What to choose? Homestay or Apartment

From experience, I think all interns at InternChina can confirm that after a long journey from Europe, you just want to relax in a comfortable and clean environment that you can call home. InternChina offers 2 accommodation options for your stay in the middle kingdom. This blog post will outline the key points of the two options (Home stay and Apartment) available.

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For the duration of your time in China, whether that is for a short and sweet four-week internship or a comprehensive twenty-four week epic experience, you want to ensure that your home is somewhere you can return to after a day’s work and feel relaxed. Imagine being able to do this alongside improving your Chinese Mandarin knowledge, trying new and exciting Chinese food in a truly authentic atmosphere and making new, possibly life long friends?  There is no better way to do this than to live with a Chinese family during your internship. This type of accommodation is called a ‘Homestay’.

The Family家庭

Living with a Chinese family is the most authentic way to discover Chinese culture. You will spend a lot of time with the family when you’re in the home. All of the families included in the InternChina Homestay scheme have been vetted, and their appropriateness for hosting interns confirmed.

At least one member of the family will speak English so you are not alone! This provides you with the opportunity to develop your Mandarin skills (a bonus on any CV!) whilst also mutually developing the family’s English skills. Unless of course you are looking to be FULLY immersed in the Chinese language, then we will match you with a family which speaks little to no English. Totally up to you and your preferences!

The Homestays are so successful because the families are just as keen as you to learn about a new culture and language! Previous interns have told us they have been welcomed very kindly into the family circle and feel very much at home. One of our latest interns in Qingdao, Olivia, describes the homestay as “a really amazing experience and makes living away from home much easier.”

The Home家

Chinese accommodation varies greatly from the homes we live in in Europe. Typically, most of our homestay families live in apartments in the city. The apartments tend to be quite compact but feature all the necessities you will need during your time in China. Noticeable differences include the lack of an oven in the kitchen and the washing machines tend to be located anywhere but the kitchen. Also, depending on what city you are located, it is not uncommon to for the bathroom to be an open plan wet room instead of a shower cubicle… but these tend to be more fun anyway and you can enjoy the shower without being fenced in!

When you live in a homestay accommodation, you are guaranteed your own room. This is your own personal space to retreat to, however, we do recommend spending as much time as possible with the family to ensure you get the most out of your experience! Overall, the standard of the homestay is very similar to that of staying in an apartment. But of course, you get the bonus of living authentically in China with a family.

On a final note, do not worry about the toilet; they are Western style not squats! 

Expectations

We know that when you plan to come to China you will have your own ideas and expectations. Choosing the homestay option for your accommodation allows you to explore the city at your leisure however, its advisable that you make the most of living with your Chinese family.
The families will probably take you out on the weekends to explore the city, show you their favourite hot spots or simply to meet the grandparents in their hometown!

Chinese families tend to live more conservatively than in the West, this means that when you move into your home stay, you can’t go out partying every evening. It is not the norm to go out during the week in China and therefore you won’t really see young people about in bars in the evenings. Use this time wisely to mingle with your family and develop your knowledge of China!

It is also expected that you spend your breakfast and evening meals with your family (after all it is included in the cost!) as meal times are such an important part of Chinese culture. This is the best time for you to get to know your family, whilst bonding over delicious Chinese food!

Finally, building up a great relationship with your Chinese family gives you the best opportunity to explore the city with your own knowledgeable tour guides!

Intern China Standards

Naturally, it is understandable if you feel a bit nervous about the idea of staying with strangers in a foreign country. However, InternChina is here every step of the way to ensure the smooth transition from the West to China.

InternChina has hundreds of homestay families across all of our cities, which have been intensively vetted for their suitability. You will also be required to fill in our Homestay application form so we can match you with your perfect family based on your preferences.

Finally, InternChina also offer mediation between interns and their host families if on the rare occasion any issues do arise.  Basic rules are established in the welcome pack to help avoid any misunderstandings however, if mediation is not successful then rest assured we aim to find you a new home within a week!

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Imagine the opportunity to live in a country as crazy and exciting as China in your own snazzy apartment with 2 or 3 other interns from around the globe?

The freedom to come and go as you choose, cook what you like, when you like and living with like minded people in a cute Chinese apartment. If you choose to stay in an apartment during your internship in China, this is exactly how you will be living!

As with the homestay accommodation, you are guaranteed your own bedroom in the apartment. This will be your private space to relax in, but the apartments also have communal lounge/dining areas so there is plenty space to bond with your flatmates! The apartments also come with fully equipped bathrooms and kitchens for you to cook your own food in. Remember though, there probably won’t be an oven! Chinese people like to use hobs to cook their food 😀

The Flatmates

When you move into the apartment you will be living with 2-3 other interns. The other interns could be from anywhere in the world and the apartments can be mixed sex*. Living in an apartment in China is your opportunity to get to know new people and make new, possibly life long friends! It is also a chance to gain some independence living and working on your own in a foreign country!
If you are sharing your China experience with friends and want to live in the same apartment, this can be arranged! Just let us know before you arrive and we will sort it out.

*Flats are mixed sex unless requested. Studio flats can also be organised at an additional cost.

Similarities with Homestay Accommodation

Regardless of whether you stay in homestay accommodation or an intern apartment, InternChina ensures that the apartment is located near to your internship although this does not necessarily mean walking distance! Chinese cities are huge in comparison to UK/EU cities; therefore you will most likely have to take a short bus or subway ride to and from work.

Differences from Homestay Accommodation

The homestay accommodation and apartments are very much of the same standard of living, it just depends what kind of Chinese lifestyle you want to experience.

When you stay in an apartment you are living an international lifestyle with like-minded people who are also completing internships. You have the freedom to come and go as you please and make friends for life.

When you stay with a host family, you are living a much more authentic Chinese lifestyle and have the opportunity to greatly improve your Mandarin alongside trying tasty homemade Chinese food!

Conclusion

I hope this blog post has helped to shed some light on the types of accommodation that InternChina offers. If you are unsure which type is best for you, feel free to let us know during your application and we will advise you further. AND if you are staying long enough and fancy sampling a bit of both lifestyles, we can organise splitting your time in China between the two!

So what are you waiting for? Join us in China today for an incredible internship and amazing accommodation, apply here.