As the former capital of China, and the present capital of the Zhejiang province, Hangzhou has a rich culture that reaches far back to the traditions of the Song Dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries, when the city was in its earliest prime. The strong legacy of this powerful Dynasty is still abundantly evident. Both in the old streets, such as Qinghefang Pedestrian Street, as well as the newer areas of the city, traditional Hangzhou silk and Longjing tea are still sold, alongside more diverse modern offerings.

As well as a wealth of culture, Hangzhou is also home to some of the most beautiful scenery you are ever likely to experience. Extolled by Italian pioneer Marco Polo, Hangzhou has long since had a reputation for beauty, the extent of which has to be seen to be fully appreciated. The West Lake scenic area, which can be found in the south west of the city, takes up some 60 sq km, and this is just the beginning of the unique scenic treasures you will find in Hangzhou. The many water towns of the city offer a unique spectacle with their distinctive architectural style, while the nearby islands of the Zhoushan Archipelago possess natural beauty beyond comparison.

You will also find that Hangzhou is thriving with plenty of business opportunities for students wishing to take part in the Co-operative Education Program. Hangzhou has been named as the "best commercial city in mainland China" by Forbes magazine multiple times in recent years.

The city likes to think of itself as “Silicon Valley in Paradise” – an up-and-coming technological hub in the midst of stunning natural beauty. Indeed many major technology-based companies have already chosen to establish a presence in Hangzhou, including Microsoft, which chose Hangzhou as home to its cloud-computing centre in China.

There are also many technological start-up companies to be found in Hangzhou, and the market is booming. A prime example is the Alibaba Group. Alibaba Corporation provides online systems such as payment platforms, trade and retail services, and search engines. It is also the owner of the major online shopping platform Taobao, the Chinese equivalent of eBay.

Having started from scratch in 1999, the Alibaba Corporation now owns and operates Yahoo! China, and is China's leading e-commerce company. It is also one of Hangzhou's biggest employers. Other major employers in the city are Panasonic, Motorola and the Hangzhou Iron & Steel Group Company.