Shanghai Future Leader Internship Program

Video and Photos


Shanghai is one of the largest cities by population in the People's Republic of China, and the world. The city is located in eastern China, at the middle portion of the Chinese coast, and sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Due to its rapid growth over the last two decades it has again become a global city, exerting influence over finance, commerce, fashion, technology and culture. It is often described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of Mainland China.

  • Custom made Internships! The most important element of our program is the internship experience itself. We operate a formal internship placement process for each of our student.
  • NSC: A true family with experienced and dedicated staff members! Our team is composed of individuals from France, China, United States, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand.
  • Meet the world! A key aspect of our program is the diversity of our participants. Each year, we receive students from over 30-35 countries, so each apartment is composed of students from different nationalities, cultures, customs.
  • Build soft skills and Increase personal development to reach full potential! All of our interns have grown personally and professionally through our program by interning and living in an international city.
  • In-Country Support! Health and safety in-country is one of our top priority. We are available during office hours for any non-life threatening issues and 24/7 for any life-threatening issues. This includes crisis management plan

Questions & Answers


based on 33 reviews
  • Growth 7.9
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 33
Default avatar
Wai Yan

An amazing experience (Legal)

I am fortunate enough to be accepted by Dentons, the largest law firm, becoming their legal intern in July. The work was diversified and lawyers really gave me lots of early responsibilities, including attending client meetings and editing share purchase agreements. The relationship I built there is long-lasting as well. I am still in touch with some of them, talking and sharing our moments of lives.

How can this program be improved?
There can be more peer support between interns in Shanghai.
Yes, I recommend
At The Bund, Shanghai, China in 2015

Jason Grant in Shanghai (NSC)

Shanghai really opened my eyes to how uniquely different China is from the rest of the world, and how Shanghai, in my option, is probably the most underrated citiy in the world. Doing an internship in Shanghai, out of my comfort zone, is an important story of my life that I still continue to share to people until this day.

Going to Shanghai in my teens while still studying at university took some courage, and luckily I had that courage and drive, to really step out of my comfort zone and explore a truly different environment whilst at the same time being in a professional working environment - gaining a huge deal of various professional skills, people skills, travel skills and most importantly, life skills. All at a place where I would have never have thought to be before - making it all the more fun!

I interned at an Hong Kong-based Real Estate company. While real estate did not really appeal to me so much before my internship, it does now after my internship. Real estate investing is now a subject that I take a lot of interest in and has already helped me establish a few future plans of my own in that field for my years to come.

To wrap it up, I suggest that if you want to be different, and if you want to do a unique internship abroad in a unique location like Shanghai, China. Then I suggest you go to Shanghai, China or any other major cities in China. In the business world, it is getting very competitive, espeically for millenials straight out of university like me. And from my experience, an internship abroad like this can give a much needed competitive advantage to effectively 'market yourself' in a noisy, competitve world.

Lastly, I don't like to think too much, which helped stop me from any unessecary mental delays while applying for this summer internship role. I just simply did it. Applying took me less than a week to do, and the memories and experiences that I gained from it will be sure to last me a lifetime. That's not a bad investment at all.

How can this program be improved?
- More company selection choices
- More networking events
- More internship options in other big cities in China
- Option to select accommodation of choice
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Dragged their feet, asked me to lie, broke the law and put me at risk.

Stay far away!!! I hope that my awful experiences can save others the stress, heartbreak, and a lot of money. Next Step Connections is so disorganized and poorly run that I had to put off my internship the first time (they didn’t get me the paperwork on time). Since then, then they asked me to lie to the visa consulate, had me working in China on a tourist visa which I found out is illegal, *and* had me working at a site where I was essentially a secretary when they knew that my school required substantive legal work.

For background: I am a third year law student. I hoped to get a bit of international law experience in Shanghai and committed to Next Step Connections over CRCC Asia (I have so many regrets… I used CRCC for my study abroad as a college student and had a great time). I chose NSC because it was cheaper and they said they could get me an internship with a law firm which was slightly more prestigious than the firm CRCC offered.

And then things quickly unraveled. I was initially slotted to intern with the firm for the fall semester of my third year in 2016. I let NSC know *months* in advance that I needed my visa handled before I left for my summer internship, since I was interning in a government agency in another Asian country where it would be very, very difficult for me to apply for a Chinese visa. They dragged their feet until it was too late. Even if I applied for an expedited visa (otherwise I would have to take a weekend trip to the state with my nearest immigration consulate – not possible with the time I had left) it would have cost me around $500. They blamed the supervisor of firm, saying that it was because he was on a business trip that week for why the single page letter was late. As if they didn’t have months to do it beforehand! Or as if fax machines, scanners, and e-mail don’t exist…

So I sucked it up and said fine, I’ll wait for my final semester in law school. It wasn’t ideal but I wanted the experience. This time, they told me that instead of a tourist visa I’ll need an M-visa, according to firm policy. And then they asked me to break the law and then they were wrong about it!

They told me to withhold material information from the consulate. They told me to not tell her that I was going to China for an internship. They didn’t give me any information on what I should tell her instead, so I ended up stumbling over some lame excuse because I (1) had no idea what to say and (2) wasn’t very comfortable lying to a government employee. When they asked what I said (because of course I was denied) they scolded me and told me to say “x” instead. When the second attempt didn’t work, because the consulate said I didn’t have all the necessary paperwork just like the first time, they just doubled down as if somehow Next Step Connection / their dumb scheme was correct and the *immigrant consulate* was wrong.. This was another huge red flag but it was too late to bail out.

I was on my third attempt at getting this business visa before I had to get an emergency flight to Washington D.C. and talk to the consulate myself because otherwise I would miss my non-refundable flight. Again the consulate denied me.

At this point I still didn't have a China visa... So I use an expedited service to apply again in Tokyo and I’m denied because I don’t have the paperwork for an M-visa. Eventually I had to accept a tourist visa because my spring semester was going to begin.

So I spent three weeks and $200+ on expedited visa services in the US, $400~ for an emergency flight to Washington D.C. to speak to the consulate and get my passport, and another $100+ in Japan for expedited services. I’m not entirely sure of the yen to US dollar conversion, so it's likely more. At no point during this entire experience did Next Step Connections offer an apology and they were so blasé about asking me to lie so many times and to so many people...

It was only until later, when I started researching China visa laws, that I found that there is *no issue whatsoever with disclosing that you’re using an M-visa for internship purposes*. Next Step Connections had me lying, flying around everywhere, because they were uninformed of one of the basic functions of their organization.. which is getting applicants into the internship site country.

I entered China with a tourist visa and the firm would not accept me because it has strict policies that all interns must be under an M-visa. This was heavy on my mind and so I began researching why… and it turns out that it’s illegal for a person to enter China on a tourist visa and intern. The person can be fined, sent to jail, and deported for violating this law. I didn’t know it at the time I began my internship at the backup site and it blows my mind that Next Step Connection would violate the law by placing interns in these businesses… and never even let me know so I can make an informed decision!

Obviously, as someone who wants to work as an attorney in China, I would never want to endanger my ability to enter China again or risk going to a Chinese prison!

I was unaware of how stupidly dangerous continuing on with an internship would be, so I let NSC pair me with a law firm that they claimed was international, English speaking, and would have work for me. NSC was aware that the requirements of my internship course were multifold but that there were two primary requirements: (1) all sites must be approved by the internship coordinator of my law school and (2) I must do substantive legal work.

Because I wasn’t able to get a business visa, I didn’t wind up at the law firm I was approved for and there wasn’t enough time for my school to vet this new firm. And even if there had been, the firm would have never been approved because of point two.

I didn’t do an ounce of legal work my entire time at this firm.

At my other internships I’ve written memorandums that have turned case decisions, I helped influence policy matters on federal government agencies, I’ve helped whole families gain US citizenship… and at this firm? I was a secretary. I occasionally did English edits to legal documents (correcting someone’s grammar is not legal work, in case you’re wondering Next Step Connections). But mostly my supervisor dictated e-mails to me for me to send out. I also edited resumes and made a website for my supervisor’s side project, not related to the firm at all. The only person who spoke passable English was my supervisor. There was no legal work for me available at all.

The entire experience was extremely isolating... and I spent the next few weeks feeling deeply depressed. I spent thousands of dollars, flew around the world, stressed and cried… just to stare at my computer and pirate television series for my supervisor while occasionally sending out e-mails he dictated nearly word for word. I did this for a few weeks before my professor determined that there was not enough time for them to assess my placement site. Even if there was, again, it would not have passed the “legal work” requirement.

So I wasted the application fee, the program fee, and nearly $1k in visa runs. Nevermind the waste of actually flying to China and staying there for weeks... And when I vented my frustration to Next Step Connections they trotted out a number of excuses with a total lack of apology but they wanted to meet to “make things right”. When I told them I was tired of their excuses and wanted to know how they were going to “make things right” they just stopped e-mailing.

TL;DR. They dragged their feet on necessary visa requirements twice, asked me to lie to government employees (for no reason…), did not inform me I was breaking the law when I was working as an intern on a tourist visa, and paired me with a law firm that had no legal work available when they knew that it was a substantive requirement of my course. When I told them them about my frustrations they offered no apologies but lots of excuses and then stopped replying.

Use an organization that’s more professional, even if they cost a little more… At least you won’t be putting yourself at risk and you may actually get to do substantive work. I suggest CRCC Asia, I had a great time with them as a college student. I really hope this saves someone from making the same mistake I did...

How can this program be improved?
Honestly, they need to take a close look at who they're hiring and what they're doing. They're breaking the law. They're unprofessional. They're wholly unapologetic and will blame anyone they can. This was one of the worst mistakes of my life.
Response from Next Step Connections

Dear D.

We are very sorry to hear that your experience in Shanghai didn't match your expectations. Ultimately we want all our students to experience a positive transforming experience when choosing to intern abroad with NSC.

We understand that you have gone through a lot of stress and frustration during your repeated M visa applications abroad, and are again truly sorry that you were not able to benefit from your internship experience as much as we would all have liked.

We handle a complex process with multiple touch points between students, universities, host companies and immigration, so we understand that certain issues beyond our control can happen at times, which would have affected your overall experience.

Our management team will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your unfortunate experience.

Thank you for your feedback.

Yours Sincerely,
The NSC Team

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar

Great Internship Experience

NSC Shanghai Internship is a great program for intern overseas. The staff members are very helpful; it's very easy to get in touch with them. I learned a lot from this internship. During my work, I've strengthened my communication skills, time management skills, and work efficiency. In addition, the co-workers in my company are very friendly. They helped me gain a lot of work experience.

All in all, participating in this program is very fruitful for me. I will never forget this experience.

How can this program be improved?
More social event during the weekends.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Life experience

I spent 2 months and a half in this shocking, amazing and sometimes difficult city. It is huge, full of contrasts and apparently, completely different from the western standards I am used to. When I arrived I was scared because I didn't know anything about the culture and the language, so everyday I kept asking myself "How can I survive here?" In the end I survived. Chinese people are the kindest people I've ever met, always trying to help you, just give them time to know you. I was working in a small company of 25 Chinese people, just three of them could speak English, and I can't speak a word of Chinese, so at the beginning it was kind of difficult but in the end I felt so sad leaving. I was doing marketing, so for all the period I was there, I had to do marketing analysis of clients, sometimes it was very boring, but I really can't complain, I learn how to segment the market and to create a marketing plan. When I needed Next Step Connections, Next Step was always there, fixing Internet when it was not working, helping me getting Internet on my mobile phone (not so easy if you really can't speak ONE word of chinese) and creating occasions to meet the other interns. The flat also was really nice. I have really appreciated their effort.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I can think of is the possibility to have Chinese classes, made by a teacher that is in contact with the organization. The thing that I've found more difficult was to communicate in the everyday life, understanding what I was eating, asking the taxi driver where he had go, and all these kind of things. Maybe classes with all the interns could be an idea, and also an opportunity to socialize!
For the rest I really can't complain!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

My time in Shanghai

For the most part, being in the city center was pretty good. One of the things I found to be hard was the hotel location being 1.2 kilometers away from the nearest subway station (it would have been nicer to be 500 meters or less). Also, it would have been easier if there was a supermarket within walking distance of the hotel. As for the hotel, the best part was the big living space with living room area. Otherwise the plumbing needed to be dealt with three times and the wifi reception was terrible. The hotel staff seemed to respond better to Chinese-speakers than those who couldn't speak Chinese. It was nice having a Family Mart downstairs though. Otherwise going to work was easy with options of taxi, subway, or bus. The food was absolutely amazing, the supermarkets were huge, and the malls were even bigger.

How can this program be improved?
Hotel location closer to subway station.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Integrating into Chinese Culture

After taking four months of Mandarin at University of Melbourne, I felt very little cultural shock as I was able to at least communicate to people at a basic level. My day experiences at work were wonderful as I was put in an office with primarily Chinese staff which is what I wanted. I learned each day some new things about chinese business culture whether at the office or during lunch breaks. For instance, Chinese love to order multiple dishes and then share all those dishes, something I didn't do in other parts of the world. There were certainly some difficulties I encountered especially the weather since China was quite hot, humid, and rainy often. The commute to work was fairy easy but the amount of people on the metro was a challenge as you had to really push yourself to get in. That was something I wasn't used to.

How can this program be improved?
I think one thing the program should change is the housing location. Although the apartment itself was great, it was very close to a highway where there can be quite a bit of noise coming from below.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Best Support for Overseas Students

The language barrier that comes with being abroad is scary enough without having to worry about safety and understanding cultural faux pas. NSC was incredibly accommodating and kind through out my entire experience. Since I didn't speak Chinese, they helped me with everything from translating with the cleaning people to buying train tickets and booking plane trips. They ensured I was safe and quickly handled all challenges. Highly recommended.

How can this program be improved?
To spend more time there!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Amazing support and comfort for first time studying/working abroad

NextStepConnection's support team was literally there for me every step of the way - from arrival to departure - during my stay in Shanghai. As a matter of fact, my plane was delayed 8 hours in San Francisco, causing me to arrive in Shanghai in the middle of the night. It was 2am and I was worried that I would be stranded; yet, two employees - Virginia and Sabrina - left their beds to come rescue me during these late night hours.

The remainder of the trip went very smoothly, helping with translation, logistics, securing and introducing me to the firm for which I would intern, and arranging cultural events and dinners to experience.

We then all got to meet many other NSC students who were coming from various countries. This allowed me to meet new friends and have people with whom I could enjoy these experiences, not to mention it expanded my network.

I came in as a pre-MBA candidate looking to gain a new global, professional experience. This was the perfect medium through which to do so. I am confident that this experience, when woven into my graduate school essays, truly helped me get into both UPenn's Wharton School of Business and Harvard Kennedy School for a dual MBA/MPA degree.

How can this program be improved?
I had actually gone through a third party, which represented and referred me to NSC. The only problem came about with a lack of planning and communication, because I did not have direct access to NSC before the trip. I wish I had had that.

I would recommend that you look into NSC and talk with them well ahead of the trip and keep in touch all the way up to your arrival, so that every detail is planned out and so that you have communicated whatever it is that you want to experience. They will work to accommodate most situations.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Great Internship !

The internship is great! Did an internship with an equity research firm then with a private equity fund. Gained a tonne of exposure to the China market, and start to really understand how things work at the local level. It is something you cannot learn from sitting in a classroom (even at an Ivy League institution).

The best thing is that management team is excellent. They are expatriates themselves who understand how things work in the local Chinese market. They are very friendly, approachable and helpful, with great work ethic (something scarce in a Chinese context), and willing to go well beyond what is needed to help their clients and students. A place where you will find Western standards in the (promising yet chaotic) China workplace. Would highly recommend this to anyone interested in getting some China experience!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Waste of money and time!

Overpriced for what you are getting. I was so excited before getting to SH. I thought that paying over $5000 to them would guarantee a phenomenon experience. Guess what? Everything sucked besides the fact that I met some real cool friends (but seriously I didn't need to pay 5 grants to do that). first of the internship sucked. We were 4 interns and 3 of us hated it. We felt like useless the whole time. I am not sure about the 4th one since he joined 1 week before all 3 of us finished our internship. We were over it and didn't try to know the kid. I had the chance to talk to a bunch of other NSC interns and most of them (I would say 95+% of them, no joke) complained about their internships. Only 2-3 liked theirs out of over 50 people. The companies that we were placed in were small and sketchy ones. Trust me you will most likely do crappy jobs and feel useless the whole time. Some of the interns were so upset and fed up that they quit and found their own internships by themselves. Not to mention that housing also sucked. I don't know how NSC thinks. If your internship were in Puxi they would put you in Pudong for housing and vice versa. Had a pretty bad experience and felt cheated at the end of it. Glad I made some real friends out of this experience. But definitely not worth the 5K you paid them. Would not recommend to anyone.

Response from Next Step Connections

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.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar

A Program Worth Checking Out!

NSC gave me a safe and reliable way to both explore the culture of China and broaden my professional and academic horizons. While participating in this program, I was able to sample Shanghai's social scene, bargain at markets, try local delicacies, and of course, gain invaluable experience going to work events and meetings. The NSC staff was always available and willing to accomodate our needs, which was especially comforting considering I was 7000 miles from home and didn't speak much of the language at first. This is definitely a program I would recommend to anyone interested in spending time in China.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Home away from home

Upon arrival getting picked up in a van by someone who spoke no English was an interesting experience but nerves were soon calmed after meeting the programs friendly staff and seeing the good housing.

NSC does a great job in finding you an internship and although there are times when you feel you want to be doing something else within your internship company it is hard to blame NSC for this.

Socialising with fellow interns and the free monthly meal and planned events are always fun.

Overall I've met some great friends, learnt a lot about myself and a new culture.

Thank you NSC!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Inroads to working in Shanghai, China

I found my internship to be very helpful to me in my career. Through my internship, I was able to make the connections to land a full time job. I don't think that would have been possible without the networking events Next Step set up. Also through my internship, I was able to see what it was like to be an expat in Shanghai.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

An Experience that will help...more than you can think

NSC is definitely one of the top in terms of internships abroad. They have a dedicated team, in which, top ranked employers will do anything to help you throughout your internship. If, you are not happy about anything during the internship, the team will be there to support you, every single day. I definitely think that they are amongst the elite in Shanghai. They provide excellent services, help you integrate the Chinese culture and moreover, the people you meet during your internship will be long-term friends/relationships. With their weekly events, most of you will meet other interns and sometimes even meet other employers in Shanghai.

Contrary to popular belief: THEY ARE LEGIT. IT IS NOT SCAM. THEY ARE FOR REAL.

Yes, I recommend


Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About Next Step Connections

Next Step Connections is a leading Global Experiential Education organization offering ‘beyond classroom’ experiences and programs since 2008.

Our Mission is to bring together educators and enterprises to develop future global leaders.

We offer real...