90 days of fantastic peculiarity

Hi everybody! My name is Tommaso, I’m an Italian student from Milan. I’m currently finishing my 3rd year of bachelor, I’m getting a degree of Linguistic Sciences for Business.11158142_10206460560063586_42791051_n

My reason of flying to China to do an internship is nowadays pretty easy to understand: it’s one of the fastest economy in the world, and the city of Shanghai is the most developed business centre of the globe: no better place than this to experience how to deal with the world of work, and to take a big lesson of life overall.

I found italki thanks to a friend and classmate of mine, Simone, who made the same experience 3 months before me. When I heard from him about italki I promptly contacted him, and I said by myself: “Why not doing the same as well, as I’ve been studying Chinese for 5 years at high school, I can’t miss this chance! ”
It was self-understandable that it was a great opportunity to catch, even if I had to be hired from the HR of italki as a free mover, without having the big help of an internship scout company, but finally… I did it!
Plan your time, handle the Visa process, find an accommodation, organize everything by yourself… it’s harder but at the end it’s much more satisfactory.

Since the first day, I promptly understood the atmosphere in this creative space: very young and smart people really “hungry” to keep up the level.
No matter suit and tie or super fancy golden armchairs, you can dominate a marketplace even while you’re eating dumplings with your hands in a small international startup, and that’s what italki is: leading… but humble!

The first days I have to admit that I felt a bit stucked, firstly due to my laptop trouble. It decided to stop working 4 days before I left, so I had to ask my co-workers for a substitute laptop (not a good start), but first Kevin and then Jim, have been very kind to provide me one (thank you a lot). Secondly because I felt like I wanted to do everything quick and perfect from the beginning, without bothering anyone, but of course… It was impossible!
After a week of training and several questions to my colleagues, I was able to handle my daily work alone: satisfaction!

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Me and Kristi at italki creative space

My daily task at italki was basically taking care of the Community Management issues, along with Jim, Tracy, Ethan, Josie and Kristi who helped and taught me a lot about how to manage a Service and Support Team.
From checking the Complaint List to going through the Teacher Application List along with other assignments, such as writing on the company blog, editing the company wiki pages, publishing stories of some of our users… and sending out our supercool T-Shirts and pens to our italki Language Challengers too! I also helped with the translation of the website into Italian. All of this has been very useful and interesting to know, even if I realized that I still have a lot to learn in different fields: but that’s what challenges are made for!

What I considered extremely interesting to analyze is all that goes around of a company team in order to keep the team unified, and here at italki the team building activities were important and funny at the same time. From simply having a lunch together to playing games during the company meeting and starting it by grabbing a beer with chips… simple things but very important to make you feel part of a group of people and work with in a good mood. And what about that barbecue of that Friday? I will never forget those moments, also because managing a barbecue and cooking your food without having your fingers burnt is not that easy!

BBQ time at Gucun Park

BBQ time at Gucun Park

Although some days our cat was “miaoing” too much (Ethan knows better that me), and some others of normal troubles or too much stuff to do, all the italki team handled everything always with very calm and quiet. I think that the very strength of this team is to manage everything with extremely patience, something that I hadn’t before and I learned here.

Everyday has been a lesson, some of those lessons that you could never attend at school or whatever university, but that you can just take out from a classroom… and you learn much more than there. Even just by watching my co-workers talking about some projects or ideas to improve a process or to optimize a system was such a precious circumstance to get by.

Not only during my daily work routine, but also outside the italki office I have to admit that it was such an useful experience of life. Taking a plane, going 10,000 km from home and being surrounded – from one day to another – by a completely different culture is something that everyone should try. Different language, different food, different way of living life: it takes some days (and weeks I can say) to get used to, but afterwards you feel like part of it, and watching the big step forward you did, it’s such an huge self-rewarding victory.