It was about three months ago I saw Startup Life’s blog post about Rovio wanting an animation producer trainee to their office in Shanghai. I immediately got super excited by the opportunity and didn’t hesitate to apply. Now, I’m spending my last week in Shanghai and I would like wrap up what I have learned and experienced here. Here’re Nelly’s first and second posts from this Summer.
As cliché as it may sound, I have learned a lot during this summer. Everything I have experienced have been new – being a producer, living in China and learning more about Rovio as a company.
The beginning was hard. I didn’t know that much about Chinese culture, the language and I didn’t know anybody here, except my supervisor. Learning even the basics of Chinese would have been good, but since I only had two weeks to prepare my trip, I simply didn’t have the time. When I arrived it was nearly 40 degrees celsius and people stared at me, because I looked so different. Suddenly I had arrived in completely new land to me, unprepared.
Slowly I started to get used to the new environment by moving into a shared apartment and getting new friends. I highly recommend to live in a shared apartment when you’re abroad alone; I have hanged out so much with my roomies that they have become the most important persons for me during my stay here. Funnily, I met a lot of Finnish people – there’s even a Facebook group for Finnish expats in Shanghai. It also took me awhile to get use to the work of an animation producer and it was hard at first since the whole animation department is in Finland. The five hour time difference affected the workflow a lot. The mornings were quiet since everyone was still sleeping in Finland and when it was time for me to go home, people just came back from lunch and started to send a lot of emails. However, I adapted quite quickly to my new environment and soon everything became a routine.
Sometimes, being a trainee can be boring and you are not given big tasks, fortunately in my case it was the complete opposite. Since my supervisor went on vacation for a month, I got to be a producer for an animation project. When he came back, he told me I could produce it till the end and that he would just help if I had any questions. I’m happy that they trusted me enough to let me handle this and gave a lot of help every time I needed it. It was wonderful and stressing at the same time to produce a whole project, but all and all it has been a great experience that I have learned a lot from, and something I can be proud of.
I can’t think of any bad of my experience I got from my summer in Shanghai. Living abroad widens your perspective and it’s always useful to learn about other cultures. I have also gotten used to traveling alone and being more independent. However, I’m happy to return to Finland, to see my boyfriend, family and friends who I all miss so much! I’m also excited to start my second year at Aalto University, from where this all started. I’m sure I will return to China in the near future, there’s so much to see in this country! Rovio will also definitely be in my future, some way or another, that’s for sure.
3 tips for living in Shanghai
- Learn basic Chinese! I didn’t and I wished I had.
- Get a shared flat. The easiest way for foreigners to find apartments is from SmartShanghai’s website
- Be prepared for slow Internet.