GRIP, Internships Abroad Letter to My Pre-Internship Self
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September 27, 2021
Jessie Zou, WHARTON '23
B&D Law Firm - Beijing, China
This is the future Jessie from after completing the internship. I am sure that you are excited to start your law internship at B&D Law (based in Beijing, China) this summer. I wanted to pop in to share my experiences with you and the future GRIP participants to better prepare you all! Here are a few pointers I wanted to cover to make sure you make the best out of this internship!
What to do now before starting the internship:
- Block out time out of your schedule for work and make sure to communicate to family and friends your work schedule (especially when working from home).
- Take time to think about what you really want out of this internship and ways you can make sure you accomplish this goal throughout your time.
- Do some preliminary research on the host company, their past and current projects, and the sector you will be working in to build a strong foundation before you even begin working.
During the internship, I faced a few surprising difficulties, and they took a while for me to overcome. Here are the difficulties I faced and some ways you can mitigate them:
- Differing time zones can impact your work experience a lot more than you actually think! With having an 11-hour difference with my host company, I felt lonely at times. When I was working, my team was sleeping, and vice versa.
- Adjust the work schedule to have some overlapping work hours to work with your team and ask questions.
- Due to the time zone difficulties, constant communication was not possible.
- Set recurring weekly/biweekly meetings with supervisor and team. Check-in with messaging apps more frequently to stay connected.
- Work/life balance is a lot harder than you would think when working from home.
- Communicate with family your work schedule and highlight the importance of no distractions. While at work, be strict with yourself and stay diligent.
Things I wish I did during my internship:
- Reaching out to my team more and other people in the office that I didn’t directly work with to build more relationships and make my internship more enriching.
- Asked more questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for clarification if you don’t understand something or just want more information.
- Scheduled more regular calls with my supervisors and teammates.
With all that being said, I had an enjoyable time at my internship! I learned a lot professionally and personally. I was able to explore the industry at the intersection of business and law as well as better skills like time management and organization. I hope these tips will help you make your internship experience even better! The most important you can do is to enjoy your internship.
The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern or conduct research abroad for 8 to 12 weeks over the summer. Participants gain career-enhancing experience and global exposure that is essential in a global workforce.