Although many young people are curious about China, for some the question comes down to whether to spend a lot and invest in an overseas experience, or save the money and find something closer to home. Internship or even a summer internship in China can give you a massive edge for your career. Even average salary in China is considered by many to be having a rapid growth. Not only life in Shanghai, Beijing but also other places of China is highly appreciable. Here are 5 points for you to seriously consider before making your decision.
1. The Future is in China
China has the world’s largest middle-class with an ever-increasing disposable income. For this reason every major international company is trying to enter the Chinese market. Regardless of whether you want to stay and work in China or not, a solid first-hand understanding of the people and culture is invaluable for personal and organizational opportunities. A lot of what you hear and read in the media is only one side of the story, or the most extreme examples of both good and bad happenings. The only way to get a true unbiased perspective of China is to come and live in it yourself and even try out internship in China.
2. Gain an Edge with Any Future Employers
Of course an obvious reason is that it looks good on your CV when you do internship in China or may be even a summer internship in China. I don't know if many of your peers and classmates are also interning abroad, but when it comes to the job market, in fact it is only a very small percentage of people who have overseas experience. What you learn during your time here will give you insight and something meaningful to talk about with potential employers. It could also open doors in any company with connections to Asia, simply because an employer will feel more comfortable knowing you have experienced firsthand what it's like to live and work in an Asian culture.
3. Establish Your Global Network
Networking may be one of the most underrated skills necessary for today. While it does not come naturally to all, it can certainly be learned. Many, if not the majority of business and growth opportunities come through connections and referrals as opposed to searching online. Both life in Shanghai and Beijing arguably have a more diverse concentration of high quality connections than places like New York and Hong Kong. It is more likely that you will meet high profile and influential people here than in those other cities. I believe that is because the foreign communities here are smaller and tighter and the culture more friendly than competitive as opposed to cities like Hong Kong and Singapore. It is never too early to start building up your professional network. You really never know when and where a connection will come in handy in the near or far future.
4. You May Never Want to Leave
You never know what 3 months of internship in China might do to you! I have met countless people who came to Asia for just 6-12 months and have ended up staying for over 10 or 20 years. The reasons vary from work opportunities were too good to pass up, they found the lifestyle much more interesting, exciting, convenient, or they ended up meeting that special someone and found that starting a life and family here were better than any options back home. Even if you do go back to your home country, you will have a new found respect and appreciation for your own country and culture as well as for China.
5. The Time is Now
The best time to go overseas is now while you are young and have time! Once you start your career, perhaps even get married and have a family, life will get so busy that you will no longer have the luxury of time or freedom to explore living abroad for a few months. Finding an entry-level job or internship abroad can have it’s challenges, but I firmly believe the pros far outweigh the cons. You may find yourself slightly squeezed financially for the time-being, but if you can find a way to get the experience now, it will be of incalculable value to you both personally and professionally for the rest of your life. It is an investment in yourself and your career.
She is our Program Development Director: Lianne is an Expert in Career change, Life coaching, personal and professional development. She has worked with youth centers in Beijing, Hong Kong and Brooklyn - New York mentoring youth and young adults.