What’s the hottest thing among the young European graduates and pre-graduate students in elite schools?
You would imagine they’re all rushing into Goldman Sachs, Citibank and McKinsey, or taking a gap year to work as volunteers in Kenya and Cambodia, but in fact a lot of them are on their way to an internship (实习) in China.
If the world was a stock market represented by all countries, China would be the brightest potential market for the time being. The word “China” written on your resume now represents valuable life experience that will impress your potential employer.
One of my friends, an elite student at the University of London as well as a hockey and football player had a one-year experience as a volunteer in Africa. However he still thinks it’s not enough for him to enter a world-class law firm. Therefore he took an internship in a transnational law firm in Shanghai through an agency during his junior summer vocation.
According to some agencies, internship in China has become an emerging flourishing business in European countries.
For the Western undergraduates who come to China for the first time without any Chinese language ability and no Chinese friends, it’s difficult for them to live here. They need to live in China and immerse themselves in the local lifestyle, so that they can get an internship opportunity but living in China doesn’t come that easy.
For that reason, apart from giving internship opportunities, these agencies will also arrange local contacts to help them with all kinds of chores like apartment hunting, shopping in a supermarket, simple Chinese language learning and social activities.
Another friend of mine from a middle-class family knew little about China, he summed it up in three key words: long history, large population and economic miracle. But after three months he made lots of Chinese friends and became a fan of China, saying he might come back to work in China some day.
After graduation, he got an offer from a top law firm in London, and he said all people in the firm always asked him about his experience in China.
This reminded me of the brave young men in Europe traveling to America to look for new opportunities a century ago. A century later China is becoming the next new world for European young people.