Chinese students in Europe and North America are finding experience outside the classroom can provide a critical edge when it comes to looking for work if they wish to stay overseas beyond graduation.
Xu Ruiwan has worked in the New York office of the United Kingdom-based marketing and promotion agency TRCo Marketing for two years. But securing the plum position did not come easily.
She was offered a full-time job only after completing a one-month internship with the company - just one of four internships she undertook to boost her career prospects.
"It's quite difficult for international students like myself to find a job in the US without any local experience," Xu says.
"Initially, I just wanted to accumulate more experience and didn't think that would land me a job. But it really helped."
Her experience also inspired her to found a startup - Career Pro USA, a platform for Chinese students, professionals and entrepreneurs to network and seek career opportunities in the United States and China. Last year, more than 100 Chinese students found internships or jobs through the platform.
She says Chinese graduates who wish to work overseas benefit from on-the-ground experience in the countries they wish to work in.
"In the US, they really love to see internships on your resume, especially local ones," Xu says.
"Many (human resource recruiters) told me they value a US internship experience at a small company more than an internship with a Fortune 500 company in China because they are not sure if overseas experience is transferable."
Xu says her internships not only gave her practical professional experience but also improved her English and taught her skills she could never have learned in a classroom, such as US office culture and dinner etiquette.