Chengdu is China’s fifth largest city and capital of the well-known Sichuan Province. Not only is Chengdu one of the country’s most important economic, cultural, and commercial hubs, but it also serves as a popular transportation gateway to the vast reaches of Western China. Settled thousands of years ago on the Sichuan Basin below nearby mountains and lakes, today Chengdu is a great place to intern abroad for students interested in the history and culture of inland China.
Internships in Chengdu
China’s economy has been growing at an exceedingly fast rate since the governmental reforms of the 1970’s, and today it trails only the United States in GDP. Industrialization, emerging markets, and huge amounts of foreign investment have all made Chengdu one of the very best places to intern in the country. Chengdu hosts more than 250 Fortune 500 Companies, and this number is still growing steadily.
Since it is such a big city, you can intern in pretty much any professional field in Chengdu. Some of the most popular placements are in business, marketing, architecture, and finance because of the many multinational corporations which manage extensive global operations here. These placements are generally built for English speakers, but if you are learning Mandarin also, then there is no better way to accelerate your language acquisition than by interning abroad!
Most internship placements in Chengdu last between two and six months, depending on whether you are still enrolled in school or have recently graduated. Some companies will even offer exceptional interns the opportunity to keep working abroad because there is such a high demand in China. Who knows, maybe interning abroad in Chengdu will be the start of a whole new life as an expatriate!
Life in Chengdu
Chengdu is considered to be one of the most modern and livable cities in China, and for good reason. It has a highly developed infrastructure and a brand new metro system which is still expanding to cover most of the metropolitan area. In many respects it is a face of modern China, boasting many high rise buildings, chic marketplaces, fancy hotels and restaurants, and well-kept public parks.
Still, for those not accustomed to life in China, adapting to Chengdu will come with its fair share of challenges. There are over 7 million people living in the urban area, and nearly double as much if you include the city’s suburban surroundings. Crowds move fast and quickly, pollution can be troublesome, and this is true of any major city within the world’s most populous country.
But none of this should deter you from pursuing an internship in Chengdu. China is in the midst of a great period of change, and it is a truly fascinating place to intern abroad for many reasons. Fascinating ancient history, enriching culture, opportunity to learn a new language and network abroad – these all benefits of choosing Chengdu for your internship.
Salary & Costs
Good news for international interns – China is inexpensive, and many internships are paid. Though its cities are modernizing fast, China remains a developing country and so general costs of living will be much lower than in the developed world. Also, because there is a large demand, employers will likely compensate you well for your services in Chengdu. Not too bad a deal, right?
Accommodation & Visas
Usually your internship provider will help to organize housing in Chengdu, or at least point you in the right direction. Homestays are a popular option for interns who want to immerse themselves intimately in the Chinese culture. Those interested in a more independent lifestyle also often choose apartments or group housing with other interns.
China’s visa policy is somewhat strict, but you should have no problem obtaining the proper permit to intern abroad. Most interns file for a business visa, which lasts for up to six months. Your employer or internship provider should help guide you through the process, but in the meantime you can check out GoAbroad's Chinese Embassy Directory for more information about China’s visa policy toward your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Up and Coming. Chengdu is quickly becoming one of the most important global cities in China, and is arguably right behind Shanghai and Beijing in importance to the country’s economy. You can feel the tides of change in the city, and making it a fun and rewarding place to intern abroad.
Learn Some Mandarin. The world’s most widely spoken native language is rarely spoken outside of China. But picking up some Mandarin while abroad will enable you to communicate better with locals, and making a genuine effort to learn the language will excel your job prospects to new heights.
Network. China is becoming the most important center for business in the world, and many estimate that it will overtake the United States as the world’s most powerful economy within just a few decades. Not a bad place to form some friendships and business connections.