China is a great destination for aspiring interns hoping to break into the working world in their field of study. Business, tech, and finance students find many career-enhancing opportunities in China but other majors are welcome, too. Placements can be found across other popular fields like marketing, law, hospitality, and even fashion!
There are an abundance of providers offering internship opportunities across China but how much does it cost to intern abroad? We’ve broken it down by cost categories and highlighted three programs ranging from a low-cost option to a more expensive top-tier program. A runner-up candidate has been added to each level to give you even more choice.
Overall, most programs include the basics like housing and visa assistance. Generally though, the more you pay, the more perks you receive. These inclusive programs tend to run between $3,000 to upwards of $5,000 for a month-long placement. Interns who stay longer than a month will usually see savings in the total cost.
Here are our picks designed to fit nearly every budget.
Low-cost Pick: China Internship Placements, starting at $2,059 for one month
China Internship Placements' standard package is a low-cost option that starts at $4,119 for two months rather than the minimum month-long program offered by most providers. This means that for just over $2,000 a month, interns receive housing with bills included, visa assistance, and four Chinese lessons a week. Interns are placed in either Beijing or Shanghai.
China Internship Placements also helps participants with their resumes and preps them for job interviews. Airport pickup ensures interns are dropped safely at their accommodation after arrival in China.
Low-cost Runner-up: Internships China
Internships China offers two affordable options for prospective interns. For those who feel comfortable securing their own accommodation in Beijing or Shanghai, they offer a placement-only fee of ¥10,000 (~$1556) for a month-long internship.
Alternatively, the full program which includes a placement in your field of choice, housing, and four hours of Chinese lessons a week costs ¥20,000 (~$3112) for the same duration. The full program is among the lowest program fees charged by a top-ranked provider.
Mid-range Pick: ImmerQi, starting at $3,500 for one month
Our mid-range choice, ImmerQi, has internship programs in Beijing or Shanghai starting at $3,500 a month for their standard package which includes housing. For $3,750, interns receive Mandarin lessons along with the housing offered in their basic program.
Additional benefits of ImmerQi’s internships range from cultural events to career preparation. Some placements may provide a stipend to their interns for their hard work. Prior to starting the internship, participants will receive help with visas and pre-departure matters.
Mid-range Runner-up: NEXSTEP
NEXSTEP is a good mid-range choice for those hoping to intern in Shanghai. For $3,890, interns receive housing with utilities included, a transportation pass, local cell phone SIM card, and health insurance. Cultural activities are included while in China and participants will be given a letter of reference and a certificate of completion at the end of their program.
Top-tier Pick: Absolute Internships, starting at $4,769 for one month
Absolute Internships’ Shanghai program comes in at around $4,769 and includes a host of benefits. Interns are housed in secure, luxury student housing located in the city center that includes an on-site fitness center, 24 hours a day reception, and laundry facilities.
Participants also receive a paid transportation card to get them to and from work. Weekly events and weekend excursions are included in the price and ensure interns have the opportunity to explore China while making new friends.
Top-tier Runner-up: The Intern Group
The Intern Group charges $4,510 for placements in Shanghai that include private rooms in a shared apartment, visa assistance, and pick-up from the airport. Interns will enjoy Chinese language classes, tours, a cooking class, and 24-hour support. The Intern Group also provides access to an online therapist through Talkspace for up to three months.
Plan Your Budget
Now that you’ve paid your program fee for your Chinese internship, you’re probably wondering how to budget for your internship abroad. Luckily, internships hosted by most providers include housing which tends to be the most costly part of the experience. Although the rent will be covered, you’ll be expected to pay for your own groceries and, with the exception of a few programs, your transportation. Be sure to set aside some fun money, too!
Cost of Living in Top Cities
The following cities are popular destinations for interns in China. Interns will be happy to discover that even in a place as large as Shanghai, life can be very affordable. Pair a low cost of living with free things to do and your savings will go far in one of the most populous cities in the world.
One of the largest cities in the world, Shanghai is home to 23.6 million people. Despite being sprawling and cosmopolitan, interns will not experience sitcker shock when it comes to living expenses and fun:
- Average cost of monthly groceries: ¥1,176 ($183)
- Monthly travel pass: ¥200 ($31)
- Meal in a cheap restaurant: ¥30 ($5)
- Pint of beer in a bar: ¥10 ($1.50)
- Monthly gym membership: ¥393 ($61)
Source: Numbeo Shanghai
Around 16.3 million people live in Chengdu making it a mid-size city. Interns living in Chengdu can expect the following average prices for everyday expenses and entertainment:
- Average cost of monthly groceries: ¥964 ($150)
- Monthly travel pass: ¥160 ($25)
- Meal in cheap restaurant: ¥20 ($3)
- Pint of beer in a bar: ¥8 ($1)
- Monthly gym membership: ¥238 ($37)
Source: Numbeo Chengdu
For most countries, a city with 9 million people wouldn't be classified as small. In China though, it's a differnet story! Qingdao is considered a smaller city so interns living here can expect cheaper prices:
- Average cost of monthly groceries: ¥724 ($113)
- Monthly travel pass: ¥150 ($23)
- Meal in a cheap restaurant: ¥18 ($3)
- Pint of beer in a bar: ¥6 ($1)
- Monthly gym membership: ¥184 ($29)
Source: Numbeo Qingdao
Be sure to remember to factor the cost of roundtrip flights to and from your home country into your overall budget. The price of a plane ticket will vary widely by location but low-cost flights can be found through websites like Skyscanner and if you’re a student, StudentUniverse.
An Experience Worth Every Penny
The upfront costs of interning abroad can be daunting, but the skills you’ll gain are a priceless investment for your future career. Be on the lookout for applicable scholarships for your internship abroad to help defray costs. It will be sure to pay off in the end!
Ready to learn more about interning in China? Get started here: How to Find an Internship Abroad in China