After graduating from high school last summer, I decided I wanted to take a gap year. From a young age I have always had a fascination for China and it’s culture, thus there was no question of where I was going to spend part of my gap year. The question was rather what was I going to do China. I wanted to do something more meaningful than backpacking and normal touristy traveling. I wanted to taste what it was really like to live in China, I wanted the whole experience. I remembered that an organization called ‘Projects Abroad’ had a meeting at my school and that they offered organizing volunteer adventures for you. I went onto their website and I found out that they also did Business internships, in China. This seemed like the perfect program for me as I am going to the US after the summer to take a Bachelor’s in Strategic Design and Management.
My name is Kristi, I am 18 years old and I come from Oslo, Norway. I came to Shanghai in early February and started my internship at italki. My first day at work, I was pretty nervous, however I had no reason to be! I felt very welcome at italki from the moment I stepped through the door. Everyone was so nice and helpful. Considering I had little experience with service, I was very lucky to be taught everything I needed to know the first couple of weeks. Even though I still feel I learn new things here every day! italki is a small company but it grows fast so there is always something to do.
Throughout my internship I have done a lot of different tasks, but my everyday work usually consisted of going through teacher applications and profile change requests. I really enjoyed doing this, especially the teacher applications. Through this I have been able to welcome a lot of talented teachers and tutors from all over the world to italki.
Before Tommaso, the other intern from Italy, came, I also did community management. This taught me a lot about the importance of Internet safety and privacy.
Aimé, the intern who was here for my fist few weeks, showed me how to run italki’s ‘stories’ blog. This is possibly the task I enjoyed doing the most. I got to communicate with so many students and teachers and hear about their stories with italki. I think it was fun to read them, translate them and eventually share them for the rest of the world to see! People had different experiences and stories with italki, but they all had one thing in common; they were all positive experiences. It made me happy to see how italki can make a difference for people by giving them a community where they can teach, learn and exchange languages.
The work environment at italki is really great. I have always felt like I could talk to everyone and ask anyone questions if I was unsure about something or needed help. At the Chinese New Year we all celebrated by going to Mr. X, a puzzle house. It was a lot of fun (and very difficult, thus we lost ). We had to work in teams so it was a great way to connect with my coworkers. I am also excited for our work BBQ on Friday!
Interning at italki also has some very good benefits; amongst them is that I get to take lessons at italki as a Chinese Mandarin student! Even though I haven’t had the chance to take as many lessons as I would like to, I have learned enough Chinese to get by on a daily basis here in Shanghai. Mandarin is not easy, but it helps when you hear it all around you all day.
My work at italki has been an extremely rewarding experience and has given me a valuable insight into a fast growing startup business. It has been an interesting and learning full 3 months that I will never forget. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!