Internship places still available through British Council’s Generation UK – China programme

When I graduated many years ago, my options were limited. There was no social media. No smartphones. And certainly no hopping over to Asia for work experience (though I did apply – unsuccessfully – to Singapore Airlines. I’ve still not flown with them since).

Times have changed, and both students and graduates these days can apply for internships halfway around the world. What fun!

Places are still available on the British Council China’s two-month Generation UK – China internship, offered through its partnerships with CRCC Asia (Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen) and InterChina (Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai).

Having been to all of these cities other than Zhuhai, I would say the latter option that includes Qingdao and Chengdu is the more interesting choice from a cultural and living perspective.

All placement fees, accommodation, travel insurance and airport pickup is covered by Generation UK – China funding, which is pretty amazing, and interns will also receive weekly Chinese language classes and take part in business/cultural activities.

It’s a heck of a start in anyone’s career, and certainly tops my call centre experience.

Anyone interested can apply through the British Council website.

UK and Japan, sorry, China, commit to tech during Strategic Dialogue

Jeremy Hunt did well to think of flowers and chocolate for his wife (‘Mrs H’) this week.

As many of us know, the new Foreign Secretary made an unfortunate slip of the tongue when meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing. We’ve all been there…though perhaps not before powerful statespeople.

More relevant, though not quite so fun, was the meatier stuff discussed during the 9th China-UK Strategic Dialogue. The two sides agreed to expand cooperation in new industries and new business ‘forms’ including artificial intelligence, green energy and the digital economy.

There’s been strong interest recently in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – an umbrella term that means all sorts of things that will likely change our lives, as had the smartphone and internet era previously. Both the UK and China, among other nations, are leading the way in this new wave of innovations and have complementary abilities.

So the message is increasingly clear: if you specialise in high-end stuff like AI, robotics and renewables, now’s your time – as demonstrated by February’s mega-deals between British and Chinese companies.

One of this year’s deals was with the world’s second biggest smartphone manufacturer, Huawei – a whopping £3 billion agreement. This week the Shenzhen-based manufacturer saw the arrival of 50 participants from the UK in its Seeds for the Future training programme.

The global programme, now in its third year, includes the involvement of STEM students from the UK’s leading universities, who will be in China for one month to gain work experience.

 

Wavemaker encourages employees to work abroad

A beach in Bermuda

In a popular LinkedIn post, UK Marketing Director Loren Penney-Thomas described working abroad as the best career decision you’ll make. I believe she’s right.

She explains that her company Wavemaker, a London-based media agency, gives its staff opportunities to work overseas under its Globaltrotters programme:

which gives staff the opportunity to be immersed into another global market for a 2-3 week cultural and learning experience. With destinations such as Lisbon and Singapore, Sydney and Dubai, the beauty is that you don’t know where you’re going to go; it’s the ultimate work roulette for nomadic souls.

Wavemaker announced last month on its Facebook page that eight ‘Wavemakers’ were selected to experience a destination that included Dubai, Sydney, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Warsaw, Singapore, Istanbul or London.

It’s a great initiative that more companies should be offering, while 2-3 weeks of course is a mere teaser (it takes years to get to know a culture properly). Also, people should experience an overseas culture and work environment first before fully committing to a long-term overseas assignment, which is fraught with risk.

Working abroad is not only a great career decision – in many cases it’s a great life decision. There is a gargantuan difference between travel to a foreign location on holiday and fully immersing yourself in it (the good, the bad, and the ugly).

I remember visiting places like Malaysia for the first time as a tourist, and while fun and ‘exotic’, unravelling them like an onion took years. But with that came things like deep and meaningful friendships, the acquisition of new skills and knowledge, empathy, experiencing cultural celebrations, and travel to destinations recommended by locals rather than foreigners.