My Beijing experience by Tonata Shaningwa

I’m a person who lives for adventure and travel. I love going to places I have never been to, meeting new people and living new experiences. I decided to take part in the AIESEC GCDP exchange program, because I wanted to push myself a little further outside of my comfort zone and embrace new opportunities.

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I was fortunate enough to do a voluntary internship in Beijing, China. Together with AIESEC interns from Vietnam, Hong Kong and South Africa, I worked at the China Green Channel (Pty) Ltd. with a social enterprise that manufactures and sells stationery made from recycled paper. I worked closely with the CEO of the company, marketing and working on strategies to boost the sales of the company, as well as participating in marketing campaigns and awareness functions on recycling and ‘green products’.

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Looking back at the experience, I can say that I am now more conscious of environmentally friendly products and their relevance. One of the significant things I have learned from my experience is the ability to focus. Because Beijing is such a huge place with so much going on all the time, it’s very easy to get distracted and side-tracked, however, I have learned to keep focus on my goals and objectives and be able to prioritise, without forgetting to have fun and live through the moments. Chinese people are always on the move, always in a hurry to go somewhere and get something done. China is a huge country with a lot of people but more importantly, the Chinese people are generally stereotyped to work like ‘machines’. Therefore, I anticipated non-stop WORK. This experience has definitely added a boost to my work ethic.

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I’ve met loads of new friends from all over the world and we spend most of our spare time in restaurants experiencing the awesome Chinese foods and exploring / visiting touristic places like The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, and so on.

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I have learned that in life, there is no reason to be stagnant; if you have energy, get up and be on the move…. always, be proactive and adventurous because great opportunities await those who are willing to get away from their comfort zones. I can genuinely say that I had the time of my life and I would not only love to do it again, but I would also love to recommend this type of internship and experience

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