Home Opinion ACT Column The employment path of those overseas Chinese students under COVID-19

The employment path of those overseas Chinese students under COVID-19

After the graduation season, the employment season comes. The global economic and employment situation shrouded in the epidemic has given overseas students an even more difficult task than graduation thesis-how to knock on the door of the workplace, especially in foreign countries?

To this end, Red Star News reporters conducted in-depth conversations with graduate students from four countries: South Korea, Germany, France, and Italy. In this post-90s group, they saw their tenacity and courage to take advantage of the trend and take off against the wind, and listen to how they control their own destiny. Create hope by hand.

  【Korea】From Chinese teacher to anchor

In the South Korean job market under the new crown epidemic, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate have reached their highest levels since 1999, and there are still nearly 40,000 Chinese students remaining in South Korea, some of which are about to graduate or have graduated. Faced with a downturn in the job market, they are all faced with important life choices-where to go.

   27-year-old Xiaomei (pseudonym) just got a master’s degree in education from Ewha Woman’s University in Korea this year. Today, her day is a new start from browsing Taobao shop background data and selection. Manage and decorate Taobao shops, make merchandise pictures, schedule Taobao live broadcast, pre-sale and after-sales consultation, and communicate with suppliers and logistics… This series of complicated tasks are all done by her and a domestic partner, often every day. Be busy until 10 o’clock in the evening.

  In Xiaomei’s initial career plan, she wanted to become a Chinese teacher. “Before, there were many young people learning Chinese in South Korea, so many Chinese students stayed as Chinese teachers after graduation. This job is relatively stable, and the droughts and floods keep the income. But when the epidemic comes, such jobs are difficult to find.” Xiaomei Said helplessly.

Xiaomei while studying at Ewha Womans University

  In order to make a living, Xiaomei also opened a study abroad agency in partnership with friends. However, due to the lack of students and experience, it led to poor management, and in the end, it could not be done. “It’s too hard to work as an intermediary for studying abroad. I can only sleep for four to five hours in two days. It’s very stressful. I have to write a thesis and run a business while on a business trip. Despite this, I have very little income and I’m really tired. “I want to cry when I come down,” she recalled.

  When asked why he did not consider returning to China for development, Xiaomei said that it was mainly due to aviation control, air tickets were too expensive, and flights were too few, even if he returned to China, he would not immediately find a job. Fortunately, South Korea provides an employment visa for graduated foreign students, allowing Xiaomei to have a year as a buffer and continue to stay in Seoul to try various job search and employment possibilities.

   Due to the epidemic situation, cross-border travel is restricted, and domestic consumers’ demand for purchasing Korean products has increased. Xiaomei, who is in a predicament of employment, therefore regained her old business and started purchasing. “It is the most pragmatic to have money in your account” However, in the past, Xiaomei did purchasing only to earn some pocket money during her student years. Today, it is Xiaomei who has seen the vitality of cross-border e-commerce and hopes to seize this opportunity and create a career in this boom.

  【Germany】Cooking for peace

   For the “Students”, the employment situation after graduation this year is not optimistic. Economists expect Germany’s unemployment rate to approach 6% in the third quarter, and the number of unemployed will increase by more than 230,000 this year.

  In front of Xiao Chen (pseudonym) who graduated from a graduate of applied literature at a university in Berlin this year, there are two options: continue to look for professional-related jobs, or simply switch careers. “As a foreigner, it is not easy to find a job related to literature and journalism in Germany,” Xiao Chen said. “General writing, copywriting, and operational text work, the first condition is English or German as the mother tongue.” Although she has learned German systematically since her undergraduate, and her educational background has also given her multiple interview invitations, but in the end Still missed the opportunity because of language problems. “They all say that my German is very good, but they need 100% accuracy.”

Xiao Chen on the University of Berlin campus

  In spite of this, Xiao Chen still wants to seize the opportunity to engage in text-related work, such as translation and self-media writing, although these occupations may not be high-paid and the work is not stable. Although the consumption level in Berlin is relatively low in Europe, the monthly living expenses are still not a small sum. Seeing the German classmates in the same class find jobs one by one, Xiao Chen was envious and worried.

   Fortunately, Xiao Chen also has a good cooking skills, is a famous “cooking god” in the circle of friends, often friends will find her to order private dishes and desserts. In one or two visits, more and more people came to the door, and Xiao Chen simply started a private dim sum business. During the epidemic, other part-time jobs and internships had to be shut down. Instead, selling snacks brought her relatively stable income. Every weekend, Xiao Chen has to make dozens of orders in the kitchen of only three or four square meters. “This is actually an individual effort.” Xiao Chen said, “If there is a choice, I still hope to rely on brainpower and pen for a living.”

As for why not go back to China to find a job, Xiao Chen said: “There is an embarrassing situation for international students returning to China for employment. Since the graduation time is not the same as that in China, they cannot participate in campus recruitment fairs as fresh graduates after returning to China. I have limited work experience overseas and lack of understanding of the domestic situation, and may not have a competitive advantage compared with domestic graduates. Since studying in Germany for so long, I also hope to accumulate more local work experience so that when I return to China to find a job More capital.” As for her plans for the future, Xiao Chen said that she will continue to deliver resumes to some German publishing houses and media companies, while also continuing to sell private dim sum. “However, this is just a side job. If there is a chance, I will still pursue my career aspirations and journalism ideals.”

  【France】The job exchanged after 500 job searches is “lost” due to the epidemic situation

  The unemployment rate in France was above the average in the European Union, but it was hit by the epidemic. Since the implementation of the ban in France from mid-March to early May this year, 11.7 million people have registered partial unemployment. In June, the French Ministry of Labor also said that 320,000 young people are expected to join the job search army, and the unemployment rate of young people will also increase to about 30%. This situation is undoubtedly worse for the Chinese students who will enter the workplace in France recently.

   “But I believe that the danger is organic, and the greater the difficulty, the more opportunities there may be,” Wen Hui (pseudonym) still maintains tenacity and optimism in his words. “As long as you persist, you will pass through the difficulties and you will be able to bloom.”

   gave up a stable job in the country and came to Paris to study finance. Wenhui said that his overseas study and job search experience started almost simultaneously. Facing the severe employment situation, from the beginning of enrollment, the school has repeatedly urged students to devote all their spare time to job search, using the school and social networks to strive for various job opportunities. But the success rate… measured by Wen Hui’s experience is that 500 submissions of resumes in exchange for one or two interview opportunities. One year after graduating, he hurried through repeated defeats and battles. In order to make a living, he also worked as a chef in restaurants and did purchasing. But he never wanted to give up his career ideal overseas.

Wen Hui on the streets of Paris

   Finally, this kind of persistence and accumulation opened the door of opportunity for Wen Hui. In January of this year, he took the initiative to go out and impressed a French science and technology company doing blockchain technology with a business analysis report in exchange for a short-term part-time job and a chance to work with French entrepreneurs in an international working environment. However, the good times are not long. With the outbreak of the French epidemic and the closure of Paris, he can only stay at home. The uncertain factors facing the economic environment have also made the operation of startups increasingly difficult. Hui did it after 4 months. “The work experience in France is very precious, not only to add luster to my resume, but also make me understand that it is not easy for foreigners to develop in the French workplace.”

During the epidemic, the difficulty of finding a job can be imagined. During the closure of the city, all collective activities were prohibited, travel was restricted, and job fairs could only be held online. Wen Hui has participated in it several times, but his resume is often like a rock after being put into use, and there is no possibility of going directly to the house to recommend himself as before.

  In spite of this, Wen Hui never seemed to hesitate to leave. He believes that behind the sluggish employment situation under the epidemic, there are still huge opportunities for economic transformation and innovation. What Wen Hui needs to do is continue to find, create and grasp. “The experience of studying in France made me understand that what I want is to create my own business and realize my own value.” For future career development, Wen Hui said that he will also work towards the highest ideals, improve business plans, and create his own business in the field of blockchain applications, because “sticking to there is hope.”

  【Italy】The pace of returning to China was accelerated by the epidemic

  For the path (pseudonym) of studying for a master’s degree in drama at the University of Bologna, it was originally a challenging thing to work in Italy after graduating with this educational background. Therefore, returning to China for development was a better choice she had identified at the beginning, and the epidemic accelerated the implementation of this plan.

  Official Italian data shows that the employment situation in Italy has not deteriorated due to the outbreak. After graduation, international students can obtain residence permits by means of employment and entrepreneurship, so that they will have the opportunity to convert to permanent residence after three to five years. However, the emergence of the epidemic has prompted many international students in Italy to reconsider their choices, and has turned or more determined to return to China to develop their aspirations.

Booth exhibition in the Bologna City Library during the path study

  The journey back to China through the small road has experienced some twists and turns like many foreign students. Since the closure of the city and the suspension of school in northern Italy at the end of February, she could only stay at home to take online courses to complete the thesis defense. Despite a year’s residence permit to find a job, Xiaolu resolutely chose to return to the country before the suspension of the flight. After the two purchased tickets were informed that the flight was cancelled, she did not finally embark on a charter flight from Milan to China until April 8. flight.

  After returning to China, Xiaolu chose to live in Hangzhou. For Xiaolu, Hangzhou is a city with only impression but not much experience. Here, there are her friends and the international art atmosphere that Xiaolu longed for, and she can continue to pursue her dream of drama. However, in the face of real life, being able to gain a foothold here is her top priority. This is a path that already has a wealth of entrepreneurial work experience in Italy.

   “I searched for information on 319 companies, submitted more than 90 resumes, and participated in interviews with more than 20 companies,” Xiaolu remembered the statistics of his online job search statistics in the past two months. She hopes to use her expertise in the production of drama and new media content to enter public institutions such as airports and police departments.

  In addition to job search, Xiaolu also registered his own company, mainly engaged in media, catering and study abroad consulting business. While earning a living, Xiaolu also laid the foundation for opening up its business transactions between China and Italy in the future. “Of course it is hard to start a business, but I will not feel panic,” Xiaolu believes. “The shadow of the epidemic is temporary, and economic operation will return to normal.”

Songzi Li/ Editing Manager


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