 A.D. =American Fourth of July


Intern Projects: Our SME Virtual Center Launch!

This has been my main project this summer. July 1st we officially launched our SME Virtual Center. It's been AmCham's focus for over a year, and we were able to launch it right before our former president, Brenda Foster left office. It's no doubt a slow process, but providing a central location for U.S. and Chinese investors, businesses, government and commercial services will transform the U.S. economy. I'm honored I have been able to participate in this.

Our AmCham Shanghai SME Virtual Platform:

The virtual platform offers online support and resources to U.S. Small & Medium Enterprises interested in the China market. It also provides an opportunity for U.S. federal, state and local government entities, and accredited organizations to showcase projects in an easy to utilize platform to attract Chinese investment. Some features allow businesses to:

  • Create, manage and edit your SME company profile
  • Connect with prospective Chinese investors, businesses and government organizations
  • Search a database of business service providers across industries and business functions
  • Find answers to practical questions about doing business in China and resources for expanding into the market
The website I get to collaborate on with my SME team

The website I get to collaborate on with my SME team

Eve of the launch! Our former president Ms. Brenda Foster officially flipped the switch

Eve of the launch! Our former president Ms. Brenda Foster officially flipped the switch

Intern Attire: Tips & Tricks

Unsure what to wear? I basically stuffed my suitcase the night before with any and all clothes I've used for student government, interviews and classroom presentations. AmCham Shanghai is a respected name and is the largest American chamber of commerce in Asia. Ergo, you should probably keep your jeans at home when on the clock.

A few tips: 

  • Keep a sweater, blazer or large summer scarf at the office to cover your shoulders for meetings/guests
  • Observe what your coworkers are wearing
  • If unsure, more is always better

My style: Mainly solid colors, nothing too flashy, no obvious brand association, less gaudy, minimalist. I like to match, coordinate shades, and all my skirts/dresses are just an inch above my knee (in fashion this year but not too short) Most of these photos I took without my sweater because the temperature reached in upwards of 105 F, but I always carry a jacket or sweater and put it on at work. 

What I always keep in the office:

  • A pair of nude/black close-toed heels
  • A pair of black flats
  • A small black sweater

Got the money woes?

That's right you're a student. Here are some options:

  • Department stores: U.S. Stores like JCPenney or Dillard's   oftentimes offer sales on basic suit sets, button-downs and interviewing clothes.
  • Secondhand stores: The D.I. of course is a hot commodity in Utah, Salvation Army, or even Dress for Success. 
  • Major holiday sales: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Labor Day, etc. departments always have great clearance items.
  • Shanghai fabric markets:  Don't come with an empty suitcase unless you want to go to work naked for a few days, but depending on the fabric and your bargaining skills, you can get a custom-made outfit in 3-7 days.  Check out the Fabric Market below for more details.


Always Be Prepared!

What I keep in my office cupboard: 

Chinese for the day:

奢侈品Shēchǐ pǐn: Luxury brand

辛苦Xīnkǔ: toilsome, hard (life) 

打折Dǎzhé: discount, sale

 “太露了”Tài lùle: Too flashy; exposed

“太夸张了”Tài kuāzhāngle:Too excessive; gaudy

时尚Shíshàng: Trendy; fashionable



Get your intern clothes tailor-made

The South Bund Fabric Market



U.S.-China Relations Conference

June 21, 2013 2013 Chinese Investment to the United States Conference

Robert Theleen, chairman and CEO of American investment and merchant bank ChinaVest Ltd. and chair of AmCham Shanghai; Eugene Qian, managing director, head of Corporate and Investment Banking Shanghai; Ning Shao, chief executive, Center of American States; and Raymond Cheng, president and CEO of SoZo group.

Robert Theleen, chairman and CEO of American investment and merchant bank ChinaVest Ltd. and chair of AmCham Shanghai; Eugene Qian, managing director, head of Corporate and Investment Banking Shanghai; Ning Shao, chief executive, Center of American States; and Raymond Cheng, president and CEO of SoZo group.

AmCham Shanghai Hosts Chinese Investment to the United States Conference

June 21, 2013 2013

Jin Mao Tower, Grand Hyatt in Shanghai, China

My primary responsibility pertaining to the conference involved creating a  presentation in English and Chinese highlighting U.S. states and investment opportunities for China. After hours of struggling with my software & design to create a mediocre display, it actually paid off. I was beyond myself when CEOs, investors and our president came and lauded over the slideshow. I learned seemingly small projects can make a deep impact.  

During the conference, I had the opportunity to sit in and listen to guest speakers in Chinese and English. The conference focused mainly on outbound investment and provided a platform for U.S. and Chinese investors, business executives and government officials to understand the opportunities and challenges of foreign investment in the United States.

At break sessions, I also got to meet several state economic office representatives, potential Chinese investors, as well as major commercial service representatives in the East Asia sector.  

"Remember the pleasure of working. "

- Robert H. Hinckley

Jin Mao Tower


  • Second tallest building in Mainland China
  • 88-story building (88 is auspicious for resembling 囍 or "double happiness" as well as sounding like 发 or "wealth")

Shot from inside the tower. 

Jin Mao Tower with the Pearl Tower in background after it rained

Jin Mao Tower with the Pearl Tower in background after it rained

Jin Mao Tower during the conference

Jin Mao Tower during the conference

The Latest Contagion: H7N9 Avian Influenza-A

Chinese for the day:

“放心鸡肉” Fàngxīn jīròu: "To be at ease chicken meat"

                  禽流感 Qín liúgǎn: Avian Influenza

病例 Bìnglì: Case (of illness) 

Kentucky Fried Chicken's campaign response to the public:

July 29, 2013 New H7N9 Case

July 29, 2013

New H7N9 Case

June 11, 2013 Tracking the avian flu outbreak  

June 11, 2013

Tracking the avian flu outbreak


April 10, 2013 安徽举行人感染H7N9禽流感应急演练  

April 10, 2013



What I've noticed is locals’ reactions to the H7N9 are much more subdued than perspectives in the U.S. Everyone who I’ve talked to just say to wash your hands more often and make sure you go to a decent restaurant for chicken, not off the side of the street. As of May 14th, the Shanghai gov’t was going to declare H7N9 no longer a threat, but then another individual died that day. It’s close to being completely contained though.




A few weeks prior to flying out, I utilized SmartShanghai's Housing Classifieds. But due to several recent rent scams, I instead stayed at a hotel for a few days and emailed a three agents for an in-person visit.

Depending on how comfortable, how 'Shanghainese', how far you want to be from work, it's all about the money. A few places I visited had up to six rooms, a mix of male/female and representing countries all over.  Typically housing is most expensive in the inner ring, and cheaper the further out you go.

But don't let the inner ring deter you. I found a shared apartment with a Chinese girl working at an English academy here, 10 minutes walking distance from work! I really lucked out.


Example prices in Shanghai Jing'An District (where AmCham is) :

  • Single bedroom apartment 70 sq. meters, 15 minutes from work: ¥7,500
  • 6 bedroom shared apartment, with a weekly maid, including water, electricity & internet, television, kitchen: ¥3,700-4,500/month.  20-minute walk to work.
  • (My current place) 2 bedroom apartment, all facilities, kitchen (no elevator & 5th floor), with internet:  ¥2,600


I'm not too fond of five other foreigners coming home at all hours of the night, and I wanted to practice more Chinese, so literally the day before my first day of work the fourth place I visited I immediately said yes. It's not the Ritz, but I only have one roommate, a super quiet and safe complex, friendly gate keepers, and the best part is I'm only a ten minute walk from my office! 


I would recommend to any intern that besides safety, the #1 priority in finding a place is proximity to your internship. 


Chinese for Today:

1. “一个月是多少钱?”:  

Yīgè yuè shì duōshǎo qián? 

How much does it cost for one month?

2. 租房Zūfáng

To rent a room

3. 室友 :Shìyou 


4. 房东 Fángdōng


5.  浸泡 :Jìnpào 

To soak

Figuring out the washing machine… In Chinese. No I don’t want to make an appointment? (预约) with my washing machine… And there’s no dryer in the place and it’s raining. I know I'm fortunate to even have a washer, but ain't nobody got time for this.

Day 1 of the Internship

May 13, 2013


First day of work. Woke up at 4:00 am to mosquitoes buzzing in my face and birds cackling outside. Tossed and turned until I dragged myself up from bed at 6:30. Put on my best, went to the fast food place Yonghe King (永和大王) and bought an egg crepe (蛋饼油条) and soy milk (豆浆) for ¥9/$1.45.

Before I walked in to work I sat on a bench outside the Business Centre (上海商城). Donned a pair of flats and carrying a pair of heels in my bag, I wanted to see what local girls were wearing. I’d say 8/10 wore flats, the others wore 1” heels. Mine were 4”. In order to be respected by locals, one aspect of culture is dressing like them. And already being taller than the average Chinese female, I didn’t need another 4”. Arrived to work 20 minutes and got thrown into learning about AmCham. In short, love my fellow staff members and supervisors already. Very friendly, laid-back, but passionate and determined team.

Where I work! The SME Center

Where I work! The SME Center

The SME Center & one of my amazing bosses!

Started my first project on researching U.S. and Chinese NGOs and NPOs.
Had lunch with my supervisors at Judy’s. Having a glass of Coke with ice cubes was a treat. Still doesn’t feel like I’m in China:

Went home, but found out the key the landlord gave me didn’t work for my room. Had to wait 2 hours for the locksmith and pay him for a new door knob. All I can say is so annoying (好烦). Wasn’t my fault, but I’m in a different country.

Next day started out with a meeting on product regulation laws between China and the U.S. I love my internship already. No big deal, just head deputies and representatives for U.S. Commercial Services, East Asia trade representatives, SME CEOs, etc. Finished off with an awesome lunch at this pan fried dumpling (生煎) place. 生煎, pronounced “Shēng jiān" are these delicious little pork-filled dumplings and are pan fried on the bottom to seal in the meat juices. Mine came with four and a small container of vinegar for dipping, ¥6/$0.97 cents!

10 Things To Do Once You Land

Shanghai Taxi Guide

Shanghai Taxi Guide

Shanghai Police Department

Shanghai Police Department


Explore Shanghai Metro Map

Explore Shanghai Metro Map



My hotel's bathroom

My hotel's bathroom

10 Things To Do Once You Land

1. “Hit” a cab: In Chinese, to catch a cab “打车”transliterates as “hit car”. The best cab is the turquoise company & the white vans, then yellow, blue and green cabs. Red cabs have been infamous in the office for taking foreigners on a joyride and charging them an arm and leg. But the worst are black cars. Never let a cabby approach you, always grab your own. From the Pudong airport to my hotel in west Puxi cost ¥99RMB/$16USD, but a black cab could charge easily charge you ¥400RMB/$65USD.


2. Sleep: The 14-hour time difference between Utah and Shanghai will take about 5-6 days to get used to, so try to sleep!


3. Register: Once you have a place to live, register at your local police station ASAP. It’s the law. Don’t get caught living here unregistered or you could face a hefty fine of up to ¥50,000!


4. Visit: Find the office before your internship starts if possible. 


Shanghai Centre, Suite 568

1376 Nanjing Road West


5. Get a metro card: It can be used on the subway, bus, or in a taxi. Click the metro mascot on the left side for the interactive map.


6. Buy a cell phone: In today’s society we can’t live without one sadly. I went to China Mobile and had no problem. A basic Huawei smart phone currently costs about ¥400RMB/$65USD. Be sure to bring your passport with you when applying.


7. Open a bank account and deposit your converted money. But always keep about ¥200RMB on you. Many places take cash only.


8. Get lost during the day (If you speak Chinese) I feel this is the best way to get to know a place as long as you know your home base and have at least two ways of getting back safely.


9. Find a place to live It’s nerve-wracking when you land and you don’t have a place to rent for the summer. But if you’re nervous about online scammers, you just need to get to Shanghai first before you rent an apartment. I used Smart Shanghai’s housing classifieds


10. Buy bottled water: Tap water isn't potable so you need to either buy a hot water kettle or buy bottled water.



10 things To Do Before You Go

10 Things To Do Before You Depart For Shanghai

1. Visa: Get a visa suitable for the length of your internship preferably a month ahead of time.

2. Lodging: Reserve a hotel room for 2-3 days. Near a subway or your workplace would be ideal.

3. Pack: Start packing your bags at the latest 2 days prior to leaving. I used Smarter Travel’s packing list.

4. Map: Have a map to your hotel prepared with the Chinese (and pinyin if you can read) to show the cab driver.

5. Health: Check the World Health Organization (WHO) site on China to see if you need immunizations and go get a physical done at your nearest clinic. Have your physical results printed and leave a copy at home. Visit: WHO China

6. Wellness: Stock up on prescriptions if you have an existing condition or in case of allergies, birth control, nose, ear and throat medications.

7. Study: Brush up on your Chinese phrases. It makes a world of a difference. I personally love the Confucius Institute Online Learning Center.

8. Understand your job: Start getting acquainted with what your organization does, what you might be doing, and ask if you can go ahead and start researching on a topic. It’s better to come into an office somewhat prepared rather than going head-on through two weeks of training. I was a creeper and printed off the list of staff so I could start learning names… AmCham Shanghai also has some of their publications online so I took advantage of the 15-hour plane ride.

9. Gift giving: Buy a few unique gifts that are American made. China’s consumer society focuses much now on quality and the safety of products. Things like ginseng, powdered milk formula, vitamins, and name brand products are always good.

10. Be thankful: Make sure to thank those who helped you get into the internship, those who support you emotionally and financially, and thank your professors for the insight and wisdom they've imparted on you. 

Packing List

Packing List

Baidu's Interactive Map: Shanghai

Baidu's Interactive Map: Shanghai

Confucius Institute E-Learning

Confucius Institute E-Learning

AmCham Shanghai Chamber Publications

AmCham Shanghai Chamber Publications

Meet Our Shanghai Intern


Charlotte is working with the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai's Small & Medium Enterprise Center. Follow her experiences here.