Mia in Hong Kong-Coworkers or Friends?

I was so lucky to be assigned to the most active team in the company with the vice president who can create a relaxing working environment. She is the only person from the western country in our company, so the way she thinks and the value she emphasizes are quite different from the other teams. She prefers to make the team as a group of friends working together instead of only work-based relationship. Because of her, everyone speaks English instead of Cantonese during the meeting, which makes it easier for me to engage.

It’s one month later that I thought we established the friendship because I started to have lunch every day with my teammates. We would hang out at the day that they don’t work overtime. I also introduced them to my roommate and friends who are also in this program but from other universities. However, it’s inconvenient to visit their home or go to their party. Many of their family members or friends are not good at English or mandarin, and I’m not good at Cantonese. The good thing is that my coworkers are willing to talk about their family, their daily life before I came here, and their best friends.

During this internship, the most significant benefit is that I have the chance to learn about how the business actually works in such an apparel manufacturer, which is an entirely new field for me. Apparel sounds abstract in the beginning because what I thought is that they bought fabric from factories and sell it to the clothing brands. It’s more complicated and exciting in reality, such as decorating the showroom and preparing the fabric show. The most significant experience is that I met with one of the designers from La Coast. I can’t believe that one day I can shake hands and introduce myself to them. The customization project I led is the most valuable. I needed to talk with sales directors to evaluate the current programs they have and discussed how to improve, and finally present the conclusion to my supervisor. All these experiences consist of my summer—practice what I have and learn about what I never met.

I think I will miss all my friends and coworkers here.


Hi! My name is Shuhan (Mia). I'm a rising junior majoring in Statistics and Economics. I will go to Hong Kong this summer for my first internship in Smart Shirts Ltd, which is a local apparel manufacturer. Look forward to exploring the new culture there.

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6 Responses

  1. tdoddapa says:

    Hey Mia! Sounds like you’re having a lot of fun in Hong Kong. It’s awesome that your Vice President is inclusive. It’s nice that you were able to meet new friends so easily both through work and outside of work. It seems like you were able to gain a lot professionally as well through the internship itself. I hope you have a great rest of your trip.

  2. clove1 says:

    Its really cool that you got assigned to work under the vice president in your company! Also, its great that you were in an active part of your company, sometimes you can get an internship and wind up doing work that isn’t as important. Its also great that you got a chance to see how the business actually functions, and how things are actually manufactured and presented. Its so cool that you got to lead your own customization project! Hope you had a great time in Hong Kong!

  3. ewinik says:

    Hey Mia,

    Sounds like such a fulfilling experience! It was interesting to read about how you navigated both a cultural difference and a new field of business that you were previously unfamiliar with. Props to you for venturing out into the unknown!

  4. Jeff Wexler says:

    Hey Mia! It’s so cool to hear that you were able to be exposed to a decent amount of Cantonese and English because that can definitely be a hard hurdle to surmount. Do you feel like your Cantonese got better? Working in the apparel industry sounds incredible just from the diverse hub of a culture that you are creating these clothes in. Enjoy the rest of your time.

  5. sangyu07 says:

    It was nice to spend time with your co-workers last time in Tsim Sha Tsui! Although it was very new at first, I am glad that you started to be engaged in many different projects and learned so much as you have worked on them! It was always interesting to hear what you do at work as I do not have any experience working in fashion industry. This internship experience also allowed us to be good friends!!

  6. kmscsiri says:

    Hi Mia! This post changed my perspective towards working in an Asian country, especially in Hong Kong. At first I thought working in Hong Kong should be hard and employees must be busy (also a bit strict) with their schedules since there is a huge demand to work in Hong Kong. But it seems like working in Hong Kong should be fun. It is good to hear that you’re enjoying your internship while leaning how business work in apparel industry. Hope you enjoy your last days of the internship!