In this article we’ve hand picked the most common questions asked about internships. However, if you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, you can simply drop us a line and our experts will be on hand to respond in a flash.
Keep reading to find out the ultimate benefits of doing internships and how to decide if they are right for you and your future career. The article is separated into various sections, as follows:
- Part 1: What internships involve, how long they last and the different types
- Part 2: Choosing whether an internship is the best option for you
- Part 3: Choosing where to do your internship
- Part 4: Advantages of an internship and benefits on your career
Part 1: What internships involve, how long they last and the different types
Read this section to get thorough answers to some of the more generic questions you might have about being an intern – both at home or abroad. When you’ve read it, you should know exactly what an internship can mean for you, what types are available and even the different options.
What is an internship?
An internship is a temporary position within a company, designed to provide training and first-hand knowledge of the skills needed to hold down a particular job. Many people use an internship to gain relevant and valuable experience, so they can pursue their chosen career path with renewed confidence.
Roles as an intern are available in nearly all work sectors and are an ideal introduction to the exciting world of business, industry and professions in general.
How does an internship work?
There are many different ways it can work. It is possible to organise one yourself by getting in touch directly with the company, which can be the usual format in the UK.
However, for international internships, it is often much easier to use an intern organisation company who can support you through the process.
From visa application, health and travel insurance or airport transfers, 24 hour support and much more, Pagoda Projects has packages include everything you need for a safe, fun and life-changing experience.
What do you do during an internship?
Your role as an intern will often require you to get involved in a variety of tasks. For example, you will most likely be assisting one of the more senior members of the team, who will need help their day-to-day tasks.
Internships aren’t just about work, there is so much to do in our exotic, exciting and exhilarating destinations.
From relaxing on some of the world’s best beaches to exploring ancient temples of worship, there will never be a dull day on your international adventure. There’s more than just work experience on offer here – there are experiences of a life-enhancing nature as well.
How long does an internship last?
Usually anywhere between one and 12 months. In the UK, they can’t last any longer than 12 months, as this is the legal maximum duration. Although, there is no minimum time frame as to how long they can last.
If you’re applying to work during the summer, this will often be in-between university terms and therefore it will last approximately 3 months.
Pagoda Projects offer the flexibility of different program lengths so that anyone can get involved, as we realise it is not always possible to commit to a full year.
Can an internship be part-time?
One of many great things about internships is that they are pretty flexible. They can be full-time or part-time, but the hours you are required to commit to will depend on the employer.
What are Paid internships?
This is where you (the intern) are considered an employee and therefore paid the national minimum wage, at least.
When an internship is created, it is for the employer to decide whether it should be paid or voluntary, and this does vary from business to business.
What are Off-cycle internships?
Intern programmes usually take place during the summer months, so when companies advertise off-cycle programs, they simply mean ones that will run at a different time of year, rather than the usual summer cycle.
And why not? Summer, autumn, winter or spring, the benefits can set you on your way to the rewarding, fulfilling career. One you always dreamed of.
We provide a wide variety of options that run from one end of the calendar to the other, catering for those who favour a summer internship and others who, due to holiday commitments or whatever reason, find themselves more suited to a different season.
Part 2: Choosing whether an internship is the best option for you
What’s the difference between internships and training?
The main difference between these two types of educational programs is that an internship is a more practical way of learning, whereas training is about learning the basics, in theory, before you apply the skills to your role.
Training is usually offered to those who have gained a permanent job but need professional education before starting their role.
An internship is a temporary program where the individual learns on the job but is not guaranteed a permanent role in the company.
What’s the difference between internships and apprenticeships?
There are 4 big differences between an internship and apprenticeship:
- Apprenticeships are always paid, whereas internships are sometimes on a voluntary basis.
- Apprenticeships can last a lot longer, usually 1 – 2 years.
- A qualification is gained through completing an apprenticeship.
- Apprenticeships are designed for the worker to continue in that specific industry, whereas internships are more of a trial to determine whether a particular career is suitable for the person concerned.
Generally, interns are less of a commitment and perfect for those who are unsure of what career to choose.
What’s the difference between internships and externships?
The two main differences are the type of work and how long it lasts.
Basically, an externship is much shorter, generally running only for a few weeks, and it usually consists of job shadowing. This is where the trainee will shadow a professional in the industry and learn through watching them at work.
Internships on the other hand, allow you to complete on-the-job training and gain first-hand experience of what the work entails.
What’s better, an internship or volunteering?
When deciding between these two options, the first question you should ask yourself is:
‘Why do I want to do it?’
If it’s to gain skills and kick-start your career, then an internship is best for you.
If it’s simply to fill spare time and help those in need, then volunteering can be a great way to go.
Although an intern programme is primarily designed to train you with new skills and give you work experience, you will also meet fascinating people, take part in experiences you will always remember and explore some breath-taking destinations.
What’s better, an internship or applying for a job?
Decision-making in summer is more than holiday destinations and who to invite round for a barbecue. For many, there are weightier matters to consider, such as how you want your working life to pan out.
You’re about to embark on an adventure you hope will be rewarding and enriching, so it’s vital you get off on the right foot. Does that mean applying for an intern role or plunging straight into your first job?
Of course, there are benefits to both, but it’s not always easy working out which is best for you.
If there is a particular industry or line of work you are attracted to, but experience is required, an internship is the perfect way to acquire it. You will gain professional experience as well as skills that will fill you with confidence and belief that the career you yearn for, really is within your grasp.
If, on the other hand, you want to start your career as soon as possible and don’t require work experience, you may consider taking the direct route into the job market.
Either way, there can be no doubting an international internship represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opens up an unforgettable pathway into whatever area of the workplace takes your fancy.
Part 3: Choosing where to do your internship
What internship should I do?
You want to become an intern, you realise the benefits and you’re excited for this exhilarating adventure in your life, but… what internship should you do? We get asked this a lot, and of course there is no right answer.
To decide which the best course is for you, we recommend considering and researching these 6 factors:
- What is your dream career? If there is a set industry you’d love to work in, gaining the right kind of experience could be the first stepping stone to your dream career.
- What kind of skills do you want to learn? Whether it is hands-on, language, design, customer service, technological or any other type, decide what you’d like to learn from the program, so you can choose the best one for you.
- How much time can I commit? Programs can last from one to 12 months, so it is important to work out how much time you can commit before applying.
- Is money important to me? If you are motivated by the thought of an enriching experience where you will gain valuable new skills, then you have a huge range of options. If money is your main focus, you may be slightly more limited in your choice. We would say – sacrifice a little now, to gain a lot in the future.
- Do you want full-time or part-time work? It is best to decide on this before you start looking for programs. Part-time gives you more scope for exploring your surroundings and travelling, while full-time may give you a more enriching experience and more skills in the industry.
Where can I find internship opportunities?
Using a trusted internship company is vital when doing your research, as plenty of scam websites and unofficial organisations exist to take advantage of applicants.
Before contacting a company to ask about opportunities, research thoroughly to ensure they are a legit business, offering high-quality programs. Read reviews, testimonials and take a look at their social media pages.
To find some of the amazing opportunities we provide in Asia, take a look at our internships in Vietnam.
Where should I do an internship?
Travelling abroad for an internship may feel like leaving your comfort zone but staying in it isn’t exactly renowned for living life to the full. Completing your program in another country is truly a life-changing experience that allows you to immerse yourself in a fascinating new culture.
There are many things to consider when choosing the location for your internship. Cost, culture, language, travel opportunities and safety are all important factors that need weighing up.
We offer programs in Asia as we believe it is a fantastic opportunity to add a new dimension to your outlook on life, an enriching, enthralling experience that will stay with you for good. The cost is low, the culture is rich, there are fascinating languages to learn, the travel opportunities are endless, and safety is at the forefront of all our programs.
Should I do an international internship?
An international internship will take you on a journey that, as well as being memorable, will arm you with the tools to build your future. Here are 5 reasons why you should look abroad to complete your program:
- Immerse yourself in a new culture. There aren’t many opportunities to learn first-hand about the rich history and fascinating cultures of countries around the world, but an internship is one. In fact, we can’t think of any better!
- Build your global network. How many people do you know who have professional contacts from all around the world?
- Learn a new language. It becomes so much easier to pick up words and phrases when you are constantly hearing them from native speakers. You’ll also soon acquaint yourself with the regional dialect and be sounding like a local in no time!
- Gain independence. Living in a foreign country, away from familiar surroundings, will help you develop an independent streak that will stand you in good stead as you branch out in life and take on more responsibility.
- Stand out from the competition. You have experience and an impressive can-do attitude, but what will make you rise above the rest when applying for your dream job? How about the commitment, initiative, confidence and drive that comes from completing one of our international programs? That should do it.
Part 4: Advantages of an internship and benefits on your career
What are the advantages of an internship?
We hear a lot of ‘are they really worth it?’ questions, and the answer is a resounding YES.
There are so many benefits to these programs for so many different people. In fact, we even have a post explaining 16 reasons why you should get involved. But for now, here are the top 5 reasons for it being widely regarded as a not-to-be-missed experience:
- It’s your dream career, or so you’ve always thought. But is it really the stuff of dreams? Only one way to find out, and that’s with an internship that will allow you to get a feel for the job and whether it’s something you want to pursue and be involved in the rest of your working days.
- Get some direction in your life. If you’re unsure about your career, education or what path you want to take in life, our international programs are an exciting way to get a new perspective and gain inspiration for your future plans.
- Meet new people. Many of our interns make lifelong friends on their programs and are eternally grateful for the opportunity to build these meaningful relationships.
- Take part in once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From visiting spectacular national parksto watching the sunset on Vietnam’s most exclusive roof top bar.
Will an internship benefit your career?
Yes, it will, on so many different fronts. Here are the top 5 ways it will have a beneficial long-term effect on your career:
- It is an exciting introduction into the world of work (especially in an eye-catching, colourful country such as Vietnam!)
- It is a chance to build your professional network and meet experts in the industry.
- You gain essentials skills that are sure to impress future employers.
- You gain work experience which many companies look for in an applicant.
- It is a chance to trial the job and see whether you want to a pursue a career in that industry.
Can an internship be considered as work experience?
It most certainly can. In fact, an internship is one of the most valuable, worthwhile ways to gain work experience. Not only are you proving to employers you can and already have worked in the industry successfully, but you also gain a plethora of skills that will make you stand out from your competition.
Skills you may gain from your work experience can include:
- Leadership skills
- Ability to work efficiently in a team
- Time management
- Independence and confidence from working in a foreign country
- Good initiative
- Being responsible and reliable
- Cultural awareness
Our programs are the perfect first step on to the career ladder. Apply today and we will be in touch with the best opportunities we currently have for you.
This weekend at Intern China Chengdu our team went to Dufu Cottage followed by a relaxing afternoon of Mahjong and Tea drinking.
Dufu is a very famous Chinese poet born in the 7th century. He resided in Chengdu for 4 years during the AnShan Revolution which led to him fleeing from his home town of LuoYang in Henan province. During his time in Chengdu he lived in a modest thatched cottage by the flower rinsing shores of the river in the west of Chengdu.
It is here he is said to have been most prolific in terms of his output of poetry, writing over 240 poems. Taking in the scenery in this beautiful area of Chengdu it is easy to see where he got his influence and motivation for writing such an great number of poems.
In the grounds of Dufu’s Cottage you can see a wide variety of blossoming plants as well as a wide range of classic architecture and buildings. Including the famous hut by the river where Dufu would spend his days gazing over the river watching the wildlife.
After walking the grounds at the cottage and getting some fantastic Sichuan food for lunch we headed to a Mahjong house near to WenShu Monastery.
When arriving at the Mahjong house we chose a room with a view over the street, in hindsight this probably wasn’t the greatest idea. This being my first time playing I was amazed by the table at which we were playing. It had an in built shuffling device, contained two sets of tiles and also an under table heater to keep our feet warm.
After being taught the rules by the rest of the IC Chengdu team we began to play. Let’s just say it didn’t go too well for myself but we were having fun.
During our time playing the passing locals seemed shocked and amazed at the foreigners playing Mahjong. Asking if we knew how to play, taking photos. One gentleman even took it upon himself to stand by our table for 20mins offering instructions. Including getting animated if any of us were to do one thing even slightly wrong.
All in all it was a great day out, relaxing enjoying 3 hours of Mahjong and the serenity and tranquility of Dufu’s cottage made for a great Saturday in Chengdu.
Inspired to come to Chengdu? Apply NOW!
春节 （the Spring Festival）or the 农历新年 (the Lunar New Year) is fast approaching! The new year of the dog begins Friday the 16th of February, with the first new moon of the year. The holiday can fall between the 21st of January and the 20th of February. People start to celebrate the day before the New Year and continue until the 15th day – the Lantern Festival. This year the Lantern festival takes places on the 2nd of March, when people will release red Lanterns to symbolise letting go of the past and moving on into the new year!
Chinese New Year and the Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 animals; similar to the 12 Western Zodiacs, however each Zodiac represents a year as opposed to a month. This passes in cycles with each year also being associated with an element. 2018 will be the year of the Earth dog, which is the 11th animal in the 12-year cycle.
Your Birth Year ‘本命年’:
The year you are born in decides your zodiac and you won’t be in your zodiac year again for another 12 years! Surprisingly, your zodiac years are the considered the unluckiest in your life and unfortunate events in this year could have lasting effects on you for the rest of your life! So, you are suggested to take extra care to avoid incurring bad luck. Many Chinese people will buy lucky items as talismans, such as red underwear with lucky characters stitched on.
There are also lucky numbers, cardinal directions and colours associated with your zodiac. 3, 4 and 9 are lucky for people born in the year of the dog, as are the colours green, red and purple.
The Origins of Chinese New Year
Every year around the new Lunar Year, a mythological beast called Nian was said to come and lay waste to towns and eat people, particularly children. Everyone would hide from the beast until he left. One year an old man appeared and refused to go into hiding, and decided he wanted to get revenge on the Nian. He put red papers up around the door of his house with lucky symbols and set off loud firecrackers. The day after, the villagers discovered that their town wasn’t destroyed. They believed that the old man was in fact a god that came to save them. The villagers then realised that the the colour red and loud noises deterred the beast. Next New Year the villagers hung up red lanterns, wore red clothes, and placed red character scrolls on windows and doors, and they set off firecrackers to frighten away the monster. Ever since, Nian never returned to scare the villagers!
Characters on the Door
You will see Chinese phrases on red scrolls around doorways, such as ‘出入平安’ , meaning peace wherever you go. The most common character is ‘福’ Fú which means fortune or luck. It is often placed in the centre of the door to ones home, and sometimes you will see that the character has been placed upside down. This is because by placing it upside down there is an added meaning to the character:
Homonyms are common in Chinese language. The Chinese expression ‘福倒了‘ and ’福到了‘ sound identical, so to have 福 upside down also means to have fortune arrive.
New Years Day Celebrations
On New Years day young family members are given red envelopes called hongbao (‘红包) filled with money, fireworks are set off, dumplings are devoured and relatives are put up with. It is a time when Chinese families reunite, with some people travelling vast distances to see their family. The Spring festival period is host to the largest migration of people on earth, with almost 3 billion journeys being made!
Here are some common greetings to say on the New year:
Taboos to avoid doing on the first day of the festival:
- Debt: You should not lend money on the day, and debts should be paid before New Year’s Eve.
- Washing hair: you’ll wash away your wealth for the year.
- Sharp objects: if you cut yourself it is extremely unlucky.
- Sweeping and cleaning: If you sweep up then your wealth will be swept away.
- Theft: If someone steals from you then your wealth for the year will be ‘stolen.’
- Killing anything: Similar to sharp objects, anything associated with blood is very bad luck.
- Taking Medicine: you’ll be ill all year.
- Monochrome clothing: White and black are the colours associated with sorrow in China.
- Giving specific types of gifts: scissors, clocks, or anything with the number 4 (it sounds like death 死) and shoes (they sound like evil!)
Have a happy New Year and remember, watch out for evil shoes!
What is KTV?
KTV/卡拉OK (KalaOK) is a staple of Chinese nightlife. Your Chinese friends and work colleagues may invite you out to what is basically a nightclub to Karaoke. You’ll pay for a room usually for at least a few hours and then you get to sing, drink and dance the night away!
My first KTV
I first went to KTV almost 4 years ago. I had just arrived in Nanjing and was still getting used to the culture shock of living in China, when before I knew what was happening a bunch of us were heading out to a KTV. The experience was intense, it started off with our two Chinese friends each singing a Chinese pop ballad extremely well, which would make most people feel nervous.
Luckily for me this was also my first time trying 白酒 (baijiu) – Chinese rice wine, which took the edge off! Soon we were all mumbling along to the pop songs we knew most of the words to and by the end we were singing full belt to Queen. We left at 5 am, after close to 6 hours of singing. It was one of my fondest memories of my first time in China and since then has become one of my favourite pastimes.
Some people’s Marmite
Love it or hate it KTV, can certainly make or break friendships. Often the first-time can be nerve-racking, and whether you need some liquid courage or just the support of friends, it’s important that everyone feels relaxed and not judged, as at the end of the day 90% of people don’t have golden pipes! You’ll probably discover who is accepting of other people’s music taste and who presses the skip button when they don’t like something. Most importantly you’re not auditioning for The Voice, so the emphasis is on fun!
What to expect
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to KTV. Sometimes it will be a palatial structure full of mirrors and disco lights, or sometimes it is just a simple affair with a cosier feel. Based on how much you are willing to pay you can book a small room or a huge auditorium with a balcony. You pay for the room, so the more of you there are, the cheaper it will be!
They may provide you with drinks and even food for free. There may be instruments such as tambourines and maracas in the room and even a bar and toilet. KTVs will have Western songs, however the choice may vary from just famous pop songs all the way through to a vast collection of classics!
KTVs in Zhuhai
Usually it is helpful to get a Chinese friend to help you book a KTV in advance, so that you don’t get there and find it is fully booked!
Below is a list of some of the best KTVs to visit in Zhuhai:
- GTWO 量贩KTV
- 音乐匣子（Yinyuexiazi）- Music Box
Whether you give a heart rending rendition of your favourite ballad or scream into a microphone as you attempt to make up for your lack of pitch, either way it’s going to be a laugh!
Although Christmas in Qingdao is great fun with its Christmas Markets and bright festive lights, one can not help but think of those warm sunny days when the Qingdao Wind wasn’t quite so nail-biting cold! Therefore, if you have a couple of days to take off from your internship, then I would recommend heading down to the Yunnan Province to feel the warmth of the sun again!
After spending a fantastic 5 day Christmas vacation in Kunming and Lijiang. I have put together an action-packed 5-7-day itinerary plan to maximise your holiday:
Day 1: Travelling to Kunming
There are cheap flights from Qingdao to Kunming which can take up to 3-5 hours . Depending on the time you arrive, you can grab a taxi or the airport shuttle bus (25 RMB) to the city centre. Kunming is full of delicious restaurants, and while you are there I would recommend trying these local dishes:
Day 2: The Stone Forest
Some say that heading to Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest is a waste of a trip! The stone forest is a spectacular set of limestone pillars which look like petrified trees! They are part of the world heritage site and is representative of south China’s Karst landscape.
According to legend, the forest is the birthplace of Ashima (阿诗玛), a beautiful girl of the Yi people. After falling in love she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor, and instead turned into a stone in the forest that still bears her name.
There are tour buses which run frequently daily to the Stone Forest, it takes about 2 hours and costs around 25RMB each way.
Day 3: Yunnan Nationalities Kunming, Guandu Ancient Town and Overnight Train
The Yunnan Nationalities Kunming is a must see! With a student card it costs around 90 RMB, and you can learn about the different cultures and 55 nationalities. You also have a chance to ride an elephant, watch performers and dress up in traditional costumes.
If you have time in the afternoon, visit the Guandu Ancient Town. It only takes about an hour to look around, but it is great fun to watch the locals sing and dance. There are lots of souvenirs, interesting buys, good food and snacks in a nice old architectural environment!
At around 9.30pm, take the overnight train to Lijiang. It is great fun especially if you are in a group together! I would recommend getting the soft sleeper bunk beds which costs around 260RMB, although it’s little bit more that other bunks, you are guaranteed a much better sleep! (Saying that, let’s hope you don’t have a baby with a fever in your carriage apartment like we did!)
Day 4: Lijiang Old Town
When you arrive in Lijiang the next day, although there are many fantastic hostels in the Old Town, I cannot recommend the October Inn enough! This hostel is just for international students,the manager Tommy speaks very good English, and I would recommend eating a home-cooked meal with the other guests around the cosy fireplace.
Make sure to go explore the Old Town and the Green lake (Tommy will give recommendations and tips on how to avoid paying tourist fares!) For the evening activities, there are some great bars in the area to go and visit!
Day 5: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Get up early the next day! We enjoyed Tommy’s amazing scrambled eggs with yak butter before boarding the bus for Tiger Leaping Gorge. For more information about this amazing 2-day hike, check out this blog.
As the route is popular, you will begin the walk with a bunch of people of all different ages and backgrounds. The start of the walk flies by as you hear stories of their own experiences and adventures in China. By the time you arrive at the Half-Way hostel, after 6 hours of climbing, battling the 28 turns, and crossing waterfalls, there is a high chance you will have bonded with your fellow hikers!
The Half-Way hostel not only has great food but spectacular views from the hostel dorms. This is where we spent Christmas Eve!
Day 6: The Descent
The next day, you will begin a 2-hour descent down the mountain to Tina’s hostel where your luggage has been kept. If you have time, I would recommend going down the to see the Gorge, before the bus departs back to Lijiang at 15:30. This walk takes approximately 2 hours, it is very beautiful and a cool opportunity to hear the extraordinary loud roar of the river and to climb up steep ladders!
Option: If you have an extra day or so, I would suggest boarding the bus from Tina’s to the Shangri-La area. From there one can either return to Lijiang or travel a little further north and catch a flight back from Dujing Airport. This region reflects the scenery without incurring the cost of entering Tibet!
Once back in Lijiang, take the overnight train back to Kunming. If you are pushed for time, you can take a flight from Lijiang to Qingdao, however, these flights are expensive and aren’t direct.
I can not recommend this trip enough! Even for a short time, it was great to travel to a different Chinese province to experience a different climate, culture and food. If my pictures don’t convince you, then have a look at the warm average temperature for December and January!
Do you feel inspired to travel from Qingdao to Yunnan? Apply now!
This weekend in Chengdu our interns took a visit to the famous Wenshu Monastery. Upon arrival, the beauty of the buildings stunned us. From the towering peace pagoda to the stunning halls, the architecture amazed us all.
Upon entering the monastery, you notice its layout in the traditional Chinese style. Wenshu is made of 5 south facing halls in a row leading up to the stunning main hall at the far end from the entrance. In classic Chinese style there was maintenance underway including this man precariously perched atop scaffolding on wheels using a jet wash to clean the beams.
Having toured the grounds of the monastery we headed outside to an antiques market. Here we found old communist memorabilia, including the famous little red book, and Mao-ist propaganda amongst other treasures. One vendor was sat outside his shop playing his guitar as his dog kept an eye on the passers by.
After looking around the monastery and the antiques market we headed back towards the temple grounds in search of some food.
The surrounding area to the monastery is home to some of the most famous food in Sichuan. Not ones to miss the opportunity to eat, we jumped in the line of a famous restaurant. The restaurant was packed full with no space to sit. Upon ordering our TianShuiMian (this restaurants famous dish) we managed to find a spot to sit and dug into to this amazing delicacy. Our interns loved the sweet and spicy contrast to these amazing hand made noodles!
After sampling this delight we wanted more and headed to another famous spot near the metro station. As is the case with all well-known eateries in China, this place also had a queue out the front. This time we were queuing for Guo Kui. The menu offered Beef, Pork, Pig’s Snout, Pigs Ear, Noodles and other delights to fill this delightful pastry pocket. I personally chose the pig’s snout, which didn’t disappoint.
Having filled our stomachs with great food and our eyes with fantastic scenery we all headed off. On the way back we stopped by Tianfu Square, right in the middle of the city to snap some pictures and take in our surroundings. All in all a great day out!
Interested in visiting Wenshu Monastery and trying some Sichuan cuisine? Apply now!
Arriving in a totally different country can be confusing more many people, both culturally and professionally. Some difficulties will be there, but after 3 months in China I can say that the first 2 weeks were the richest weeks of discovery and experience!
The difficulties encountered during this period not only allow us to develop our problem-solving skills but also make the experience even more exciting!
Before You Arrive
Of course, to avoid some problems on your arrival, it’s sensible to take some steps before your departure:
- Check the dates of your visa to buy your plane tickets. You must always return to your country at least 2 days before the end of the visa.
- Tell your bank about your departure dates and your destination so that your card does not get blocked once in China, which could be very inconvenient! In addition, do not forget to consult your bank regarding withdrawal limits and payment fees. In China you do not pay with your credit card everywhere, you often have to withdraw. Note: with a Visa card, you can’t withdraw from all bank ATMs China.
- Purchase a VPN. Without this, many Western sites will no longer be accessible and it is difficult to download a VPN in China (without access to Google & Google play!)
- Download Baidu, Baidu Maps and Baidu Translate.
- Check the weather in your chosen city to know what to pack, to avoid suffering from cold/ heat and having to buy clothes once you arrive!
- Tip! If you want to control your expenses, do not hesitate to download a currency converter on your phone.
Your First Two Weeks in China
Remember that any problems or difficulties you encounter in China will always have a solution!
I will now quote some of the “classic” difficulties that you will encounter during your first 2 weeks in China, and explain how to overcome these in a simple way!
Lost on the way to your internship?
- On your first trip to work with one of the InternChina members, take pictures of the bus stop / buildings as a landmark.
- Plan the trip on BaiduMaps. You can find a quick tutorial here!
- Contact InternChina if you are really lost or unsure about your orientation. We are here to help you!
Not sure what to do in the office? Very busy colleagues?
- Do some research on the market, the competition and make a list of the new vocabulary you encounter.
- You can then impress your colleagues and managers with your knowledge and show that you are thirsty to learn and be involved!
- Ask what is expected of you and the tasks you will need perform – the Chinese appreciate and encourage proactivity among their employees
Having problems with the language barrier?
- Explain that you are a little “rusty” in the morning (no coffee yet!).
- Ask them to clearly write their request so that you do not forget.
Do not worry, over time you will learn to understand the different accents of your colleagues!
If English isn’t your first language, are you shy because you are not confident?
- Don’t underestimate your English skills and don’t be discouraged. Your English will gradually improve over time and you will become confident very quickly!
- Remember, youu will not be the only non native-English speaker on the spot!
- Feel free to express your lack of confidence if you want to be reassured.
- Nobody will judge you, on the contrary! People are aware that it is not easy for you to start and that you need time to adapt.
Do you have trouble making yourself understood by taxi drivers?
- Take BaiduMaps (tutorial!) and ask your colleagues a few well-known places in the city.
- Add these places to your BaiduMaps favorites and learn to pronounce them in Chinese!
Believe me, this is a good workout! After 2 or 3 tries, the driver will understand you and you will be on your way to independence!
You do not know where to exchange your foreign currency for RMB?
- Simplest option: do this directly upon your arrival in China (at the airport or port). Currency exchange counters will be present.
- If not, ask one of the members of InternChina, they will know how to answer you for sure.
Some counters offer cheap exchange rates, it is sometimes better to compare before making a choice. For advice, contact our team!
Want to meet new people?
- Whether you live in an apartment or a homestay, don’t hesitate to join our dinners on Thursday evening and our activities or trips on weekends. Find out more about our services in Zhuhai here and Qingdao here.
- The other interns also want to make new friends, so don’t be shy! Add the other IC members on WeChat (Wechat tutorial) and get to know them!
- The outings between trainees are numerous, you’ll have many opportunities!
What to eat at the restaurant?
Going to a restaurant can be intimidating when the local language is unknown to us and we can not read or speak it! Fortunately, there are some useful tips:
- If the menu is written exclusively in Chinese and you can not read it, refer to the images to choose your dish.
- If you want to know what you are eating and are ready to learn some basics, here is a very useful blog on how to read a Chinese menu!
I hope these few tips will help you get a glimpse of what awaits you in China and have reassured you about your potential! With some effort, it’s quite possible to overcome any difficulties you may encounter during your first 2 weeks in China. You will come out of this experience bigger and more independent than ever! And don’t forget, our team is available 24 hours a day to answer any problem!
Ready to embark on the InternChina adventure? Click here!
Early on Saturday morning our interns from the Chengdu branch headed out on the train for Leshan. The forecast suggested it would snow; a rare sight in Sichuan Province, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.
After getting off the train at Leshan, we took a short taxi ride to the Leshan Buddha and surrounding area. After paying our admission fee and entering through the gates, the beauty and the attraction on show stunned us!
Whilst it may be expected that it is just the Buddha on show at Leshan, there is in fact a whole array of statues and monuments to be admired. We started by ascending the mountain up to a look out point over the rivers beneath, where there was a fantastic view over the valley below.
After a short walk through a forested area we ended up at a pagoda standing tall at the top of a wide staircase. When we reached the foot of the pagoda we could see a few Buddhists walking around the square base reciting prayers.
We then headed towards the Giant Buddha taking in the sights as we walked through beautiful lily ponds full of Koi fish gracefully gliding through the water. At the head of the Buddha there was a giant bell being rung by a monk to ward off evil.
After briefly pausing at the top of the Buddha we headed towards the temple at the top of the mountain. Inside the temple were lots of people paying their respect to Buddhist figures, burning incense and leaving offerings.
Then it was time for the main event.
The Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha stands a giant 71m tall and looks over the confluence of the rivers Dadu and Min. Which eventually flow in the giant Yangtze river. The Dadu starts its journey in the Tibetan plateau before winding its way through Kanding. Then onto Leshan eventually ending up in the East China Sea. This towering structure was built between 700-803 AD and contains an elaborate drainage system in order to prevent weathering.
After a short fact file by myself to prepare the interns for what was ahead, we made our way to the top of the stairs, which descend down the cliff face beside the Buddha. This allowed us to get a true feeling for the scale of the massive structure. Descending our way down was the perfect opportunity to capture some fantastic pictures before reaching the bottom. We took our time, and stood at the feet of the world’s largest pre-modern statue, capturing some images and enjoying the roars from the rivers below.
Inspired by this adventure? Apply Now!
Written by Sylvia Liu
It’s been a bit over a month now since I first began my internship experience in Chengdu with InternChina, and I can easily say that this experience is definitely one that will be remembered!
Having travelled to many other Chinese cities before, Chengdu is a breath of fresh air; not literally however, but rather in the sense of its pace of life.
Chengdu meanders peacefully through each day; while other cities rush and are filled with spontaneity. That’s not to say Chengdu is less developed economically, quite the contrary! Just as its numerous shopping centres, nightlife and still expanding public transport systems like to prove.
Personally I have found the pace of life charming. I have enjoyed spending my Sundays temple-seeing, sipping tea at monasteries, and nibbling on sunflower seeds while listening to the indistinct chatter of Sichuanese.
Food has also held a prominent role in my time here! You will be hard pressed to find a restaurant who won’t serve at least a bowl of chilli with the famous Sichuan Peppercorns along with your meal.
The old streets of Chengdu, the majority located in the inner South West of the city, are a delight to walk through. There is plenty of opportunity to snack on the delicious street food, while being surrounded by traditional architecture permeating with historical significance.
I believe that there is knowledge that can only be learned from doing an internship in China. In particular cultural proficiency, which is always a handy skill to have even if one does not pursue a career in international business.
Some of the more interesting tasks I’ve done at the company have included researching the potential of incorporating blockchain technology with gaming, as well as game testing for current beta projects.
The employees at the company are all very inclusive, and it is interesting to gain insight into general Chinese organisational culture. The food options available at lunch are an additional highlight of the workday. The local 7-Eleven is frequented often for its lunchtime pick-and-mix boxes!
The people I have met in Chengdu have been the best part of my internship yet. Being able to meet people from all over the world through my internship in Chengdu is something I’m grateful for. I always look forward to spending time with the other interns or going to events organised by InternChina, such as Thursday Dinner, or even weekend activities outside the city.
I can say with no doubt that it is the people I have met here that make this trip the enjoyable experience it has been!
Interested in seeing everything that Sylvia has during her time in Chengdu? Then apply now!
Hello! My name is Anna, and I am from Poland. Last week I started my internship with the InternChina Dalian office, as part of the Bookings and Marketing Team.
I am currently in my third year of Business Management and Chinese at University of Central Lancashire. This year is my year abroad, so I decided to spend it half on studying, half on getting work experience.
My first semester was a Chinese language course at Beijing International Studies University. It was my second time in China, and my second time at BISU! Last year I visited that university for a two weeks long summer language course, and I liked it so much I chose BISU again!
For the work experience part in China, I chose to do my internship with InternChina. As I wanted to put the theory I have learned during my two years of studying into practice, and this internship covers all subjects of my studies, it was the perfect choice!
Dalian vs. Beijing
When I was sure that I want to do my internship with InternChina, I found it difficult to decide on which office I should choose!
I chose Dalian because of its location – at the peninsula with a lot of beaches, places for hiking and greenery, and because of its history. Dalian is definitely a very beautiful city with many cultures mixed up, which can be seen in the architecture and food.
Because of Russian and Japanese occupations, Dalian has many buildings and public places in the style of those countries. Beijing is much more homogeneous in style, thus it has more developed areas with new Western-style buildings along with suburban areas with old, grey and boring blocks.
Food in Dalian is very influenced by Korean, Japanese and Russian cuisine. I really love that variety. But the main cooking style is Shandong cuisine, with the influence of North-Eastern Chinese cuisine. This means there is a huge choice of seafood from casual fish and prawns to more sophisticated (at least for Westerners!) dishes like sea cucumber or sea urchins.
What I really like in Dalian is that it is a much less busy and crowded city than Beijing. On the streets there are much fewer people and cars, and the queues in shops are shorter.
Differences in Beijing and Dalian
One big difference between Beijing and Dalian is the subway link. I am used to travelling everywhere by Beijing subway as it is the most convenient and foreigner-friendly means of transport. On the train, you can see a board with stations in Chinese characters and Pinyin, and which station the train is approaching as well as hearing the announcement in both Chinese and English.
The Dalian subway is not that well-developed, and my apartment is not located near any metro station. But do I have a bus stop very close to my house with busses leaving every couple of minutes. The announcements are all in Chinese, so I have an opportunity to perfect my Chinese listening skills!
I have already fallen in love with the winter scenery of Dalian, with snow and all the colourful lights on buildings at night. However, I am really looking forward to warm days to explore Dalian’s most beautiful places and learn more about culture and history of that city!
If you want to be a part of the InternChina story, why not apply now!