Every week, Broadside features a student or alumnus with a great internship or job to highlight the opportunities and potential earning a degree at Mason offers.
NAME: Hasan Spall
GRADUATION: May 2014
INTERNSHIP: Shanghai, China 9-week internship with the Center for Global Education
Describe your day-to-day responsibilities?
At the very beginning of the internship, my boss gave me a specific assignment — marketing project for his company “kakatong” — and every day I came in to work I researched other companies that were similar to the one I worked for and how they functioned daily and how they brought in customers and kept customers and so on. I also found ways that could make our company better. I also was tasked with converting their Chinese app for mobile phones for their company into an English version.
How did your courses or involvement in student organizations at Mason help you with your job?
One class that helped me a lot before going abroad was my Management 301 class. It taught me how foreign countries were going to be different to work for/with and how to approach things in a foreign country. The customs and the way other countries handled jobs.
What’s the most exciting part of your internship? Can you give an example of something cool that’s happened? The whole experience is something that I am going to
remember for the rest of my life, and I am glad that I went through with it. The most exciting part is the fact that I lived in America mostly all of my life, and then I went to another country on the other side of the world, not knowing what to expect and not speaking the native language. Not having anyone I knew come along with me — just being on my own in what seemed to be a whole new world for nine weeks. It was really a life changing experience.
A few cool things happened while I was there. During the five-week mark of the internship, I had my wallet stolen right out of my back pocket, and so without IDs or credit cards or money, I had to find ways to support myself for the remaining month I was there, which is an experience I’m glad I got through. But I never want to go through again!! Even today I don’t carry a wallet, anymore. The second cool thing that I can remember is leaving Shanghai for a weekend and taking the bullet train over to Beijing and scaling the Great Wall of China. It was an amazing thing to see in person, and I never thought in all of my life that I would be walking on the great wall.
What advice would you give students applying for similar jobs?
Some advice I would give students applying for internships would be to look for scholarships! These internships can get pretty costly. There are many scholarships available if you just take the time to look, as well as make the most out of your trip, you never know if you’ll get the opportunity to visit again.