6 months ago I went on a mission to explore a culture that had only recently been on my radar. I was always fascinated with the Middle Kingdom but I honestly would never have seen myself living and working in China for half a year. With no idea of what to expect, or how comfortable I’d feel and how I’d cope with a working environment I’d heard to be entirely different to what I was familiar with, I accepted the challenge in July 2015.
As on every journey, you have your highs and you have your lows. However, as I look back, my time went by in the blink of an eye and it’s truly been a blast. I fell in love with this country and this will be the first of many more experiences in indescribable China.
Moreover, I cannot put into words, how grateful I am to InternChina for taking me on and giving me the opportunity to be part of the family. I’m not going to lie, especially in the busy summer it is a 24/7 position, but the work experience I gained – in the marketing, design and the business development sector – is something I absolutely would not have wanted to miss. Getting out of your comfort zone and acquiring new skills, while focusing on your own strengths and weaknesses is something not every employer can offer!
Now, I’m going to take you with me on my InternChina adventure.
I’m still convinced the first month didn’t have 4 weeks… it went by so quickly. The weather was hot and humid at that time but that didn’t stop us from hiking to a waterfall, visiting Shenzhen, a weekend trip on Wailing Ding Dao and going to Foshan -> This was the first trip I organised together with my PTA (Personal Travel Adviser) Janice, which ended up in a bubble war between us (20 international students) and 3000 Chinese Citizens armed with water guns.
Month two was also not lacking in events. I had the honour of giving a hand to Zhuhai Office Manager Paul Bailey, AKA Bruce, in the organisation of the 4th annual ‘Come Together Charity Music Festival’ held at the Beishan Theatre in Zhuhai. I was also directly involved on the big day itself and it was a great success – the total money raised in 2015: RMB 300,002.98 (USD 47,170 | GBP 31,000). That wasn’t it for this month: it was my birthday (thanks for the Hellokitty birthday cheese cake Leo!), we explored Guangzhou, hiked up to the Fishergirl’s husband in Zhuhai, went wild water-rafting and tested our taekwondo skills.
October also proved be a very busy month and I honestly have no idea how all of this fit into a single month, but I worked it out eventually: Zhangjiajie, Calligraphy & Tea Ceremony day, Halloween in Foshan, Hiking to Jintai Temple and relaxing in Zhuhai’s Hot Springs, Macau and Shanghai. Not to forget about my first Haircut and KTV experience in China.
And there it already was: halftime… Most of the people who had arrived in Zhuhai around the same time as me had finished their 2-3 month internships and the atmosphere in Zhuhai was now different, but a just as fun time had started. It was at this point that Zhuhai started feeling like home and the initial excitement eased into a more settled and cultural-focused phase. The activity list was still just as big though: a DIY Beijing Opera masks event, Yangshuo, the CPAZ Charity day, and a wonderful weekend with Janice and her family (thank you for being such a good friend and partner in crime).
Here, I also have to mention that the new IC intern and roomie Nadia arrived. I couldn’t have asked for better company and now that we even have the same laugh, it’s time for me to leave #yaaaaas.
In December I had the chance to visit the InternChina Qingdao office and directly work with the on-site team there for about 2 weeks. It was great getting to know everyone in person and thanks to the cold weather it actually felt like Christmas was approaching. Furthermore, Joe and his little elf Jack outdid themselves with the Christmas turkey! It was a dream!
This was followed by a weekend trip to Beijing, Archery, a night in Hong Kong and a cozy Christmas feast at FBB in Zhuhai.
Today on my last day, after sitting for 6 months on my orange chair by the window with the greatest view over Zhuhai, I can’t believe that it’s time to leave and to say good bye to an amazing team… 2016 is off to a great start already. I have learnt how to make dumplings so I can continue my addiction after I return from China, we travelled to Danxia mountain in Shaoguan and it was simply a great time hanging out with all the people I know so well here..
Before I get too sentimental, this is the end. The end of a successful mission! Thanks to everyone who crossed my path and has made it an unforgettable experience!
If you are also looking for a unique internship opportunity, apply now!
When you are visiting China, going to Xi´An is almost a must! The famous Terracotta Army has often been regarded as the 8th wonder of the world and it is absolutely breathtaking. Even if it takes a twelve hour train ride to get there it is totally worth it and I promise you´ll learn a lot about China on your journey.
How to get there
When you are in Chengdu there are several options you can take. You can go by plane, which is of course much faster (but also a lot more expensive) or you can take a train from Chengdu´s main railway station (take Subway 1 towards Shengxian Lake, get off at North Railway Station) which takes about 10-16 hours. Make sure you book your tickets at least two days before you leave since trains are often sold out on the actual day. A good website to book cheap tickets is Ctrip.com. They usually have very cheap offers and if you are a poor recent grad like me and want to save as much money as you possibly can booking a hard seat is as cheap as it gets. If you like a little more comfort and feel you´d like to get some sleep during the train ride you can also book a bed (soft or hard sleeper). How long the journey takes mainly depends on at what time of the day you leave and what railway station in Xi´An you go to. Trains going to Xi´An South Railway station (西安南)are usually the fastest, however, be aware that it is not the main railway station and therefore it is a bit hard to get to since it is further out of the city. You can take a taxi from Xi´An South Railway Station to the city centre which takes about 40 minutes and costs 70-80 RMB. If you choose to arrive at the main railway station (西安) you´ll have plenty of public buses that take you to all parts of the city.
Take your passport with you when you pick up the tickets at the ticket office in Chengdu (it has a building to itself which is to the right of the main building) and make sure you arrive at least half an hour before the train leaves since Chinese train stations can be really busy and it might take a while until you are through the security check.
On the train
Be prepared that if you are a laowei (non-Chinese), people will definitely stare at you which might first feel a bit awkward. But don´t worry, you´ll soon realize that they are merely curious and wonder where you might be from. Being bored on a train is, after all, probably the same in every country and people like to distract themselves in any way they can. After a while they´ll lose interest and turn to playing games on their mobile phones or cooking meals. This is another curiosity I have encountered during my experience on a Chinese train: many Chinese bring their travel size cookery pots with them and prepare meals in them such as soups or instant noodles with different spices and sausages which they cut on a trencher and boil with hot water from a source I did not manage to discover (though this might have be for the lack of trying since I neither had the overwhelming desire nor the equipment necessary to prepare a meal myself).
Drowning the impressively loud snoring of the rather well-fed Chinese gentlemen next to me required setting my iPod to full volume and let´s just say I did not necessarily get a lot of sleep that night, but watching the sun rise over the mountains shortly before we arrived at Xi´An definitely made up for it! There are also lots of people on the train who´ll try to sell you really random stuff, like fish on a fishing-rod that blink in LED lighting and start to dance and sing when you put them on the ground. Or toe clippers, cheap plastic covers for business cards and many more, shall we say, rather uncommon items I myself would not even purchase outside of a train.
Best time to go
This is always hard to tell and it depends on what kind of weather you are prepared to deal with. I went to Xi´An in winter and before I decided to go on this trip people warned me that it would be very cold and wouldn´t I prefer to go to a place that has warmer weather? But I had always wanted to see the terracotta warriors and so it was either put up with the cold or miss out on the entire experience, which I was definitely not prepared to do! In the end the cold was not that bad at all and three layers of clothes helped me to enjoy sightseeing without shivering.
Where to stay
Again this highly depends on your budget. If you are prepared to spend a bit more there are several nice hotels in Xi´An which can be booked on the website Ctrip. A nice place to stay that is neither too expensive nor very low budget is the Atour Hotel which is close to many of the city´s top attractions such as the Small Goose Pagoda, the Ancient City Wall or the Bell Tower. From there you can also easily catch buses into every part of town, including the main train station from which you´ll eventually catch a train to the Terracotta Army.
If you prefer to save some money and opt to stay in a more basic accommodation I can highly recommend to you the Han Tang hostel which is located in a residential area of town but can be easily reached from the airport and the main train station. They also offer free pick up at the main railway station if you let them know in advance when you´ll be arriving.
Make sure to check popular travel sites such as hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com for the cheapest offers. Ratings can always be found at tripadvisor,a brilliant travel site always worth checking out.
What to do
Obviously one of the main reasons for people to travel to Xi´An is almost always the visit of the Terracotta Army so I´ll devote an entire section to it in this blog. But there is indeed a lot more to Xi´An than just the warriors. As one of China´s four ancient great capitals, the UNESCO historic city has a great deal to offer and many interesting places to visit. Make sure to take enough ime to explore the cultural heritage, visit local craft markets and try the delicious food.
A very nice place to go for a walk is the ancient city wall. For just 29 RMB (don´t forget to bring your student ID to get discount) you can walk on the wall for as long as you like (and it´s a long wall!). If you enjoy cycling you may also wish to rent a bike from one of the countless bike rentals on the city wall. It´s a great way to enjoy a fantastic view of the city and see many different places in a short time. There are also various museums on the city wall which you can access for free when you have your entrance ticket.
Another place well worth exploring is the Muslim quarter where you can buy local souvenirs and try the delicious food for very little money so make sure you go there hungry. Other interesting sights are the Bell Tower (especially at night when the lights are on), the Little Wild Goose Pagoda, the Big Wilde Goose Pagoda and the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi.
The Terracotta Army
As usual the best part comes last: China´s famous terracotta warriors, which are thousands of years old but have only been discovered in 1974 by local farmers who were digging for water when building a well. The army, which was commissioned by China´s first Emperor Qin, comprises more than 6000 life-size terracotta figures of soldiers and horses ready for battle. Not two soldiers look alike; all of them have different facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures. The museum first opened to visitors in 1979, though the term “museum” might be slightly misleading since the warriors are displayed in an underground hall which reminds more of a vault. The first pit is the largest with a number of about 2000 warriors on display. Almost all of the soldiers in Pit Two are destroyed and there are countless piles of broken fragments.Warriors and horses in the third Pit, which is considerably smaller than the first two, are remarkably well-preserved; many of them still have their original face paintings and they look like they might come alive at any moment.
Now, how to get there? This is actually very easy if you know what railway station to go to and do not end up in the wrong place like me (instead of arriving at the museum at 11 a.m. I got there at 2 p.m.- this is about as much as you need to know). Simply catch bus number 5 (306) from the main railway station. It seems to have a stop all to itself with a big yellow sign next to it. If you are not sure if you are in the right place just ask around, almost everybody will be able to help you. Just bear in mind that people won´t necessarily know the English word for terracotta army so to be on the safe side ask for bīngmǎyǒng(兵马俑). Once you have found the bus just sit down, eventually someone will come up and sell you a ticket for 8RMB one way. There is no schedule, the bus just leaves when it is full. The ride takes about 40-60 minutes; you´ll be dropped off at the last stop which is a big car park with many the tour buses so it is really hard to miss. Don´t be confused if the bus stops a few times on the way there, this is usually just to drop some locals off.
The museum is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day but I would highly recommend going there in the early afternoon after most school classes and pensioners have left. You´ll find it´s much less busy and you´ll be able to enjoy walking around without having to queue all the time. Sadly they won´t give you student discount so you´ll have to pay the full entrance fee of 120 RMB but it is a good investment! I found that two hours are plenty of time to get around and have a look at all three pits as well as the history museum and various souvenir shops. Do not, under any circumstances, buy a souvenir at the museum grounds but wait until you get out and pass the approx. one thousand tourist shops that´ll all want to sell you the same thing: mini terracotta statues! As always in China make sure to haggle to get a better price. I hope you are well prepared now for your trip and have a wonderful time!
If you also want to go on an adventure and explore China, apply now!
Sooo, after a first plane delayed, a connecting flight missed, an unexpected stop at Hong Kong and a 5 hour delay on my last flight, I finally landed! It’s been three days since I arrived and I’m already in love with Chengdu. But maybe I should introduce myself first… So, my name is Paloma, I’m from Nice, in the south of France, and I’ll be working for three months for InternChina in the Chengdu Office !
With a long standing passion for Chinese culture and language, I recently completed a bachelor degree in international relations and translation in Chinese and English at the Catholic University of Lyon in France.
This passion pushed me last year to take part in a linguistic trip to Shanghai and Suzhou (also known as the oriental Venice) for a month with 5 of my friends. Travelling in those cities was a good opportunity to improve my mandarin as well as discovering more about the culture(and the local clubs ! :D). When I got back to France, my feeling was that I definitely had to discover more about China and more places. Actually, the only thing I had in mind was to go back to this country. I wanted to have a very deep immersion in Chinese culture, and what other better city than Chengdu ? After a month of researching and scanning all the internships websites ; I came across the InternChina one and saw a great opportunity. During my training I always heard about the Sichuan food, with the famous Hot Pot (火锅) or the spicy peanut & chicken (宫保鸡丁), but also about all the wonderful and unique places in the Sichuan province such as Jiuzhaigou, the Emei mountain or the Huang Long valley. It will also be interesting to be where one of China’s greatest poet Du Fu杜甫 realised a huge part of his work. This place is full of treasures that I’m so exited to discover! Apart from that, I’m also going to work, and life in the office is gonna be pretty busy this summer, but the IC team is great and very welcoming since the beginning (Especially Martin, the Chengdu Office marketing intern who waited for me until 4 am the night of my arrival 😉 ). Hopefully, I’ll be doing a master in international marketing in Suzhou next year, and I see this internship as real opportunity to broaden my knowledge in this field. I’m sure I’ll have an amazing time here and I’m looking forward to meet new people!
When you are in an Asian city and come from the Ruhrarea in Germany like I do, you will quickly realize that the transport system is different. Whereas in Germany the buses seem to be modern, some of the buses that run in Chengdu are a little bit older. At least I’m not afraid to use them but luckily I don’t need to get a bus to my office. I use the subway. But even though the subway is very modern, every time it is an adventure to use it. Apart from the masses of people who enter the subway, the adventure begins when you enter the subway.
Firstly a giant metal detector waits for your bag, and a metal detector gate nearby for you. Most importantly, if you are in a hurry be prepared to hand over your cups of tea, bottles of water or every drink you have in your bag. The nice security guards behind the metal detector gate will check it, because you are not allowed to have inflammable liquids with you. Sorry for everybody who enters the subway with a bottle of deodorant, it will be collected by the security and the next day could be a little bit smelly. Or you just take a taxi, because the taxi is still cheaper than a new bottle of deodorant in China.
By the way don’t worry if the metal detector makes some noise at the time you enter it, that isn’t a sign that you will get controlled by the security. After this procedure you can enter the subway.
The right time will allow you to have some privacy. Not every time will you get a seat but there’s still some space to stand on your own. But to catch the right time means 11 o’clock.
The office times in China are from eight/nine to five/six. The subway is full around these times. Consequently I am travelling with tens of thousands others every morning and every evening apart from Saturday and Sunday. While changing from line 2 to line 1 some of Chengdu’s citizens will run upstairs to be the first row in front of the door.
I forgot to mention that you will stand in front of a safety glass which prevent people to get pushed down to the rails. I am already used to the pushing and pulling around me in the subway and I totally lost my feeling for my comfort zone or better say distance zone. You will not find it in the subway.
Using the subway at the rush hour in Chengdu is exactly what was in my mind when I think about Asian super cities and their subways.
It is part of the life here and I am not here to experience a life like in Germany. In the end you will get used to it very fast and it is worthy experience.
Jaasir Ali comes from the United Kingdom and is enrolled in University of East London. Here is a brief example of his internship in Chengdu.
KS Milestone is one of our partner companies in Chengdu which specializes in Financial consultant Services for PE/VCs and local SMEs, strategy consultant and agency services for real estate developers and funds, project investment and acquisition in mining, energy and properties business center investment and operation offering grade A offices and services, providing a platform for international firms to come and do business in China.
We made a small interview with Jaasir that highlithing his experience in the company as Business Development Assistant during his internship:
“Chinese work in a totally different type of mindset and culture. It’s great getting used to it.
“Chengdu has become the silicon valley of China. The huge technological development that is occurring in the country is really worth experiencing here at the center of where it’s happening. I can only say come over and have a look. It’s fascinating.”
For more from Jaasir Ali you can have a look at his video interview here.
There is no doubt that the whole experience in China changes a person’s mindset. There are many more success stories like this one that we would love to share with our viewers. Visit our blog section to learn more!
You are likely never to have heard of Zhuhai – located in the southwest of China’s Pearl River delta, Zhuhai is southern China’s best kept secret. Having just been a small fishing village in the 1970’s before being granted Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status, Zhuhai was incorporated as a city in 1979. Its growth since then has been remarkable – the quality of life as well as population size have shifted significantly in the past 30 years.
The fisher girl – symbol of Zhuhai
Short company introduction – Internship code ZHBS54. Essentially, China Biofield is an International association and network comprised of both foreign and Chinese doctors, healthcare workers, scientists, researchers and members of the local community. It is a place where the interconnected fields of Health, Science, Medicine and Well-being can be discussed, explored and enjoyed.
You can find more relevant information about the company and their field of work at their web page: http://www.chinabiofield.com/
In this blog post we would like to highlight the internship Christina Kan in China Biofield .We made a little interview with Christina, and asked her about her experience in China. So let’s see how it went:
Christina at her workplace
IC TEAM:Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you come from, what are your interests?
CHRISTINA: Okay, so I’m from a small town called Sleaford in Lincolnshire, both my parents are from Hong Kong so I know a little Cantonese but no Mandarin. I go to Liverpool University; I’m in 2nd year doing a Pharmacology degree. I joined as part of the Generation UK government scheme after meeting up with Jamie.
IC TEAM: How did you settle in China?
CHRISTINA: My first week was a little bit rough and certainly made me stronger. Work’s been really good, and the people from work helped me so much! After my first week I’ve really loved it, I really don’t want to leave now! My experience with my colleagues was so touching. I really think that I’ve never really had something like that before.
IC TEAM:What did your Internship include?
CHRISTINA: I get to see a lot of procedures that the doctors do here which is great experience to have. I’ve observed traditional Chinese medicine doctors performing acupuncture and cupping. It was interesting to see how it differed from conventional Western Medicine and it’s important to remember traditional Chinese Medicine has been around many more years than Western Medicine.
IC TEAM:What has been the best thing about your internship? Are there moments that you will never forget?
CHRISTINA: The whole experience itself, meeting new people, interacting with other foreigners. And here it’s just a completely different lifestyle. I did the Zhuhai Valentine’s tandem bike race for example and it was such a lovely weekend. Definitely an experience that I won’t forget soon!
IC TEAM: Are you going to come back?
CHRISTINA: I wish I had spent longer here but I hope to definitely come back to explore more of China and visit the company friends that I’ve made here in my time in China. It has definitely been an experience I will never forget!
If you wish to learn more about Christina’s experience you can check her video interview here!
Interested in this internship opportunity in Zhuhai? Apply now and mention ref. ZHBS54 to apply for this internship!
The InternChina service includes a wide range of aspects such as personal on-site support for interns. We are visiting companies on a regular base, talk to interns and supervisors to receive their feedback and support them as a mediator. We believe that an open communication between the company, the intern and InternChina is crucial for a successful internship experience and we are striving to improve the overall quality of the internship at any time.
Today, my colleague Paul Yeandle (Trainee Office Manager Chengdu) and myself (Office Manager Chengdu) went to one of our partner companies to see how Andrew (UK) and Matthew (Australia) are doing in their internship. The partner company is an IT-company which is developing Gaming apps for iOS and Android devices. The company atmosphere is laid-back and allows creative minds to think freely. There is a lot of space, the lighting is bright and friendly and the staff (even though some of them only speak limited English) is welcoming and curious about the foreigners. Interns in this company can be placed in a variety of positions, including all different kinds of designers, students with marketing backgrounds as well as programmers. An affinity for computer, console and online games is a condition though – because everything is about gaming here!
The reception and community room includes a billiards and a ping-pong table as well as an XBOX room where the staff can spend their breaks. For those who prefer a more relaxed lunch-break two automatic massage chairs are available and the lunch-break takes about two hours (which is very typical for Chinese Companies).
When we arrived today we had a quick feedback talk with the American Internship supervisor, who was very satisfied with the interns work. We caught a peak at the interns working station and then had a quick feedback round outside in the reception area with the interns together. Both, Andrew and Matthew are happy with their internship but of course being in China also offers a lot of surprises to them. So we had a good chat with them about cultural differences between Western countries and China and how important communication is to feel more comfortable and settle down much easier. From our experience, interning in China can be a very different experience from what you know from the West, so we help our interns to not only understand the differences but to develop strategies which help them to cope with their Culture Shock that they might encounter.
We were very happy to see how well both interns have settled already and started to build up their “guanxi” (relationship network) within the company. We all agreed, that this is the key point of having a great internship experience: If you are able to bond with your colleagues and supervisors, you will have a great time and in return get a wide field of opportunities offered that you would have never thought of before.
All in all, it was a great experience for Paul, who actually had the chance to see our interns in action in their internship companies and for Matthew and Andrew as they can be confident in speaking with us about their internship experience and give us great feedback as a reference for future interns. It will help us to improve the overall quality of our internship service and will help them to have a great time in China. Thank you: Andrew, Matthew and Paul!
If you want to join Andrew and Matthew in Chengdu, please check our available internship positions and apply now through our website! We only need your CV and cover letter and will guide you personally through our application process.
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Last saturday Jamie and Leo arranged our monthly round table with all the interns…We relocated it outside and drove about 40 minutes with the bus to the north of Qingdao. It is one of the biggest and most bizarre markets of this city and if you want to see everything on this market you should schedule a whole day. They really sell everything there. There were even some doctors who checked the people and medicated them if necassary. To give an exaple there was a dentist who pulled out the teeth of people in public presence ^^
Jamie divided us into some groups and gave us shopping lists. It was kind of a bargaining competition. The group which payed less money for all of the goods (a hat, men´s and women´s underwear, 5 eggs, 5 tomatoes, 50g green tea, 5 screws, one chinese new year decoration) was the winner… That was fun but have I mentioned that it were -10° outside and the wind made -20° of it 😉
After this great excursion the people who weren´t frozen went to a rock concert at the ‘Red Star’ office where the band ‘Free the birds’ from Beijing played. It was a very nice concert…
I like 😉