Sabrina Wicker

Life is not all about digital technology though. Here, enjoying nature in China!

The internship that G-MEO went out of their way to get me was my first internship. It was a bit of a struggle to get, as G-MEO’s internship providers mainly focused on law firms and schools, and only recently had engineering and technology students studying abroad to handle. Eventually I ended up interning at a company in the “Hi-Tech Zone” inChengdu. It was a mobile advertising company who was in the process of branching out their scope and creating a mobile phone application.

Commuting to and from the internship was about an hour and a half total. It seemed long, but since I logged a lot of hours at my internship, the lengthy commute seemed worth it even if I did have to stay on my feet half the time. The ride there was guaranteed to be packed with the midafternoon crowd, and I had to stand with one arm hanging from the dangling rings meant to keep passengers from lurching too much when the train departed and arrived at its various stops. The the metro rides back, taken around 10pm at night, were always devoid of crowds, and I was able to nab a much-desired seat for the trip back instead of standing the whole way.

I was lucky enough to get a mentor at the company who helped me become more or less proficient in Android Studio, a development platform for making Android applications. I had no prior experience with the program, but while I was there I had plenty to do to help me become familiar with it. My mentor guided me through the basics of developing Android mobile applications. A lot of the time he was too busy doing his actual job for the company, so I was left alone with StackOverflow to help solve the problems he tasked me with. Not many coding problems are so obscure that some googling can’t help fix them.

One specific task that took up a good portion of my internship was recreating pages of the mobile app based on a screenshot of the design and their intended functionality. It was frustrating at times, trying to get things to work when I didn’t understand why they weren’t working in the first place, but it really deepened my understanding of both Java and Android app development. By now I’m sure I could string together a functioning application without too much strain.

I learned so much in the weeks I was there. I also learned about Chinese tech work culture. After dinner many employees would socialize by going out to the badminton courts outside the building. I would sit in the smaller side office where the 6 programmers the company had worked, doing my best to understand what the other programmers were talking about as they rattled off tech terms in Chinese. Some of the men were experts in PHP, others Java, others Android (which is based off of Java).

I accomplished a lot in the time I was with them, and I’m thankful for the G-MEO staff who worked so hard to get me an internship position there when it was relatively new territory for them. My time inChinais something I’d never forget. I did a lot more than just my internship, but it contributed so much to my experience inChengdu.

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