Hello from Shanghai!
My name is Morgan Scanlon and I am a rising junior at IU! I am studying Chinese through SGIS and am also studying management through LAMP. I am currently in Shanghai on an 8 week internship study abroad program through Kelley. I have been in Shanghai for over 5 weeks now and have started to adjust to the Shanghainese way of life, which as it turns out isn’t all that different from life in a large American city. There are shopping malls in each block, a Starbucks on every corner, trendy art museums galore, as well as a vibrant nightlife. I have, however, been incredibly surprised by how clean the city is despite its population of close to 30 million people (crazy, I know!). Public transportation here is quicker, cleaner and more convenient than any other city I have traveled to. The cost of living is also far cheaper than in the US, with most meals costing less than $10! While I am looking forward to returning home to California before heading back to Bloomington, I am not excited to return to the steep prices!
So far, this has been the most incredible experience I could have asked for. Not only do I get to live in and explore one of the most populous and modern cities in the world, but I also get to be a part of the young workforce and learn how Chinese companies operate. The morning commute on the crowded subway may be rough at times, but it has allowed me to feel more connected to the city and culture around me. I am interning for a small fashion and entertainment consulting company whose main objective is to connect Chinese fashion and makeup brands with Western talents. I have had the opportunity so far to listen in on calls with top Hollywood talents such as Brad Pitt, Chris Evans and Anne Hathaway to name a few (I’ve only fan-girled everyday). The company consists of 4 full-time employees (including the CEO) and including myself, 6 temporary interns. Despite being few in numbers, our team is international in composition containing not only native Chinese but also several Spaniards, Americans and even a Japanese-Brit and Frenchman. The most rewarding and unexpected part of my experience thus far has been getting to know and connect with my coworkers from around the world. We have been able to grow close over the past few weeks over shared lunches, happy hours and commiseration throughout the long and sometimes grueling workday. The CEO of my company emphasizes the importance of teamwork and treating everyone, especially interns, as equals. He is also a perfectionist which can make work challenging at times but has allowed me to learn the most. He challenges us to ask questions, a lot of questions, and genuinely cares that we are able to acquire skills we can use for our future careers. Unexpectedly, us interns are given hugely important tasks like sending emails to agents or editing client deliverables which allows us to feel like active contributors on major projects and deliverables. I have been able to learn more about fashion brands, social media influencers and the influencer marketing process than I ever could have imagined. I feel beyond blessed to have had this opportunity to not only practice my language skills but also grow my international network and gain real business experience. I have a newfound deep appreciation for Chinese culture and am thrilled that I have a few more weeks to explore more of this incredible city!