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John Cheng

(Photo by ISO staff)

Year 3, Journalism and Communication

Host Organizations:
Passion Advertising & Cultural Communication Co., Ltd., Xi'an
AIESEC Sofia, Bulgaria

John Cheng went on two internships in one summer. After spending close to a month in Xi'an, he returned to Hong Kong and repacked his suitcase for Bulgaria.

John explained, 'I had planned last year to go to Bulgaria to learn more about the culture of Eastern Europe. Then I found out that the internship would take place in early July, which meant I was able to undertake another internship before that. I chose Xi'an because I wanted to know more about the cultural heritage of China's ancient capital.'

To John's surprise, he witnessed new property projects under construction everywhere in Xi'an. 'I worked in an advertising company and was responsible for advertisement research and marketing analysis for the local metro. The experience exposed me to how data is translated into concepts that are applied in advertisements. I also learnt about how the mainland market operates, the work flow and the workplace atmosphere. I am considering developing my career on the mainland after I graduate.'

Compared to the Xi'an trip, John did meticulous planning and preparation before setting off for Bulgaria. 'I predicted that Bulgarians don't speak much English, so planning well ahead was necessary.' He was right. 'Communication is difficult due to the lack of popularity of English. This former republic of the USSR is dilapidated and in desperate need of economic development and reconstruction. For instance, Internet connectivity is hard to come by in Bulgaria. The university dormitory where I stayed did not have WiFi.'

John's internship involved designing a webpage, writing English introductions for an underprivileged bakery operated by an NGO. He was also assigned to help to host a workshop on healthy diets. 'Bulgarians' ways of doing things are different from us. For example, we attach a lot of importance to finishing tasks on time, but they allow for delays. I treated the difference in culture as training—how to set aside my values, learn about and respect other views, slow down my pace and immerse myself in their culture.

'The internship enhanced my self-confidence and courage in facing new challenges. I am inspired and hope to visit more countries to widen my vision and knowledge.'


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