WIE and exchange experience by Christine CHANG
I went to WGSN New York headquarter for a two-week intensive internship this year. WGSN is a global trend forecasting company originally based in the UK, now in New York, USA. Three other students and I performed simultaneous interpreting works for the VIP delegates from China National Textile and Apparel (CNTAC), and assisted marketing department on event management in the company. This internship enables me to gain valuable, first-hand experiences in the real world as I put theory into practice. This opportunity also enhances my learning experiences, at the same time, offers me a time to explore different job nature/functions.
During the internship, I realised that the employees did not see me so much as an intern, but as a true colleague. I also realised that the work I produced will be used in the real world (unlike homework or exams that have no concrete values in real world). It was both daunting and exciting to come to this realisation, knowing that I need to be responsible not only just for myself, but for the wellbeing of the company.
After doing this internship, I know that I do enjoy being challenged and the process of tackling challenges. I also like to work in an environment that gives me the chance to interact with people a lot on a daily basis. I also learned how to be fearless and focused in critical situations. I am now even more willing to step out of my comfort zones, and embrace unknown possibilities in life.
My heart was set on going to Germany for the exchange program few years ago. I learned about Germany’s war history, food, culture, and people in High School, and I dreamed of living there in the future. My dream came true this year, and I am truly enjoying the times here. I am living in a city called Deggendorf, located in the Lower part of the beautiful Bavarian state. My school campus is a mixture of modernity and tranquility. You can hardly hear anyone screaming or raising their voices across campus. Everyone is so focused on their tasks and do not bother to disturb the peacefulness in this community. I had some chances to make friends with friends from Germany, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Russia, and Ukraine. This was a very refreshing experience for me because I grew up with friends who are from the States, Asia, and India. I am introduced to so many different cultures and cuisines all at once, and it is truly amazing.
People often ask me if I have cultural/language barriers between me and the local Germans here. Before coming here, I myself also worried about this issue; however, (after spending two months in Germany) I had an epiphany—act of compassion breaks down all the barriers between people. I had the opportunity to personally witness many acts of compassion between people of different ethnicities in Germany—a German student helping a refugee to find a place on the map, or a group of students encouraging each other on the 29.3 km hike to Czech Republic, or exchanging food from their own countries as a gesture of care. People are able to tear down the walls between them with some small acts of compassion.
Before, I easily took my life and everything in my life for granted. Now, I gradually understand that time is limited and that life is too extraordinary to be wasted, especially when you are in Germany!
BA(Hons) in Chinese and Bilingual Studies