Before arriving in Zhuhai there are a few things you may want to know but may not have the chance to find out, or may not know where to look to find the relevant information to answer your many, many questions. Moving to a new country can be hard, challenging and exciting, as you don’t know what to expect. Here are a few things that may help answer some of the questions running through your mind.
Zhuhai is a beautiful city in the Pearl River Delta, located on the southern coast of Guangdong province in China. Zhuhai was one of the original Special Economic Zones established in the 1980s. Zhuhai is also one of China’s premier tourist destinations, being called the Chinese Riviera. The city’s population (1.6 million) is made up of mostly Mandarin speaking migrants.
Being one of China’s first Special Economic Zones, Zhuhai is home to many industries (such as electronics, computer software, biotechnology, machinery and equipment, etc.) as well as the Hengqin Free Trade Zone, making the city very popular to international businesses.
Zhuhai has been voted the most ‘livable’ city in China and because of this it is a very popular tourist destination. Due to its size, Zhuhai has everything a big city can offer without being overwhelmingly huge. With many green spaces, 690 km of coastline and over 100 islands, it is easy to get away of the hustle and bustle of city life.
With Macau directly to the South, Guangzhou and Shenzhen to the North-East, and Hong Kong just over an hour ferry ride away you’re never far away from some of the most famous cities in Asia. In both Macau and Hong Kong you can enjoy the familiarity of the Western Culture whilst they still offer their own personality.
Keep in mind though, that entering Hong Kong or Macau classifies as an ‘exit’ from China. So for those of you who only receive a one-entry visa, be sure to plan some time before or after your trip to visit these beautiful cities!
Getting in and out
With Zhuhai’s proximity to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau it is easily accessible by air and gives you several options for buying flights when you are planning your trip to Zhuhai.
Hong Kong: We recommend that you research flights to Hong Kong first. Hong Kong International Airport is one the largest travel hubs in the world, so flying into here should be no problem from any part of the world! From Hong Kong airport you can take a direct ferry to Zhuhai Jiuzhou Port. Once you have disembarked your plane follow signs for ‘Ferries to Macau & Mainland’ here you will be able to buy your tickets and ensure that your baggage is put onto the ferry by a member of their staff. The ferry will take approximately 70 mins and will cost about HKD260, the schedule can be found here.
If you plan on staying in Hong Kong for a few days before travelling onto Zhuhai, there are also two ports within in the city from where you can take the ferry.
Macau: Macau airport is not quite the international hub of Hong Kong, but if you can find reasonably priced flights here you may wish to consider it. Macau is on the border with Zhuhai and therefore it’s very convenient to enter the city if arriving here.
Guangzhou: You can also book flights to Guangzhou. From Guangzhou airport we would recommend that you take the bus to Zhuhai, you can find the schedule here.
Zhuhai: If you’re flying from somewhere else within China to Zhuhai it might be easier to book flights to Zhuhai airport. If you are arriving into Zhuhai ‘Jinwan’ airport, there will be representative there to meet you.
Zhuhai does not have a subway system, but has an extensive bus system that can get you anywhere you want to go (buses cost 2-3RMB per ride). Taxis are abundant and quite cheap as well (starting at 10RMB). When you arrive, InternChina will provide you with a bus card as well as detailed instructions as to how to get to your company and to the InternChina office.
In Zhuhai the weather is awesome! You’ll often see the locals walking around shading themselves from the summer rays with their umbrellas, yet in the colder months the temperatures are pleasant and never really low enough for you to need your woolly jumpers, hats and gloves!
Since Zhuhai has a subtropical climate, on the whole it is hot and humid, but it can also rain a lot. The winter is short, dry and mild (12°C -18°C) and a jumper will keep you warm during the day and cooler evenings. Summer sets in from late March/early April and in July and August temperatures can reach 36°C. The sea breeze can be a welcome relief from the summer heat. So if you enjoy the sun, sand and sea bring plenty of sunscreen and swimming costumes for weekends relaxing on the beach, but remember your umbrella for those unexpected mid-afternoon downpours!
Eating out is cheap and convenient and there are always new dishes and cuisines to discover. There is an abundance of styles of cooking unique to various Chinese provinces, each more delicious than the last. If you’re a foodie and especially if you are open minded to trying new things you will be in your element!
Almost every meal is a social occasion. A particular benefit of being in Zhuhai or Guangdong province is the ‘morning tea’ or ‘dimsum‘ style of cooking native to this province. You can easily find beautiful pork filled steamed buns, soup dumplings, durian fritters, rice porridge and so much more.
Mealtimes are a social experience with communal dishes presented on a rotating disk in the middle of the table (we know this as a ‘lazy Susan’ back in the UK), giving you the opportunity to try a bit of anything. Meals tend not to be as sophisticated as back in the West and dishes come out as they are ready and eager chopsticks dive in often as soon as the plate hits the table. Restaurants are lively and full of energy although you may have to get over the sound of someone slurping their noodles or someone casually lighting up a cigarette next to you after their meal.
All InternChina apartments have a kitchen, so it is no problem if you would rather cook yourself. There is a wide variety of places to shop for fresh produce.
If you don’t speak Chinese, when you first arrive in Zhuhai the language barrier may be kind of intimidating as there are relatively few English speakers. However, the locals in Zhuhai are incredibly helpful and if you are confused or need help, they will be more than willing to assist you in every way possible, even if you do need to play a game of charades in order to talk to each other. Over time you may start to pick up some basics of the language, and once you know how to say hello, thank you, and your address, you will be on your way. InternChina can offer language classes via our partner school, if you ever feel like the language barrier is too much. Zhuhai is just like any other city in an unfamiliar country, a bit scary when you first arrive, but will feel just like home after a few weeks.
Zhuhai is an amazing city to live and work in. It’s very pleasant and relaxed but still has a lot to offer. Everyone is incredibly friendly, and the city itself is very nice and clean. You can sit on the beach on a warm day drinking out of a coconut or try your way through the different beer brands offered in the bars. While there is an abundance of industry, the entire atmosphere of the city is slow-paced, unlike Beijing, New York or London where everyone is in a rush to get everywhere. This gives you the opportunity to really enjoy China.
For all of the shopaholics, there is an underground market in 拱北 (Gongbei) where you can get all your branded designer wear for suspiciously cheap prices, as well as a handful of more western companies (H&M, Vera Moda, Only, etc.) in the shopping malls. There are also quite a few gyms located around the city, so if you’re a gym goer, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to train. Zhuhai has western cinemas, showing films in English, as well as bowling alleys, a bar street, go-karting and paint balling… so weekends will never be boring. It also has a few beautiful parks, where you can go and see Chinese people flying kites and playing live music.
Zhuhai also hosts many interesting cultural and sporting events throughout the year. At the end of 2015 the Hengqin International Tennis Centre opened and is host to the World Tennis Association (WTA) Elite Trophy and the ATP Tennis World Tour Finals. Races can be seen at the Zhuhai International Circuit on many weekends of the year and sailing events are held in Zhuhai as well. The Airshow China, the largest aviation and aerospace exhibition in China is held bi-annually. Zhuhai is also home to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, one of the world’s largest aquariums.
The nightlife in Zhuhai is incredibly varied, there are plenty of western bars where you can meet other people who have moved to Zhuhai, or you can get incredibly cheap drinks in Chinese run bars, and then move onto the clubs. Drink prices can vary from 15RMB a pint of beer to 40RMB a pint of beer, depending where you go out and what type you get (local beer is obviously cheaper) the dress code on nights out is very casual, so there is no need to have to worry about dressing up and getting ready unless you want to of course! There is a bar street which is home to many different bars and clubs and across the city you can find many different places to suit every taste – from Irish pubs to Chinese discos.
If you come to Zhuhai with InternChina you will have the opportunity to go on a lot of trips that are organized specially for our interns. Whether it’s a visit to a bustling metropolis such as Guangzhou or the peaceful countryside in Yangshuo, China has something to offer for everyone!
InternChina also offers a variety of cultural activities in Zhuhai itself. From calligraphy workshops and tea ceremonies to tai chi lessons, cooking classes and karaoke, everyone is sure to find something new to try.
You can also check out some of our albums on Facebook to see some examples:
Cultural Classes, factory visits and trip to Yangshuo
Xiqiao Mountain / Trip to Guanzhou / Trip to Xiamen / Trip to Wai Ling Ding Island
“My internship is definitely going to make me more employable. It has gotten me more experience in my profession and experience in a different culture with a different language.” (Ross)
“It is a nice, livable city. I think the cuisine here is quite lovely and I’ll definitely miss some of the dishes when I go back home.” (Michael)
“InternChina helped me find my feet in China so I could concentrate on producing good work for my host company. I would recommend InternChina to anyone looking to experience an exciting new culture and experience an international business environment. They provided great support and friendly hands-on service.” (Benjamin)
“China is weird, it’s wacky, it’s so different, but it’s great. InternChina has been absolutely amazing. They are there, no matter what. And they come out with us and they organize the dinners. They felt more like friends than IC staff and they are amazing.” (Chloe)
“I would 100% recommend doing an internship in China. Not only because the business culture here is so different, but the culture itself is just amazing and I don’t think you get to experience that unless you’re here and you really immerse yourself in it. And if I work in China in the future I’ll be able to use the skills that I’ve learned here.” (Coral)
“As part of my work organized by InternChina, I worked in a law firm in Zhuhai under a lawyer specified in giving advice to foreign enterprises. I got to experience first-hand lots of high-profile cases, from going to court for a criminal defense case, to the liquidation process of a company with more than a hundred employees with whom we negotiated compensation. I highly valued such amazing opportunities very few law students get to experience before they even graduate!” (Wei Wei)
READY TO BOOK YOUR PROGRAMME IN ZHUHAI? HIT THE BUTTON BELOW!
In 2009 I set foot in China for the first time. I was in Beijing for a semester at Peking University and my time there passed in a blur. I barely knew the language and it was my first time being abroad on my own. So now, seven years later and with more Mandarin under my belt than just xie xie (谢谢) and bu yao (不要), I am ready to take on my second Chinese adventure.
After being here for a few weeks now, I can definitely say that I am happy I chose Zhuhai to do my internship. While Zhuhai does have everything a big metropolis has to offer, it doesn’t feel overly crowded or hectic. There are parks and green spaces all over the city and life here is a little more laid back. That does not mean that being here isn’t a little overwhelming at times. It takes a while to get used to living in a different place and being in a different culture, and it isn’t always easy. Not being able to fully speak the language also makes every interaction a little more difficult, as each time it takes a little bit longer to get my point across, but that’s OK. I’m here to soak up as much as I can and with every day it gets easier and easier. I have a great support group here with InternChina and they have definitely made my first couple of weeks here a breeze.
My favorite thing about coming to China and living in Zhuhai is the food! I love that food is such a big part of the culture here and plays an important part in daily life. On every street you can find little shops selling all kinds of different stuff. I love trying new cuisines and dishes, and I haven’t had a bad meal yet!
I am really looking forward to my internship and to living in Zhuhai. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring!
So I’ve been roped into writing another blog. Last time I was writing about wacky shrimp-charmers and typical Chinese benevolence but I’m toning it all down a bit in an attempt to brandish my questionable cooking talent. However, do not fear these recipes, for they have earned critical acclaim from seasoned pundits such as my ex-flatmate and anosmic sausage-dog. What’s more is that I present an opportunity to make friends with your local veg-stall owner. Just visit every day and say ‘shēng yì xīng lóng’ after you’ve paid and you’ll be friends for life.
Perhaps I should stop flaunting my credentials get on with what you came here for.
Dish One – Egg Fried Rice
‘It sounds boring!’ I hear you cry. “It’s too easy!” you moan. Pfft. Don’t you remember the social sec from that questionable university rugby club telling you not to knock something until you’ve tried it?
- Egg, obviously. You’re going to need 2-5 of these, depending on how much you hit the gym.
- Rice. Try to scale this with the number of eggs you’ve used.
- Some kind of oil to grease your wok. I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
- Vegetables. Normally I go with a solitary carrot because I’m boring, but you should try adding broccoli, pak choi or cauliflower. If you’re feeling really adventurous then add all four.
- Soy sauce, obviously. This is China after all.
- Sesame oil. This is the secret ingredient that sets apart the Jamie Olivers from the normal Olivers.
Start by getting your rice cooker on the go. While she’s doing the hard work for you, chop up your vegetables into little chunks and crack open your eggs into a small bowl. Then, fry the veg in your wok on a medium/high heat in some oil.
Once those seedless fruits are looking nice and cooked turn down the heat to low/medium and throw in the eggs. Be sure to give them a good whacking with a wooden spoon. Beat them until it looks like that scene from Team America when the hero-guy comes out of the pub.
Now you need to add in the rice. Make sure that it isn’t all mushy with water then throw it into the wok. Pour some soy sauce over it and stir it in. Usually you’ll need about 10-20mL of soy sauce, but you’ll soon work out how strong you like your flavours. Finally, pour some sesame oil into the wok and mix that in too. About 3-5mL is all you need.
And voila! That took about 15 minutes.
Dish Two – Chicken Stir Fry
This is my signature dish in China. My old housemates back home in England know how proud I was of my first bhuna and others find my bolognese irresistible. However, China isn’t fond of curry and you’ll pay a lot of money to cook yourself a proper bolognese so I’ll try to keep on topic.
- Chicken. Cluck cluck.
- Rice or noodles. This is a great opportunity because you can disguise this single recipe as two by using either carbohydrate base.
- Carrots. Feel free to add other vegetables but the carrots are the best thing about this dish.
- Ginger. You’ll need about 5cm of this, maybe more. Who knows? You’ll find out how much you like soon enough.
- Garlic. While we’re on the subject, anyone reading who hasn’t been to China might be interested to know that the Chinese like to munch on whole garlic cloves. You’ll need about three for this dish.
- Soy sauce. You’ll work out how much you need.
- Oil. Again, I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
- Honey (not essential).
- Peanut butter (not essential).
- Peanuts (not essential).
Choose if you want rice or noodles. Prepare them but wait until later to cook.
Slice and dice your chicken and slap it into a moderately oiled wok. You don’t want to turn on the heat yet unless you like your chicken black. Wash your chopping board if you don’t have access to another and use it to chop your carrots. Slice them into 1cm thick batons, wash them and leave them aside. Turn on the chicken to a medium heat. Then start chopping up the ginger and garlic into tiny pieces. A big meaty cleaver helps with this. The smaller the better. You’ll see what I mean.
Somewhere in the middle of chopping up the ginger and garlic you’ll hear a mysterious voice whisper in your ear: ‘don’t forget to turn on the rice’. This will only occur if you chose to cook rice. Obey the voice.
When the chicken is almost cooked, which is usually when you’ve just peeled the garlic and ginger, put your carrots in the wok. If you’re cooking noodles, boil the water now.
When you feel like you can’t be bothered to chop ginger and garlic anymore, put them in the wok and turn the flame up high. I try to make some room in the middle of the wok and put them there, adding the soy sauce at the same time. I find that the flavours come out better when it’s been blasted with heat. Leave it for about 15 seconds and then stir it all in. After a few minutes I like to pick the wok up and toss the ingredients up into the air and catch them again in the wok. (I actually do this with the lid on but it’s still good practice). Finally, add a squirty of honey and a spoony of peanut butter. Stir it like that rumour you spread about Tom and Lucy back in ‘08.
If your choice was noodles, start cooking them now. They need about one or two minutes. If you chose rice, it should be cooked by now. Put it in a bowl and add a little bit of soy sauce. I like to add the noodles to the wok and stir fry them with some extra soy sauce.
About now everything should be ready. Just serve it up. Garnish with peanuts to add extra protein and a new crunchy texture.
And that’s it! Another just-satisfactory blog that has slipped through the editor’s occasionally slippery net.
My name is Alizée and I am currently doing an internship in Zhuhai through InternChina. At the end of my Bachelor’s degree, my need to explore new horizons automatically brought me to China. It was the most logical choice, being the farthest country and, by all standards, the most different. But after only a week, I already felt right at home. Here are a few of the first things I discovered about Zhuhai.
InternChina – View from BanZhangShan Mountain
1. Guangdong is the land of the Cantonese
Zhuhai situated in Guangdong, and being so close to Hong Kong and Macau, has quite the Cantonese influence. Along with the language (both Mandarin and Cantonese), comes delicious Cantonese food! It is the most populated province in China, Guangdong’s capital is Guangzhou. It’s hard for me to believe, coming from France where we are 66 million people in total, but Guangzhou hosts over 50 million habitants, in one city only. In comparison, 10 million people live in Paris. These proportions are hard to grasp.
2. Beware of the Karaoke!
Here, it’s called KTV (short for Karaoke TV, as you might have guessed). Basically, you gather all your friends into a private room and sing loudly together. In China, KTV is a cultural institution, suitable for all generations and social backgrounds. The name for us westerners can be quite off putting. Since it is not being broadcasted, why is it called TV ? It originated when new piracy laws from the GATT’s Uruguay round shut down it’s predecessor in 1988, MTV (MovieTV, Netflix’s ancestor). The company, not put off in the least, then simply switched it’s market to a less regulated sector; the music industry, and changed the first M to a K, with little regards for it’s meaning.
My first experience with this strange practice was during my company’s party, reuniting over 30 people from different branches, in a large pandemonium of beer and music. It was quite fascinating to watch my colleagues, usually so assiduous and solemn, turn into such party animals. The classic studious and hardworking stigma that is usually observed, was largely proven wrong during those few hours of letting loose. Unfortunately, knowing no Chinese music, I relied on a good ol’ Beatles song, and got away with it. My second experience was in the home of my host family daughter’s friend. In a smaller setting, it was indeed quite a different mood, and I got to pay greater attention to the meaning of the songs. In order to be prepared, I could advise everyone to learn one famous Chinese song; it’ll make them laugh, and make you practice your pronunciation!
3. Menu Tasting & Furniture Shopping
My company is on the verge of opening its new vegetarian restaurant. So for lunch, Juan (another Indonesian intern) and I taste tested the new menu. My personal favourite is the tangyuan, which is the Chinese version of the Japanese mochi, a glutinous rice cake filled with various pastes or nuts. Part of the Japanese Washoku, listed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it’s Chinese equivalent is just as delicious.
The following day, we went to buy furniture for the new restaurant. On the outskirts of the city lays a vast warehouse-like furniture store, specialized in traditional goods, which is actually composed of multiple little shops. From old locks, to carved doors, to tea tables and stone water fountains, it was quite a delight to the eye.
4. A Peak at the Local Life
For anyone wishing to truly experience the local life, I can’t insist enough on how great a homestay can be. I was extremely fortunate to intrude into the life of the Kong family. They have welcomed me into their daily routine and have been continuously generous and attentive. They have already promised to come visit me in my hometown, and I really hope they do! Having come to China to experience being a fish out of water, I quickly realized that all human beings are the same, no matter how far apart they seem to be. Sure, the food is different (it’s delicious!) and the language’s structure is arduous to grasp, but in the end, it’s a small world, after all.
5. Oh, one more thing:
Most public place doors here aren’t outward opening as they are in the west. So don’t look foolish (like I did for a week): open doors as you would in your house, inward.
If you looking to immerse yourself in Chinese culture whilst getting yourself valuable internship experience, apply here now!
Hi, my name is Steeve and I am currently undertaking a one month internship in Zhuhai organised for me by InternChina.
Within my first day of arriving in Zhuhai I was approached with the offer to join the other interns on an InternChina organised trip to Xiamen, naturally I was slightly sceptical due to the long 10 hour bus journey. However, I reluctantly joined knowing that this may be my only chance to experience the cultural history of China. Once the journey to Xiamen began, I am very pleased to say that I was completely wrong to second-guess the trip. Although the journey was long it was barely arduous. Driving through beautiful scenery and breathtaking mountainous backdrops really made the long journey a lot easier.
Before arriving at Xiamen the bus stopped for a toilet break, during this 15 minute break I was pleasantly surprised at the warmth and welcome from the locals. They sat us down and served us traditional Chinese tea. Although my understanding of Mandarin is not the best the language of welcome is universal and this village optimised it.
During our time in Xiamen we were fortunate to experience the variety of different environments the city has to offer, ranging from religious temples, to island tours. On the second day of the trip, we went to an area just outside of Xiamen which consisted of seven villages dating as old as 700 years; Yunshuiyao, Tianloukeng Tulou Cluster, Taxia Village, Huaiyuanlou, Hekeng Tulou Cluster, Yuchanglou, Heguilou and last but not least Yunshuiyao. With beautiful scenery rich in culture and breathtaking streams and water features. We got to see traditional tea making as well as traditional rice wine making. We even got the chance to meet some of the villagers, the pride they showed in their culture was awe-inspiring.
While in Xiamen we also had the opportunity to visit a famous island just off the coast of the city, the main attraction of the island is the sunlight rock. Do not let the name fool you as it was more than just a rock we saw!!
We were also fortunate enough to visit the Piano Museum where we got to see some of the greatest collections of classical pianos played by composers such as Igor Fyodorovich Starvinsky.
The nightlife in Xiamen was quite vibrant and cosmopolitan with friendly people; those who could speak English would always say hello to you and make conversation which helped us feel so welcome.
I’d like to be 1st to thank all the staff at intern China for arranging such a wonderful trip. It felt less like being taken around by talk guides and more like a road trip with close family and friends. And I would like to encourage any in turn to grab the opportunity with both hands.
If you would like the opportunity to explore China, all while doing an internship apply now
Hi, I’m Eve and I’m currently half way through a five week internship organised by InternChina in Zhuhai! Myself and five others decided to come to Zhuhai as part of a five week placement period organised by our university.
I had absolutely no idea what I was heading into when I decided to come to China. Having not even left Europe before I was definitely diving into the deep end, but since arriving I’ve been amazed every day! I have only been here for two weeks, however I already feel like I’ve gained a lifetime of new experiences and memories.
Since being in Zhuhai, I think we have managed to get lost every time we decide to explore somewhere new, however it is all part of the fun! Every night is a new adventure, even when we think we’re just going down the street to get some food we end up out for 4 hours having walked 3 miles. I’ve been in fits of laughter all whilst experiencing this amazing city through wandering aimlessly.
So far we’ve ventured into Macau (we managed to walk 30,000 steps that day), and we have also been camping in the island of Wai Ling Ding; these have been entirely contrasting experiences yet equally as incredible and I’ll remember them both for a very long time!
My internship has been incredibly fascinating too. I am working in a Chinese company so I have managed to learn a lot about Chinese Business culture, working in a Chinese company comes with a lot of benefits, for example, I’ve been taken to a rice farm, a rural farm, a rice factory and I’ve even been Chinese cake testing. I’ve drank so many flavours of Chinese tea!
The amount of things they make out of rice has continually shocked me, I have tasted a hot rice drink and even a ‘cake’ that’s made out of the stuff. I can’t say I don’t miss a good Victoria sponge but I think it’s fascinating being in and amongst the Chinese culture everyday. After trying the cakes my boss bought two boxes to take back to the office, and all my colleagues were munching on them throughout the afternoon.
Considering I’m only two weeks into my Internship, I think I’ve experienced quite a lot, and I’m very excited to continue my journey to see where else I can explore!
If you want your own experiences, I recommend exploring China with the help of InternChina by applying here
My name is Mónica Gómez and I am from Mexico. Last week I arrived in Zhuhai for my first time to undergo a 3-month internship in the InternChina office. I am currently studying International Business with a focus on Marketing. I studied my first two and a half years in Mexico and then I moved to Canada to study my last year.
I am a very passionate and happy girl who loves to travel and enjoy meeting new people from all around the world. From a young age I have been exposed to many different cultures. At the age of 15 I spent one year in Taiwan in order to learn Mandarin. I have spent a couple of months in Brazil and lately China in order to improve my language skills (both Portuguese and Chinese) and build a solid understanding of both cultures. Therefore, I would consider myself as multicultural, open minded, independent and an easy going person who gets along with a variety of people from different backgrounds. Adventure and change define me as a person, as well as traveling as a local and not as a tourist.
Although I have already been to many cities in China, I am still very excited to spend my summer in an amazing city such as Zhuhai. I decided to come to Zhuhai because as you all know, it is the most liveable city in China, it is not as crowded and polluted. Also, the fact that in less than an hour we can get to Macau or Hong Kong makes everybody’s experience more unique and fun. Its great location and the variety of food made Zhuhai my top choice.
I am very glad that I have already met nice people here and I am sure that I will have an unforgettable time in Zhuhai. It is going to be a great, but hot summer 🙂
If you’re interested in new opportunities, and would like to experience life in China Apply now
Moving to another country is always going to be different. I suppose that’s exactly what we all sign up for when we decide to pack our bags and relocate. Moving to another country that doesn’t recognise English as a first language however, can be more difficult of a transition than it may seem.
So far my time in China has proved to be poles apart from what I initially imagined it would be. When I arrived in Hong Kong airport after a lengthy journey that began in Belfast, I was pleased to see all of the signs in the airport were in both Chinese and English. However, when arriving by ferry to Zhuhai, the dynamics changed completely, and finding any form of communication in English was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Luckily, I had Janice, a member of the Intern China team with me to help me get to the apartment, and the view from our balcony is awesome; at night you can see Macau in the distance.
The Intern China team were great in helping me get me settled in, and introducing me to my host company.Outside of work, there are many aspects of life in China that are different from the Western world.
Whether it’s the constantly 2 year-old child staring at you while on the bus, or the shopkeeper in the corner shop who glares at you when you’re trying, and failing, to read the Chinese writing on a carton of milk.
Squat toilets exist
They are on the ground, and it’s basically a hole in the floor. You have to squat if you want to use the toilet. I’m not really sure whether to hold the walls or the floor to keep balanced; but once I find a good strategy, I’ll let you know!
The food is different
Noodles and rice everywhere. Literally, everywhere. Rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And rice cakes for snacks. It’s everywhere! There are nice markets close-by though where you can buy potatoes and veg. I tend to buy quite a lot of potatoes (Can you tell I’m Irish yet)?
Social media is blocked
You’re probably wondering how I’m using social media if it is blocked in China, right? Well, there are apps and programs called VPNs. They are networks that you can download to be able to access banned sites. They come in really handy, but can be a little temperamental at times.
Traffic is INSANE
Cyclists, everywhere. Buses, everywhere. Zhuhai is a very busy city, and getting to work in the morning can take quite a while! But it is a fast-paced city with so much going on; if you blink, you might miss something!
So far my time in China has been very eye-opening, and adjusting to life in a non-English speaking country has been one of the more difficult aspects. However, the important reason for being here is to learn about a new culture and embrace everything, because we live in a world with so many unique individuals and diverse cultures.
Being in China also gives you the opportunity to do things you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to do, like using chopsticks, and learning (or in my case, trying yet failing miserably) to learn a new language. All of the cultural differences are staggering, but it is such a worthwhile experience, and going solo is one of the best ways to discover, because you are forced to do everything yourself.
One of the main benefits of being here is the support network that I have available to me. InternChina have been fantastic throughout the whole process of applying for the program, travelling to Zhuhai, and integrating me in to the new role and environment.
The Intern China team also arrange weekly activities, such as football games on a Tuesday night, Chinese language classes on a Wednesday, Thursday night dinners and larger weekend activities. Last week I met the rest of the interns in Zhuhai, and was able to go to the ATP Challenger Tour Final at the Hengqin International Tennis Centre at the weekend, which is a fantastic venue. There is also a great network of people over here, and it makes life in China a little bit easier.
Want to start you own adventure in China? Apply here
Across the globe the travel and tourism industry comprises of 266 million jobs and contributes to 9.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) globally. The impact of the hospitality industry on future economic growth globally, cannot be denied.
Over the next ten years China’s hospitality industry is expected to become a $100 billion industry.
As China’s middle class continues to grow, their tastes are becoming ever more sophisticated and this is especially true for travel in and out of China. According to the McKinsey Quarterly, by 2022 middle-class citizens will make up to 75% of China’s total urban population, this will be matched by China’s growing trend for leisure and travel in China.
As part of China’s 12th ‘Five Year Plan’ tourism was declared as one of the core components in China’s economic growth engine. Through direct investment, provincial government authorities around China plan to further promote tourism. Key tourist development cities are the areas of Beihai; Kunming; Yangzhou; Lijiang; Sanya and Yangshuo. These areas are not only being developed to become the top travel destinations for the Chinese but also to gain international recognition as a “must go” destinations with facilities for an international audience. This level of investment, however, is not only exclusive to these areas. In the South of China, the Pearl River Delta area, hotspots like Zhuhai are receiving a significant amount of investment and are developing at a considerable rate.
Since 2014 China’s economy has slowed down, GDP growth for the first half of 2015 was 7% compared to the 7.4% in 2014. The Chinese economy is now being restructured to focus more on the tertiary industry and economic growth is being geared towards consumption rather investment.
In the first quarter of 2015, consumption generated more than 50% of GDP growth, the highest in 10 years.
As China’s hospitality and tourism industry has grown, so has the demand for qualified workers. This may in-turn lead to the hospitality and tourism industry becoming one of the largest employers. Over the next few years the hospitality and tourism industry is expected to become one of China’s largest employers. By 2021 the industry’s direct contribution to employment is forecasted to expand to 26.6 million jobs. International hoteliers like Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton, InternContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Kempinski and Four Seasons are recognising the growing market for hotel development in China as part of their corporate strategies.
However, the growth of this industry is currently limited by the relatively low supply of qualified and trained hospitality staff in China. Hospitality and Tourism training is not a common programme to offer in many Chinese universities. This has lead to many hotelier giants like the Marriott in Zhuhai (ZHHT03, ZHHT04) and the Crowne Plaza in Chengdu (CDHT03, CDHT05, CDHT06) to look worldwide for staff and interns to become part of a global corporation to launch their international careers. A fantastic opportunity for any individual!
The significance of China’s hospitality and tourism industry cannot be ignored and it will be interesting to see how and in what way this industry develops.
For your chance to develop an international hospitality career, apply here!
I’d never heard of Zhuhai until applying for my internship with InternChina, I was always under the presumption that coming to China meant going to one of the main cities, such as Beijing or Shanghai. I didn’t know where Zhuhai was, or what this city was all about, which is a major shame seeing as the moment I arrived, I fell in love with this place. Luckily though, the Chinese government see’s the potential of Zhuhai; with the winning tropical climate and the fantastic location of the city (on the border of Macau and a ferry ride away from Hong Kong), Zhuhai is slowly starting to edge it’s way onto the map.
Zhuhai is currently in the process of transforming from a relatively unknown city into a growing magnet for foreign investment. Fluor Corp, the American engineering and construction conglomerate, and Finland’s marine engineering Stalwart Wartsila are among the latest big-name companies to invest in Zhuhai. Also, amongst the list of european companies that have set up operations in Zhuhai include BP, Shell, Bosch, Philips, Schneider and ABB. Fluor’s investment formed part of a combined 35.5 billion yuan ($5.59 billion) investment by multinational and Chinese companies in 28 equipment-manufacturing projects in the city. A lot of the current investment comes after the introduction of the Pilot Free Trade Zone which was introduced into Zhuhai.
The China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone (Guangdong FTZ) was approved by the state council at an executive meeting held on 12 December 2014. It was then officially launched on the 21st April 2015, the Guangdong FTZ covers three areas: Nansha Area of Guangzhou; Qianhai-Shekou Area of Shenzhen; and Hengqin Area of Zhuhai. The main aim of this is to embrace Hong Kong and Macau to serve the mainland and open up to the world.
Speaking at the investment and trade symposium in late August, which showcased 200 Chinese and internationals companies, Zhuhai Mayor Jiang Ling said “Zhuhai is at the prime stage of its development and the city is anticipating an even rosier development prospect in the next decade,” Basing his upbeat forecast on the growing importance of Zhuhai’s position as an international gateway to the western Pearl River region, Jiang predicted the Hengqin Free Trade Zone would play an important role in improving the business environment.
Zhuhai is definitely a place to keep at the back of your mind when wanting to develop some good 关系 (guānxi) in China.
If you’re looking to break into the Chinese market but don’t know how, perhaps an internship in one of this countries 4 big cities can be a starting point, apply now!