The most obvious answer would be: How could any ambitious young person today possibly not do an internship in China!
In a competitive work environment where graduates face fierce competition for jobs, for most industries Chinese work experience and/or language skills are today what a Harvard MBA used to be 10 years ago – yet so few people obtain them.
Pretty much every globally successful company today has a very strong presence in China, either by producing there, selling there or more likely today do both. For many international companies China is today their main market and it is Chinese consumers that decide on which new products are developed and where the company is heading. Anyone who wants to be part of that process, needs to know how China works.
More articles about doing work experience and internships abroad.
In this video, Monika from Germany talks about her LTL internship program at Puhua International Hospital in Beijing.
However, at the same time, pretty much all of these companies facing a terrifying lack of applicants with Chinese work or language skills. Companies like Siemens, Apple, or Nestle heavily rely on China, however most of their staff – including top management – do not have any kind of cultural or work experience in China, which is a severe impediment to their growth in the world’s largest market.
Of course companies are aware of the problem. About 99% of the Chinese population do not speak English, approx. 80% have never met a non-Chinese person in their whole lives and Chinese culture is much more different to the western world than even most experienced travelers could imagine. For that reason, international companies today are actively looking for China experience when recruiting. However, the shortage of qualified staff with China skills is so acute that even quite little China experience, like an internship or a short language course can easily push an applicant’s CV right to the top of the pile and later on short track for senior management. As the global Siemens HR department recently said: “An internship in China is probably the best career move a future top leader can make today.”
Tips for agents: Work experience and internships abroad: managing student expectations.
So is it all work and no fun? The weirdest part is that what puts young people so far ahead in their career tends to also be one of the most fun experiences of many people’s lives – yet so few people do it. From camping on the Great Wall, dancing a night away in Shanghai to discovering tea houses in Beijing’s old town, living in China is probably one of the most exciting things a young explorer could do.
At the same time an openness to a new culture, the realization that English might be the world’s language in other countries, but it is not in China and a willingness to dive into a truly different world is required. For the same reasons why work experience in China is so valuable and the country so fascinating, China can also be very difficult. Finding affordable student accommodation in a country where almost everyone only speaks Chinese, locating internships in companies that offer an English language working environment and a avoiding dog as a first meal can be a challenge.
That is why so many people choose LTL internships where we organize suitable internship interviews, find accommodation, prepare visa documents, offer 24/7 support, a big social network in China and make sure an internship in China is not only an adventure but also safe, smooth and fun.
French student testimonial: Ma première semaine à Pékin pour apprendre le Chinois