Mairead McMahon: Intern in Zuhai

Name: Mairead McMahon

Home university: University of Ulster

Programme: Zhuhai, two months

Why did you apply? 

Initially I decided to apply for the Generation UK - China programme because I wanted to fill in a two month gap that I had after Christmas.

I felt that it would be a great experience to be able to work in another country that didn't use English as their first language.

Having previously worked in the USA for 15 months, I felt that China would be a bigger challenge, and a chance to learn to be independent and mature in a professional environment.

I am delighted I applied and took that huge step, because the experience has had a massive impact on my life, and it will be massively beneficial in the future.

What did you do?

My role during my internship was as a digital marketing specialist, focusing on the area of social media.

Twitter was the platform I was directly responsible for, along with Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

I had to strategically divide my time throughout the day to ensure I was giving each platform enough attention, and had to be smart and savvy when posting updates, as 50% of our followers were based in the UK and USA, meaning the time difference made the scheduling of updates more difficult.

In addition, I was responsible for handling a personal budget of 3000 RMB and using this to promote our company events on social media pages.

The results we achieved as a team were exceptional, especially for twitter. In December, January and February, we had 40,000 impressions per month on Twitter. In my first month, we quadrupled this, and in my second month we reached over 2,000,000 impressions.

The most exciting part of living in China was being able to learn a new culture and working in a company that made me feel comfortable and worthwhile.

I have had many bad jobs before in which I haven't been valued, although in this role I was made to feel happy, and my responsibilities were relevant and enjoyable. I also enjoyed meeting the other interns, socialising with them and being able to hear about their internships whilst sharing my experience.

How did the programme benefit you?

The Generation UK - China programme has helped me achieve my goals as it has helped me to become more confident and independent.

I am proud of the fact that I was able to leave home and travel to a country over 6,000 miles away, and be able to cope on my own; financially in particular.

I feel as though the programme has also helped me become better with budgeting and saving money, as I learned to keep money aside for contingency.

Would you recommend the programme?

Yes, it is the greatest thing you'll will do with your time, especially if you are young.

The generation UK – China programme has helped me to change my outlook on life, and made me more employable, whilst also giving me the opportunity to make friends, learn a new language and embrace a new culture.

I have already told my friends all about it in my 'Mairead in Zhuhai' blog posts.

Find out more about Generation UK-China funding for internship opportunities in China. Applications close on 12 December.