China interns come to the Middle Kingdom from every corner of the earth looking for new job opportunities. They are excited to learn about a new culture and meet new people. They are usually young with no or little job experience. Are they being taken advantage of and targeted by internship providers? We recently interviewed Yuri Khlystov, CEO of Gi2C Group, an internship provider in China, about what experiences China interns have been having recently.
Yuri, tell us a little about Gi2C Group and why you started this company with your partner Ben Tsao.
Sure. When I came to China in 2007 to learn Mandarin and learn more about Chinese culture, I loved it but encountered a great deal of difficulty. I looked around for foreign companies to help solve some of my problems, but there just weren’t many around back then. Ben and I knew that we could make Beijing and Shanghai more foreigner-friendly and started Gi2C in 2008 to do just that. Since then, we’ve successfully found China internships for over 3,000 international talents.
What kind of background does the typical intern coming to China have and why are they coming to China?
Our Gi2C interns are usually in their early twenties and have recently graduated or they might still be in school and just doing a three-month summer internship in China. We get many interns from the EU, North and South America, as well as Asia and South Africa. Job experience and job skills are essential for anyone to find a job, but international job experience teaches you things that help to expand the number of jobs you qualify for. In today’s world, almost every country has some kind of international connection. Knowing how to work on diverse, multicultural teams and knowing how to speak several languages is becoming a necessity.
Gi2C interns choose China because of its growing economic prowess. As the country continues to grow, it is also looking to become more international and improve international trade and business development. Thus, Chinese companies are looking for foreigners to fill this need. Currently, there are less than 300,000 foreigners working in China. When you compare this to the 1.3 billion people living in China, it is obvious that the country still has a long way to go in terms of infusing a global perspective into the local business culture.
Your company, Gi2C Group, has recently come under attack by someone trying to defame your company name. They are putting the Gi2C website on several scam alert websites. According to this person, what kind of alleged scam has Gi2C committed?
There is no scam. Let’s look at the facts instead of made up claims. Gi2C Group has been operating for over 6 years. We’ve placed around 3,000 interns into companies in both Beijing and Shanghai. We have hundreds of intern reviews on our intern blog and Youtube as well as on other websites such as Go Overseas, Help Go Abroad and Go Abroad. We have been interviewed by reporters who have done their own independent research on us. I’m not sure how any of those facts would lead someone to assume Gi2C is a scam.
After reading a few comments on some of the scam alert websites, it seems some people feel that internship placements should be free of charge and any internship provider that charges a fee is a scam. Why do you charge money for placing someone into a China internship?
Heading to China for an internship is very exciting and could help to advance your career, but there is no such thing as free lunch. Housing is the biggest cost in Beijing and Shanghai as there are many people moving there to work and only so many apartments. A decent middle-class apartment costs around $800 a month, which is not cheap for a student. Our Gi2C interns, who choose our Premium Package, share an apartment with one or two others so that we can keep costs lower for them.
As with any business that provides a service, there is a cost of service. We don’t just email new interns the address of their placement company and tell them “good luck”. Not only do we find a suitable company for each intern, Gi2C Group also helps with accommodation, airport pickup, welcome package, visa assistance, orientation and city tour, business, cultural and networking events, on-site support, KTV night, charity volunteering day, and a certificate upon completion. If you are a “scam” for charging money for your services, then I guess every company in the world is running a scam.
There are other internship providers offering internships in China besides Gi2C. If Gi2C is not operating an internship scam, are you seeing others running internship scams?
I’m familiar with other internship providers in China and I haven’t heard of any specifically that are operating some kind of “scam” operation. Some past employees or past interns may not have had a good experience for one reason or another, but that’s no reason to drag a company’s name through the mud. I think all of this hullabaloo about “China internship scams” will be a thing of the past soon. The best way to avoid an internship scam in China is to read past intern reviews. Trust reviews that have photos, videos and real names to back them up. Ignore comments by people who remain anonymous. If you are speaking the truth, then why are you hiding your name?
Gi2C has been an internship provider in China since 2008 and has become a leader in the internship industry. Gi2C’s goal is to help students and young professionals not only safely get into China without falling prey to any scams but also to help them understand China and Chinese business culture. Gi2C provides tailor-made opportunities for interns to work for a variety companies in multiple industries based in China. For more information, visit their website: www.gi2c.org
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