The Somewhat Unexpected Internship

One week before I was set to head off to China I received an email from my internship informing me that they would no longer be able to facilitate my working with them for this summer due to unexpected circumstances that were out of their control. I had planned to work with a small NGO called CHDN that worked with people affected by Huntington’s Disease, however the  of organization had to leave Shanghai due to unexpected family circumstances. Although I completely understood why she would now be unable to help me, I was definitely a little unnerved, as I now had to go about finding a new internship, in just one week. Interesting.

I was a little bit at a loss as of what I should do, however I remembered that my roommate had mentioned that her internship was always looking for more people to help write articles about news going on in China… so I figured, why not ask? After Skyping Alex Linder, my soon-to-be boss, I found myself heading off to the world of Chinese news and media outlets. The Shanghaiist here we come. Surprise!

The internship was easy enough, I had to produce 1-3 articles each day about relevant news happening within in China. I would spend the day researching into the variety of different topics, drawing upon different sources to analyze the information provided, and then I would write down my thoughts. Each article would be edited by my boss who would then post it online for the world to see. Although not the most fascinating of atmospheres – being stuck in an office for many hours in the day isn’t my favorite thing – I did thoroughly enjoy learning more about China through this lens. Researching all of the cool and interesting things that were going on within the country, whilst being there, was surreal. It was an incredible way for me to fully immerse myself into the culture, in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

As a political science major, I was able to utilize some of my analytical skills and general interests to help guide my research. For example, during this summer there was a great deal of discussion between China and the US, and I was able to cover much of this within my work. This ensured that I kept up to date with all of the current information, and felt confident coming back to the US with an important, and somewhat unique, outlook on the situation.

I have a few favorite articles that stuck out to me during my time there:

  1. “Man builds himself an illegal swimming pool on top of his apartment building”
  2. “New bio-recognition technologies raise issues of surveillance and privacy in Beijing”
  3. “School buys army tanks for school gates”
  4. “Same-sex couples granted equal visa rights in Hong Kong”
  5. “Top students given chunks of meat for academic excellence”

I learned a great deal from my internship experience, despite it not being my first choice, and I am very grateful that I was able to join the team. I developed an appreciate for the field of journalism that I had never had before, and am now able to fully understand and appreciate the hard work that journalist put into their work. I also was able to begin to understand the reason why journalist do what they do – being on top of the news in the world is an incredibly uplifting and important experience. It actually sparked a new interest in the news for me, and I have kept up with this since getting settled back into Davidson.

Although I was sad that I was not able to work with CHDN (my original internship), I was lucky enough to be able to interview several other members of the organization about their own experiences with Huntington’s Disease within China, and am currently in the stages of wiring an article for the NGO Huntington’s Disease Youth Organization about the differences between the social systems regarding Huntington’s Disease within China.