By Mirna Momcicevic
Have you ever consider doing an internship in a foreign country? I know… it’s challenging.They don’t speak your language… it’s expensive… the food is weird… it might be scary, especially if you did not travel to foreign countries before. There are so many reasons to question your decision; however, pros are almost always greater than cons. In addition, grad school is probably your last opportunity to do something like this, as the “real life” is knocking on your door as soon as you say “goodbye” to your student life.
With this in mind, I knew that I have to expend my horizons, meet different people, be able to operate in different work environments and earn such a precious experience before I wave that goodbye. This is the time when we need to come out of our shells, take control over our lives, risk, have fun, and gain precious experience that will make us stand out from the crowd. So when I heard that Villanova is organizing an internship in China, I knew I have to do it.
The very first question many asked when I said I’m doing my internship in China was, “Why China?”
Well, let me list just a few reasons:
- World’s fastest growing major economy
According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, China is the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP, and the world’s fastest growing major economy. It is also the world largest exporter of goods, meaning that China’s economic importance has grown dramatically in the last decade. While countries like the US and the UK are suffering from a depressed economy and bleak job prospects, opportunity is alive and ever-growing in this booming, international corner of the world.
- Differentiate Your Resume
International experience in a booming economy such as China will set you apart from the majority of candidates out there. You will be preferred after gaining knowledge of an important business economy, intercultural communication, and different work environments. A China internship can be a basis to show your prospective employer that you are willing to take initiative and challenge yourself in an international environment.
- Expend Your Horizons
Apart from learning the language, a China internship will open up and expand your horizons by exposing you to a new culture. You will have the chance to experience and understand how different the culture is, how differently people behave in personal and professional settings, and how the workplace and business negotiations are created. Bear in mind that nowadays, with the technological advances, many companies do international business.
- Networking and Connection
Friends and colleagues from different countries are one of the greatest treasures one can have. Networking and connection are especially important in China, and are described by the term guanxi 关系. This Chinese term describing a relationship, favor, network or social connection between friends and partners is a big thing in the Chinese culture. If you are blessed with guanxi, you will find it is one of the best ways to find an internship, job, or do business in China. Chinese people take care of their friends, and mostly likely you will always be able to go back to them.
- Memorable Life Experience
The experience you have of living and working in a foreign country and the hardship of overcoming a language barrier and culture shock will be a memorable, lifelong experience, and will strengthen your identity. Later you can only appreciate your efforts and the importance of coming out of your comfort zone, which will be beneficial not only for your future career but also for life in general.
- Travel, Travel, Travel
A picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine how much more is worth the picture you see with your own eyes and experience with your own senses. China is such a great country with so much to offer. It is home to countless tourist attractions, thanks to its rich history, which you can explore during your visit. You can visit some of the world’s biggest cities on the one hand, and explore and enjoy the beauty of the nature of China, including the famous Great Wall, on the other hand.
I’m telling you, “It’s an awesome country, and an awesome experience!” Make sure you keep an eye out for opportunities.