China Study Tour Internship – Friday Week 2

Friday Week 2 – Author: Tyson

I can’t believe I’ve now survived two full weeks. Working at Dentons is an absolute privilege and the work is very interesting, but it is a lot to handle. The partner I’m assigned to is the senior partner here and she works extremely hard all day, every day.

It is very admirable and actually very exciting to be placed on such a busy team, but the novelty does wear off slightly after 14 days of 14-hour days. I’ve finished at about 10:30pm most nights, which is also the exact time that the subway stops running. Catching cabs in the rain at that hour is a chore and a half, especially when the drivers see that I’m a foreigner and insist that the meter doesn’t work and it’s a flat rate of 300yuan for a lift home. The projects we work on are very interesting, as well as a challenge, so the time actually passes relatively quickly. Emilia specialises in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and much of the work involves translating contracts and memoranda for clients, which is doing wonders for my Chinese language development. Much of the work stretches my skill-level, especially as I don’t speak Chinese at home and the only knowledge I have on the Chinese legal system is one week’s worth of lectures from the study tour. My basic knowledge on each general topic is not quite enough for the cases we are working on, but it’s a good learning experience as I imagine learning through practise is probably quite common in many workplaces.

The work is very group orientated here, we divide all the major projects into parts and each do a section, so I’m happy to stay late because I really like my team and if I didn’t pull my weight, it would mean that one of them would have to do the extra work. I’m really fond of my team, they’re so friendly and accommodating and they’re also working a lot more hours than their peers, so we’re all in the same boat. The Chinese work ethic is very strong and these hours are standard practice and assumed even for interns. You actually get very used to it after about a week. I’m getting a lot out of this internship, both in terms of legal skills and also organisational, language, stamina,  etc… fingers crossed for Christmas night off.

Here are some pictures of milk tea, food, the view from our office and my team because I haven’t seen much of the other Australian interns as I usually go to sleep as soon as I get home from work, then we all catch the subway at different times whenever we wake up. The Australian interns are all super supportive of each other though, thank goodness we’re all here together.

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