A Tale of Two Cities:

A Beijing PR Gal Reflects on Her Placement in Shanghai

By Deborah Wang

The Hoffman Agency, Beijing

As a Beijing-office girl having experienced an eight-month placement at The Hoffman Agency in Shanghai, is there anyone more qualified to tell the story of a two-city life?

Was I excited about my new journey? Nervous about being unfamiliar with the city? Sort of. Little did I know it, but this placement would be unlike anything I had ever imagined.

Life would not be easy. For one thing, being a spicy-food zealot, I found that the food in Shanghai is not as spicy as the Sichuan-cuisine restaurants in Beijing. And as a person with no sense of direction, I found myself getting easily lost. I could never independently find my way to my favorite restaurant even though I had been there many times.

But in other ways, life in Shanghai WAS easier. Shanghai is really a transportation-convenient metropolis with easy access to taxis and metros. It also has a great selection of delicate and delicious desserts. Those desserts were always there to help me relax after a busy day.

In general, work would not be easy. Since my Hoffman life in Beijing connected me mostly with Beijing media, I had to focus on enhancing my media connections in Shanghai.

But in other ways, working HAD been easier – or maybe a better way to put it – all the hard work was extremely valuable. Through my placement in Shanghai, I learned how to work across offices. Being able to absorb the expertise of my peers in Shanghai, as well as contribute my experience from working in Beijing, did not only improve my consulting capabilities, but also made me a more qualified PR practitioner.

Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But it’s the unexpected times that you learn to love the best.

Love the way you live. I enjoyed my time in Shanghai as I enjoy my life in Beijing. 

HA China offsite

The Hoffman China team enjoying their offsite at Quingdao

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