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From China to Coventry: why stepping outside of your comfort zone is a great thing

View profile for Maryam Hassan
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After graduating from Warwick, I received two scholarships to complete an internship in China. I interned with a niche commercial law firm specialising in mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property.

Travelling alone to China was something I would never have considered when I was younger. It’s a large country and culturally and politically very different to the West which can seem daunting. However, this is what makes China a great place to explore and learn.

As mentioned above, there is a substantial difference in culture which was fascinating to observe. It was perfectly normal to bring a pillow out from under your desk to take a nap (I might have to bring this up as a suggestion in our next office meeting) and I found the work place to be much more hierarchical than the UK. I was able to get involved in a lot of work whilst I was there. I reviewed contracts, wrote blogs and attended networking events.

Navigating my way through work and life in a different country was a challenge that I’m glad I was able to experience. I learnt how to be flexible and open minded, to remain calm under pressure and organised, all of which are key qualities of a successful lawyer. Climbing the Great Wall of China in my spare time wasn’t a bad perk either! Returning to Coventry, I’ve realised my experiences have helped me to adapt quickly into life as a paralegal.

Working abroad can help broaden your perspective in the increasingly global world we are living in. Whilst these opportunities may not be available right now, my message is to take advantage of every opportunity you’re given as a student or graduate, even if you feel it is outside your comfort zone. It is when you step out in to the unknown that you can grow the most.

Author: Maryam Hassan 

15 January 2021