One of my goals for studying abroad in Shanghai, China was to experience the work force. I was fortunate to receive a finance internship at Clean Energy Associates, a company that specializes in solar energy equipment and production consultation. This internship not only fulfilled my original intentions for study abroad, but it also allowed me to use my basic accounting skills and worked towards my degree in international business.
Enhancing My Major
Since my major is Accounting, interning in a finance department was very beneficial. Before coming to China, I had only taken two upper division accounting classes at my home university. Shanghai does not offer accounting classes so this internship allowed me to stay relevant in my field of study during my time abroad. During my internship I not only was able to put what I had learned thus far in college into action but I learned the basic routine for payments and reimbursement, and it provided me with a basic understanding of how a finance department works, in the real world. Since I have never had an experience working in accounting, I think it was important to experience the job before I made the decision to enter into the field. Overall, this internship helped greatly for my career.
In addition to learning more about finance, this internship taught me a lot about the culture in China, especially the business culture. My co-workers in the company were all nice and friendly and willing to help me learn and grow. It helped that the boss was American, because that provided a more international vibe. At times I still struggled with the language but as I became more comfortable speaking with my coworkers I eventually was able to communicate more freely.
Reflecting on My Internship
By the end of this internship, I confirmed my career goals. When I first started, I was doubting my career path; long days topped off by a lot of repetitive work had me questioning whether this was for me or not. However, through completion of tasks, I slowly gained more confidence and the feeling of accomplishment. Now, I still want to pursue my career in the accounting field. Another interesting fact about this finance department is that everyone was very similar. I think most of us are introverts. We all share similar personalities which makes it easier to communicate with each other.
Overall, this internship was a great opportunity for me. I never expected that I could gain so much from an internship in China. Although I will be looking for an actual accounting internship when I return to America, this experience definitely helped confirm my career goals.
Tiffany Liu studied abroad in Shanghai, China.