For Alex Shishkin, choosing to intern in China was a no brainer.
“I can name more than 10 reasons why I went to China - rich, cultural background, low prices, different political system, rapidly-developing economy, etc. I can't say that those reasons are not true. Because they are!”
Alex Shishkin, second left, with Getin2China staff
But more important than the above luring reasons, developing himself personally was the most important reason Alex went to China.
“If you go to another country as a mere tourist, you are risking the chance of missing out on all those great opportunities to develop your social skills. Yes, you'll visit a lot of interesting spots - museums and temples - buy a lot of gifts and other useless stuff for your friends. You’ll also take many splendid pictures of the National Geographic kind.
“However, the reality is that you won't improve your communication skills much and you won't even come close to getting to know the country or its people.”
Alex did his China internship program at the Transfu Translation Company in the country’s capital, Beijing. He says an internship is an opportunity to access a deeper layer of China, one that most visitors to the country miss.
“Internships allow you to get to know the country and the people from the inside out. You communicate with natives – not like a tourist interacts with souvenir sellers – rather, you are perceived as an equal member of their society. It's completely different as the later kind of communication is much deeper and more meaningful.”
Alex says that making friends in China is easy, especially with other Getin2China interns. At Gi2C, we put you in touch with other interns to provide you with an immediate support network as you begin settle into your Beijing internship or internship in Shanghai.
“In fact, you and other interns already have things in common – you all made the decision to come to another country,” says Alex. “By default, you are already united. That's more than enough to become good pals. Furthermore, you encounter the same obstacles as you make your way through adaptation in a foreign country, which only strengthens your friendship.”
Alex says he highly recommends Gi2C for the support the company provides its interns.
“The people from Gi2C provide a true 24/7 support. If you've encountered an emergency, you can call them any time, day or night, and they will help you.
“You will never feel abandoned. They keep you involved through organizing various cultural events and parties. All that is required of you is to show up and enjoy. If you get sick, they help you find a doctor and buy some medicine.
At Getin2China, we organize several networking events to help you gain more insight into Chinese social and business culture and build contacts. It’s an excellent way to meet other interns and members of the Chinese business community. Our events tend to be jam packed and brimming with folks making connections and simply have a good time.
Alex has one last bit of advice for anyone considering an internship in China.
“I found Beijing to be very safe for foreigners,” says Alex. “You might feel a little awkward the first couple of weeks but people here are very friendly and welcoming. In fact, over time, you will feel like you are home.”
If you want to read more about Alex’s experience in Beijing, check out his blog post, Sixty Days in China.