An internship abroad comes with many attractive benefits such as language learning, experiencing a new culture and establishing international connections. However, for the majority of us, money is a huge restricting factor.
Luckily, there are many sources of funding that are just an application away! From government initiatives to promote cultural exchange, or all-inclusive company internship programmes, working abroad can be accessible to everyone!
While paying to work may seem counter-intuitive, programme costs usually account for other aspects of your internship experience. For me, this included accommodation, airport pickup, prepaid sim, metro card, language classes and cultural activities. What’s more, there are many funding opportunities available, whether it’s through government schemes or your own university – always check the funding section of an agency’s website!
I completed my internship via funding from the British Council’s Generation UK programme, which only covered CRCC Asia’s programme cost and did not include expenses related to visa, flight and daily living. For help covering this, look to your university – my friend was awarded £500 via an international travel fund! Working a part-time job alongside university was how I saved up enough money to afford daily living costs. Although it was recommended to bring £400 per month, if you budget wisely, it’s possible to live on much less.
CRCC Asia Costs
- Programme Fee: Waivered on Scholarship, £200 deposit
- Flights: £400-£500
- Visa: £150
- Daily Living: £300 p/m*
*note: £200 accommodation deposit required
Direct Company Applications
Securing an internship directly with a company may be a little more difficult, especially when you only have a basic grasp of the native language. However, some companies do offer placements where only fluency in English is required. Placed in Gaotime, Wicrecend, I met interns who had applied directly to the company and discovered another option I wished I had known about before.
The internship placement at Wicrecend is unpaid, but covers the following costs: return flight, visa and accommodation, (note: flights and visa are reimbursed after your arrival). This particular internship also offered informal Mandarin classes during work hours and all interns are given a small allowance (18元) to subsidise lunch. Depending which months your placement falls (I’d recommend: June-September), there are opportunities to take part in company events and celebrations. Perks of which are red packets containing money and depending on how economical you are, can cover at least one month’s living expenses, if not more.
When applying to companies directly, patience is key! Working in China, one of the first things you’ll learn is how unorganised Chinese organisation can be. Responses can be slow, but do follow up applications and wait! Securing an internship via this route certainly opens up the potential of paid work, however finding a programme with similar benefits might be more difficult – leave a comment if you’ve done this, I’d love to hear more about the experience!
Wicrecend Internships Costs
- Unpaid Internship: lunch allowance 18元
- Flights & Accommodation: Included
- Visa: Included
- Daily Living: £300 p/m
There are plenty of ways to minimise the cost of your internship – some may take more research to find than others. I am a huge advocate of travelling and opening yourself to new and exciting experiences, I hope this is a useful read for those looking to do the same!