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World Expo or job fair?

2010-06-09 08:40

University students in Shanghai have plenty of work opportunities

SHANGHAI - Hard-up university students in Shanghai have something to smile about, as there are plenty of jobs at Expo 2010 Shanghai.

Part-time positions, such as guides and interpreters, which require advanced skills in foreign language and cross-culture communications, have taken the fancy of university students, who want to cash in on the six-month mega event.

"Pavilion guide is the mother of all positions, followed by interpreters, translators, reporters and photographers," said Qiang Ge, a counselor at the career development center of Fudan University.

The recruiters, including pavilion managers, travel agents, translation firms and media companies, usually advertise on websites and bulletin boards systems (BBS) at different universities.

More than 200 Expo-related job vacancies on Fudan's BBS were listed in May. Recruiters said they could usually find the right candidate in a day from the flood of applications.

Zhu Jinglan, 22, a senior student at Fudan, who is working as a guide for the Sweden Pavilion, said she enjoyed an edge over many other applicants because she had spent some time studying and living in Sweden.

"I studied in Sweden for six months and I guess that experience weighed in my favor," Zhu said.

Nina Ekstrand, an official at the Sweden Pavilion, confirmed that knowledge of the country is a definite plus for the candidates.

Zhou Wei from the Finland Pavilion told China Daily that the pavilion adopted a similar criterion when hiring staff, as well as taking into consideration Mandarin and English proficiency.

"All of the 18 employees recruited from China have either been to Finland or majored in Finnish at university," Zhou said.

Apart from a six-month contract with the Sweden Pavilion, Zhu also acted as an interpreter for two tour groups from the UK and a corporate pavilion.

Zhu said her fellow students have a lot of options in finding a part-time job at the Expo. "Almost one-third of my classmates have been hired for various types of Expo jobs," she said.

University students are keen on finding Expo-related jobs not just for the experience and exposure, but also because of the good pay, which averages about 100 yuan ($14.7) a day, with pavilion guides earning up to 300 yuan a day.

Zhu earns about 6,000 yuan a month at the Swedish Pavilion, which also pays for her uniforms and provides meals.

She said the job earns her more money than she would get from tutoring, a traditional way for college students to make money.

Zhu's friend, a Spanish major at Shanghai International Studies University, is earning even more as an interpreter. "She makes three times as much as I do," Zhu said.

"I don't do it for the money, but the money encourages me to work harder," said Zhu. "And it does prove our value and competitiveness."

China Daily

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