Nĭmen hăo! My name is Sandra. I am a 21 years old student from Germany. I am studying economics and business administration in Konstanz but grew up in and out of Stuttgart. Since I am studying for two years now I am very excited to have the chance to trade my German study-life for working experience in Qingdao.
When I moved to Konstanz I secretly thought that it would be the start of a whole new exciting era in a city with the proportion of students that high that it might not sleep a lot. But instead of students I got thousands of retired people everywhere I looked. Hence I think you might see why my desire to escape out of that sleepy town and into a big city strengthened from day to day. And finally I arrived…. Qingdao, 8 million people, shops, restaurants and stores at every corner, night markets, busy streets, everything I was looking for!
But of course that is not the only reason why I wanted to come to China. This incredibly huge country with a culture and language different to the bones fascinated me for quite some time. After finishing school I decided to go to Asia to see the other side of the world. But instead of China I travelled through Thailand and Singapore. I experienced country and people and got hungry for more. Unfortunately my studies started immediately after my journey and I needed to spend some time in good old Germany. At the beginning of my third semester I decided that it was time to implement a new culture to my daily life and signed up for a Chinese language course. Starting to learn Chinese was a lot of fun. Everybody in the room almost broke their tongues with the new pronunciation of the letters and the unusual tones. But trying to learn the language wasn’t enough. I wanted to go to China. So I started looking for internships on the Internet and somehow found InternChina. The vacancy, the company, the city, the country, everything seemed to be the perfect fit for me. So I revised my CV and applied. By then everything went really fast and easy. I was invited for the first Skype interview in my life. But even though I had some worries, none of them became true. Jack, our Qingdao Office Manager easily guided me through the interview. After I was accepted they helped me with everything I needed. They provided advice for the flights, credit cards the visa, what to bring and what to leave at home. With their help everything worked out fine and suddenly I found myself at the airport of Qingdao looking into the smiling faces of Rita and Stephan that welcomed me and brought me to the lovely apartment. From the second I arrived I knew that it was the right decision and that Qingdao could offer me everything I was hoping for when I finished school and dreamed of getting in touch with a new world.
With the help of my roommates Stephan and Marina I survived my first days in Qingdao without getting lost.
By now I am having my first days in the office. I am still in the beginnings but I already feel more comfortable and home than I could have imagined. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and new interns and maybe also with you. 🙂
Last Saturday we took our Zhuhai interns to the exciting city that is Macau. Being at such close distance – the border is just next to downtown Zhuhai – we can go pretty much any day or time we want (if we have multiple-entry visas), but it’s always more fun when you have a big group and lots of attitude!
Instead of walking across the border, we decided to take the ferry early in the morning, because it is faster to get through and we wanted to make the most of our day. After landing on the other side of the bay, we walked to downtown Macau and up to Senado Square. Macau is a great mix of Cantonese and Portuguese culture, so just walking around and looking at the colonial architecture is extremely interesting.
From there we walked through the alleys around the square, past shops selling typical Macau food like cured sausages and almond cookies. The best part is that every shop gives you free samples, so we were able to calm down our hunger before we went off to lunch.
We then arrived at the Ruins of St. Paul, one of Macau’s most famous landmarks and a very exciting sight for us who come from Catholic cultures, since it is very odd to see a huge cathedral facade in the middle of an Asian town. The fort with all the cannons facing the casinos was also very cool to see!
After checking out the sights in the city centre, we decided it was time for lunch and took taxis to the casino side of Macau. We arrived first at the Galaxy, where we had lunch at the food court. From there we walked to the Venetian, by far the most lavish and extravagant of the casinos.
The boys, of course, wanted to try out their luck so we went inside the gambling area and sat at the electronic roulette. Dina and I – the Intern China interns and the only two girls in the group – are not really into gambling so after a while we got bored and decided to check out the shops around the canal on the second floor. If it’s your first time at the Venetian, you might get a bit disoriented when you realise the sky is actually a ceiling and the great Venetian canal (with gondolas and all) is all a big replica.
As with all games of luck, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and this time the boys had to go home with a few hundred RMB less than they came with. But no one can take away the fun they had betting it all away!
We ended the night on a great note at a small, cozy Portuguese restaurant where we ate a delicious grilled chicken, French fries and salad. Some of us took a chance with the lime-juice-and-chilli sauce: it was spicy, but greatly refreshing after a long day of walking! Then of course, some well-deserved beers and sangrias and soon it was time to cross the border and arrive back home in Zhuhai.
China’s climate is extremely diverse depending on the geographical location. Generally, the North is dry and very cold in winter and warm and humid in summer, the South is mild and humid in winter, hot and very humid in summer. The winter in West China is milder than in the North but temperatures can still drop down to zero, the summers are extremely hot. Of course, the climate also depends on altitude and the distance to the sea, so best is to take a closer look at the city you want to go to.
Now, if you take a look at our office locations we chose them not only because of the beautiful cities but also for geographical reasons. We want to offer nice places all year around, so for winter we would definitely recommend Zhuhai (South) as it is very mild in winters, some even say you could compare it to European spring. On some days the temperature can drop down to about 15°C and in South China you can’t find any heatings, however if you are sensitive to getting cold you always can use the air-condition to warm yourself up. Zhuhai winters are very short and there is no real spring, it more or less changes really quickly to summer temperatures.
Chengdu (West) would be the second choice for winters as the temperature is comparatively warm, however locals say that it is still pretty humid, which makes the temperature affecting you a little bit more. Chengdu winters are not very long, so in March/April you already can go out in T-shirts again.
If you are not coincidentally a Sibirian, Qingdao (North) would not be the first choice for winters, as it is getting really cold (and windy!). However, it is the right place for almost daily sunshine and usually it does not rain or snow. In Qingdao you can find a central heating system, so at least at work you don’t need to wear your long underwear during winters. 😉 Qingdao’s winters are longer than European ones, it often is around 0°C in March, only in April they have a very short spring and in May it is beach-time again.
If you want to come to China in summer, I would definitely recommend Qingdao as a first choice. The temperature is higher than in some european countries (like Germany, the UK or Scandinavia), however the fresh sea breeze keeps you stay refreshed and the beautiful beaches help you cooling down and relaxing by swimming or doing sports on weekends. In Qingdao we organize beach-volleyball every Sunday, where you also can meet other foreign and Chinese locals.
If you are a relaxed person who can take it easy, you are definitely recommended to come to Chengdu – people here are said to be really laid-back due to the extremely hot weather in summer. Beautiful parks and tea-houses invite for relaxing and you can find a lot of strategies from locals to cope with the heat. I personally find it relaxing to visit the panda research base when it is too hot as they have a really thick bamboo forest, which can offer some shade to cool down.
If you like islands and the sea, your place is Zhuhai. However, you should consider that in summer it is extremely humid in Zhuhai and often affected by rain and typhoons. However, you also can go the beach here, swimming and bathing, meeting friends and having beach-parties as rain periods are just very short (but heavy). The air in Zhuhai is very fresh and clean in general and a summer rain surely helps to keep it clean.
To summarize, China is all year around a fascinating place to visit and we always help you to make the best out of your stay. However, if you are sensitive to weather or a certain climate, it can help to take a look beforehand, which place would be the best for you.
Which city is the best for you? If you are coming to China the first time, you probably want to see as much as possible. However, your resources (time and money) might be limited as a student. Nevertheless, we think you can get the most out of your stay if you choose the right place for you. As you might have never been to China before, we want to give you an idea of what different locations are alike. We are going to have a new blog series for you comparing different aspects of our office locations Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai. Today’s blog is on “People”. More blogs will be coming on Climate, Nightlife, Food and Trips. Enjoy reading and contact our team in case of any questions!
China has a population of about 1.3 billion people of which the majority is Han Chinese (more than 90% of the population). However, China is still a multi-ethnic country and home to numerous minorities such as Manchu, Hui, Zhuang and Miao, just to name a few. In the west of China (Tibet and Xinjiang) minorities are still outnumbering Han people, even though the overall number of ethnic minorities is diminishing in China.
China is a huge country with a big population, therefore of course you will always find stereotypical Chinese. But you will find more and more ways to identify if a Chinese is from the North, South, West or East by their body size and shape, accent, food preferences, sense of humour and general temper.
Like in any country also Chinese have their stereotypes about each other. People in the North (e.g. Qingdao) are said to be tall and slim, love meat and sea-food, salty dishes and like drinking beer or baijiu a lot. Their language is the closest to the Chinese which is spoken in the capital, however each city still has its own accent. People in the North are a little bit rough (maybe because they need to resist cold winters?) and when you talk to factory owners they will tell you that people in the North prefer to enjoy their personal lives and work less than southerners. Northerners can get very loud and expressive as well. Most of the people living in the North are Han Chinese, however in Qingdao you also can find a lot of South Koreans and Chinese people belonging to the Korean minority. As South Korea is not far, a lot of Koreans built up their business in and around Qingdao (mainly jewelry and textile/fashion). Unless you speak some Korean however, you would not recognize the difference between Koreans and Chinese as a foreigner.
Southern Chinese (e.g. Zhuhai) are somehow the opposite of Northerners, they are pretty small (even the taxis are smaller!) and calmer than Northerners. Their food is much sweater and contains a lot more cold dishes (probably due to the big heat in summer) than Northern Chinese dishes. Southern Chinese really enjoy celebrating traditional Chinese festivals like the Dragon Boat Festival as well. Southerners are said to be very warm-hearted people. Their drinking culture is less aggressive than the Northern one – however if you go out to a business dinner with Chinese it does not make a difference whether you are in the North or in the South, you should bring a Chinese colleague along who is able to handle the hard liquor.
Chengdu is located in the West of China and said to be the gate to Tibet. Generally spoken, the further you go to the West of China, the more ethnic minorities will live there. In Chengdu you can find a population of roughly 40.000 Tibetans for example which settled down in Chengdu. Chengdu is home of the National University for Ethnic Minorities, where students from all over China learn about their own cultural traditions and roots (dances, instruments, literature etc.). This turns the city of Chengdu into a vivid and colourful place, where a variety of cultures is living peacefully side by side. People from Sichuan, the province which Chengdu is the capital of, are said to be extremely laid-back and relaxed, they enjoy their lives playing MaJiang and visiting tea-houses. Chengdu is also called a hot-pot city not only due to its traditionally spicy food, but also because it is said to be home of the most beautiful women in China. Men in Chengdu would describe their women as dominant and determining, they are strong leaders and know exactly what they want – in private and business life. People in Chengdu are very polite and friendly and open to strangers and foreigners.
In General, I always experienced Chinese people as open and friendly as long as you treat them with respect. So, for whatever city you decide to go – as long as you treat people with an open mind and a positive attitude, Chinese people will always return to you much more than you would expect.
We hope, that our little introduction about the Chinese people was an enjoyable read! If you want to know more about the Chinese cities we are having our offices in, you can contact our team directly!
By the way, are you following us on Twitter already? It is a very easy way to stay in touch with us and get informed about the latest internship positions.
If you’ve still not decided about where to go, you can do our Intern China City Test!