When I turned 19 and after I finished my first year at Coventry University, I decided I was ready for the next step and moved to Shanghai to work for the Dutch Embassy Chamber of Commerce. I describe this as the hardest and most challenging experience of my life.
I was a Marketing and Events Assistant for the Chamber and I took the job for a period of 3 months. I liked the job and my team was kind, nice and amazing. We became friends very quickly and working at the office was good
The challenging part was the actual life in Shanghai, their culture, their ways of living and their language became a very strong barrier for me and almost impossible to overcome.
When someone visits a foreign country they see the good side, the touristic side, which is amazing and beautiful. But when you move there to live, then you realise how different it is from what you expect.
I felt all kinds of emotions and experienced the worst ones. It was not easy. From food intoxication, misunderstandings and corruption, paying fees, burglary, poverty and unfairness, I witnessed things I never thought I would and I learnt.
I always try to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone, but this time I felt like I couldn’t overcome it. I found myself alone in China.
After those 3 months I discovered a better side of me, I learnt to appreciate, to be thankful and I grew. Although all the bad, I also experience the best side of it. I learnt from Chinese culture and their beliefs, I understood sides of meditation, spirituality and motivation.
The most important lesson I learned was that I had no one to do things for me, so if I wanted to do something I had to stand up and take responsibility. I learnt to take action, to be the leader of my own life and to make things happen. And this changed my life.
I met amazing people, I lived amazing experiences too. I took it as an opportunity to travel and see new places, I tried new food and at the end I remember those 3 months with joy, because I did it, I challenged myself and I did it.