Navigating Beijing: My Summer Internship at the Leadership Matrix Network
By Ada Zhou ’20
This summer I got the amazing opportunity to intern at Leadership Matrix Network (LMN) in Beijing, a social enterprise working with children’s rights that supports public welfare undertakings related to children. I’ve had a rewarding experience helping the team there with research on child’s rights cases around the world. I’ve learned so much from my coworkers through our many laughter-filled meetings and shared lunches.
I wrote reports on various topics such as child protection systems, multidisciplinary teams, child pornography, etc. In addition, I helped draft a grant proposal for a pilot program for migrant youth workers that the company is intending to launch. Through my projects there I realized I definitely want to work for a small company or a place where I can work closely with a small team. I loved the working environment at LMN. Everyone knew each other well and meetings were never without laughter.
I was lucky that my internship dates matched the dates the company goes on their annual trip for team bonding and mid-year review. I explored the Fangshan Global Geopark in Hebei Province with my coworkers. It was a unique and fun bonding experience walking through the mountains with a fellow intern in a downpour of rain with waters up to our ankles and witnessing a beautiful landscape.
This was my first time traveling alone to a different country and I learned to be independent and resourceful. Tasks as simple as crossing the street and taking public transportation were things I had to learn. Many restaurants have their menu and ordering on WeChat. I learned to observe what other people would do first. I even learned to explore without always having internet and Google Maps to show me where I was. I would walk around with a larger paper map and learned to navigate with that.
As I traveled on the weekends to many of the major landmarks in Beijing, I met and had great conversations with both locals and expats. I traveled to the Great Wall by myself; up to then I had been visiting places with others so I was quite nervous. The view was breathtaking and while getting there I had a lovely chat with the family next to me on the train about what it was like living in America and the differences between the two countries. I’ve strengthened my Chinese language skills and surprised many people when I tell them I’m a student from America. As someone who was born in China, I loved being able to learn more about the culture I was born in.
The Global Studies Internship program sends Stanford students from any major to pursue internship opportunities in more than 20 countries every summer. Visit the website for more information about the program.