Student Blogs/Jessica in China
This past week, my exchange officially ended as I packed my things and said goodbye to my year abroad in Shanghai. These past 10 months have truly been an amazing experience filled with meeting new friends, travelling, and making memories. However, my abroad life does not end quite just yet! I am currently living in Hong Kong where I was offered a summer position at DBS Bank Ltd, a bank based in Singapore with locations all around Asia.
I know that it appears that I am constantly writing about or travelling Hong Kong, but this is the one city I love and always come back to! Well, I guess I am biased; my roots are in Hong Kong. I am a Canadian-born Hong Konger, which means my parents are from HK while I was born and raised in Markham, which is in the GTA and known for having a large HK/China immigration population.
For me, this summer position was a dream come true! Since my first year at Sprott, I wanted to work in Hong Kong before or after my year abroad. I'm not exactly sure why, but something about the hustle and bustle and Hong Kong’s unique position of a city where “East Meets West” is a really attractive experience. It also probably had to do with the amazing food, efficient transportation, and business opportunities that Hong Kong has to offer.
Although it has been difficult in adjusting to a different work culture (Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and the often unpaid overtime) and language change (after 10 months of speaking Mandarin and English, my Cantonese has significantly deteriorated), I think that this summer position really wraps up the year abroad.
It’s hard to believe that 10 months already flew by. It just felt like yesterday where I landed in Honqiao International Airport (SHA) and was greeted by China’s infamous smog. I remember thinking to myself, “Here we go, can’t turn back now."
Living in Shanghai turned out not to be what I expected it to be. Although sometimes it was frustrating not being able to access social media, having communication problems and always having to be weary of pickpockets, I would say that Shanghai still has a lot to offer. It is a city where you can always meet new people, find new places to explore and still discover places that seem to be untouched by the rapid urbanization. Plus if you ever wanted to explore, there were always accessible and cost-friendly means such as trains and airplanes to help you travel to the city/country of your choice.
As I conclude this chapter and get ready to come back home, I guess I should conclude with a few last words. Looking back, I was terrified of even at the slightest idea of living in China for a year. I thought it was already enough that I decided to move from Toronto to Ottawa! I know that EVERYONE says this and I do not mean to be cliché, but going away (whether it may be for a semester/school year abroad, or even interning in a different country) is WORTH it. It allows you to learn in ways more than you can ever imagine; to open up your perspectives, to learn about yourself and to appreciate the life you have back at home. I can go on and on, but I won't. I am not exactly sure what will happen after I graduate or how life will be after returning back home, but I know that this past year was unforgettable!
Thank you, for keeping up with me these past 10 months!
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