For college students today, study abroad programs are becoming more available and encouraged. In 2013-2014 about 290,000 students were part of international education programs, and that number is projected to continue to grow through focused initiatives to increase international education in the US. However, as study abroad begins to feel more commonplace, many students have turned to international internships as a way to differentiate themselves from the pack.
More than just a standard cultural immersion program, international internships allow you to learn about how other cultures do business, gain practical skills in an international setting, and make professional connections all over the world. We see specifically that more and more students are flocking to China to get a competitive edge.
So, why China?
China is Relevant. China has become a hotspot for professional experience due to the country’s booming economy and desire for an English speaking workforce. In addition to the contributions of successful Chinese corporations, China’s economy gets a boost from multinational companies–giants like Coca-Cola and KPMG– relocating their Asia headquarters to China. As traditional Chinese business ventures continue to succeed, new sectors such as green technology and engineering are also developing as international and local Chinese companies flock to China to innovate. Chinese business culture has become a part of many multinational companies, making this culture an important one to understand. Interning in China allows students an opportunity to experience first-hand Chinese business culture and the country’s influence on businesses all over the world.
You get a multicultural experience. The flux of international companies establishing themselves in China has been a huge draw for people all over the world and has made the country a desirable international hub. In a recent survey, an estimated 7,000 international expatriates recently ranked China as the best overall destination for work and 85% of expats in China are working for international companies in sectors such as business (sales and marketing), banking and financial services, and engineering. Popular expat destinations include Shanghai and Beijing, with Hong Kong an attractive choice for the financial services sector.
You will learn a language spoken by more than 1 billion people. Mandarin, the main language for business in China, is spoken by around 1.4 billion people as a first or second language. This makes Mandarin the #2 most spoken language in the world, followed next by Spanish. Being exposed first hand to this language is extremely valuable. Some internship programs to China also offer Mandarin lessons to enhance your experience in China. Students taking advantage of an opportunity to learn Mandarin firsthand in China immediately give their resumes a boost with a hard language skill.
Professional experience in China has helped many students achieve success. CRCC Asia, a company specializing in international internship opportunities in China, has sent over 5,000 interns to China and 89% have found employment in a graduate level job after returning to their home country. More universities are recognizing the significance of internship experience in China, and China internship programs are regularly being added to international programs.
If you are looking for a study abroad experience that will help you gain a competitive edge in the job market, perhaps an international internship in China is the right fit for you.
Begin your search for internship programs in China:
-Check with your university’s Study Abroad Office for internship program offerings!
For information on funding your internship abroad:
-Check with your university’s Study Abroad Office for other possible scholarship resources!
Travel enthusiast and international education advocate, Thao works as University Partnerships Manager at CRCC Asia in San Francisco, where she helps connect universities and individual students with international opportunities in China.