NYU Shanghai Alumnus Receives First Foreign Graduate Work Permit

Jun 23 2017
Written by NYU Shanghai

NYU Shanghai alumnus Tyler Rhorick ‘17 has become the world’s first overseas student to obtain a work permit in China upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, after a recent change in the law removed the requirement that all international graduates have at least two year’s work experience or a master’s degree.

Under the new system, international students can now apply for a work permit to work in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone or Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park within one year of earning their bachelor’s degree. The move is part of an initative aimed at boosting the city’s talent pool as it seeks to become a hub for technology and innovation.

Rhorick was issued a framed ‘First Bachelor Degree Overseas Student Work Permit’ at a special ceremony held by the Pudong government. He now starts work as an Associate for New Student Programs at NYU Shanghai’s Pudong campus.

Here, he shares his journey to obtaining his first job in China...


Why work in Shanghai?

Shanghai has been a place of many firsts for me—it was the destination of my first ever international flight, the reason I applied for my first passport (pages now all filled); it was where I graduated this May as part of NYU Shanghai’s inaugural class, and it’s where I will now navigate the journey of my first full-time job as a part of NYU Shanghai’s Student Life.


How do you feel about being the first foreign graduate to have this kind of visa?

It’s exciting! Everyone said it was going to be a tedious process since it was so new. I was okay with that. Being part of this school’s first class, I’ve learned how to move with things as they develop. When I was told last Monday that there was going to be a ceremony, I at first thought it was something routine, but I realized it was about me being the first in the entire country—and thereby in the entire world, to actually do this. I’ve got a thread going with HR of at least 77 emails on this; they’ve helped me through the entire process.


How did you choose this career path?

I talked to Jane Hsu Southwick from the Career Development Center (CDC) while I was studying away in Ghana and working as a social media intern for an environmental organization. While I liked the job, there were other things I enjoyed more—like being involved in student government, running a club and actively being around people. I told her about my apprehensions about taking a job in social media, and that I was more drawn to jobs with a student involvement aspect. She said, “Tyler, there are jobs that do that—our jobs!” It made me think about the people working at NYU Shanghai whose work had supported me throughout my four years, and I started looking at college administration as something I was interested in doing.


What happened next?

To work at NYU Shanghai—my alma mater—was something I already knew I’d love. Being here had been such a remarkable experience for me, and I wanted to help students through the journey, which at times is hard but totally worth it. I discovered there were new positions being offered in Student Life at NYU Shanghai. I thought getting a work visa would be impossible; it required two years experience or a master’s degree and I had neither, but I was told to consider applying because of a change in visa policy.  


What do you do in your new job?

Right now I’m working with our Orientation Ambassadors as they reach out to freshmen. Each O.A. reaches out to about 7 international freshman, having Skype calls with them, talking to them about their concerns. I also follow up with students from an administrative side—answer questions about visas, or direct them to athletic opportunities, proactively connecting them to resources they will need and helping them understand what they’re coming into.

It’s nice that I’m working with freshmen. They’re in a crucial moment, on the hinge of feeling “Do I do it? Is it worth it?” I want to make sure that they make a smooth transition so they end up making it to the end and realize how ‘worth it’ their decision to come here was.


How long do you plan to stay in Shanghai?

I have a three year contract, and after that I’ll see. I love this city. Even while I was traveling abroad, my heart was always in Shanghai. It was the first place that truly felt like home—the first place I set myself up as an individual, an adult living away from my parents. No matter where I was in the world, I always thought about returning to Shanghai.


For more information about career opportunities in Shanghai after graduation, contact the Career Development Center.

Are you an employer? Find out more about hiring NYU Shanghai students.

Read recent media coverage about China’s new visa laws.