[Part II] Why Intern in China
Continued from Why You Should Intern in China – Part 1
Completing an international internship differs from a local internship in the cultural immersion at the workplace and the various challenges you encounter during your internship. Working in a company with diversity is not the same as being the minority in a foreign culture, and while it is testing, you will emerge from the experience with new coping skills that will transfer well to any other position you undertake in the future! Nowadays companies value skills of adaptation, cultural awareness, and internationally applicable soft skills. Think about how many companies do business with China, and how China has the world’s largest population both inland and overseas—these skills will come in handy!
Learn on the job
Originally, the purpose of an internship was to get your foot in the door to a company of your liking, which is why interns would make coffee runs and stand all day by the copier making booklets—dreaming of the day they’ll be a full-fledged employee at their dream company. We might also choose internships to lay a foundation for finding the next job within our industry, in which case we might not want to work at the company where we intern. However, most of the time, such internships are just a formality where you are “working” for the purpose of a recommendation letter, a signed form, or a few lines in your resume because you’re not able to put your newly learned skills into practice.
Interning in China is better than that. China has a high demand for foreign talent and will give you surprisingly challenging or important tasks and responsibilities that you never imagined you could undertake as a mere intern. Such work will not only hone your skills, improve your confidence, but will also become great stories for your next interview!
Intern any time
When is the high season for internships? You know the answer is summer and fall, and applications for a summer internship are sent out as early as the year before. In fact, if you haven’t secured a summer internship by mid-Spring, you probably won’t be hearing from anyone. The benefit of choosing an international internship in China is that you can intern any time! CIP can find you an internship any month or season, regardless as to whether it’s what HR considers hiring season back home.
The length of your internship is also more flexible than in other countries where you are perhaps tied to a minimum of three months, or even six months, but through CIP, you can find an internship for as short as one month!
Work in China
An internship in China can open doors to young grads who would like to work in China as expats. During an internship, you will be exposed to a variety of cultural insights, and especially the Chinese language. Most employers in China would rather employ foreigners who have some amount of spoken Mandarin proficiency than those who do not have it at all. Therefore, CIP encourages interns to commit a good amount of effort into learning the language and practicing it with locals for fluency.
Employers also prefer foreign talents who are already living in China over foreigners who have to be invited from abroad. There are several job platforms in China, including CIP’s newly launched Job Platform, where interns can search and apply for job openings during their internship in China.
Start your own business
The times we live in honor entrepreneurial endeavors, and most young people have brilliant ideas looking to get investors or even partners in order to start up. There are over 2000 business incubation houses in Asia and the number never stops.
Often, open events for budding entrepreneurs are held in various parts of China, especially Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. At these Shark Tank-like events, the next generation of entrepreneurs can submit their ideas and have three days to convince investors their ideas are worth investing in. Interns can also take advantage of these resources to secure the financial investment needed to start up a business in China.
Interning in China, whether just for the summer or for your entire gap year, is a great way to combine fun travel and professional development! The experience will not only help you get your foot into your chosen industry, but will also open your mind to new opportunities that perhaps you had never thought of before. An internship in China could change your life.
Written By: Jessica Suotmaa
"Jessica Suotmaa, our in-house writer, writes from Beijing, China about the education, network, and career opportunities in China. She is a profound Career Coach of our time. Prior to her China experience, she functioned as a sales trainer and assistant manager in sales and customer service in Los Angeles, CA.
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