I was living in Shanghai for two months whilst doing an internship with CRCC Asia as part of the Generation UK – China programme.

Many factors motivated me to come to China. I wasn't sure what I was doing after graduation, but my parents were in the process of moving to Canada so I needed some plan.

I had recently broken up with my boyfriend, and felt there was no better time in my life to act on my thirst for adventure. I think I was attracted to China specifically because I'd studied it so much during History A Level and my Politics degree at Leeds.

Rebecca Shapiro holding a small child who's crying on the Bund, China.
Tears on the Bund.
Rebecca Shapiro volunteering at a Migrant School in Pudong, Shanghai.
Volunteering at a Migrant School in Pudong, Shanghai.
Dancing at the Qingdao Beer Festival, China.
My friend Liz dancing at the Qingdao Beer Festival. 

I had always found China fascinating, because it is so varied and completely different from anywhere else on the planet, and I wanted to go and explore the country that had been touted as the new world superpower."

The whole experience definitely opened new doors in terms of my attitude - I realised in Shanghai that I wanted to be a journalist, so I plucked up the courage to set up a blog (thethoughtfultraveller.com).

I also networked my way to finding work experience at an expat magazine after my internship finished, and gained more confidence to travel alone.

It was in part due to my experiences in China and writing there that earned me my next adventure: an editorial internship at fashion magazine Elle, in Canada.

I still have many friends and contacts from my experience in China, and am currently working on a way to get back there! I miss it so much! 

One of my favourite memories is the day when we were volunteering in a school for migrant children in Pudong. We had so much fun with the children and it was an amazing opportunity to explore and support this valuable initiative. As you can see, I think I was the more excited party in this interaction!

My experience in China catalysed my development into the outgoing, adventurous girl I am today. It made me realise my passion for writing, lead me to making friends for life and has made me desperate to go back.