Learning a brand new language: 20-year-old student Sean Quinn moved to Hong Kong a year ago to attend University. He hopes to master Mandarin Chinese and possibly remain in China after graduation in order to escape a dismal job search back home.
Well, what I face in the U.K. after graduation would just be a wall of rejections. It is very difficult to find paid work. It’s even difficult to find unpaid work in the U.K.
That perception helps explain why increasing numbers of overseas students are clamoring to study in Asia, particularly Chinese universities in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Without doubt, students are understanding that they have to look medium to long term as well as short term and that medium to long term is all about careers and career advancement.
Even in the current economic climate, the University of Hong Kong says virtually 100 percent of its undergraduates are employed a short time after graduation. That figure is hard to match in the west. In America, almost one out of ten fresh graduates is jobless. That compares to one out of every four in the U.K.
Recruitment agency Robert Walters says the number of inquiries from western expatriates who want to work in the Asia Pacific has jumped by one-third over the past four years. But companies that aim to expand in the region increasingly favor local talent.
The language skills, you know, is very important. Um, the ability to understand the local culture is very important so if you don’t have the language skills and you’ve not been to (a) specific Asia countries and you don’t know about the culture…definitely strikes (a) very obvious, um, you know challenges.
British student Sean Quinn understands that. To beat the stress of studying and learning Chinese, he plays football with the Hong Kong team. Win or lose he plans to gain enough experience to perhaps start a whole new life in the east. Jilianne Libby BBC News, Hong Kong.