Volunteer Review: Emily L., Law & Business in China
I decided to take part in the High School Special Law and Business project as an opportunity to boost my CV and enhance my university application - however the experience allowed me to gain much more than this. My experience in Chengdu was unforgettable and I was able to make friends for life while experiencing an amazing culture and learning about a completely different way of life simultaneously.
My arrival in China
I arrived in China after travelling on three flights, through Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi in order to get to Chengdu. I was extremely nervous and didn’t know what to expect, however the Projects Abroad staff were extremely helpful and they organized that on one of my flights, I was with another person also volunteering with Projects Abroad. This calmed my nerves as we made friends instantly, and after meeting our supervisor -Summer - at Chengdu airport, we were soon on our way to our placement.
During my time in China we stayed in the Lazy Inn Hostel, which was beautiful and contained a tea room downstairs along with two hostel cats that were extremely friendly. The rooms were extremely comfortable, even offering free slippers and sandals! I shared a room with another girl on my placement and this was a really good way for us to bond and lessened my fears about being in a completely new country.
A fear I had before arriving in China was that I would not enjoy the food; however this was entirely not the case. The food was, for me, one of the best parts of the trip, as we were taken to try a large variety of dishes famous in the Sichuan region such as the Hot Pot and dumplings. With options for everyone, including the occasional pizza, I really enjoyed the meals we had, allowing me to try a variety of new foods which I had never experienced before but couldn’t get enough of!
During the first week of my placement, we visited various law firms in China and received lectures on different types of law such as Intellectual Property Law and Contract Law. It was interesting to discover the differences between UK and Chinese legislation. We also received tours of these firms and learnt about the structure of law firms in China and the use of partners rather than solicitors and barristers.
During the second week of my placement, we focused more on the business aspect and had the opportunity to visit the British Chamber of Commerce in China and learn from a panel of experts in business about starting up enterprises in such a contrasting culture. We also visited different companies such as a technology company focusing on app production where we came across case studies and had the opportunity to answer potential problems they could face.
Traveling around China
Outside of our placement, we had incredible opportunities to visit the sights of Chengdu. We visited the largest building in Asia (the Global Centre) and had the opportunity to watch a film in a Chinese cinema. We visited the famous Chengdu Giant Panda Sanctuary and had the opportunity to see the new baby pandas. We also visited the Jiezi Old Town and experience a real sense of Chinese culture, along with visiting Jinli, which was a market street in the center of China. One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting the Sichuan Opera in the Wide and Narrow Alleys where we were able to see a variety of talents of Chengdu and drink traditional tea.
My overall experience
Overall, my experience in China was unforgettable. I was able to gain new knowledge in the fields of business and law while experiencing a fantastic new culture. The friendships I made on this trip will be for a lifetime, and the opportunity to visit a completely contrasting society at such a young age is something you should not miss out on. Leaving Chengdu was really sad, but I hope to visit it again as my experience was wonderful.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.