Published on May 27, 2015
A career working in NGOs and non-profits can be quite competitive. A foot in the door generally requires experience working in the field. An NGO internship in Hong Kong is unique way to earn that valuable real-world experience while simultaneously learning about a new culture and living in a foreign city.
Experience working with people from various cultures and backgrounds is important to have behind your belt as an NGO professional. The work requires cultural awareness and an openness to many different backgrounds. An NGO internship in Hong Kong also helps boost interpersonal skills and an intern’s understanding of how non-profit organizations work.
NGO internship roles in Hong Kong are available in many different areas. Previous interns have worked with refugees at Vision First, with sustainability and social impact at Roots & Choice and with private equity funds for local charities at the AGM Capital Foundation. Interns with a strong interest in grass roots work are encouraged to speak Cantonese.
Living in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a bustling city with a glittering skyline that sits aside the iconic Victoria Harbour. With The Intern Group program, NGO interns in Hong Kong will live in the city’s safest areas. Housing is located on either the Hong Kong Island or the Kowloon side. Interns live in shared apartment spaces in areas like Wan Chai, Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun and Jorden.
Hong Kong or “Fragrant Harbour” comes from a phonetic rendering of the city’s name in Cantonese. The city is inhabited by over 7 million people, 94% of which are Chinese. The city's official languages are Chinese (Cantonese) and English. One of Hong Kong's claims to fame is its position as the third most important financial center in the world, following New York and London. Hong Kong also has a fascinating political history. The city was part of Ancient and Imperial China, then became a British Crown Colony from 1842 until 1941. Then, in the 1940s, Japan occupied Hong Kong for four years until 1945, when Britain regained control. Several decades later, in 1997, the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred from the UK to the People’s Republic of China.
Temples and skyscrapers
The towering skyscrapers alongside Hong Kong's humble temples reflect the dominating ideologies at play in the city: Buddhism and capitalism. In addition to the small temples or places of worship scattered about the city, Hong Kong also has several impressive Buddhist complexes. The gorgeous Chi Lin Nunnery was founded in 1934 and includes temples, statues, gardens and ponds. The Mo Man temple and Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery are two other beautiful places of worship, along with the Big Buddha on Lantau Island.
As one of the world's most important financial centers, Hong Kong is home to many impressive skyscrapers, where the world's most important banks, insurers and other firms are based. After the sun sets, interns can check out the structures light up during the nightly show "Symphony of lights". Over 40 skyscrapers participate in the performance, which has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”.
Beyond the metropolis
Hong Kong has more to offer than just its skyscrapers, temples and shopping centers. The city is surrounded by multiple national parks. The Intern Group's Hong Kong NGO interns take a tour of the spectacular Lantau Island as part of the program. An escape from the noise and movement of Hong Kong, Lantau is a serene and calm getaway. The mountainous island includes Hong Kong’s largest country park, Lantau South Country Park. One of the island's biggest attractions is the Tian Tan Buddha, an 85-foot bronze Buddha statue.
NGO interns in Hong Kong also have the chance to travel to other cities in China during their internship. One of the included trips in The Intern Group program is a visit to “the vegas of Asia”, a city called Macau. The colorful city is a globally-recognized gambling center, though it also has an interesting cultural background. Macau was once a colony of Portugal, which has impacted the city's local culture. Some of the most important cultural events the city hosts include the Macau Grand Prix, the Macau Arts festival and Chinese New Year.
You haven't really lived in Hong Kong without trying all the different types of food the city has to offer. Both Cantonese and non-Cantonese Chinese cuisine are common in Hong Kong, along with foods from the West, Japan and Southeast Asia. One of the most common food traditions is hawker, or Hong Kong street food served at the city's food carts. Fish balls, a pudding cake called put chai ko and roasted chestnuts are common Hawker foods. The Cantonese food tradition called dim sum is another valued food tradition in Hong Kong. Dim sum is Cantonese or Hokkien food prepared in small, individual portions. Some typical dim sum plates include har gow shrimp dumplings, pot stickers and barbeque pork.
Boost your career!NGO internships in Hong Kong will expose a young professional to a whole new culture while giving them real-world work experience. The combination of professional development and international experience makes the program a unique career opportunity. The eye-opening experience will change your life and career.
Apply now and boost your career!