A little insight into my life in China…
Coming to intern in China was never a daunting prospect for me as I had previously visited China a few times, so it felt almost natural to come back and complete a 3 months’ internship. The only obstacle was trying to persuade my parents to let me travel all the way to Asia on my own again but this time for 3 months rather than a 2-week holiday.
Coming from an Asian background (Afghanistan specifically), one would think it wouldn’t be a huge deal for my parents to accept my decision in wanting to intern in another Asian country. However, knowing I would be living in a city I have never visited before genuinely worried them. I suppose what made them feel comfortable in knowing I was going to be safe was that I would have InternChina to rely on in case I felt in any way unhappy or unsafe. But being in Qingdao, the most dangerous thing I’ve come across these past three months has been trying not to cry whilst eating spicy food. Whereas, if this was London, by 11PM I would question and wonder if I should go home yet so I do not face any dangers that we, women, are constantly told to watch out for. I have had the privilege of travelling to many countries and nowhere makes me feel more safe and protected the way China does.
Culturally, China is not so different from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. We all have a big tea drinking culture. We enjoy sharing our food. We consider family to be our main priority. But most importantly respect and kindness to be shown to visitors. Chinese culture is so rich and pure that it has allowed me to feel at home so far away from home. I would wholeheartedly recommend interning in China, as you learn about a culture first hand and experience a way of living life very differently to your own.
When it comes to the business aspects of China, the culture is very different to the Western and Central Asian way of life. Only that in China, networking is incredibly important and making connections with whomever you can is the norm. Also, their work hours are somewhat longer but more laid back, as they take their time to complete a task rather than work to a deadline.
Being an intern in InternChina has been interesting as I have been given many different responsibilities which would be deemed too high for an intern in the U.K. We are treated more as colleagues than interns which I think is great, not only for our self confidence but knowing we have the ability to perform as well as an employee. It also helps open doors to our futures because being given tasks we would not normally complete allows us to challenge and stimulate our time. Here’s our intern Joe giving us 6 reasons on why we should intern in China (although I could give you many more reasons as to why you should intern here)!
My final words; yolo, come and experience China.
(check out the IC Instagram and you will understand why people consider China to be travel goals)
We’re delighted to be working with the British Council China as part of the Generation UK campaign.
The initiative aims to encourage and support more young people from the UK to gain international experience in China. The Generation UK campaign will provide funding for our 2 month placements in the sectors we have available – see www.internchina.com/programmes/internships. Funding is available to UK citizens (British passport holders, including Irish passport holders for Northern Irish domiciled) enrolled at a UK university or a recent graduate from a UK university at the time of application. The British Council aims for over 15,000 UK students to participate in a study abroad placement by 2016, so there’s never been a better time to apply!
Here at InternChina, we have placed in excess of 1000 students in China over the past seven years with companies in industries from IT to Education and Finance to Photography. Because of our new UK office in Manchester, we’ve built strong links with all the surrounding universities, as well as those further afield.
Former Intern and MMU Student Joseph Fry left this comment after being placed in China through us – “it would have taken three years to accumulate the professional experience in the UK which I was able to accrue within 3 months in China”.
The British Council’s ‘Generation UK’ initiative indicates how highly valued work experience in China is, and the wide-spread enthusiasm behind the scheme means more UK residents can take advantage of the internships we offer. To discover if you’re eligible, head to www.internchina.com/generationuk for full T&C’s and the application process.
For more information you can either email our team at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Manchester office on +44 (0)161 8188823.
1) The Chinese are all poor and everything here is really cheap.
True or false?
Unfortunately not everything here is as cheap as it once was, due to the fact that the Chinese are no longer as poor as they may once have been. The economy has boomed in recent years and with it the creation of a middle-class who can be very wealthy! There are whole shopping centers full of Gucci, Dior, Ralph Lauren etc, with frighteningly high prices. You also see a fair few Ferrari’s floating around. Based on the population, China still has a large proportion of people working in agriculture and living below the poverty line. You can probably bag yourself a bargain if you get yourself to a remote village; I’ve heard of whole meals costing under 20p! Even in the cities, daily life is still very cheap compared to living in London; a pint rarely costs more than 50p.
2) The Chinese created table tennis and they are all really good at it.
True or false?
Table tennis was actually created in Britain in the 1880’s, initially played by the wealthy as an after-dinner game. It had various nicknames, such as wiff-waff and ping pong because of the sound made whilst playing. The Chinese are however really good at it, taking 6 of the 8 possible medals at London 2012 Olympics. In China, lots of people do play. It doesn’t take as much space as tennis or other sports so fits in as a suitable sport in China’s busy environment.
3) People go everywhere on bicycles.
True of false?
Much to my dismay this is no longer the case in every Chinese city. In Qingdao, there are no cycle lanes so cycling is not to be advised (it is very dangerous!). I think bikes still play a large part of life in some cities, but Qingdao is not one of them. Qingdao however, more than makes up for the lack of bicycles with cars and traffic.
4) The Chinese love foreigners.
True or False?
Thanks to our comparitively tall frames and our range of eye and hair colours, the Brits generally get quite a good reception in China. When you say you are British, the days of the Opium Wars seem to be largely forgotten, we are now just seen as “British Gentlemen” (英国绅士).The Chinese love seeing foreigners around and find our features fascinating – the big nose, wide eyes, pale skin: everything they want. If you try and speak any Chinese, even a little “Nihao” will have them falling over their feet complementing you. Make the most of the feeling while you are here because it isn’t the same back in Britain!
Hey there, it’s Jamie again and this time I want to blog about some exciting news for InternChina. As you will see from the recent blog posts, we are very happy to welcome Jack to our team as the future Qingdao office manager! We have also just welcomed Amber Sun to our Qingdao team as our new accountant. Their profiles will be added to our Team Page soon. These 2 new recruits represent 2 other big changes for our company. Firstly as many of you already know, our CFO and InternChina co-founder Duan Yifan is now almost 9 months pregnant and will be leaving us for a few months to have her baby! We’re all really excited! Good luck Yifan!
The second big change for our company is that our current Qingdao office manager Jenny will be setting off from Qingdao to CHENGDU early next year to set up the 3rd InternChina office. We’re all really looking forward to having a 3rd exciting destination to offer.
The next big news is that InternChina will be opening a marketing office in the UK next year. On my way back to the UK I am taking some time off to see some other parts of China, Nepal and India. Keep up to date with my travels on Facebook and on my blog: www.jamiebettles.com. Yes, I went there, I made a website with my name as the URL, it just felt right…
After visiting Xi’an, the next stop on my travels was the city where we will open our third China office next year: CHENGDU. Chengdu is an awesome city with a unique feel to it. It’s a big city which is developing fast, but has maintained a very relaxed, easy-going feel to it, with a huge Tea House culture and friendly Sichuanese people.
One interesting thing we observed in Chengdu was that parents were posting ‘personals’ ads in the park for their single offspring with the aim of finding a husband or wife for them! This is something that has to be seen to be believed, but in China there is a real culture of working hard and having no time to find a suitable ‘date’. Often if a child is single for too long, the parents try to intervene!
Overall I would say that Chengdu deserves it’s place in China’s Top 10 most ‘liveable’ cities alongside Qingdao and Zhuhai (Chengdu actually finished above Qingdao and Zhuhai last time they conducted a poll in 2010!). The most obvious attractions in Chengdu are the Giant Panda’s, which are incredible, and the famous spicy Sichuan food. The panda centre is way better than I expected. The pandas have a lot of space and great environment to live in and visitors can get almost within touching distance of the pandas. The pandas themselves love to eat and lie around napping, and are very cute! Chengdu also has a unique cultural feel as it’s close to Emei Shan, one of China’s 5 holy mountains and also has a tibetan district, as the city is so close to the border with tibet. Chengdu has plenty to offer and is close to some of China’s most beautiful countryside, so we are looking forward to offering internships, Chinese study and homestay programs there from 2013!