When it comes to exciting opportunities for undergraduates, graduates and entrepreneurs in general, China is packed full to bursting point. People are now well aware of the large influence China will have on global business for years to come which is why more and more astute young people are looking to make a breakthrough into this wonderful country and find out what makes it tick. It is important to remember that whilst rewarding, China is also one of the most challenging and culturally unfamiliar places you could hope to visit if coming from ‘The Western World’ and you would do well to have somebody on your side such as a good third party internship programme provider.
Firstly there is the language. Unless you speak Mandarin (or Cantonese if heading to the south) China could reduce you to feeling helpless unless you have the appropriate support. Things like arranging accommodation, finance matters, transport and even ordering food in a restaurant can wear down even the strongest individuals. In the same way that Americans or the British would expect you to speak English when visiting their countries, the Chinese expect you to speak Chinese when you are in China. A third party programme provider will organise all the fundamental aspects of your stay in China such as arranging accommodation and Chinese lessons, meaning that you are set up well and have a good foundation to build on.
There are an abundance of cultural differences which have an impact on business so it is important to have somebody to guide you, especially if working in a Chinese company. Your third party provider can give you a good idea of what your internship company will expect from you and what you should expect from them. Chinese companies certainly do not operate the same as western businesses and can leave you feeling bewildered and alienated unless you have a few pointers. Relationships are also important when it comes to business and using an established third party which is held in high esteem will already mean you are welcomed with a certain amount of understanding and respect. Many third parties have long-standing relationships with their partner companies meaning they are used to having foreign interns and will be more adept when it comes to dealing with your aspirations and concerns.
Finally there is the overall security in knowing that you have somebody who understands both you and China. Coming to a foreign country is never going to be the smoothest of rides, but whatever your challenges you can bet that your third party internship programme provider has been there before. It is never easy when confronted with something for the first time, but having a company on the ground in China who understands your needs and can respond quickly to any issues will prove invaluable. The better companies will also facilitate trips and activities which you can simply choose to opt in or out. Researching and organising such things yourself would be painstaking and time consuming but with a good company you needn’t worry. Let them preempt your needs and show you the best of what’s on offer so you can make the most of your time experiencing all the positive cultural experiences and progressing your career all the while having the security that comes with knowing that you have someone on your side.
Written by Paul Bailey