Down towards Southeast Asia, just shy of Hong Kong, sits the capital and largest city of Guangdong Province: Guangzhou. Located on the Pearl River, this port city is the third largest city in China. Formerly known as Canton, Guangzhou is a major manufacturing base with a striking balance of historic temples and gleaming skyscrapers. Guangzhou is known for it’s delicious Cantonese food, enormous theme park, and the largest trade fair in China. Internships in Guangzhou are a good fit for individuals who are looking to learn more about how their field functions in China while also sharing their own professional and cultural insights.
Internships in Guangzhou
The possibilities for interning in Guangzhou, a major port and transportation hub, are endless. Considered one of the most prosperous cities in China, Guangzhou has numerous industries ranging from finance to journalism. Whether you’re interested in learning how Chinese people conduct business deals, teaching English, or learning more about the booming hospitality industry, you’ve picked the right place. Want to master a second language? An internship in Chinese is just a few clicks away. You’ll walk away from your internship with newfound knowledge, insight, and an awesome resume booster.
Business. This booming city offers numerous internships in various parts of the business industry. You can choose to intern in finance, accounting, sales, marketing, or communication, just to name a few! These opportunities can be with small, domestic companies or multinational companies, depending on what you’re looking for. Many companies hope to teach interns common business practices, business planning, how to give financial advice, and how to consult with other businesses, while also learning Western business practices from interns. Business internships in Guangzhou tend to be paid, provide housing accommodation, and sometimes offer language classes. Be prepared though, because they also usually require a bachelor’s degree in a related field or proof of current enrollment in a bachelor’s program.
Hospitality. With an increasing population and massive amounts of tourism, the hospitality industry in Guangzhou is endlessly expanding — perfect for landing future Guangzhou jobs. Five star hotels are always looking for help with both customer service-focused positions and managerial tasks. Hospitality internships in Guangzhou usually provide a monthly stipend, housing accommodations, and meals. Some hotels even grant flight vouchers if you commit to work with them for a certain amount of time. This can be a really great way to have an inexpensive experience of a lifetime!
Education. Native and fluent English speakers, rejoice! Your language skills are highly desired and sought out in Guangzhou. Most language programs in Guangzhou are geared towards children and can either be private or group lessons. Some education internships in Guangzhou require interns to have certification to teach English abroad, while others require no previous teaching or foreign language skills. Education internships can be short term, and last just a few weeks, or can last as long as a full year. Plan to teach for a few hours a day, five days a week during your internship in Guangzhou. A monthly stipend is typically offered; however, some internships are volunteer-based and are therefore unpaid.
Au Pair. If you love children and are looking to be fully immersed in the Chinese culture during internships in southern China, then being an au pair is for you. Wealthy families in Guangzhou constantly seek native or fluent English speakers to help with the care and education of their children. You would live and eat with the family, learning as much from them as they will from you. Be ready to commit to working 25 hours a week in return for free room and board, a monthly stipend, and sometimes even a flight stipend. Many au pair internships in Guangzhou start with a short initial time commitment that can be extended to a year or more if the au pair and family are a good fit. Be aware, as many of these programs have age limits and only accept applicants between the ages of 18 and 35.
Life in Guangzhou
Guangzhou, a well-known global powerhouse, offers a humid subtropical climate with an average temperature around 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). The summers are hot and humid, the winters are mild and relatively dry, and monsoon season lasts from April until September. The rising industrialization has resulted in higher levels of pollution that obscures the blue skies; however, you can combat potential health risks by taking the subway and staying indoors during peak pollution hours.
The China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, is China’s largest trade fair and is a major event for the city — I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind snagging a role of support for that event during an internship in China for international students. Twice a year, in April and October, people come pouring in from around the globe to partake in this popular business event. Enjoy the intensified hustle and bustle of these heavy tourist times, but expect tourism to be popular year round. People come to see the juxtaposition between the old temples and modern steel towers in addition to the beautiful city parks exploding with flowers.
One of the highlights of living in Guangzhou is the availability of Cantonese cuisine, one of China’s eight most famous food families. Everywhere you look, there are restaurants boasting this delicious local tradition. Top off your night-out with attending a Cantonese Opera, a traditional Chinese art form that not only involves singing and music, but also martial arts, acrobatics, and acting. If you’re looking for a fun day out after a week full of interning in Guanzhou, visit it’s famous theme park: Chimelong Paradise. The biggest theme park in China hosts seventy rides, numerous rare animals, and a circus.
Salaries & Costs
Compared to other large cities in China, the cost of living in Guangzhou is relatively inexpensive. A basic budget can have you surviving on around $600 a month during your internship in China for international students, not including rent. Apartments are considerably cheaper outside of the city center, sometimes around half the price. Street food, cafeteria food, and groceries are very cheap, frequently allowing you to purchase an entire meal for under $3. Transportation is also a lot less expensive. You can secure a monthly pass for around $45 or a one way ticket for less than $1.
Most of the internship programs in Guangzhou offer some sort of monthly stipend or salary. That’s right, paid internships in China, baby! Some of the stipends start around $150-$300 per month, but can be higher depending on what company you work with and how many hours a week you work. Many programs, however, compensate these stipends with additional benefits such as housing accommodations, meals, flight stipends, Chinese language classes (to help you kick butt at your internship in Chinese!), travel and medical insurance, and 24/7 support lines. With these benefits, the smaller monthly stipends can be enough to cover daily costs, but many companies will also help you find a part time job to supplement your stipend.
Accommodation & Visas
Any trip or amount of time spent during internships in southern China will require a visa. There are several different types of visas for individuals taking internships and the type you need is dependent upon the nature of your trip as well as the duration. Many of the internship programs offer to help you with the visa process, between selecting the correct visa and filling out the application. The most common types of visas for interns are the F Visa (the visitor visa), and the M Visa (the business visa). Visit GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for more information.
Many of the internship programs in Guangzhou provide housing accommodations. Some accommodations are free, while others come with a small program fee. The common arrangements include a homestay, a shared apartment, or living with a family as an au pair. If accommodations are not provided during your internship in China, a one bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $650 a month while a one bedroom outside of the city center costs around $350.
Benefits & Challenges
Professional Experience. Guangzhou is a major hub for businesses and has tons of excellent professional experiences to offer. Plus, it’ll look great on your resume too. The best part? You can intern in the field you want and you will more than likely get paid! You get the chance to learn from international experts in your field and ultimately approach work with a new found perspective.
International Friends. Another benefit of Guangzhou’s location and designation as a business and trade hub is that it draws people from all over the world. You will find yourself surrounded by people from Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and more! There’s no shortage of new people and cultures to surround yourself with.
Culture. There is no question that life in Guangzhou will be quite different from what you’re used to, but there is no better way to dive into a new culture than by living in a bustling city bursting at the seams with authentic Cantonese food, art, and architecture. It may take some time to get used to the differences, but you will soon find yourself at home in this beautiful port city.
An paid internship in China in the thriving capital of Guangdong Province will give you important professional experience, skills, and knowledge, while also jump-starting your career and enhancing your resume. Whether you end up in a full time job after your internship or return home (or somewhere else on the world map!), you can be sure that you are better off thanks to your time spent in Guangzhou.