Internship in China - China internship - Internship China
China`s Innumerable Internship Opportunities
Ask any college student about one of their most valuable university experiences and they will most likely reply quite fervently, "My internship!" Others may also reply with a strong "Studying abroad!" Why not combine these two and have the best of both worlds? More and more students are looking into internships abroad, especially internships in exotic places such as Asia. China, being the largest country in Asia, definitely has a lot to offer newcomers. And China's most developed cities, such as Beijing or Shanghai, are especially brimming with potential.
Yet how to find an internship in China? Google is probably the first place to start. Just by googling "Internships in China" one will come up with a number of companies offering internship programs in China. These companies are extremely useful if you don`t know anyone in China because due to the language barrier, there are just too many things that you can`t do on your own. Some of the most difficult include getting a visa, renting an apartment, paying bills, opening a bank account, etc. I`ve been in China six years and have used a few different companies to help me along the way. This year, Getin2China Group is helping me extend my visa. Visas are one of the biggest difficulties foreigners in China have to deal with so quickly find a company or friend in China you can trust to help you with big problems such as this or small problems such as how to buy a phone card.
By doing the necessary research, it is easy to discover just how many more opportunities there are to intern in China versus other countries. Chinese companies are becoming more and more influenced by the West and are starting to use English on a more frequent basis in order to gain foreign clients. This has created a huge demand for smart, flexible and adventurous English speakers.
We have all heard of the devastating consequences following the world economic crisis but China has escaped quite unscathed. While the rest of the world is reducing headcount, China is able to hire more. Although China`s standard of living and base salaries are a great deal lower than developed countries, what China offers is innumerable opportunities. The fact of the matter is internships in China are like none other because you learn so much more than just your craft. You learn a new language, a new culture, and a new lifestyle. You learn to think differently and try different things. It won`t always be easy doing an internship in Beijing or an internship in Shanghai, but it will be exciting and an experience you will never forget.
What do you need to intern in China? Being able to speak Chinese is a good place to start. Learning Chinese in China is often offered by the same company offering you an internship program in China so they will help coordinate classes around your work schedule. Aside from learning Chinese, just learning about the culture is another essential. Understanding how to communicate with your Chinese co-workers indirectly or why you should go out to dinner with your clients is much more important than learning "ni hao". It's important that you learn Chinese in Beijing or learn Chinese in Shanghai. Why? Because in these two cities you will be able to find the most standard accent of Mandarin. If you'd like to know what "standard Mandarin" sounds like, find a nationwide Chinese news channel on TV. These news broadcasters are all chosen because of their standard accent. It's definitely good to get a head start by learning some Chinese at home before you intern in China; however, nothing beats actually studying Chinese in China. There's a big difference to learning something because you want to and learning because you have to. For example, probably within one day of arriving in China you will know how to say "Where is the toilet?"
Another important thing to learn is patience. Not being able to communicate with people is frustrating. Not having people understand you is frustrating. Having people do things to you that are considered rude in your country is frustrating. Yet just let it go. Don`t allow yourself to get caught up in all the little frustrations as it will distract from all that China has to offer.
Want to really picture what life will be like? Let`s take two students who are interns in China as examples. One we`ll call Susie. Susie has paid a company to help her locate a 3-month interior design internship in Beijing. She can`t speak any Chinese so she takes Chinese lessons before work every morning. She is sharing an apartment with two other interns who are from different countries than her. Her first few weeks are rather crazy. She gets lost in the city a few times, she can`t use chopsticks and she can`t figure out why beds in China are so hard! But the two months fly by and everyday she learns something new that makes life a little bit easier. She finds all the direct questions about why she is so tall and so pale rather hilarious and refreshing. Finally a place where you don`t have to always be so politically correct, just say what`s on your mind! Susie also found several Chinese friends who are patient enough to help her improve her speaking ability and even teach her some new hobbies, like Tai Chi.
Intern number two is Tom. Tom is doing an internship in Shanghai. He studied Chinese before arriving but had no connections in China so he also had a company assist him with finding work. As a fresh architecture graduate, he was happy to sign up for a six-month internship with a design firm. However, the day-to-day issues were getting to him. He found most people in Shanghai spoke Shanghai-ese or Mandarin with a slight Shanghai accent so he had trouble understanding and being understood. Sometimes he had to wait in line for 30 minutes to an hour just to do a simple money exchange at the bank. He was tired after work and didn`t feel like going to sing karaoke at KTV places with his co-workers so he didn`t build very strong relationships with them. Eventually, the little annoyances added up to a huge negative attitude and he discovered China was not the place for him.
A China internship isn`t for everyone. If you want an easy, predictable life, China is not the place for you. However, if you can be a little bit like Susie, and stay focused on the positive side of life and the interesting experience overall, China may just be one of the most rewarding and interesting places you`ll ever live.
So go ahead, study abroad in China, learn Chinese in China, intern in China (especially internships in Beijing or Shanghai), do whatever it is you want to do, but do it in China! It`s the place to be and a place of innumerable opportunities.