Getting ripped off as Foreign Architect in Shanghai? HELP.

Hi please help my friend out for a sec...

I have a friend who was offered an intern position for 2 months (maybe 3 if I suppose he's going to be happy) at a Shanghai firm. The firm staffs AIA members and other internationals... working on regional Chinese projects. I suppose that because they staff internationals, that they are familiar with...

Salary of foreign architects/interns vs. salary of locals

The firm offered my friend $500 a month only. Making it $1000 for two months. And is NOT offering airfare. This "stipened" won't break even... so he'll actually end up losing. They are offering him "housing" to share an apartment with another intern. They are also vague on the hours that he will be working... more likely 40hours a week + 4 days of overtime in the week because it is Asia.

I really don't want them to treat him like a slave...

I feel that my friend should negotiate. It is a BIG corporate firm.
NBBJ would pay an intern $15/hr at LEAST.
SOM would pay $12 to $15 for an intern as well.

I feel that they should at least pay my friend hourly, the whole $500 bucks a month thing is too sketch, because they could totally take advantage of his time and squeeze him for all his worth.

I feel that he should negotiate the offer. They should give him airfare or at the very least, pay him on an hourly rate so that his time working will be more controlled.

Any thoughts?

Apr 30, 05 11:46 am

thats what they pay their architects in china, so why would an intern think he deserves more?

just look one the salary poll site -- look what indian practitioners are getting -- $1 per day!

should we pay a chinese intern working in the US $500 per month because thats what he/she would get if they stayed in china????

i have a very senior friend at a big big multi-national international practice who have been mentioned over and over on the 'nect.

the firm only procure rendering from china firms now as they cost $300 usd verse $30K for the same size image from a us firm. the fees the charge and get reflect what they charge their staff.

pehaps your friend will look differently next time he walks into walmart to save 0.20 cents.

Apr 30, 05 11:58 am  · 

Okay so if you want to look at things relatively:

1. American Architecture Education at minimum costs $30,000 a year.
2. To pay for this education most have to take out student loans.
3. Whether it is in China or Seattle, we have to get paid what "WE" as Americans are worth not only because we already have a set salary level at a minimum of $12/hr for the type of training and service quality we received and paid for in the states, but it's also because if we don't set this salary, we will never be able to get out of the Debt we accumulated by receiving this education!
4. So let's say that we are all happy and content to earn what the local intern gets in other countries, then (if you don't have parents who shell out big money for your) there is really no incentive to venture out and work in other countries because one can't simply afford it.

My friend would love to go to China, and take part in Chinese projects. But the issue here is is that my friend won't be ABLE TO AFFORD it if he doesn't break even. Chinese locals have debt, but they have a different type of debt that is relative to their pay scale. I'm sure that if they had debt the size of ours, then they will want to get paid in foreign rate too!

I really don't want to tell him to just stay in the US, because therefore he will be able to pay the bills... because China is where its at for some people.... but c'mon... if we all think like you do, we'll never get anywhere in this profession... the difference between Artists and Architects, is that we are also business people. WE HAVE TO BE or else people are just going to take advantage of us. Architects don't know how to negotiate or do busines.... which is why we're never getting paid what we are worth like other professionals. Please.

Apr 30, 05 12:10 pm  · 

TED, it's basic global economics. You're reasoning is utterly ridiculous because there are certain drivers that force us to work, mainly making a living and being able to pay off whatever debt we owe. Debt and spending is relative to wherever we grew up, studied, and come from... therefore pay rate adjusts accordingly IF and ONLY IF the company or clients want to invest on foreign help for their services. Obviously this Shanghainese firm recruited in an Ivy League where my friend comes from... obviously by doing so, they're already putting themselves in a different league... and shouldn't be low-balling on an offer. If they wanted to pay $500 a month... they should just go ahead and recruit locally. ANd my friend shouldn't even bother.

Apr 30, 05 12:17 pm  · 

You guys have valid points. On the one hand, the rules of the market (china) like many asian countries, pay interns much lower salaries than in the US (TED's point). On the other hand, how can one break even with such low salaries (JA's point)?

I think working in china is going to be a good experience for your friend regardless. If it was his first job after graduation and he was getting offered this salary that would be one thing, and I would urge him to look elsewhere (although many european countries start a 1k euro/month). But since it's an intern, I think he'll learn alot. Whether he will be smiling about it or not depends on the firm's degree of 'squeezing' him.

Apr 30, 05 12:24 pm  · 

So maybe he should accept a $500 stipened for hours 9 to 5. But then add a rate of $10 or $15 an hour for overtime. So that he's "squeezing" can be controlled, and at least half airfare.

Apr 30, 05 12:27 pm  · 

it's two months. two months won't break the bank or be the end of the world. TED's point is right on. besides if this firm is offering this flat fee, chances are the only negotiating you get to do is to ask "How high?" as in how high do i need to jump, SIR....

Apr 30, 05 12:30 pm  · 
Chilly Willy

James, Ted is right. "What 'WE' as Americans are worth"" - well Lah-dee-dah. Look ma it's an American! Roll out the red carpet. Why do you think the rest of the world hates us? Did you vote for Bush by any chance?
If he can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. China will pay what China will pay. Who you should be talking to is other Chinese interns working in Shanghai. Find out how much THEY make. I will guess about $500 a month. An architect can't move from NYC to Wichita Kansas and expect much more than 50% what he got paid in NYC. No matter what the moving expense. If he really wants to do it, then do it. If not, deep six. I don't understand what the problem is.

Apr 30, 05 12:32 pm  · 

i thought TED made valid points. i don't think your friend should go. you should be paid for your work. good luck in saying i will only work 9-5. in china? they'll laugh at him. silly americans don't even know how to work hard. even if he could limit his hours to that, he'd be making $3.13/hr. maybe i'm wrong, but shanghai can't be a cheap place to live.

Apr 30, 05 12:37 pm  · 

I doubt you can negotiate overtime rates anywhere for a summer internship, or even the whole wage man. Most firms are "take it or leave it" about it. And most of us say yes. Cos we need the experience and that name on the resume. You only get more negotiating power once you have a diploma, or if you are working at your dad's firm!

Apr 30, 05 12:38 pm  · 


he does has choices for educational cost. as bad as it sounds; state schools are viable options. i know lots of folks for undergrad[including myself], bit the bullet, stay at home, went to state schools, work a bit. leaving undergrad with no debt. he has to live within the choices he made and dont go blaming a firm in china for his decisions.

if he needs the money to go to school he should just skip this opportunity and go for the biggest salary and least out of pocket[it may not be in architecture and it may mean dreaded living at home for a summer]. better to spend a year abroad in school program[2 months is really nothing] or do the international intern training program in a country that has similar economic standard to the us after he graduates.

if he goes to china, he could live on $500/month. it is not taking advantage of him-its just what they pay architects. hiring an intern for 2-3 months really isnt a part of a grand profit making business plan for a firm. they wont even consider this person part of the required manpower to do the project. 2-3 months on a project is nothing. firms like som hire interns as a very good way to vet out good and bad potential full time employees without having to make a long term committement [for the intern also]

lots of local chinese firms are doing the tail end of projects started by us firms. most projects stay in the us till DD and change hands. the fee splits are in the range of 90-10 or more with little going to the chinese partner. so even if the chinese firms are doing big international projects they are doing the construction docs or admin. not brilliant experience if your only planning to spend 2 months at a place as the CD phase tends to be long and slower pace.

and enlighten me. why should your friend as a student planning to spend only 2 months working in a local shanghia office be paid more than the qualified chinese architect that he will sit next to that perhaps has 10 years experience and a family to support?

if he cant go under these terms, still wants to go, take the risk -- tell them everything he needs [dont forget to include vacation, limo at the airport, healthcare and profitsharing?]

Apr 30, 05 12:44 pm  · 

This isn’t really a time for macro economics and moralizing. I assume that Shanghai is cheaper than the states so maybe $500 a month will be fine to live like an intern and if the housing is free that’s worth a lot right there. He should figure out if that’s the case.

Obviously air fare he is going to have to pay for so he’s basically buying him self a trip to China. If money or professional advancement is part of his reasoning for doing this he should be proactive in making sure that he gets a return on his investment or just acknowledge that it is something of a vacation and be adamant about not working more than he wants to.

Definitely he should ask for a bit more or at least tell the firm that he isn’t making money on the deal so they know what’s going on with him.

Apr 30, 05 12:47 pm  · 

yep, yep, and yep.

Apr 30, 05 12:48 pm  · 

that comment was to TED's post. newstream, ask for a bit more? what like a $100? because that's a bit more when you are talking about 500. i think this is a take it or leave it deal.

Apr 30, 05 12:51 pm  · 


by law in chicago and illinois, you must be paid overtime for any employee not in a supervisory position [many firms try to slip this one by] [and i do know W has tried to change this at a fed level -- illinois still maintains its standard]

in places like som chicago, they grade archs: c, d, e, f + g. any staff level d and above are overtime exempt. many some archs turn down promotions to level d-which generally happens 1 to 2 years into the firm- because of the loss of OT.

so by definition, if you are a intern in any chicago firm, you should be paid for the actual hours your work.

the weather is great in chicago in the summer JA. perhaps your friend should look here.

Apr 30, 05 12:52 pm  · 

i didn't read everything...but why doesn't your friend work in
the US in a firm that's doing projects in china?....KPF for instance
has a ton of work in China...most of the nice projects in china
are spec'd out to US architects because for some reason their
projects get more respect if they're by foreign architects.

long story can work in china without having to go there.

Apr 30, 05 1:45 pm  · 

Yes he has those options.

My friend is from Chicago. He can stay in Chicago or New York and work from there if he wanted to do China projects as well. I just feel that working on China projects in China would be a special and unique opportunity that's rarely given or offered to anyone of his age.

Secondly, I'm really saddened appalled by the fact that everyone on this board is defending just "biting the bullet" and defending that company for their lowball compensation and their hiring practices.

That's why Architects as a whole, and the profession in general will NEVER MAKE ANY MONEY, or WILL NEVER GET PAID WHAT THEIR WORTH, because they are taught at an early age that Negotiations are useless (no matter what level you are on the heirarchical scheme - even though you're on the most part giving hopefully a quality service to the firm.)

The fact of the matter is, other foreigners in other professions (lawyers, doctors, interior designers, actors), it doesn't have to be just American, get paid on the scale relative to their country of origin. And for the most part, Architects for all their contributions, just get left behind AS A WHOLE. Because our mindset WILL NOT CHANGE.

Architects will not ever make any money for the types of services and the amount research we offer because we act like artists and not professionals.

Apr 30, 05 3:57 pm  · 

I am also NOT AMERICAN. I am a foreigner living in American with a green card.

Apr 30, 05 3:57 pm  · 
vado retro

just got an email from cfa saying that chicago is very very busy right now and they need people. check it out. oh by the by cfa is consulting for architects.

Apr 30, 05 4:08 pm  · 

you're completely missing the point.
the fact of the matter is is that in china your friend is not a
needed china there are a lot of people at his
experience level that are willing to work longer, harder for
the same or less amount of money...the expected level of
compensation there is lower than here. because your friend
is a foreigner he's actually less desirable....he doesn't know
the country, language (most likely), customs, have a place
to stay, etc. etc. people that are already there are easier
to work with and find. why would the company pay to bring
someone in from overseas when they don't have to pay anything
for someone already in the area?

companies here are sending their work overseas in general..
not just in architecture...because it's cheaper to farm things
out over there...

in general..i'd agree with you james that architects should be
compensated fairly..but fair compensation depends on the
market in which it's located...india and china have millions
of people from whom to choose...if your friend wants to make
good money he should choose somewhere close to home..

i can sort of see your point if you were talkin about unfair
payment over here..your point fails however in your current

Apr 30, 05 4:08 pm  · 

Well this is the last i'm going to say about this:

My friend is young. China could be new and exciting for him. Moving even for two months to work is a great investment of his time and his resources. I just want to make sure that the "experience" doesn't become horrific at some point because he didn't negotiate, nor ask questions, and left it at "take it or leave it". I think that the firm needs him because they were pretty agressive in their hiring through the university, and I think that he (even if it's two months) will be a valid investment... especially because they promised him that he WONT BE working on CD's but on schematic design and planning.

It's an investment of both parties, and I feel that the firm is lowballing because they are expecting to negotiate the terms of the internship.

And you guys are of no help what so ever.

Apr 30, 05 4:08 pm  · 

I dont think this makes any sense at all.
just tell him to be a lawyer then. whatever.

Apr 30, 05 4:16 pm  · 

I don't understand the point of this thread, to be blunt.

Why are you asking people here if your friend should negotiate or not? Why not, the worst they can say is, "no".

But I'm not sure what this has to fair compensation for "foreign architects"--if your friend doesn't like the compensation, he/she is free to look elsewhere. tell him/her that he/she should be happy to have been offered a travel opportunity in the first place.

trying to play hardball with a foreign firm won't change the pay scale for american architects across the globe--again, what's the point here?

Apr 30, 05 4:23 pm  · 

Is this an American firm in China, or a Chinese firm? If It was an american firm MAYBE I could see your point, but if it is a Chinese firm than he doesn't have a right to earn more than any other person at the firm just because he is a foreigner and has a lot of debt.
I have a good friend from China who took summer job here in the US from a big name firm and they were paying her a the typical intern wage even though her experience level should have gotten her a much higher wage. I asked her why she settled for that job and she was like "Shit!-in china I wouldn't make half of that! You guys complain but you have NO idea..."

Apr 30, 05 4:24 pm  · 

additionally, foreign companies have motives for recruiting through american universities besides simply scouting out foreign talent. connections with an american university can eventually prove to be invaluable for various reasons--it doesn't necessarily mean that they view american architects as more skilled or talented than anyone else.

the point made previously is correct--if your friend does not know how to speak fluently, he or she most likely will be somewhat of a detriment to the firm in the short term. i would ask your friend--what's more important, the travel experience or the money? if it's money, tell him/her not to travel.

Apr 30, 05 4:31 pm  · 

I don't know why this thread bothers me so much--but this is possibly the most outrageous thing I've ever read on this site.

Bordering on unacceptable.

Apr 30, 05 4:35 pm  · 

This is the way China is working right now, probably in any developing country in the world right now. You get the job from the Chinese-based firm they'll pay you according to their standard which is much lower. If you're foreign based, you get the rate you want- basically your a consultant. Call me anti-american, but I love it when Americans get raped for their money.
When I was in China for four months all I could hear was, "wow it's so cheap here, do you know how much I got that sweater for, our dinner bill was only $12 total???!!!" And on top of that, foreign architects are given free reign cuz foreign experience in any industry is intensely privileged there.

Things will change soon though boys and girls, considering that China Japan Korea Hong Kong hold most of U.S. debt in Treasury Bonds anyway...

Apr 30, 05 4:38 pm  · 


no one really disagree that archs, are abused by clients and employees. i wouldnt even insult anyone i call a friend decribing them with the word 'intern'. you are sort of putting them down to the standards you hate.

with china -- your barking up the wrong alley though.

having worked in china, if it was my friend, i would recommend to look a little closer into the work of the firm -- we have all been to that web site with bad us/chinese knockoffs by prominate chinese practice. trust me, thats the best of the best!! and if you think that is bad -- the so called master planning being done in china is very bad '70's planning. 'want it to look like AMERICA!!'

like i said -- 2 months is not suffiecent enough time to get your feet wet in a significant project. go for the noodles, the dogs, chicken feet and culture. the architectural experience isnt going to come from that firm. dont go for the money.

dont underestimate those smart little chinese. go to the ivies, get some smart eager 'interns'; i am certain there was a very long line not to miss this exciting opportunity, If you give it up there are 3 in line to take your place. i can just read the brochure .....'designed by very important architect from the GSD!!'

Apr 30, 05 4:42 pm  · 


'no help whatsoever'...

well i guess because most of us didn't see your point..
have been in the business for ten years or so...and understand
maybe a bit more than you do; i guess we all wasted your time in
giving what we thought to be thoughtful responses..
i apologize for wasting your time and not agreeing with you
right off the bat.

whatever. my feeling is that this company sees this as a
two month learning experience...that they're actually offering
a cheap education..yes both sides are getting something out
of the deal...but unless your friend is staying for longer there's
really no reason for the company to pay more..

i agree with others that don't see why you posted this in the
first place and don't exactly see what you were expecting
out of the whole deal.

Apr 30, 05 4:57 pm  · 

i'm still outraged.

Apr 30, 05 5:01 pm  · 

JA, look at the positive side man, you got all these honest and thoughtful replies soooo fast in less than a day! I know most of us, if not all of us, did not say what you wanted to here, whatever that was anyways.......but atleast we tried to show you that things aren't as bad as you see them........

guys, I personally know james and he's a great friend. I too went to Cornell. He's trying to help out a yonger friend. Unfortunately, no one has a decent first job, but atleast we learn from them man! And I never walk into a firm thinking I'll get paid more than another non-ivy graduate. My degree is what I learned in college and the positive (and negative experiences). It's not my ticket to instant profit, or negotiation in a competitive market.

Relax, enjoy the CITY and congrats on Columbia man!

Apr 30, 05 5:09 pm  · 

Hey I know you?

Apr 30, 05 5:33 pm  · 

Isn't it advantageous (in a physiological business sense) for Asian firms to have westerners as employees? I know that in other fields, firms with western employees are given more respect etc...(this viewpoint may be 10 years out of date, please correct me if I'm wrong)

The point is I doubt any firm in Asia is going to recruit CAD Monkeys from the states. You can't compete with the Chinese interns, especially in 2 months time. Its more likely that they're looking to gain from western ideas, perhaps a fresh voice etc. And if that's the case, perhaps a US intern is more marketable. I say don't screw yourself just because it might be a positive experience.

That being said, it is only 2 months. I'd look at as more of a study learn opportunity than an actual job. My biggest concern would be the hours expected to work. You might not be able to soak up all that china has to offer if your stuck in a cubical 80 hours a week.

Apr 30, 05 6:49 pm  · 
Chilly Willy

James, we are of "no help to you whatsover" because you are refusing or unable to think intelligently. Yes I agree, us architects have no business saavy and until we get some we are going to continue to get paid dirt. But you are missing the point. You are not asking an architecture question. You are asking a JOBS question. Tell your friend to take the friggin job already, ask for $600/month and quit whining for him. Because if he doesn't, he'll be sitting at his desk in July saying, "I wonder what they're doing in China right now?" "Moving even for two months to work is a great investment of his time and his resources." You answered your own question. Ivy League - I should have guessed. Just kidding. Listen to Ted. He's your daddy.

Apr 30, 05 6:49 pm  · 

JA, you are the one who seems to miss the point.

Apr 30, 05 6:52 pm  · 

Fine then people.

The point is....
Let me get this right.

My friend has no position to negotiate the terms of his internship.
For a variety of reasons already explained in this discussion.


But one more thing:
Pollen say, "You are not asking an architecture question. You are asking a JOBS question." Isn't there some subject matters that do require that we talk about and discuss the issue simultaneously and not separately. As in an "Architecture Discussion" or a "Job Discussion"... are they really two different things?

Apr 30, 05 7:04 pm  · 

"The point is I doubt any firm in Asia is going to recruit CAD Monkeys from the states. You can't compete with the Chinese interns, especially in 2 months time. Its more likely that they're looking to gain from western ideas, perhaps a fresh voice etc. And if that's the case, perhaps a US intern is more marketable. I say don't screw yourself just because it might be a positive experience."

Why would they recruit my friend or send him emails, or call him when they can just hire a local architect for $500 a month? Did they expect for my friend to just say "Yes" of the bat without thinking about it?

Apr 30, 05 7:07 pm  · 

And trust me. NO ONE IS LINING up for this job.

Apr 30, 05 7:07 pm  · 

In Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, a Chinese intern can make at least $500, with 2-3 ys experience, your salary will be at least $1000/month.

But the tricky thing is bonus. Usually, year end bonus will be up to the same as your total year's wage. My friend in South China can make $2,0000 with 4 years experience. Guest how much a Chinese doctor can make? $8000 to $10000 for a senior.

Apr 30, 05 7:09 pm  · 

oh.... thanks Barbaric... um... who are you?

Apr 30, 05 7:09 pm  · 

I don't think you understand James Acuna ( which is the main reason people are attacking you). I was not saying that the firm was not aggressively recruiting your friend. The point I was trying to make was that the firm values your friends western education. He's not going to be doing work alongside Chinese interns in the CD dept. I imagine he'll be more valuable to the firm in the schematic design department or possibly in some type of representative role working with US firms.

I think you're right in thinking that your friend should negotiate the job offer. All job offers should be negotiated! Working in a foreign market only complicates things. Therefore, your friend should make sure the terms for employment are on the table upfront.

At the same time, I don't think the firm is going to give your friend much more of a salary, or pay for his flight over there. This is probably due to a mixture of cultural and business strategy factors.

The bottom line is, its a two month long partially paid study abroad program. The company is not in the business of recruiting US interns for the purpose of screwing them over. I see it as a win/win situation. Your friend receives a valuable cultural experience, and the firm receives a little valuable insight from a fresh mind.

If you don't think your buddy should take the job then say, "buddy this firm is trying to screw you. Please don't throw all your Ivy league education away by accepting this offer from these no talent ass clowns in China." Then let your friend read all these comments saying what a great opportunity this could be for the short term. If he's as smart as you represent him, I'm sure he'll be able to make up his own mind.

Apr 30, 05 9:03 pm  · 

I agree. It's China. I just don't want him to get TOO excited because it's "China".

He should be able to negotiate and know exactly what they're offering, if he's going to break even, if the firm is willing to meet half way, his hours, etc... And from the get go, I hoped initially that this discussion topic could go towards the route on discussing things like how to negotiate, how to ask questions, how to be a responsible guy looking for an internship with an international firm, rather than a criticism of wanting to even initially propose a negotiation of pay with the firm.

May 1, 05 12:22 am  · 

a friend of mine is heading for china in the near future to do his internship. he is from europe so the licencing sytem is different from US, but is now at a top japanese ivy league school well known in china and equally bankable in the brochures.

anyway he fully expects to be paid crap for a year, basically just getting by. He is going for the experience in a hip firm and doesn't give a damn about money at all because he wouldn't make any more back home anyway. if you think US is bad try working in france or germany where architects are a dime a dozen!

i wouldn't count on this being a position that only your friend can fill. Interns too are a dime a dozen, many willing to work for free (not a joke), especially for a two month position. If the firm is famous enough he is in no position to bargain. Still, having said all that, he should make a counter offer, and then make a decision based on the experience offered, cuz he will never make enough to pay back his debts and cetera, no matter what.

As far as how to talk with the office, honesty tends to work best. Explain how much he could command in the us, what his expectations are, and then why he is so damn amazing that he should be paid more. If they pay more cool, if not c'est la vie. i doubt they will be offended by the idea in case you are worried about the chance slipping away.

only concern is sort of what TED said earlier. I mean how good is the firm he is thinking of? There are a lot of firms in China making really really really bad buildings right now, americans among them. And the hours will be close 24/7, non-negotiable. if he can't handle that, don't bother. The good side of that situation is that he can get half a year of experience in 2 months. And unlike his co-workers he will be able to go home at the end of it.

May 1, 05 6:53 am  · 

Let's just say it corporate. More money than design.

And my friend is pretty humble, and the last thing he thinks of is that he's "damn amazing" as you put it.

It's basically me that's freaking out for him. I just want him to really be critical about the whole thing and think really hard about the deal before accepting it.

Let me guess... your friend will be working for MADA S.P.A.M. ?

May 1, 05 1:27 pm  · 

What is $500 in China compared to $500 in the United States? If he doesn't have to pay for lodging and his American dollar goes about 2 to 3 times the distance as it does here, maybe he's not really doing that bad... Its an internship right? If you were to study abroad, you would pay your own airfare anyway...

Experience is money too... Its an investment. The volume of work for foreign architects in China will continue to increase over the next few decades, and having worked for a Chinese firm may have its benefits later on for him... Even if he works for an American firm later on... Not to mention life experience. Diverse life experience is valuable education that no sitting in a studio at school can give you.

And its only 2 months... Like somebody said, its not a career at $500 a month, its not going to break the bank to take a trip like that...

Just my 2 cents...

May 3, 05 5:27 am  · 

actually they pay chinese intern only 50 $ per month. 500$ is junior architect's salary.

and the cost of living in shanghai is not low at all. however they offer ur friend accomodation so there's no problem. it could be a good experience.

btw, OMA treats intern like shit with 300 euro per month and u have to work more than 60 hours per week.

May 3, 05 7:43 am  · 

i agree with bRink. People pay $30,000 to go to a ivy because of the experiance, the connections you will make, and the name you get to take with you coming out of it. I dont think anyone getting out of school makes significantly higher salaries just because of education. An intern is an intern. Your friend should look at it as an unique opportunity rather than a financial investment (which it may turn out to be later on). Plus, its only for 2 months right? If he decides he dosn't like it, he will be back in the states before he knows it.

May 3, 05 10:08 am  · 

Another story

My friend's own firm in Shanghai isn't some big hot shot, with 5-6 staffs, and constantly getting a lot request for internship even for FREE, there're a lot kids, from everywhere all over the CHINA doing this simply just want to learn from the right people, they've probably never seen any IVY grade before, and will mostly never, but they sure are eager to learn, maybe as much as you and us here in US......

$500 is some far reaching dream even for junior architect...

Another story, some local guy pitch in some simple proposals in a major CHINESE internet forum asking for pricing (regardless it's real or just a hoax), in an hour, there's people offer various full package of service, from initial design to CD plus free rendering......and some are still in school offering free service beats all.......they claim they just want to learn , just give them the chance !!!!!

As Americans, you are lucky, and as a foreigner here in US, I'm grateful that America give me the best chances as well.....competition is good, thus, we re-postition ourselves to be a part of the world.

May 3, 05 3:46 pm  · 

I have been in China for the last ten years.  During this time I have experienced all levels of foreigners both young and old working in China. This is a country of extremes and one must do their due diligence to source out what is available and if the suit will fit. In China there is one word to remember. SPEED.  No time to sudy, analyse, test and revise. The Chinese developer is a breed unto his own and expects everything for the price of a cup of Starbucks. Speaking of which they line up for their coffee in Starbucks and not all are foreigners. There is a simple rule to follow. Eliminate the variables. If you are good, show your stuff. Do the shpeel tell the story and make it fly, sell your talent. There is a market in China but is is a different market !

May 21, 14 5:06 am  · 

Problem:  "But the issue here is is that my friend won't be ABLE TO AFFORD it if he doesn't break even."


A) don't go.

B) save up money first, then go.

C) go, and understand that for 3 months you will be poor.

Why are Americans endlessly believing that they deserve things that are beyond their means? 

May 21, 14 9:32 am  · 

When I was working in ADEPT Guangzhou, I was getting paid 2000 rmb/month, apx $480 or something. It was enough to get an apartment, eat, and get to work. I was working 60 - 75 hours a week, no overtime or benefits. Did this for 6 months


If you're heading overseas on that salary I would suggest having additional finances you can fall back on.

May 23, 14 1:20 pm  · 

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