Did YOU intern abroad?
Laura: Yes, I did a 3 month internship in Beijing (and that's when I fell in love with Beijing and China!). I also studied abroad in London, and did a dance course in a contemporary dance academy.
The main factors which brought me to London where art, my love for dance, curiosity, and my desire to be outside my home country, and artistic comfort zone. Something similar happened when I had to choose where to do my internship before obtaining my Masters.
I chose Beijing because I wanted to go far from what I was used to. I wanted to be challenged and be in a dynamic place; I guess I got there! I think my main driving factor is always curiosity.
What does the future hold for Hutong School - any exciting new programs to share?
Laura: Right now, we are working on a more HR related process for our Internship Program. It will consist of professional interviews and the preparation of a report which will show our partner companies and our candidates how well a specific profile matches that specific company's requirements, both in terms of hard skills and soft skills.
This has many advantages. For companies: they can basically outsource the intern recruiting process to us. For candidates: they get training for future interviews and interesting results they can use in the future; moreover the internship placement process will be quicker.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think interning abroad and international education will change in the next 10 years?
Laura: It is definitely an industry which will grow in the future. Hard to say how, but I think that Asian countries will come up higher in the destinations list. Also, I am sure that nowadays, without an experience abroad you are not fully prepared for your career.
I think that an international experience is becoming part of the normal education process for people from all over the world. It is something everybody will need: whether you will work in your home country or whether you will keep traveling for your whole life.
Every job right now has the potential for an international extension. Markets are more open and companies more global, so it is not just a matter of traveling, but also of having colleagues, clients and bosses from different countries.
How can interning abroad prepare students for the job market?
Laura: I always thought that studying and doing exams is not enough for a student to prepare for a future career. I think it is essential to have some practical experience while studying. First of all, I always encourage everyone to have a student job, even if it's not related to their field of study.
At that stage, a student can learn so much from these experiences, if he/she has the right attitude. Of course, if this experience can be done in their field of study/interest, it would be even better, and this is the whole idea of combining your theoretical studies with a practical experience.
I think that an international internship gives a student an additional step towards the labor market and very often, it is a big step.