Wenhao Li shares his experiences as a communications intern during the pandemic

Li writes that "Every day gave me an opportunity to master new skills."

July 07, 2020

Time flies.

It’s been three months since I joined Columbia Global Centers | Beijing as an intern, which, of course, is a reminiscent and the most rewarding internship I’ve taken thus far.

Above all, I’d like to thank my supervisor and mentor for the patient instruction at work and generous help in life. She has made a learned employee out of a near novice, teaching me to curate official accounts on social media platforms and guiding me through all-round procedures at meetings.

Every workday came as an opportunity for me to grasp new ideas and gain helpful skills, as the Beijing Center is provided with all kinds of resources a world’s top university has to offer. Academic and industrial leaders appear at panel discussions, book launches, and live-streamed lectures. As an intern, I was privileged to access all this intelligence.

Notably, the first thing I got to learn was how to work efficiently from home. In the middle of a pandemic, it is quite difficult for companies and organizations to transfer their teamwork from office to home without losing much efficiency and group connection. The internship programs at the Beijing Center, however, managed to adapt to the new norm by transforming on-site activities into webinars, audio posts, and other online forms.

Live streaming has proven a conveniently effective way of delivering messages to and maintaining the connection with the Center’s audience. Online activities have not only helped practice social distancing but extended the accessibility of the critical information provided by department leaders, professors, and frontline medical workers from Columbia University.

Our schedule had been redesigned regularly to keep abreast with the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and to meet the needs of our wide audience at home and abroad. Lectures have covered an array of topics that are important in the current situation, including remote working, physical burnout, middle-age crisis, COVID-19 donations, and post-pandemic energy industry, etc. Meanwhile, virtual career fairs have created job opportunities for Columbia graduates to tide over this adversity.

For sure, I’ve benefitted a lot from my internship at CGCBJ. Given first-hand information in both academia and industry as well as hands-on experience at work, I’ve added useful elements to my toolkit and grown confidence in future work. I wish I had more time at CGC Beijing but for the tight schedule graduation has imposed on me. Definitely, I will miss my colleagues and friends that I’ve been honored to know at the Center.

We were strangers, and strangers we might be. But I shall not forget the time we spent together, for that’s what life is about.

Thank you.