China / Society

More foreign students drawn to China

By Luo Wangshu ( Updated: 2014-08-04 19:45

Connor Fairman decided to spend the summer in Beijing to conduct his first overseas internship.

The 19-year-old student from the United States said that leaving his comfort zone "has made every day an exhilarating experience".

"I've studied Chinese for three years and wanted to have the opportunity to use it in its native country. After all, why learn it if you're not going to use it?" Fairman wrote in an e-mail to China Daily.

Fairman works for Project Pengyou, an online alumni network for US students studying in China.

A sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, he is one of many international students doing internships in China, and their number has increased every year.

Luo Min, vice president of communications at the Chinese headquarters of AISEC, a Netherlands-based student-run organization with 50,000 members in 107 countries, said students come to China from all over the world for short-term internships.

She said the number of foreign students conducting internships in China has increased since 2007, partly because of the global financial crisis.

China, with its rising economic power, has become a new center attracting international students.

Holly Chang, president of the Golden Bridges Foundation who also runs Project Pengyou, hires four to seven interns during the summer months, both Chinese and international students.

Chang said "internships can be a meaningful US-China exchange opportunity, which is aligned with our mission to foster US-China bridge builders".

She also believes foreign interns are the target audience for Project Pengyou.

"We try to give them a great learning and exchange experience in our office so they also become ambassadors for our mission," she wrote in an e-mail to China Daily.

Chang runs an online platform for American students to share their Chinese experiences and said international interns can help the company stay aware of what's happening on the ground in American communities and universities, which benefits the company's business.

Fairman also said his internship with Project Pengyou offers him a unique opportunity to reach more people worldwide.

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