One of the world’s oldest and greatest civilizations, China is an increasingly important player in the global affairs of our modern era, to the point where many predict it will overtake the United States as the world’s most influential superpower. Needless to say, choosing to intern abroad in China is an invaluable opportunity to develop a strong professional relationship with this vastly important nation. Even more than this, it is also the chance to explore a culture, language, and history which is infinitely deep and complex, and will keep you forever intrigued to learn more.
With a total population nearing 1.4 billion people and over 100 cities with a population of at least 1 million each, you will not suffer from lack of options for where to intern abroad in China. From the country’s sprawling coastlines in the east and south to the magnificent mountains and deserts of the north and west, China is home to a huge diversity of peoples, cultures, and landscapes which merit a lifetime of exploration.
In the short term, however, your first decision will be where to begin with an internship in China. Beijing, which has been the country’s capital in one form or another for several centuries, is the first choice for many where to seek out an internship in China for obvious reasons. Shanghai, the country’s largest city and modern economic command center, has developed into an equally enticing destination for many international interns as well.
Other cities where you might pursue internships abroad in China include Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Xi’an. It is impossible in this limited space to delve into all the pros and cons of different Chinese cities; there are dozens of potential landing places for an internship abroad in China which can each be as rewarding as the next. It is thus important that you commit to independent research in the matter, to decide on which feels like the best fit for your personal and professional aspirations.
Internships in China
For a few decades now, China has led the field of fastest growing economies in the world, and the country continues to diversify in new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the curve. Some of the most popular sectors in which to intern abroad in China include business, international trade, architecture, technology, and development, in all of which you can contribute to the country’s dynamic economy, while gaining valuable professional experience in a competitive global setting.
You are by no means limited to these popular fields, however. China is making a huge push to globalize its workforce and attract young workers from all around the world, so you can also find internships abroad in China in areas as diverse as theater, art, and fashion as well, among many other placements. Another benefit of this push for global integration is that many internships abroad in China are offered in English, which can be a huge foot in the door for non-Mandarin speakers.
Internships in China tend to last from three to six months, depending on your personal preferences and availability. Many internship programs in China will also offer the opportunity to combine your daily work with studies for academic credit, which can be a great option to look into for students currently pursuing their degrees.
Salaries & Costs
Whether or not you will be paid as an intern abroad in China depends on the specific line of work you are entering into; obviously you are more likely to be compensated for working in finance then for a non-profit, for example. The good news is that even if you do not receive a salary, many internships abroad in China will offer to compensate you in other ways such as providing housing, transportation, and meals.
Because it is still developing in many sectors, China also remains an affordable destination for most interns travelling from the industrialized world. The local currency is the Yuan, which exchanges at roughly 6.5 CNY to $1 USD.
Accommodation & Visas
Most young workers choose to live in their own apartment while they intern abroad in China, and rent costs are affordable in most major Chinese cities. In most cases your internship program in China will help set you up with housing; otherwise, many interns also choose to stay in a hostel upon immediate arrival and seek out their accommodations in person. Some internships in China will also offer alternative housing means, such as homestays or group apartments with other interns.
You will need to apply for a visa in order to intern abroad in China, often with the endorsement of your employer. What type of visa you will need depends on the type of work you are doing, the duration of your intended stay, your home country, and whether or not you will be paid. For more information about your individual circumstances, be sure to check out our Chinese Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Rising Prospects. It is no secret that China is increasing in global prominence economically, politically, and culturally. Now is a great time to go abroad and begin building bridges through an internship in China, while learning all about this rich and complex land.
Global Network. For future professionals who aspire to a career in the global arena, there is hardly a better place to begin building a network than in China. Chinese businesses have connections all over the world, and this adventure can be just the beginning of a long and fruitful international career.
Culture Shock. While it is making a concentrated push to globalize, China retains its own very distinct culture from the Western world. Coming here to intern abroad in China is the opportunity to explore a whole new world, and push yourself to integrate into a new way of life.
Uprooting from home and travelling halfway across the world for an internship abroad in China is undoubtedly a daunting proposition. The amount of personal and professional growth you will undergo as a result of this great adventure in East Asia, however, cannot be overstated enough.