New culture; new experience
It’s no secret that China has 5000 years of culture and history. Aside from the abundant traditional architecture and historical sites, the country has a way of life unlike anything you’ve likely seen or experienced before. From the groups of ‘dancing aunts’ who come together on an evening for a bit of line-dancing in one of the many parks and community areas in every town and city, to the folk sitting out playing cards or board games as small crowds huddle round to spectate, and of course the almost endless variety of street food all made fresh in front of you; China has all this and more. There are of course all the traditional historical locations that are a must-see on any visitor’s itinerary, but if an internship in China is on your agenda then you needn’t worry about getting bored after you’ve seen all the usual attractions. Every day will have something new in store, that’s almost guaranteed.
Socialising, learning and discovery
One of the greatest aspects of Chinese life is the sociability. Even as a lone arrival you are guaranteed to make new friends, and friends for life. In China there’s a certain willingness and ease around socialising that makes it the norm to keep busy and involved without even realising it’s happening. Even the most reserved people will find they can settle into the new way of life and discover a whole new way of doing things, and always for the better. Chinese society has a 24-hour feel, meaning there’s always something to do, with rapid availability for food, sights, attractions and nightlife where bars, clubs, restaurants and everything in-between are just a few minutes away. Food options range from up-market restaurants to local eateries where you can sit with good friends and a few beers for fantastically cheap prices. This is especially good in summer, when vibrant outdoor eating and drinking becomes the norm across the whole country. The social life really is something else entirely and will define much of your Chinese internship experience.
There are of course also plenty of options for learning about China in greater detail, with language and culture courses for people of all levels. Many outsiders see Chinese as a fascinating but alien language. What better opportunity is there to gain new skills in speaking, reading and even writing Mandarin? It will not only help you get by in the country, but will be an extremely useful ability you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. If structured courses aren’t really your thing, you’ll be pleased to find the vast majority of your Chinese friends are often more than happy to help you learn their language with them.
Those with a more adventurous mind-set will be able to take the rare chance while in China to travel this vast, continent-sized nation and discover what the place really has to offer. Most people end up in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chengdu. City life is an amazing new experience in itself, but it would be foolish to not take advantage of the country’s vast and ever-upgrading train network (including over 10’000 kilometres of bullet train line) to discover the farther reaches in places like Tibet, Inner Mongolia, or Xinjiang in the far, far west across the desert. For those who aren’t too sure about what makes an internship in China so much more special, the travel opportunities alone should be enough to change your mind.
As a huge and increasingly dominant economy on the global stage, it goes without saying that an internship in China will do wonders for anyone’s CV. The experience is enough in itself, but the scope for gaining contacts and networking opportunities is priceless. It’s advisable to tap into this potential sooner rather than later as much of the world is rapidly catching on. Experiencing life and work in China is an essential aspect to building one’s own career in these exciting and changing times in the modern world.
Furthermore, interns in Chinese companies are typically treated more like a proper employee than a simple intern, which makes the choice to do an internship in China all the more invaluable. This real, professional experience will give you the advantage among other candidates when applying for full-time roles in future.
What about the communism stuff?
Many outsiders seem to have retained an extremely outdated view of China based on old anti-communist hearsay. They couldn’t be more wrong. China opened up to the world a long time ago and is now a booming, open and welcoming place for all. Some people are put off by the concept of a one-party government, but only because it’s a thing they don’t know or haven’t seen in practice. The country has developed faster than any nation in history, and for the better of all people, with every region seeing rapid and extensive upgrades to this day with new underground metro networks in almost every large city (of which there are many!), Wi-Fi connectivity in even the smallest local eateries, and endless new, modern high-rise housing developments everywhere, amongst other things. The overwhelming majority have nothing bad to say about the way everything has changed and improved for the better in their lifetimes. The same can also be said of all visitors who come here. Every single person sees their experience in China as a whole new revelation, and nobody goes away disappointed. In fact, most don’t ever want to leave!
So what are you waiting for? An internship in China isn’t suited to any particular type of person; it’s for everybody.