Tristan Lin was our first intern at Life Solutions and as a sustainability student, he brought passion and energy in the concepts and projects he delivered during his time with us.
You can read Tristan’s review his time with us below.
Why you should apply
Life Solutions is a great example of how a medium sized company can find its niche in the massive China market, and how local and foreign team members can collaborate and build a strong culture. I interned there for two months through July and August 2018.
This offered me the opportunity to hone my skills as a content creator, but moreover I learned so much about the field of sustainability in practice. While locally staffed, our clients are huge international corporations, big brands and sustainability partners. This opened up opportunities to meet and network with professional people across Shanghai. On the whole, this experience enhanced my abilities and practical skills as a soon-to-be university graduate entering the workforce.
Working at Life Solutions
This was not the traditional office that I expected. Our work spaces were spread out across a large, comfortable, open plan area, which made integration and communication easy. The team is made up of around 25 people and they are welcoming and friendly. As I got to know my colleagues on a more personal basis, it soon became apparent that many of them had already been at Life Solutions for a number of years and thoroughly enjoyed being a part the team. In fact, the average length of employment at the time was over 5 years, which is quite amazing when you consider that the company started in 2009. Perhaps it is because, among other benefits, we have an “Ayi” (housekeeper) serving us freshly cooked lunch every day. When local cuisine is served fresh literally a few meters from your desk, then socialising and forging closer relationships is much easier.
Challenges and how I learned to overcome them
While it was exciting to be the first Intern at Life Solutions, I naturally faced some early challenges. There were no examples or footsteps of previous Interns to follow. However, I was given the opportunity to work on projects and to give my own input into schedules, deadlines and targets. Most importantly, when I encountered technical challenges, I soon found myself surrounded with helpful professionals. On a personal level, I also overcame some initial hesitations and reservations, by learning to take more initiative and gaining the confidence to work more independently on my projects.
Projects that I worked on
My two main responsibilities during my internship was to build media content and to work closely with our sustainability project partners. Being fluent in both English and Chinese meant that I was able to manage these roles independently. I worked on a number of interesting initiatives like coordinating and managing our team’s plastic pick up in a polluted coastal area and scripting marketing material and videos focusing on the benefits and importance of adopting filtered water.
Ultimately, as an Intern, your tasks may differ from mine, but the Co-Founder, Jon Newton, was very flexible in aligning my projects with my own personal goals and interests. If you are open about what you want to learn and achieve during your internship, the management team is very supportive of delegating appropriate challenges to you that makes it a win-win.
Reflections on my experience
Being part of this team (even for a short while) was a very rewarding experience for me, both professionally and on a personal level. Some of the best moments of my internship stemmed from opportunities where I was able to exercise independent decision-making and the freedom to execute projects that I was passionate about.
I mentioned earlier that I initiated the plastic pick up for the team to spend a day in the outskirts of Shanghai. China is still a rapidly developing country, but the concepts of sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions have only recently caught the local public’s attention. One of the main reasons why I wanted to work at Life Solutions was to align myself with their long-standing and growing sustainability efforts in China. As an environmental sciences major, I also brought my own knowledge and fresh perspectives. I am proud to have helped create a deeper awareness about environmental issues for the team. Throughout our beach cleanup excursion, I overheard my colleagues’ discussions and reflections about our own living habits, and by the end of the day everyone had a renewed energy for making a difference.
Lastly, so many positive takeaways from this experience came from my interactions from the management team, particularly Jon Newton’s mentorship. This was only my second internship and so there many occasions where I needed guidance and advice. Despite his busy schedule, Jon always managed to find time to meet, discuss my work and help me progress. Communication was clear, encouraging and direct. One of the highlights of my two months was when Jon was traveling and couldn’t attend a talk on sustainability and plastic pollution. He had enough faith in my ability and delegated this speaking event to me, where I spoke as a panelist at a large sustainability event about my experiences in Shanghai.
I came out of this internship with my passion for sustainability deepened even further and found the experience exceptional.