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Job opportunities after working in China

Oct 12 '12 4 Last Comment
Ms.Winston
Oct 12, 12 10:15 pm

im currently working in China as a design architect and plan on staying here for the next year or two

I am American and am an economic refugee,

I was just wondering if anyone else has any experience working oversears dosnt have to be

China, and then gone back to their home land and applied for jobs and how much they think the abroad experience helped them if at all get a job.

what experience did you gain while working abroad, that you were able to bring back

I would like to hear anyones accounts, but i think im most interested in people returning to American and what it was like and the year you returned,

 

Given
Oct 13, 12 10:30 am

I'm also really curious about this one. I have friends over there right now and am considering taking work in China as well. My guess is that if you are one of the people who just does concept design all day long, US firms might not really care about your experience at all, but if you actually get to see some projects built then firms might be somewhat interested. Maybe its just the recession talking, but Ive only ever seen US firms care about young people's pragmatic drawing/construction knowledge (perhaps to their detriment, but that's another subject). If you have 5+ years of experience and have never drawn a construction set, people might not be willing to float your salary until you get back into how things work in the US is my guess.

US firms always want people who can speak mandarin too, but the chances of a foreigner becoming fluent in mandarin to the point of being able to discuss architecture are not high unless learning Chinese is your full time job.

But this is all guesswork. I'd love to see someone comment who actually made the transition back and lived to tell the tale.

Ms.Winston
Oct 17, 12 4:52 pm

im really surprised that no one has done this,

sounds like the beginning of a new era, "coming home" : Life after the Big East

LITS4FormZ
Oct 17, 12 5:29 pm

Bringing your experience from China back to the states all depends on what your new career goals are.

Do you want to be the China expert in your office? 

Do you want to go back to being a "regular" architect and leave your time in the middle kingdom behind you?

Do you want to be a project manager and lose the designer title?

My time in China changed the way I approach design, just as I'm sure it has affected you in some way. Unfortunately, in my current position I have not been able to apply my  design experience in Beijing to my day-to-day responsibilities because of my project role and the industry I'm working in. However, It has helped me tremendously in project management and the business side of architecture.  

One thing I never considered utilizing while I was over there...It has been quite helpful in entertaining clients because simply put, "crazy things tend to happen when you live in China" and it's a culture that many Americans will never understand. You can never underestimate the power of good storytelling to help build relationships with people who will keep you gainfully employed. 

B. W.B. W.
Oct 19, 12 3:58 pm

I went to China twice in two years for short jobs.  You could say I was also an economic refugee -- I didn't like the job opportunities that were open to me in N America.  Competitions, model making, etc.  So I rolled the dice and bought a plane ticket.

My experiences were helpful, but in a similar way to what LITS4FormZ described.  I find myself gravitating toward international development or consulting now, as opposed to design.  I am personally happy with this transition, but I can imagine many people wouldn't be.  My experience in China was a few years back, before there were quite as many young, foreign architects seeking work.  I did schematic design, project management, contract documents, construction supervision.  My friends who are there now see mostly concept design and the odd SD package.  I think these experiences will be less valuable than the 'pragmatic' experience described above, but no less than doing the same work in Europe/N America.  A good design is a good design.

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