Student to Student
Work in the Middle Kingdom
Internships in China for Students
|The famous Shanghai skyline.
Adding work on top of study experience
abroad demonstrates to employers that one can function professionally
in a foreign environment. An overseas job can be the stepping
stone to a life of foreign work and adventure.
At the very least, it will be an exciting
time of learning and challenge. (For a comprehensive compilation
of information and advice on paid and unpaid jobs as well
as internships abroad for students and recent graduates,
see the Internships
Abroad section of the site.)
My job destination was China. As it
has full membership in the World Trade Organization, China
offers the student or recent graduate a wealth of possibilities
to gain international work experience.
Many positions in multinational organizations
in China do not require a knowledge of the language, though
many of the internship programs do include Chinese classes
and immersion (see programs below) as part of the experience.
In addition, many opportunities for English teachers, writers,
and editors are advertised in publications targeted at the
foreign community in China.
I recently saw the following statement
on a Chinese website: There are more English speakers
in China than in America. True or not, there are many
Chinese who speak English and still many more who want to
Apart from the plethora of huge commercial
directory databases, one of the best places to start a job
search in China is at the American Chamber of Commerce.
Here you can network and find out about job availability
throughout the country (the Chamber also offers its own
internships). You can order the Chambers directory
of companies in China that employ foreigners and possibly
nail down an internship before you leave the U.S. (see below).
How I Found an Internship in China
I went to my adviser and announced
my plan to intern in Beijing. What kind of academic credit,
if any, could I get?
Surprisingly, my adviser accepted this
vague proposal without questioning how I would implement
it. Now the pressure was on me: I had to go to Beijing and
find an internship. When I arrived in Beijing I looked for
jobs advertised in the local expat publications to get a
feel for the job market and contacted whomever I could think
of for possible leads. I looked at Internet sites for promising
openings; I went to the Chamber of Commerce and looked through
their directory of U.S. companies operating in China; I
made a list of potential employers in which I was interested
and contacted the most attractive oneswhether they
had advertised openings or not. Then I sent cover letters
and resumes to the eight organizations I especially liked.
From these first contacts I obtained five interviews and
in the end I had four offers to choose from. At first I
worked in the market research division of Unisono, a Dutch
company whose focus is the Chinese marketplace. I am now
interning with UNESCO
Living and working in China and taking
part in its daily life is exhilarating. I enjoy the Chinese
and love the expatriate environment, which permits one to
get to know and make friends with people from around the
How You Can Find an Internship
All you need is a resume, a positive
attitude, and appropriate work clothes. Be prepared with
these necessities and youll lose no time. I have talked
with many student interns in Beijing and can safely say
that an internship can beginif one searches diligentlywithin
two to four weeks after arrival in China, if not before
then give the many opportunities now available online.
Finding a position in China is similar
to a job search anywhere. My experience has been concentrated
in Beijing. But one could easily find similar possibilities
in all business-oriented areas of China, such as bustling
China Internship Information
American Chamber of Commerce in China,
a great launching point for networking
and researching companies, publishes a
directory of all U.S. companies operating
in China and hosts a monthly social. It
offers a resume service in which you can
advertise to companies in China that you
are looking for an internship.
Careers has several student employment
programs, some in Washington, DC and others
in embassies overseas.
Business Council offers services similar
to the American Chamber of Commerce and
also hosts a social every month that is
good for networking and finding out about
United Nations has various internship and
fellowship programs. Each department has
a separate internship administration, so
you must contact the department you are interested
in, including the UN
Development Fund in China.
U.S.-China Business Council,
a useful source for company information,
has a human resource link to many Asian job
sites. This is the principal organization
of U.S. companies engaged in trade and investment
in the Peoples Republic of China. It offers
its own internships.
Programs in China
Asia offers a variety of 1- to 3-month
student and graduate internships in China,
including those in major cities such as those
in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Fluent
English is the only language requirement
and there is a program start date each month
of the year. Using extensive networks in
Asia, there is a wide range of placements
across various industries including business
development, marketing/PR, engineering, law,
accounting, healthcare, finance, and NGO's
China: Intern in China Program offers
a wide variety of placements for paid internships
in Fortune 500 companies located in Shanghai
or Beijing are available.
Internships offers internships in China.
Placements are available in a variety of
sectors from business to IT to medicine to
hospitality to education.