Ask the intern: Why should I do an internship in China?
Hi Sugar, I’m Annabel from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and I’m applying for an international internship for the end of summer or start of fall. I’m looking to work in the field of finance. I originally had my heart set on interning in New York, like many others do, as I’ve always seen it as the best place for career-driven individuals to find their feet. However, due to the competitiveness of The Intern Group program, most of the spots have already been filled. I learned that Shanghai had many opportunities suited to my career interests. I had never considered doing an internship in China and I’m hesitant to go so far out of my comfort zone. Could you please give me some advice about considering an internship in China?
Hi Annabel, thanks for getting in touch! I completely understand where you’re coming from. Getting to grips with moving abroad for an internship is hard enough, but when you’re then faced with the prospect of going somewhere unexpected, it can be even more daunting. When I was originally applying for internships, I had decided I was going to Spain. When the opportunity in Latin America arose, it was hard to get my head around. But I’m so glad I took the chance! Sometimes the best experiences aren’t what we’re looking for originally.
An internship in China could be the perfect opportunity to launch your career. On the central coast, Shanghai is China’s biggest city and a global financial hub. Despite these advantages, it is normal to be nervous about cultural differences, living so far from home and deviating from your original plan. To help you start your Asian adventure, I have compiled a short list of reasons Shanghai could be the place for you.
1. China means business
China has, over the past two decades, proved itself as a power player in nearly every business sector. With a GDP growth rate of 10%, the Chinese economy is flourishing at an unprecedented rate. For someone interested in finance, this is an undeniable attraction. From thriving start-ups to investment banking giants, there is everything on offer thanks to favorable government policies.
2. Learning a new language
There is nothing quite like learning an additional language to boost your resume. Although your internship will be in English, taking classes or interacting with locals will help you pick up the basics. Your ability to communicate in another language will feel rewarding, especially one that is notoriously different to English. It will also impress employers!
3. Amazing food
Perhaps one of the best reasons to live in Asia is the cuisine. Shanghai is a culinary capital. Word-class dumplings, sumptuous roasted duck and steamy noodles can be found on every corner. Thanks to its cosmopolitan nature, international cuisine can also be found meaning you can broaden your horizons even further. Make sure to try everything on this ultimate checklist of delicious dishes while you’re there.
4. Diverse population
Not only does Shanghai provide the perfect opportunity to absorb Chinese culture, it is also an international melting pot. You can build an international network and experience cultures from way beyond the country’s borders. It also means that it won’t be hard to find like-minded people from the UK. A home from home will make your transition easier!
5. Vibrant culture and lifestyle
Interning in China would mean you have 48 UNESCO world heritage sites at your fingertips, including the Great Wall! Statistically speaking, the Chinese lifestyle is the most popular lifestyle on the planet. More people live in the Chinese culture than any other culture. It’s an entire branch of the human experience, and yet few foreigners ever witness it first-hand. The benefits of seeing life from such a distinct perspective are boundless.
With an exchange rate that favors most currencies, affordable public transport and an affinity for street-food, Shanghai is ideal for interns on a tight budget. Your money will get you further than it would in NYC and therefore you’ll have more money for excursions and experiences.
Ultimately, although it seems scary, throwing yourself in the deep end could be the best thing you ever do, for yourself and your career.
Now you know all the benefits of doing an internship in China, apply today to launch your career abroad.