Work and Transportation

I’m on the product development team for the Chinese branch of the British bedding company Downland. My job entails conducting market research, brainstorming ideas for new products, and some social media and marketing. The office is small and has only been in China for three years. There are about ten employees who work in the office. Also, I’m the only non-Chinese employee in the office, but I’ve used this to my advantage to practice the Chinese I’ve been learning for the past month. My co-workers are nice, and the transition has been seamless thus far. One thing that jumped out to me instantly in the Chinese workplace is how they utilize WeChat. WeChat is a Chinese app that everyone uses to text or call each other. In the workplace, co-workers will communicate over this app even though they could be sitting right across from each other. Currently, Downland doesn’t have any bedding products geared towards elders. To help them explore this target market, I’m helping them with market research to learn more about elderly sleeping habits. Using the facts we learn from our research, we begin to conceptualize products that would benefit elders. For my commute to work I take the subway for about twenty minutes and walk for ten minutes. What I like about this commute is the level of ease when using the subway network in Shanghai. It can be a bit overwhelming when navigating it for the first time, but you get the hang of it quickly. Something else to be ready for is large crowds and packed trains, especially during rush hour. Since the metro system is so reliable, everyone uses it to get around. Most of the time you will have to squeeze your way on to a subway and stand shoulder to shoulder with people the whole trip. I also enjoy the walk to my job. The Downland office is located in the Jing’an District. The area of this district that I work in has many restaurants and shops that you can explore. Some of these retailers include Gucci and Burberry, but unfortunately, I can’t purchase any of it because it’s too expensive. Maybe I’ll stop by again when I visit Shanghai in the future. If you ever study abroad or travel to Shanghai, I recommend downloading the app “Explore Shanghai”. This program provides you with a map of the entire metro network in Shanghai, which is very useful when you need to get around the city. Another important rule when it comes to exploring the city is don’t be afraid to ask the locals for directions, they are very nice!