By Nick Yates, ISB Communications
Students at the International School of Beijing (ISB) have been reflecting on an internship program that allowed them to sample life inside some of China's leading workplaces.
The High School and Strategic Learning Office formed partnerships with 10 organizations including Ericsson (China) Communications Co., Oasis International Hospital, the Center for International Business Ethics, Sea Bound Times Film and Television Production Co., Grand Mercure Hotels, and Sports Beijing.
ISB Strategic Learning Coordinator Brian McManus introduced the program as "an opportunity to gain insights in a preferred career field... The engagement also provides students a clearer idea about what career they might want to pursue once they reach university."
For the eight students who participated in the program last month, it was an experience that fitted perfectly with ISB's approach to learning. The school's "Learning 21@ISB" model is based on answering a number of key questions, among them "What can we do to ensure that the ISB learning environment adequately prepares our students for a future we cannot predict?" It values 21st-century learning skills including leadership and responsibility, innovation and creativity, communication and collaboration, global thinking, and inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving.
Grade 10 student Celina Z got a glimpse into the future in a hotbed of innovation at Ericsson. She learned all about the inner workings of a cell phone, toured the company's high-tech labs, and was introduced to the current 4G and futuristic 5G networks. She met Ericsson staff from different departments and made valuable contacts for future work experience.
Four of the students interned at Oasis International Hospital, putting their sense of responsibility, communication skills and problem solving to the test. Maggie C, grade 10, spent time at the hospital's reception desk, helping with patients' registrations and guiding them to appointments. "They were from different countries and various age groups. Communicating with them let me gain a strong feeling of taking care of and providing service to others," Maggie said.
She encountered a challenging situation in the case of a distressed family in conflict with each other in the hospital. Maggie observed how the potential flashpoint was skilfully dealt with. "One of my colleagues asked about the situation and comforted [the family member]," Maggie remembered. "After interacting with the pediatric doctor and the patient's family members, she ordered her a taxi. Throughout the whole process, nearly all the staff from the customer service department were involved in this case and tried to give the old lady a satisfying response.
"From this, I had a deeper understanding of the meaning of 'patient service'. Customer service staff... act more like a bridge between the hospital and patients. It requires strong communication skills, thinking about a problem from various perspectives, and respecting others' feelings. From this, I know more about the social aspects of our community and I am determined to pay more attention in interacting with all kinds of people to learn about the world."
Angela K, grade 9, was put in charge of a customer service survey at Oasis. She had to exercise empathy and powers of persuasion to get patients to participate and understand the benefits of the research to them. "I kindly told them about the purpose of the survey and how it would help raise the hospital's quality. I think I was quite successful as I got a lot of feedback for the customer service department," Angela said.
The interns all made huge progress in deciding what career might be right for them while engaging in this valuable exercise, which provided the opportunity to use some of the 21st-century learning skills they have developed at ISB.