Greg Hunter

SHANGHAI BEAT: Can’t Find a Job at Home? Come to China

In Just Graduated on August 11, 2009 at 5:41 AM

ShanghaiLogoThe New York Times is reporting how Chinese cities—especially Shanghai and Beijing—are seeing a second great wave of American graduates moving across the Pacific to take better jobs. The first wave came to China in the early 90s, but as the internet bubble grew fewer grads made the flight over. With the worst economy in millennia… well the kids are coming back. Chinese companies are obviously attracted to American kids because they are cheap experts about American markets and American culture. But American education, with its emphasis on individual learning and entrepreneurial spirit, is also a big selling point for Chinese companies looking to innovate and expand:

“I think the more standard Chinese approach is to take orders.” Willy Tsao says the difference is rooted in the educational system. “In Chinese schools students are encouraged to be quiet and less outspoken; it fosters a culture of listening more than initiating.”

A few of the bio highlights:

One of those in the latest wave is Joshua Arjuna Stephens, who graduated from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies. Two years ago, he decided to take a temporary summer position in Shanghai with China Prep, an educational travel company.

“I didn’t know anything about China,” said Mr. Stephens, who worked on market research and program development. “People thought I was nuts to go not speaking the language, but I wanted to do something off the beaten track.”

Two years later, after stints in the nonprofit sector and at a large public relations firm in Beijing, he is highly proficient in Mandarin and works as a manager for XPD Media, a social media company based in Beijing that makes online games.

or…

Sarabeth Berman, a 2006 graduate of Barnard College with a major in urban studies, initially arrived in Beijing at the age of 23 to take a job that would have been difficult for a person her age to land in the United States: program director at BeijingDance/LDTX, the first modern dance company in China to be founded independently of the government.

Ms. Berman said she was hired for her familiarity with Western modern dance rather than a knowledge of China. “Despite my lack of language skills and the fact that I had no experience working in China, I was given the opportunity to manage the touring, international projects, and produce and program our annual Beijing Dance Festival.”

After two years of living and working in China, Ms. Berman is proficient in Mandarin. She travels throughout China, Europe and the United States with the dance company.

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