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International Students Favering China as Internship Destination
    2010-04-02 19:28:17     CRIENGLISH.com

Work experience, or an internship, is an important step for someone who is going to leave school and find a job. A new trend is emerging among international students in which more and more are choosing China as their internship destination, and at the same time making the world a smaller place.

More and more overseas students are choosing China as internship destination [photo: internabroad.com]

Yingying has more.


Twenty or thirty years ago, being international might have meant traveling between the US and Europe. But now developing countries, such as China, have to be included on the preferred intern destination list, especially when its economy keeps rising at a breakneck speed.

Derek Capo, an American, finished his language study in Beijing and then opened a cultural exchange agency called "Next Step China", which also aims to help foreign students find internship opportunities in the middle kingdom.

Derek says overseas students are choosing China as their internship destination because they see the impact and the changes China is having on the rest of the world, and it's normal for people to want be a part of a growing economy.

"In the next ten or fifteen years China will be the NO.1 economy. And it will be the NO.1 economy for a very long time. I believe they understand that and they want to be a part of that. I think it's important for them because they want to get good jobs and they want to be able to obviously have nice salaries. So, they are looking for some opportunities."

Since its setup in 2008, Derek's company has successfully placed 20 plus students and graduates from top university in the US, the UK, and other countries into host companies in Beijing and Shanghai. A new project is going to start in May when the holiday season begins. In other times of the year, more and more people are pursuing work experience in China by themselves.

Jona Alegre comes from the Philippines. She studied industrial economy in Manila, came to China for language study three years ago, and then stayed as an intern in a Beijing-based business.

"The company is a startup company. They want to build up relationship with foreign countries. Regardless of where you are from or what your race is, so long as you know how to speak English, at the same time familiar with the lifestyle in China, how to deal with foreigners and Chinese, I think that's one quality they were looking for."

Jona interned for three months in the company, dealing with people from embassies and government departments. She says she loves the place and the experience will definitely help her in the future when she becomes a PR professional.

However, there are still problems. Jona felt her boss treated her differently from the Chinese employees, not in the usual way in which interns always do hard work and don't get paid, but she could not do all she could because of the language barrier.

"To be honest, I can see the difference. My boss, for example, was very shy to give me a big workload, because he didn't know how to speak English. So I had to talk to my boss in Chinese. The workload was not as much as that of my Chinese colleagues."

Therefore Jona suggests new-comers, if they want to immerse themselves into Chinese culture and the business field, need to know at least a little conversational Chinese.

That explains why many internship agencies in China provide local language and cultural courses for their candidates, so they don't become marginalized in their Chinese-speaking environment.

Derek says that interns don't often have problems immersing themselves into regular Chinese culture but immersing themselves into the business culture. He says a lot of overseas students in their university system were taught to be open to speak out about what they think, and to do it immediately. But when they come to China, they have to adapt to a different mind-set.

"There is a time and a place to be able to speak out and voice your opinion. There is just a certain way to do it. And I think that's a little bit hard for some of the students because they are so easy to work in a system where they have to be vocal and they have to say something to get noticed. So they have to adapt to that. "

Derek says although some people have a hard time doing so, they finally find the experience to be interesting and beneficial. Many are planning to come back to China, either being sent back by their overseas employers or working for local Chinese companies.

For CRI, this is Yingying.



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