Policy Associate, Financial Reporting Council
Generation UK changed my life. The weeks in between being accepted onto the programme and finally boarding the plane are somewhat of a blur, but several weeks later, bags fully packed and a fourteen-hour flight completed, I arrived in Shanghai. Hitting the ground running, the next couple of weeks flew by. Before I knew it, my time was up.
There were several reasons why I wanted to participate in the Generation UK programme. Fresh back from my study abroad programme in Copenhagen, I was keen to seize other opportunities to work and study internationally. Professionally, I aspired to a career working overseas, particularly in emerging markets such as China, a country which will become an ever more important anchor of the global economy. On a personal level the Generation UK programme would push me out of my comfort zone, so I was keen to apply.
I have several takeaways from my time in China. I have a much stronger cultural awareness and understanding. Too often issues are examined through a Western lens. My Generation UK experience has underscored my belief that diversity of thought, knowledge and expertise are critical to challenging the status quo. I was incredibly fortunate to be joined by a diverse range of participants on my Generation UK intake – all of whom bought a variety of perspectives and experiences to the table. Two years on, I’m still in touch with other participants who have formed part of my personal and professional network. International experiences will change your life in many positive ways. I’d encourage anyone with a curious and open mindset to give it a go!
Taking the plunge to study or work internationally anywhere is a real challenge to your resilience, perseverance and adaptability. I was fortunate that I already had some international experience, but moving to Copenhagen was a walk in the park compared to Shanghai! China has unique challenges, from not being able to communicate easily with loved ones back home, to the language barrier. Research and preparation are key before hitting the ground in China to help ease nervousness and the fear of the unknown. However, no matter how much research and preparation you do, things on the ground things may not go quite to plan, but this is normal and part of the overall learning experience!
Here are some key questions that you should ask yourself when considering to study or work in China through Generation UK:
Why that city? China is an enormous country which differs greatly region by region and city by city. I was fortunate to get my first-choice city of Shanghai but I’d encourage you to be open minded about where you go.
Why that industry? This is such an important question to consider to make the most of your time in China. How will your experience in China help you in your personal, academic or professional journey post Generation UK?
Why you? There will be many other applicants for Generation UK, so consider your reasons for applying, do your research, find your unique selling points and most importantly believe in yourself!
My international experiences have been enormously rewarding. Without it sounding cliché, I simply would not be the person I am today without these experiences. Opportunities such as Generation UK do not come around very often. I am very grateful to Generation UK for providing me and many others with a rewarding experience of working and studying in China. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the programme to others..
Hitesh participated in the Generation UK internship programme in 2019, working at an investment and business consultancy called ACN Worldwide. Since graduating from university he has started working at the Financial Reporting Council as a Policy Associate.