Founded in 2008, The Learn, Live and Intern in China (LLIC) Programme at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) brings together undergraduate students from around the world to experience China firsthand through a seven week internship. LLIC has a unique network of companies that offer internships to our participants in Hong Kong and cities in Mainland China. Once accepted to LLIC, students are automatically guaranteed an internship with one of these companies, which range from non-profit organizations to major corporations. The internships themselves are not intended to relate to a student’s major, but rather to provide practical working experience and an insight into the local working culture where the internship takes place. Currently, LLIC offers internships in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Ninghai, but seeks to expand to other cities in China.
LLIC is unique in three ways. Firstly, many of the companies that LLIC partners with require neither Chinese language skills nor previous field experience from interns, so students from any academic background can apply. Secondly, LLIC not only handles the internship placement for students, but also provides accommodation and houses all interns together. Finally, LLIC offers a unique framework for cultural exchange, as half of LLIC interns will be selected from HKU applicants and the other half from overseas institutions. All LLIC participants truly get the chance to meet people from all over the world.
The vision behind LLIC is to provide students opportunities to experience working in Asia, increase their understanding of Chinese culture and to extend their professional and personal networks in Hong Kong and China. Participants gain experience not only through studying and internships, but also through cultural exchange with the other local and overseas participants.
Because of its small size and generous funding offered to participants, LLIC remains an exclusive programme whose past participants come from some of the best universities in the world. Participants in previous programmes have represented universities such as Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale and Oxford, among other quality institutions whose students continue to join each summer. If you are interested in seeing if any alumni from your school have joined LLIC in the past and are willing to share their experience, you may get in touch with the Programme Office.
In response to the growing number of students interested in China, LLIC encourages participants to experience the region in a genuine way. Many Chinese language/cultural programmes give preferential treatment to foreign students, meaning participants are not able to gain any real insight into the local experience. LLIC tries to move away from this approach by housing interns in local establishments in the heart of the city and aiming for balance in terms of international, local, non-Chinese and Chinese speaking participants joining the programme. Despite working in different locations, all interns are housed together so that at the end of the day they can easily meet up for dinner, go sightseeing, or just talk about their day. Minimal group activities are scheduled so that interns can choose what they want to do and with whom according to their own preference.
LLIC looks for students who are easy going, independent and open-minded. If you are the kind of person that prefers guided tours and familiar cuisine when travelling, be warned - LLIC is not the programme for you! LLIC is for people looking to go outside of their comfort zone, the culturally diplomatic and the proactive.
For those of you that have never been to China before, LLIC could be your perfect introduction to the language, business style, and even culture at large in China. LLIC attracts a number of Chinese speaking students, both from overseas and from HKU, so there will be a number of people around who can help you communicate with others.
For those of you who have started learning Chinese or a degree East Asian Studies, it goes without saying that there is no better way to improve your knowledge of a foreign culture and language than to visit the country of origin.
Here are some questions to help you determine if you are a good match for LLIC:
- Are you easy going and open-minded?
- Are you curious about China?
- Are you hardworking, ambitious and responsible?
- Do you want to improve your communications skills?
- Do you want to travel with other students throughout China?
- Do you plan to go into business or non-profit work?
If you answered YES to most of these questions, then LLIC may just be the perfect programme for you this summer!