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More foreign students head for China

Amid the global financial crisis and mass unemployment in major economies such as Europe and the United States, China with its strong economy attracts more foreigners to come find jobs.

Figures released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security also showed that 231,700 foreigners were employed in China at the end of 2010, compared with 223,000 in 2009. And the trend is likely to continue in 2011.

"China has always captivated my interest. I plan to become a diplomat in the future and I believe that learning Mandarin and studying Chinese culture will be an important part of that work," said Phil Woolman, who comes from London and once had a four-month internship and Chinese language classes in Beijing.

However, for those who lack work experience in China or have never been to China, to work for a Chinese company is not an easy thing even if they have learned much about China from books or TV. Especially for college students and recent graduates, they may find it difficult to get hired, said Yuri Khlystov, general manager of intern recruiting company Get in2 China Group Ltd.

And for international investment companies having trade with China and Chinese companies planning to expand their international business, they also need international talent who can help them in foreign markets and help them speed up their expansion, Khlystov added.

Internship a good solution

Since both students and companies risk wasting time or money being employed and employing, internship is a good way to benefit both sides.

For foreign students, owing to lack of work and living experience in China, internship provides good opportunities to better learn about Chinese companies and benefits for job hunting in the future.

And for companies with international business, interns will provide them an easy way to understand the foreign culture and markets.

"They can help us to communicate with other candidates speaking English or other languages with different culture background because they may feel closer when someone from their homeland can be the contact person to deal with perspective employers," a manager at human resource company Bestalent Search Consulting said.

Bridge to link foreign graduates and companies

Although companies and graduates need each other, there are still many problems for both. There is often too much information about internship positions for the students to choose and little detail about the students for companies to know whether the students are a good match for them.

Language barriers and different cultural background are two other important factors that may affect their cooperation.

Especially for the foreign students, living in China is in itself a difficult thing, let alone being an intern at a Chinese company, Khlystov said.

Get in2 China Group Ltd., based in Beijing, is more like a bridge that links companies and interns, which provides the students willing to come to China a full package of programs for their internship in China and at the same time, offers the companies candidates that match their requirements.

Since the company's founding in 2007, there have been hundreds of foreign students from Europe, the United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, India and other countries who have been interns in China through the company's internship programs.

A gate for future career

Doing internships in China is not only an excellent way to study Chinese and get work experience abroad, but also a good chance to explore opportunities that are available in the country.

"I plan to become a diplomat in the future, and I fully intend to return to China. After returning home to London for Christmas, I will begin looking for a more permanent role in Beijing," Woolman said.

Khlystov said that many students have found a full time jobs or started own business after their internship in China.

Oscar Aguarod, of Spain, who has finished a five-month internship as an assistant to the business development manager at an international trading company in Beijing, is now planning to do his business focus on China.

"I've realized that China has lots of opportunities and the experience and network that I've got during my internship program hopefully will help me to succeed," he said.