When I was a child, I learnt to be many things. Strong was one of them. My life wasn’t easy, and it didn’t get much better as I grew up. I had to develop a thick skin to survive in a country in where people like me weren’t accepted or/and were always singled out, because of our skin colour. While racial attacks were uncommon for me in school, not being feminine, not being conventionally pretty and being overweight caused me trouble to fit in girls groups. Still, I was never considered “one of the boys”: I just didn’t have many friends.
“Regret always follows
Making you feel hollow
You promise it is the last
Even if you know it is a lie
My internship at SZOIL dominated my stay in China. The shifts were Monday to Friday, from 9:30 to 17:30, with some voluntary extra time and a couple of weekend activities. I had very nice colleagues, not just my fellow CRCC interns, but the whole team working at SZOIL, from the regular Chinese staff members, to three other student interns from China, Nepal and Sri Lanka. While each of us worked on our own projects, we often lent a hand to each other, or had a break from one and did something different for a while (which is how I ended doing the variety of tasks mentioned below). Moreover, one of SZOIL’s regular workers, whom supervised my work for the GHL, taught us how to use some of the machines in the lab. I only used the laser engraver and cutter, as 3D printing required designing and that’s something I’m awful at.
(If you haven’t, check the first part of my latest blog series ‘CRCC Asia Internship in China’ before reading this one: https://findingmyselfinsideme.com/2017/09/25/crcc-asia-internship-in-shenzhen-preparation-arrival-and-induction/)
After a long three-day weekend of being ill and trying to recover, my first day of work as an intern in China came. I had to wake-up early and meet the rest of CRCC Asia interns in the lobby of Apartment One, to take a group picture before heading to our internships. Most, if not all, interns worked for companies which weren’t near our accommodation. Fortunately, for the first day of work, CRCC staff members took us by minivan to our workplaces. I was not the only CRCC intern working in SZOIL, my assigned company, there were three others CRCC participants coming with me: a student from a university in Northern England, a student from an American university, and a fellow Sussex student. I had only spoken briefly to two of them before the start of the internship, so I didn’t know much about any of them, but hoped for the best, as they would be my co-workers for a month.
The summer of 2016 was memorable for various reasons, from studying in Singapore for a month, to participating in an international work camp in Palestine. I met a lot of people from all over the world and learnt a variety of things useful for both my academic and personal life. Particularly, my introverted self gained confidence to adventure myself into similar opportunities in the future. Hence earlier this year, when I was presented with the option of doing a funded internship in China, I was unable to say no to the opportunity.