It's hard to believe it's almost June; this semester has absolutely flown by.Yet like it or not, my internship at Time Out Shanghai has drawn to a close, with my last day of work this past Wednesday. While I'm sad to leave my new friends at Time Out to return to the States, I have to thank them for being so friendly and helpful with every new job thrown my way. Facebook me, guys! Or…you know, RenRen.
Through my work at Time Out I've had to deal with a number of unique issues, from learning to use Windows 7 in Chinese to navigating phone conversations where neither knows what the other person is saying, to my old favorite, traversing the Great Firewall.
Every step of the way I had something new thrown at me, which is exactly what I was looking for this semester. Especially exciting was these last few weeks where I spent an extensive amount of time directly working on the Time Out Shanghai website, and receiving the satisfaction of seeing several months' work realized in glorious HTML.
Working in an expatriate-run office in Shanghai was as interesting as I'd expected. Here's this cluster of mostly British expats working in an office surrounded by Chinese businesses. Time Out employs quite a few Shanghainese, and the office for the Chinese language version of Time Out Shanghai is directly adjacent to the office I was working in.
The English Time Out Shanghai a microcosm of the West in the unlikeliest of places. Yet despite outward appearances, most, if not all of the expats there, know a fair amount of Chinese, and they all know Shanghai like they know a pair of chopsticks (that is to say, rather well). It's a perfect blend of East and West, and I'm not sucking up when I say they're the perfect people to bring Shanghai to Westerners.
As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, Time Out Shanghai is about to launch an online version of their magazine, and most of my work was tied to building up this website. Unfortunately the site won't be ready before I leave Shanghai but it should be launching very, very soon. Keep an eye on this site in the near future! </shameless plug> There's a lot of great info packed in there, and I've learned a lot about Shanghai through my research and digging through the servers.
In the end, I'm glad I spent the past few months working for Time Out, as it helped me learn more about the city's diverse social scene and nightlife, and gave me a peak into how expats work in a city that still does a double take when a bunch of laowai walk down the street. Shanghai, like much of the rest of China, is rapidly evolving, leaving no end to the things listings magazines like Time Out can write about.
But when everything is chronicled online it gets far more interesting, as one can sift through the listings as a sociologist, watching as past trends come and go, clubs and restaurants open and close; the ebb and flow of counterculture. One can literally watch the development of a global city before their very eyes, and that is truly exciting.