17 Feb, 2017
10 : 00
Students in the Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s IGCSE programme in Secondary school now have even greater opportunities for learning outside the classroom thanks to the Year 11 Internship Programme. Aimed at giving students real world work experience and connections they can utilize after graduation, the programme partners with a variety of companies to ensure participants have access to a field in which they are interested.
As a prelude to this summer programme, business owners and professionals were invited to the Yew Chung International School of Beijing campus to speak directly to our students about their respective industries and professional work experience, plus offer some helpful tips and advice on how to properly apply for a job. Organized by IGCSE Coordinator Lianne Yu, School Counsellor Ron Drisner, and Teacher Librarian Sora Lim, these career talks proved invaluable to the participants.
Ms. Yu described the positive reaction to the event from both students and employers as well as how this programme will enrich our Upper Secondary students’ development.
Please introduce the Career Talks. How did they differ from talks in years past?
While we’ve led career talks annually for many years, this year we were able to invite companies who will be offering internship programmes to our Year 11 students to give both sides the opportunity to meet face to face.
Students were broken into small groups with one employer each and rotated half a dozen companies during the session. This small group setting allowed them to ask personalized and detailed questions, which in turn help them to better prepare themselves for a career in that industry and better understand what they need to do to succeed. I think this is a marked improvement from years past and a much more valuable experience for our students!
Which companies were featured during the event?
We had a variety of industries featured! The Bookworm, Plastered 8 T-shirts, Split United (music focus, promotion across china, setting up concerts), architect, the Art Institute of Beijing, Soovi (film company), the Hilton hotel, Temple Restaurant Beijing and Taj. As an additional dimension, we also welcomed Manna Source, a local startup NGO, to the event to talk about entrepreneurship as well as a professor from Renmin University to talk about academia.
What was some of the most impactful advice the speakers had for the student attendees?
What I found most impressive was the thoughtful feedback the students had regarding the event and the meetings, a testament to their interest in and engagement with the speakers. Students were most impacted not just by the amount of hard work necessary to become successful, but also how important it is to be creative, exploratory, and to think outside the box.
What benefits do you see these career talks giving students? How does it enhance their learning?
These career talks challenged many students’ preexisting plans for life after school; after talking to professionals from so many different industries, they’ve realized there are many things out there for them to try and discover! This realization is very valuable for the kids, encouraging them to make sure they find their passion and make the right choices when selecting a major and beyond.
Please introduce the Y11 internship programme.
Students will intern with a variety of businesses in Beijing in the corresponding industries that they wish to explore for two weeks before the beginning of their summer holiday. They’ll be fully responsible and accountable to the company, just like with any real internship or job, providing both valuable work experience and connections with the company for future opportunities.
What kind of mindset should students possess when approaching their internships?
Internships are very different from the previous day to day academic experiences they’ve had up to now. They’ll need to be more proactive responsible than usual as well as present themselves well as a person, not just as a student; they’ll be forced to ask themselves, “how do they look in front of others?” It’ll also be a new challenge should a company turn them down. Successful students will be able to look at themselves with a critical eye and adjust according to their potential employers’ expectations.
What do you hope that students get out of their internship experiences?
There are a number of life skills that are best taught outside of the classroom in real-world working environments, such as how to present oneself professionally, punctuality, and so on. These are skills that will benefit them immensely beyond their academic life.
How does this programme and the career talks align with the overarching goals and motto of YCIS Beijing?
At the Yew Chung International School of Beijing, we seek to promote a holistic education so that the students are not just focusing on academics but also their personal growth. These skills sense of responsibility they attain through this program, and other activities we provide them with here at the school, are relevant to the real world. They will only continue to benefit them as they develop not just as a YCIS Beijing student, but as a person.