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Shanghai Express: New Columbia Program Weds Language Study and Business Internships


In response to China's increasing role in global commerce, Columbia has initiated a summer Chinese business internship program in Shanghai . The inaugural program is a collaboration of Columbia 's School of Continuing Education and Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC) and Beijing Language University's Shanghai campus.

For 10 weeks, students in the Summer Business Chinese and Internship Program will gain hands-on experience in the business culture and customs that drive the economic development of China . Intensive Chinese-language classroom instruction is augmented by private tutorials and daily practice with local language partners. Students attend weekly lectures on China 's role as a leader in the global economy. During the final four weeks of the program they are assigned internships in the Shanghai offices of multinational companies, giving students an invaluable opportunity to apply their studies in the corporate world.

The program, which is already full, has drawn students from Columbia, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and other universities.

"Anyone who wants to study business Chinese should go to Shanghai," said Lening Liu, director of Columbia's Chinese Language Program. Liu designed and helped establish the program with EALAC professors David Wang and Wei Shang. " Shanghai is the economic and financial center of China and the home of hundreds of international companies," said Liu.

Since China opened its markets to outside competitors, joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, Shanghai has become a hotbed for foreign investors. In fact, the Financial Times recently dubbed Shanghai " China's showcase foreign investment capital." Potential host corporations include Rui An (a Hong Kong company), New York Life, The 9th City (an online interactive game company) and General Motors.

"Columbia's School of Continuing Education is pleased to cosponsor this international internship in one of the most promising, global financial arenas," said Frank Wolf, dean of the School of Continuing Education. "We believe it will succeed not only as a rich experience for students seeking to advance in Chinese-related business careers but also will serve as a conduit for global understanding and cooperation."

The new program is designed for undergraduate or graduate students who have studied Chinese for two or more years at the college level and have a strong desire to use Chinese in a business setting.

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Published: Mar 29, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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