Zijia Zhuang ’21: Penguin Random House China

Name: Zijia Zhuang
Class Year: 2021
Major: Comparative Literature
Hometown: Beijing, China

Internship Organization: Penguin Random House China
Job Title: Editorial Assistant
Location: Beijing, China


What’s happening at your internship?

I am paid to read books at my internship! One of the most important tasks that I was given is to proofread translated texts, so I need to read the original English text with the Chinese translated text together to see if there is anything wrong about the translation. I also got the chance to read chapters of books sent by copyright companies and discussed with my supervisor whether we should buy the book. I helped editors to research authors, their books, book covers, and copyright information. Recently I am working on a project to discover famous Western sci-fi authors who are not well-introduced into the Chinese market.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied believing this would be the perfect job, combining my fondness for reading and writing with introducing good books to many others. I have dreamed of becoming an editor since junior high school. As I grew to be a selective reader, I paid more attention to publishing companies. Time after time, I found myself attracted by the high-quality design and contents of books that all have a little orange penguin logo on their covers. I cannot think of a better place to start my career in the publishing industry other than Penguin Random House China.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I always admired Penguin Random House, but I never knew there were internship opportunities offered by Penguin China. Last summer, a friend of mine who is a senior in our school learned that I’m interested in going into the publishing field, so she told me that a recently graduated alumna, Rita (’18), was working for Penguin China, and she gave me her contact. From Rita, I learned about what it is like to be a Penguin intern, and how to apply to be an intern. I was so excited to hear about everything. I waited almost a year and it was finally my time to apply for the internship! In my interview, I was not upset to learn that the Penguin staff members still remembered Rita and they liked her a lot, as she seemed to have a great time when she told me about the internship. Luckily, I got admitted too. I started the internship with one thought: I have to work hard enough to keep up that good image of Bryn Mawr College students!

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

Before I began my internship, I thought that editors only deal with books. But I was soon assigned tasks by my supervisor to help her with the 2020 Penguin China original calendar. On each day of that calendar, there will be an introduction of an author and a quote from his or her book that Penguin once published, with an illustration of the Penguin cover of that book. My task was to find the quotes and the copyright information of the book cover. It was a very time-consuming job to search the information I needed, and I had to admit that I found little value from doing that job at first — I preferred proofreading! At least I was reading something! But soon I realized that while it seemed tedious, I could still learn something from this task: I got to know more about those world-famous authors and finding inspiring quotes from the internet. I also got to learn about the copyright information of books, and the connections between each different Penguin series. From that point, I decided to keep a positive attitude with whatever tasks I am going to have. I also learned from this unexpected experience that editors also need to do a lot of work that is not related to books!

Blossom Jeong ’20: IonFarms

Name: Blossom Jeong
Class Year: 2020
Major: Mathematics and Comparative Literature
Hometown: Anyang, South Korea

Internship Organization: IonFarms
Job Title: Marketing & Sales Intern
Location: Incheon, South Korea

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m working as a marketing and sales intern at IonFarms, a trading company that exports a variety of eco-friendly and well-being products. The core products that the company develops are hydrogen water generators and water ionizers. My task really depends on the day, but my primary job involves researching and translating various materials for the company. For example, I looked for online journal articles on the health benefits of hydrogen water and alkaline water to be posted on the company’s website, and I also researched and studied the technology behind water ionizers to be used in promotion materials. Other than research, I helped translate user guides and administration manuals for the new products that the company will be launching soon. Because IonFarms is a trading company that reaches out internationally, I definitely use my language skills a lot.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I wanted to understand what the marketing field was like. I’m still debating whether I want to go to graduate school or start working right after graduation, so I wanted to use this summer to explore these possibilities. I’ve developed an interest in marketing after working as a student manager for a varsity team here at Bryn Mawr College, but I wanted to expand that experience further and actually work in a professional setting. I also thought participating in an internship would help me evaluate what skills I have and what skills I might want to develop further, since professional skills might be different from what I learn in school.

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

From this internship, one thing I learned was that language used at work is much different from the language for everyday use. There was a lot of technical terms that I had never encountered, and I struggled especially when I tried to translate them and always needed to reference a dictionary. And every little detail mattered when I worked in the marketing department. I also realized that working in the marketing department meant that I had to first completely understand the product in question. Even simple jobs like translation and research required that I comprehended the system behind the product I was promoting. If I didn’t understand and appreciate the product, I wouldn’t be able to persuade the customers.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

Yes and no. I’m really experiencing what it’s like to work at an actual company, and the experience both meets and differs from my expectations. I’m still familiarizing myself with the company’s system, working individually but always having access to others. I also had an opportunity to sit in one of the department meetings, and I was fascinated by the interaction between different employees and the different ideas on the table. It excited me to witness all the energy in the room, people passionately giving their opinions. It made me think about what kind of passion I have, and how I can connect it to my future career.