Wu Chuhan, a 26-year-old urban management and law enforcement official in Qingpu District, was kept busy from October 10 preparing of the second China International Import Expo.
She was a foreign affairs contact official for the event and her work included translating and arranging schedules for foreign guests. The job required a good command of foreign languages, patience, and the ability to respond quickly to any unexpected situation.
“The most important is that you should never say ‘I don’t know’ in response to any inquiry,” she said.
More than 100 foreign affairs contact officials served the expo and Wu was in the West Asia and Africa team, which had 32 members welcoming guests from nearly 20 countries.
Wu, an English major graduate of East China University of Political Science and Law, was responsible for a delegation from Tanzania, comprising government officials and company representatives.
“I needed to keep close communication with all parties involved, and I had to confirm how many people would visit, their titles, how long they would stay, their schedules, their flight numbers, their hotels, terminal information and their vehicle arrangements,” she said.
The delegation of four people had a busy schedule attending a welcome dinner, the opening ceremony, the Hongqiao International Economic Forum, national pavilion exhibitions and business negotiations. The first of them arrived on November 2.
Wu was kept busy as there were a lot of changes in terms of visiting members and schedules. Before the expo opened, she worked from 8:30am to midnight because of the need for plenty of communication and a time difference of five hours.
After the expo opened, she worked from 7am to 10pm accompanying the delegation.
After they settled in, she needed to report on vehicles, accommodation and schedules to relevant staff.
More than 10 training sessions since August had been organized for foreign affairs contact officials, covering all aspects of their duties and information on different countries, etiquette and matters that were taboo. “I had no idea of Tanzania in the past and have never been there, and I did a lot of preparation work in advance,” Wu said.
A fast response to unexpected situations was very important.
After the expo opening ceremony, an official she received did not turn up at a designated spot, and nobody could find him, not even his secretary.
Wu had no pass to enter the ceremony. “I was nervous because I feared he had got lost as the venue is big, but I had to stay calm,” she said.
She waited outside the national pavilion area and picked up the official after two hours.
“I learned how to stay calm in unexpected situations from that experience,” she said.
With the expo now over, Wu will return to her post as an urban management and law enforcement official in Chonggu Town.