Final Thoughts

After being abroad for an entire year, there are a lot of big things that you learn. I will not dive into everything that I learned from the entire year, but rather focus on a few things that I felt were very important at the conclusion of the summer. The number one thing that I think is not only important in the workplace is communication. Being able to communicate effectively is something that is very important for a successful life. The other big thing that being abroad taught me is to be open minded and go with the flow. There were many times over the course of the summer where I was very disappointed with something or I didn’t understand a cultural element, so the best thing for me to do was to open my mind and understand the “why” as opposed to criticizing. The memories and experiences that I have from my time in Shanghai will serve me for a lifetime, there are some skills that I would have never obtained if it weren’t for my time abroad. Saying goodbye to really good friends and parting with Shanghai has been very hard for me, nevertheless I am more than ready to take on the challenges that face me ahead. Thanks so much for Davidson for allowing me to have such an amazing opportunity!

Internship experience

I interned at TÜV SÜD Shanghai on the quality management team this summer. Every single member of my team was very supportive and would help whenever necessary. All of my colleagues were extremely interested in getting to know background and why I would choose to come to Shanghai for an internship. Over the two months that I was at TÜV SÜD I managed several big projects and collaborated closely with the executives in the company. Interestingly enough, some of the best interactions that I had with colleagues was outside of the workplace. In China it is very common to go out with colleagues after work for a drink or maybe even dinner. They all were nice enough to show me a few local places and throughout these interactions I was able to learn so much more about China, the culture, and the people. It is very interesting because so many people have very different opinions about their own country, this is especially the case in China. China has so much culture and history that I feel like in a lifetime I will not be able to know near all of it, but by listening and conversing with many locals I feel like I  have a better grasp than ever before. China is an amazing country.

 

 

 

 

 

Shanghai adventures

For the 2017-18 academic year I had been studying in Shanghai. Upon the conclusion of my program in the middle of May, I returned home to Houston for two weeks of rest before returning to Shanghai. I arrived back to PuDong International Airport on May 29th at 8PM. Upon arrival to the airport I quickly cleared customs and continued to my apartment… I started my internship on the following day (May 30). In terms of the culture shock, this trip back to China was, for me, like returning to my own home. I have spent a significant amount of time in Shanghai and knew the ends and outs. Nevertheless, every moment abroad was a new experience for me. You never know what you will encounter, especially in China! My favorite part about China is the food. There are so many awesome options and you can go a very long time without eating the same thing. Not only is Shanghai full of amazing Chinese food, there is also awesome choices for good Japanese food! One of the recent highlights was having Terry Zervos, a senior at Davidson, in Shanghai. I took him to one of my friends restaurant to enjoy some of the best Shanghainese food in Shanghai! After not being at Davidson for a long while, I was able to catch up on the things that happened on campus this past year! Shanghai is an amazing city and I have been more than happy with my experience here!

Final Thoughts

The night before leaving for Beijing, my final destination in China, I met an Austrian traveler walking around the city-wall of Xi’an. It was a rainy evening, but we quickly got caught up in a conversation about our life-paths up until this point. After hearing my story, the guy suggested that after I finish my internship I should take a day/night to reflect on my summer while camping on the Great Wall of China. He shared his experience, and before he even finished, I was sold.

A few locals that agreed to help

There was no specific plan, just a bit of research on the outdated/banned Google. A few days later, I got onto a public bus towards a village near the Great Wall. Initially, the ride there, with all the transfers, was supposed to take about 5 hours. Yet, since nothing really went according to the plan this summer, I got very-very lost at least 3 times. Thinking back on it, for some reason I never doubted reaching the destination. Somehow, after initiating conversations, there was always someone willing to help or at least point me in the right direction. The sun was long set when I finally reached the desired location. Throughout the night, I had plenty of time to reflect on my summer experience. I woke up with the sunrise and spent another 5 hours in peaceful solitude walking along the Great Wall.

5 hour long hike along the Great Wall

 

This summer was incredible for many reasons. First and foremost, the Davidson in East Asia program provided me with an opportunity to explore the world. I have had a chance to travel a little before coming to Davidson, however, after spending 3 years in exploration of different perspectives through various disciplines, the travel aspect of this summer was especially rewarding. Furthermore, because of my pursuit for a double major, I was unable to go through the popular study abroad experience. While finding an internship in a completely foreign environment was a challenge, I am grateful for this opportunity and the assistance I received throughout the process. It is one thing to go half across the world just to explore, but it is a whole different adventure when you are able to immerse yourself through work experience. All in all, this was an experience of a lifetime, and I would like to thank everyone who was a part of this experience with me!

Cupping, Acupunture, and Basketball?

I had an amazing experience living on my own in Shanghai for two months working at 上海三爱中医门诊部 (San Ai TCM).  San Ai TCM is a Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic that focuses on holistic methods specializing in acupuncture and cupping specifically. My work at the clinic mainly consisted of assisting doctors with their acupuncture and cupping procedures, learning how to perform the procedures, and preparing medicine in the pharmacy.

The prescribed medicine consisted of various natural herbs, roots, and minerals from all over the country. Each individual ingredient had it’s own drawer or jar and the sheer number of  them made it seem like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Working at San Ai TCM also blew away my preconceived notions of technology being absent from these Traditional Chinese methods. Special machinery is used to control temperature, moisture, and dispense coffee like grades of the ingredients. I was not expecting to see such a technologically savvy electronic inventory inside a clinic based on the foundations of the past.

My coworkers and even my patients were all very friendly and patient with me when it came to getting them what they needed. With me knowing some Mandarin Chinese but being no where close to fluent I fumbled around my first week pretty badly. However, throughout my time seeing the extentivness of TCM and the faith in which people put into it coupled with me being there long enough to conclude results in my regular patients was powerful.  My schedule at work was also flexible enough to allow me to make multiple overnight trips to other cities for the full Chinese experience. I was able to visit The Great Wall Of China In Beijing, The Great Yellow Mountains of Huangshan, and the gondola of The Water City Suzhou.

Out of all of my trips hiking The Great Yellow Mountains in Huangshan had to be my favorite. I was able to catch up with Maxwell Zucker, one of my classmates, who was also in China for the summer. Together we  climbed over four hours in the elements, ultimately experiencing the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever seen in our lives. After reaching the peak and taking in the scenery for awhile, we came across a random blacktop basketball court on top of this beautiful mountain in the middle of rural china with a ball. Despite the monstrous cardio we went through the scenery and opportunity was too perfect for us not to play. After 15 mins of us messing around throwing up shots and playing one on one we had a crowd of over 200 people watching and cheering us on. This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I could never forget.


Traveling the world and experiencing different forms of medicine first hand has allowed me to acquire unique health care skills and form my own opinion on the current state of Western Medicine. Not only that, but I was in the best place in the world to put my Chinese i’ve been learning at Davidson to the real test. I am extremely grateful for the many lessons and the opportunity as a whole.          

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