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Next Step Connections
Programs and Reviews
Next Step Connections (NSC) is an international education organization located in Shanghai, China, and with a branch office in Hong Kong and Singapore. NSC is recognized by foreign universities, partner institutions, and the international education industry as a true specialist in providing safe and quality educational programs to and within Asia.
As University students and fresh graduates need guidance as to what will be their next step, Next Step Connections (NSC) provides internship programs and other educational abroad services to help students gain personal development, find their professional path and ultimately reach their full potential. We strongly believe we are contributing to making the world a better place as we positively impact the lives of hundreds of students across the globe every year.
Next Step Connections's Response to TMT41:
We are very sorry that your experience didn't meet your expectations.
We always do everything we can to ensure you a suitable internship. However if an issue arises at work, the issue should be effectively communicated to our team, so that we are able to help you solve the situation as soon as possible. If the issue can't be resolved, NSC will immediately change your host company to ensure you still make the most of your experience.
We do understand that it is sometimes difficult to adjust to a new working environment, especially in a developing country like China, this is why our team is available anytime to offer assistance.
Again, we apologize that your internship didn't meet your expectations and we wish you the best of luck in the future.
Submitted on 07/24/2013
Jerome is the Founder and Executive Director of Next Step Connections. He has been helping students interning in Greater China since 2008. He has traveled overseas presenting at various international conferences including NAFSA, APAIE, GI. He has extensive experience in China as this is where NSC was founded and where he lives since 2005.
Jerome loves exploring Asia in his free time, especially places like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. A native of France, Jerome received a Bachelors degree from the Universite of Rennes, with a combined major in English Literature, Communications and Chinese. He was an exchange student at Utah State University, USA. He is fluent in French, English, and Mandarin.
What separates Next Step Connections from other internship abroad providers?
Jerome: We were one of the pioneer organization offering internships in Shanghai at the end of 2007. I think there are more than 30 organizations offering programs in Shanghai nowadays. As students have more and more programs to choose from, we are putting a lot of efforts to ensure every single student has a fantastic experience with us.
25% of our students come each year through word of mouth and referrals from alumni, which I believe is a great testimony to the quality of our internship programs.
One key feature of our program is our placement process. We do not randomly assign internships to our students; we have a formal process where students interact on a weekly basis with our advisors and interview with potential host companies. Our students are truly at the center of this process.
We have also worked on improving the components of our program, so that we are able to offer a larger scope of services to our students. As a China-based organization with limited presence outside China, we have formed a strategic partnership with GlobaLinks Learning Abroad in 2010, an international education leader with 20 years of experience, based in Colorado. Through this partnership, all our North American students have been able to receive academic credits for our internship program as well as benefits from pre-departure services including the Award-winning Global Personal Brand Discovery and Toolbox that students can use for tangibles on building their personal brand while abroad.
How can interning abroad in China with Next Step Connections prepare interns for the job market?
Jerome: On one hand, the internship itself has a great impact as a resume builder. Employers definitely value a China experience - it is said that the country will become the leading economic power by 2017. It also says a lot about a student open-mindedness, maturity and drive when he/she is able to travel thousands of miles away from home, and intern in a completely different setting with a different language and culture.
On the other hand, Next Step Connections nurtures its students to ensure they are able to obtain the right outcome. We prepare our students before departure with the Global Personal Brand Discovery and Toolbox, so that they are able to start thinking about their career path, build their network through customized business cards and build their personal branding through LinkedIn. We also organize networking events during the internship period, so that the students are able to mingle with students and professional from around the world. We are also a source of support whenever a question at work arises. We understand that this is all new, so students need guidance and mentorship. At the end of the program, students will receive additional training on how to market their experience to employers when applying for a job. Most students do not realize that some of the soft skills they have acquired can be applied across many industries and are as marketable as the 'hard' skills learnt at school.
How do you think interning abroad will change over the next 10 years?
Jerome: The number of students interning abroad is booming - that's a fact. More providers are coming onto the market each year to cater for this need. So within the next 10 years, we can expect to see larger intern abroad organizations with a wide range of destinations and services across the world. Smaller organization will have to fight hard to remain active within this market.
The definition of interning abroad may be also refined as the world is constantly changing. New laws and regulations may come into place especially regarding paid and unpaid internships, which is a burning issue right now.
The future of interning abroad also relies on the global economy and the job market within each destination. Some countries may want to protect their local job market and be tougher on visa regulations for foreign interns. But we are one global world, so students who are pushing boundaries, building bonds and creating opportunities internationally are also contributing positively to any economy.
What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering interning abroad in China?
Jerome: "Keep an open mind. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Try something new. It's your start of something different.
This was actually posted by one our alumni on her blog this year, and it sums it all up!