2/3 The Intern(ship)

This summer, I interned at an education consulting company based out of Shanghai that guides Chinese students through all aspects of the application and enrollment process to junior boarding schools, private high schools, and colleges in the United States and UK. I worked at the company’s offices in Jingan district Tuesday-Thursday from 9:30 am – 6:30 pm (I learned about the 9-hr Chinese workday on my first day). My work entailed researching schools and providing the company with information to offer its clients such as a school’s minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score, interview requirements, and general information such as what students attending these schools do on weekends.

 

Shanghai’s skyline from the Bund.

 

In the last few years, education consulting companies, such as the one I interned for, have begun to emerge by the dozens in cities across China following a trend of Chinese families electing to send their children to school overseas. Because of the Chinese educational system’s high stress environment that prioritizes high math and science scores and culminates with a one-time gaokao test that determines which universities in China a student can enroll in, many parents believe education in the US or UK may give their children better opportunities for success later in life. In China’s wealthiest cities – Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and others – parents pay what sometimes amounts to upwards of 50,000 USD for education consulting contracts. Education consultants I interned alongside spent their time helping students decide which schools to apply to, guiding them through the application process, and even booking their flights and helping them choose classes to take once the student was enrolled and preparing for orientation.