World Cares Center was honored to host Guangyu Xie from Shanghai, China for an internship this summer. She came to us through Cultural Homestay International, a cultural exchange program that through the years has allowed us to develop lasting relationships, spread our mission globally, and expand the WCC family.
What inspired this dynamic young woman to take a leave of absence from her career at a private equity firm in Shanghai to spend the summer with us in New York? We sat down with Guangyu before she returned home last week to get her perspective on the experience.
What inspired you to seek an internship in the United States? Why were you attracted to World Cares Center?
I plan to apply for a master’s degree in the U.S. in the near future, and I thought that having work experience in New York could help me make a better decision. I found World Cares Center through a cultural exchange program in my home country. I hoped to contribute to an organization that creates social value, and I felt that this position would provide a vivid work environment at an NGO.
What are some of the projects you helped with during the summer?
Inside of the office, I did a lot of outreach for our disaster preparedness trainings, such as making phone calls and sending emails to introduce people to World Cares Center, as well as following up with existing contacts. I also prepared paperwork and materials for different types of trainings. In addition, I had the opportunity to work outside of the office. I assisted onsite with training presentations, and I attended outreach events to meet local community members face-to-face and spread the word about World Cares Center.
What are your memorable moments from these trainings and community events?
My most memorable moments came from meeting and interacting with different people at these events. Specifically, I remember when we were delivering “Seniors in Response” training in Rockaway Beach. When I walked into that big room, many seniors were chatting, playing cards, even knitting, then I noticed a lady, sitting alone and painting, so quiet and absorbed. I kept standing aside the table for a while, then she noticed me, told me she was a painter years ago. After the training, she shared her story with me, and at last she hugged me and whispered, “promise to me, you will never do things you don’t want to do. Wish you could be able to say no.” I was really touched. I could feel the sadness that couldn’t be expressed by words until today.
How do you think this experience will impact you when you return to China?
Working with World Cares Center taught me to care about potentially hazardous situations around me, inspired me to do small things that could create some social value for my community, and showed me how to run an organization orderly and efficiently. I haven’t worked in disaster response before, but after this experience, I would certainly volunteer in the case of an emergency.
This was your first time in the United States. Tell us about your impressions of the U.S. and New York.
I found New Yorkers to be open-minded and inclusive, with a good work-life balance. In NY, people seem to care more about what you are doing and what you are thinking, with less focus on your appearance. In contrast, the definition of “beauty” in my home country is stereotyped and sharing a single dimension. But in NY, the criteria are diversified – I prefer such an inclusive environment more.
Also for the hours, as far as I experienced, people here do better on work-life balance, though it may be a cliché, but in my home country, I hardly have my own time – actually every colleague in my private equity firm is quite busy and stressed. Of course there’s a difference among different industries, but generally speaking, New Yorkers may do better on this issue, at least from my experience this summer.
World Cares Center’s mission is to empower communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters through training, support, and coordination. To learn more about trainings and other events please visit the World Cares Center website.