Hi everyone, I’m James from England and I have just started as an intern here at Internchina. This is my first blog and there will be many more to come, I hope you enjoy it! I am carrying on with this weeks theme of business in China, with a focus on 关系 （guanxi).
Most people who have spent any period of time in China will have come across this word, guanxi. The word “guanxi” is used to describe relationships in their many forms, be it between friends, families, businesses etc. In China it is seen as a particularly important concept in order to succeed in whatever you set your mind to; if you have people there to support you in this foreign environment then everything may become slightly more familiar and progress in a smoother way.
Unlike most things in China, guanxi is not something that can be purchased. It is a steady relationship built up over time. By working with people and cooperating together, you may slowly begin to form a bond (This is where being able to speak Chinese may come in handy!) Going out for meals with people you meet, taking them out for drinks, seeing who can drink the most baijiu (very strong Chinese spirits – about 40-60%!), you will slowly form a friendship which one day may come in handy with getting what you want in this foreign environment. You may be introduced to other friends and your contact base could expand tenfold. I assure you being a token foreigner in a Chinese group is an unforgettable experience, and if nothing else it can do great things for your self-esteem!
Networking in this way may be costly and time consuming, but it can also be extremely fun. The rewards you could reap from gaining a lot of “guanxi” will be completely worth the investment of time and money – it could put you in a very comfortable position when trying to find a job, or navigate your way through the Chinese red tape.
A crucial aspect of these relationships you form are that they work both ways. Having Chinese contacts helping you may minimise frustration and disappointment when trying to do business here, but you are also expected to give them something in return. A healthy relationship involves helping each other out in times of need: “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. By doing each other favours your relationship should be long and prosperous!
Spending a period of time in China and working in a Chinese company is the best way to start forming these relationships. By working and socialising with many different people you will have a chance to form these special bonds, which could put you in good sted when trying to find a job in the future. The “guanxi” you gain from an internship in China could sort you out with contacts from across the globe – the world is your oyster!
To gain first hand experience of Guanxi in China, Just send us your application to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you finding an internship in China where you will have the chance to get to know the Chinese Business Culture!
What better way to spend a brisk Saturday morning than a sail around Qingdao coast.
Like a worried mother I texted the interns in the a.m to wear warm waterproof clothes and rubber shoes so as not to slip and catch a cold.
Armed with a scarf, two jackets, sea sickness pills and a hangover we headed down to marina city in Qingdao where our Skipper Summer was waiting for us.
Realising that it was 25 degrees out we felt silly wearing all our layers, so we stowed them below deck and donned our sun tan lotion.
We smashed a champagne bottle and set off! Waving goodbye to the mass of Chinese people looking down to see us off, we all revelled in the sun, laying about deck looking forward to a quiet afternoon drifting on the ocean..
No sooner had we left the safety of the marina when Summer (a former Olympian who competed in the 2008 Beijing games and who still competes at a national level) was barking orders at us to hoist the stern to tack and whittle the spinnaker portside! It was this moment that I then wished I had brushed up on my sailing terminology….
Luckily one of our interns Lasse had some sailing experience so he lept to attention and started pulling on ropes and swashbuckling around the boat, we all looked on thankfully. However, Summer had plenty of jobs to give out; Jenny was in charge of steering, lasse with the main sail, Tine and Mandy taking turns controlling the Spinnaker, myself with the important task of sitting at the front like a fat Kate Winslet to make the boat go faster and Fabian’s job was to curl up in a ball and be sick.
We all knew our roles and did them well.
Once we had whizzed around the bay a couple of times, annoyed a few professional sailors and riding some waves we felt it time to go back. Summer dropped the Spinnaker and the boat cruised slowly back to port, we were taking pictures of the sunset soaked horizon and generally relaxing on the way.
All in all it was a great trip, (nearly) everyone had a wonderful time and we couldn’t have been luckier with the weather… lets hope we can make sailing a regular InternChina event!
So, my trip is a bit less exotic than those of other InternChina members but it is based in Qingdao and consisted of three interns, a long walk and a forbidden giant swan…It all started in May 4th Square where I awaited the interns ‘fashionably’ late arrival.
For some reason I can wander around the main streets of Qingdao with no more than just curious stares coming my way, but as soon as I set foot in the vicinity of this landmark its like no one has seen a westerner before. In the 15 minutes I was waiting I got given a free Chinese flag and been persuaded into posing with at least 8 families, or just their children, for photos. If I had a marker pen I swear I would have given out autographs too!
Meeting with the interns we proceeded to take in the delights of fine Chinese cuisine.. KFC. Whilst sitting in the sun and admiring the dozens of kites littering the sky.
From here we took a short taxi to Badaguan scenic sight (old streets which make you feel like you are in a villa from Captain Corellis Mandolin… just with more Asian people). Then walked down to beach number 2.
This is one of several beaches in Qingdao, and my personal favourite. It is not tooo crowded (by that I mean you can actually see some sand) and is enclosed by lush green trees and overlooked by Huashi Tower (see distance).
After nearly showing off my new fake calvins and running into the warm water for a swim I found a jianbing stand (a much recommended snack in China) where we stopped and ate some more.
Moving along the coast we found a small pavilion overlooking the beach and a woman who looked as if she’d misunderstood the notion of swimwear..
We also noticed people here were walking on water, so we came to the conclusion that they are either wizards, or that there is some sort of underwater walkway… either way we wanted a closer look!
Sadly I didn’t get to meet Gandalf, but I did get to wade out and take these pics.
Not thinking about the sand in my shoes, we followed the villas and walkways in hope of finding another beach..
This is the discovery of ‘Lover’ beach. Aptly named for its attraction to wedded couples.
Without mentioning of how I tried to mount the giant swans back to get a great internchina photo but then being confronted by an angry giant swan owner who only knew the phrases ‘get off a my swan!’ and ‘do you want to buy a giant swan?’, we moved round the coast further round to meet up with the view of Number one beach and the sense that we were not alone in this idea of a trip to the beach….
We found Wally (Waldo for our American cousins or Walter for the Germans) then moved on for a coconut treat.
From here I suggest you carry on walking round the coast past endless stalls of seafood and tat to finally get to XiaoQingDao (‘Little QingDao’, which is an island).
The entrance fee is 10 RMB but if you pay a bit more you can go into the Navy museum and go in a submarine… or you can do as I did and pay the 10 RMB then watch people go in a submarine.
Educational stuff – The Germans built a lighthouse on Little Qingdao Island during their occupation in 1900. It was a restricted military area until 1987. Now it is open for visitors and has a tour around the lighthouse.
The island also has a nice café and a small shop which sells gifts, beer and ice cream (the essentials).
But what makes this island really worth the money is the great panoramic views which are on offer…
This was my little trip during golden week, thanks for reading! I thoroughly recommend anyone in Qingdao or who is coming to walk along this beautiful coast as I did and see what special places you can find.
Note: If you are interested in applying for an internship in China, our team will assist you during your whole application process and stay. We believe, that exploring the Chinese Culture is crucial for understanding your life in China and creates a balance to your hard studies and internship – that’s why we organise regular Cultural and Sports Activities.
It was another sunny day in Qingdao when Jamie Bettles and I went to play football. Armed with a couple of good hangovers and some shinpads we made our way, by bus, to Old town Qingdao (taking 228 bus outside Carrefour) all the way to the last stop. From here we had a two minute walk to Ji Mo Lu. Just behind this maze of shops we found the football stadium.If you like football and you live in Qingdao then this is the team to join. Made up entirely of foreigners Qingdao Waigouren United has been going for years and is somewhere in the rankings of the Qingdao league.
To play you will need to become a member (but this is only a small fee) and get the kit (a little green number). Unfortunately I had neither, but that wasn’t going to stop me from sitting back in the sun and enjoying an afternoon of football and ice cream, all the while cheering on the hometeam outnumbered 20 to 1 by Chinese fans!
So, It was the Waiguo rens VS the Zhongguo rens in an all out 90 minute battle. I will try and dictate the game as exciting and as briefly as I can…..
Starting with only 9 men, the foreigners were already at a disadvantage. However they pulled out all the stops and gave the Chinese a good match, tempers flaring every now and again at a few dubious calls from the ref brought a number of yellow cards..
Disaster struck when the greens conceded their first goal after a free kick from just outside the box
The heat was now on (literally, I was sweating just from watching them!). But then, just before half time, their star forward came strolling into the stadium, not being hurried by his team mates calls, no. 25 calmly drifted into position
The greens started well and looked to score, but then just as China were on the break, their striker slipped on the ball and took a fall… The ref decided it was a foul and gave two more yellow cards.. one for the ‘tackle’ and one for the bad language protest which followed –
Spurred on by the decision, the greens pushed forward and managed to level with a great bottom corner strike from outside the box…. Their happiness was short lived however when a wincing collision between the home striker and our goalkeeper left him down and dazed
After I refused to don the gloves because my Cornetto wouldn’t wait, the greens had to resort to putting one of their defensive line between the poles.
Short at the back and with a shorter man in goal, sadly this lead to the second Chinese score of the day.
Ten minutes left and one goal down, the greens fought valiantly and with one last ditch from our very own Jamie they looked poised to score… A foul on Jamie in the penalty box! Held back and pushed off by 2 defenders deep in the area looked to bring a nailbiting end to the game.
However.. the Chinese ref had obvious allegiance to the nation and called for a free kick from the edge of the box…. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well…
The last free kick of the game curled nicely with power but dinged off the top corner bar and spun away, along with any hopes of retribution.
This really was a game of 2 halves and was very enjoyable to watch, I recommend to any interns who like to play or just want to come and cheer for a bit to come along every Sunday afternoon!
Mid-Autumn Festival, the “Zhongqiu” festival is the one of the traditional family-gathering-days for China. Every 15th, August of the Moon Calendar, Chinese people will gather around and have moon-cakes with their families while enjoying the glorious full moon. Already in 《Rites of Chou》, a chefdoeuvre of Confucianism in Chou Dynasty, has “Zhongqiu” been mentioned.Like other Chinese traditional festival, the mid-autumn festival also has some beautiful tales, among which is the most famous one: Chang e Gone to the moon.
So get ready and have your tissues on standby, I am going to tell you the swooping love story of how the mysterious moon cakes came about!
It is said that in ancient times, there were ten suns hanging in the sky which never set. People got scorched and all crops died because of drought. When only factor 60 could save them, Humanity’s survival hung in the balance. One day a man named Houyi appeared, a great archer and hero. Legend says that he had the power, accuracy and strength only god could give. He climbed to the Mount Kunlun and shot down 9 suns one by one, then he shouted at the last one calling it a naughty sun, making it swear that it would follow the rules set by Houyi to rise at dawn and go down at dusk. After then people finally could live a normal and happy life.
Because of his heroic undertaking, Houyi earned the respect of people and also love. He married a beautiful woman named Chang’e. Loads of people, mostly hunters, came to his house, to learn archery from this legend. Among them was a villain called Pengmeng.
One day, Houyi went out to pay a visit to Mount Kunlun to learn some new techniques from a friend, he met a goddess of the high heaven halfway, who had already heard of his legendary feat. The Goddess gave him an Elixir of Life, which could grant immortality and make one ascend to god, as a reward for his magnificent deeds; however there was only one potion. Houyi didn’t want leave his wife alone in earth and become god alone, so he let Chang’e lock the elixir in his cupboard, and tried his best to earn another one for his wife.
Some days later, Houyi and his apprentices went out to hunt, Pengmeng pretended being sick and stayed at Yi’s house. When they were all gone, Pengmeng threatened Chang’e to make her give up the elixir. Chang’e knew she could not beat Pengmeng, so she ran to the cupboard and drank the potion. Suddenly, Chang’e felt lighter, and rose from ground to float in the air. Slowly, she flew to high Heaven.
When Houyi came home, the maid told him what happened. He felt so sad and cried under the moonlight, suddenly he discovered there was a shadow of his wife in the moon. Since Chang’e also didn’t want to live far from her husband, she chose the moon as her goddess-palace, so she could gaze upon Houyi every night.
So in order to remember his wife, every 15th August , Houyi would set up an alter and put cakes and fruits of Chang’e’s favorites, and crooned of her name. And those people he saved also did so, to give praise and sympathy to this couple.
Gradually, this festival became a family gathering day. And for those who are less fortunate, those who are unable to have reunion, they can still eat the moon-cakes and enjoy watching the full-moon. We believe, since we are watching the same moon, the feelings will be delivered by the moon. Awwwwwwwwww.
Ok, so much for the old book. For our students, Mid-Autumn Festival is a good chance to improve relationships with your host-families. Just have dinner with them and enjoy the feast of moon-cakes (sometimes a little too sweet) under the moonlight. It’s what family-members do. Maybe even think of loved ones back home as you gaze at the sky remembering all the while that we are all under the same moon..
Last weekend was my first time visiting the ‘Old Town’ and was not sure what to expect… hopefully I will give you a little introduction into what to search for there!
First thing to do is get to ZhanQiao (Qingdao’s grand pier), you can easily reach here by taxi or bus (228 for example from opposite Carrefour).
Zhan Bridge has many other names such as Qianhai Zhan Bridge, Nanhai Zhan Bridge and Grand Pier. Located at the coastal area at the southern end of Zhongshan Road, Zhan Bridge is an extension of the road into the sea.
Originally built in 1891 as a naval pier, Zhan Bridge is as old as Qingdao City. During the Qing Dynasty, the imperial envoy Li Hongzhang once came to Qingdao to inspect the local development. At that time, Qingdao was just a small fishing village, which couldn’t house the big official ship of Li Hongzhang so the pier was built.
Back then the pier was small. But now, Zhan Bridge is a famous scenic spot thanks to the renovation in recent years. It is 440-meter (1444-foot) long and 10-meter (33-foot) wide with giant granite supports. Lotus-shaped lamps provide illumination and decoration. At the south end of the bridge is a Chinese style octagon pavilion standing in contrast to European buildings in the background
It is also interesting to note that this is the scene from all those Qingdao beer bottles we all love 😛
From here we walked up the road to find St. Michaels Cathedral..
This huge Cathedral is located in the oldest part of Qingdao, at 15 Zhejiang Road, on the east side of Zhongshan Road in Shinan District. Built by German missionaries, the cathedral stands at the top of a hill in the center of the old German-built part of the city. It is the largest example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the province, resembling a German cathedral of the 12th century… Worth a visit… even just to see all of the pre wed couples having their photos taken in the square in front.
Just down the road is Ji Mo Lu.. this is where the fun starts because this awesome centre of shops is home to a whole range of interesting, counterfeit designer goods and novelties, where bartering is the name of the game.
Spanning at least 5 huge floors you can find pretty much anything for pretty much any price!
So, if you want to get the right price then follow my foolproof steps –
Jacks sacred six step plan to haggling:
1. First choose the item you like, check its quality, then ask the vendor how much it is (duo shao qian?)
2. Politely laugh at the price they tell you.
3. Offer something around ten percent lower than what you would be happy paying for it, which coincidentally will probably be ten percent of what they originally price the item at! This way you will have a bit of wiggle room.
4. You will then be locked in to the ancient ritual of the haggle where the vendor will most likely huff and puff, moan and tap at the calculator saying all the time that this is their best price. You will be repeating ‘tai gui le’ for good measure.
5. Do not be fooled. Be cheeky, smile and don’t take it seriously. To get the very best prices you will need to pretend to slowly walk away at least once.. twice to boot 😉 all the time saying ‘dui bu qi.. zai jian’
6. With a bit of luck, the vendor will chase you and agree to the lower price and the deal is done.. sometimes though you may just be left walking away. But then you just keep your head up and go to the next stall.. which is most likely selling exactly the same stuff and the game starts again 😛
Some useful phrases to bare in mind when negotiating –
• Rang wo xiang yi xia – let me think about it for a second
• Tai gui le – too expensive
• Qing gei wo pian yi yi dian(r) – please make it a little cheaper
• Ni shi wo peng you – you are my friend
• Wo shi da xue sheng, wo mei you qian – I am a student, I have no money
• Wo zhi you xxx kuai – I only have xxx yuan
• Wo yao song gei zhi ge wo nai nai/ma ma. Qing bang wo – I want to give it as a present to my gran/mother. Please help me < — pulls on their emotional strings
• Zai jian – Good bye
These are a few of the things I bought there – the beads were 10 yuan (1 euro), the purse 10 yuan and the designer leather belt.. 40 yuan (4 euro). So not a bad haul overall!
Hope you enjoy these sights, there is so much more to see in Old Town so I will keep you updated on my adventures there!
My name is Jack Fairhead and I am the new trainee office manager for InternChina’s Qingdao branch, Just started working at the office this week so this short blog is just to introduce myself but don’t worry, in the near future there will be plenty of more interesting blogs from me to read!
So, I am 24 years old and I come from the UK (Wales to be precise) and have just finished studying a Masters degree from Manchester University in Chinese business and management. Deciding to start my career in China (where better to start!?).
< – – – That’s me 🙂
After arriving early Saturday evening in Qingdao from a long and arduous 25 hour, triple flight, journey I met with the other InternChina office workers who proceeded to show me the delights of street bbq and the potent attractions of LPG bar. After which I stumbled back across the city in search of my apartment (which I had only briefly seen earlier that night), a few wrong turns, an angry old woman and 4 buildings later, I found it.
My flat is very modern and furnished, with a large bedroom (complete with airconditioning), living room (with a big tv), bathroom (with two showers!!) and kitchen (now stocked with noodles and cookies). These small comforts make it easy to live in such a new and alien city.
My first few days at the office have been very busy but I enjoy meeting new people and definitely can’t complain about my awesome fellow InternChina workers……
Or the weather and window view…
Can’t wait to get out and explore this amazing city and share many adventures with our interns!
Right, I think that’s enough about me for now but watch this space for exciting new topics!
I look forward to meeting all of our current interns soon and welcome any new ones to Qingdao in the future!
Zai Jian 🙂
For those of you lucky people of the south, (and possibly the Qingdao ren who can make it down for the trip) you’re in for one of the best photo trips of your time in China: Guilin
Go West Young Man:
Most commonly found on the back of your pocket variety 20kuai note, (but also in North West of Hong Kong). The limestone karst hills were formed over 2million years ago when the ocean slowly receded from the area. Today the landscape presents a collage of countless rice paddies and slow streams. It also presents photo opportunities that will have your friends and family convinced you were really in China immersing yourself, not just familiarizing your palate with baijiu and tsingdao.
How to Make Friends and Influence People:
Notable culinary souvenirs to try, buy and share with co-workers the following monday are the rice white wine (three flower liquor), the chilli sauce and the pickled tofu. Your laoban will pat you ever so gently on the back.
A Note on Nightlife and Dog Meat:
After a day of exploring and group amblings around the sites, there may well be opportunity for “some few drinks” and people watching in the Zhengyang Walking Street.
Most trips we don’t get to branch out beyond our own intern-circle, but to make things interesting the first person to be called “gou rou” or dog meat (the honoured term of affection for friends used in Guilin) by a new local friend, get’s free drinks the whole night. And complementary sunglasses and electrolyte-rich drink the next day.
Living with a Chinese host family is not only a unique chance to explore Chinese culture, it also gives you the chance to find new friends and practice Chinese with native speakers. At the end of the day, it is in your hands how far you want to adapt to the Chinese lifestyle!
Today I would like to explore eight good reasons (“8” is the lucky number in China) for choosing a homestay. Nevertheless, I want to be realistic at the same time and discuss a variety of points which should be considered as well before making a decision.
8 Reasons Why
1. Making friends by being part of a Chinese family
2. Practicing Chinese language skills
3. Experiencing daily life in China
4. Learning more about my own culture
5. Understanding Chinese people makes you more confident in business contexts
6. Amazing Chinese food
7. Cheaper lifestyle
8. Help you to adapt to daily life and get shown around the city
1. Making life-long friends
In China traditionally family life is of high importance for Chinese people. In former times it was the ideology of Confucianism which laid out the rules for a harmonious family life. Nowadays it is the One-Child-policy which turns a kid into the center of the family’s attention. A harmonious family life and a good relationship between husband and wife are still important values for Chinese families. Consequently, you will be integrated in daily life not only as a guest, but as a real family member; a daughter, a son, a brother or a sister!
This is the unique chance to explore Chinese everyday life in as much detail as possible, make new friends and gain a second family in China! Sometimes participants even get taken away on weekend trips to mountains or even to other cities as part of the family. If the family has a kid, then the parents will probably ask you to help the kid with homework when possible.
Chinese people in general are really friendly and very curious about foreign cultures. So, they will always try to live a harmonious life with you and integrate you the best they can.
2. Practicing Chinese
If you have come to China to learn and improve your Chinese skills, you might soon realize that the Chinese you learn in the classroom differs from the vocab that you would use in daily life in China.
Living with a Chinese family can help you with improving your Chinese skills. Even if you don’t speak any Chinese before your arrival, you will have the chance to learn some “survival” Chinese during your homestay. Every family who takes part in an “InternChina” homestay programme will have at least one family member who speaks English. Chinese people love teaching their mother tongue and won’t miss a chance to help you improve your language skills.
3. Experiencing daily life in China
Where better than in a family to immerse yourself in the local culture? Our unique homestay programme enables you to experience the life of Chinese people. Some families might take you out to dinners, some cook at home every day. Others might take you to Buddhist temples or Catholic church services. You will take part in big family dinners or get to know about Chinese weddings. Most likely you will sooner or later end up in a Chinese KTV (Karaoke) or in a foot massage place. You will see how much time Chinese invest in working, how much they enjoy shopping or how they motivate their children to study hard in order to do the best in school.
4. Learning more about yourself and your culture
However, you might realize during your stay that the Chinese culture is totally different from what you are used to live in the West. When asked about the most important thing students learned from their InternChina homestay programme, the most common answer is “patience”. Among others, patience is one character trait that we as Westerners usually lack. If there is one best place to learn it, it is a Chinese family.
You will realize that life in the West is not “better” or “more developed”, it is just different from China. On the other hand, you might be surprised that many things actually seem to be the same as back home. Either way, improving your awareness of the differences between Chinese and Western culture you will have the chance to learn a lot about intercultural communication and about yourself.
5. Understanding the culture and being more confident in business situations
If you are also taking part in our internship programme, you might be interested to see how Chinese people behave in business contexts. How do they negotiate? Which is the best way to approach a proposal? Is it really more difficult in China to address problems directly – as we might do in Western countries? How easy is it to make friends with your colleagues? By staying with a host family, you’ll learn more about how to interact in an appropriate way.
You might find the difference, that Chinese people are not always so indirect as we expect them to be – especially not when they consider you as a family member. However, it would be better to be careful about relating the behavior of Chinese people in private context to behavior in business related contexts. When Chinese are with family they are much more relaxed and informal; and address certain topics much more directly as they would ever do it at work.
Nevertheless, by knowing that Chinese people can act more informal than they would do when they meet you as a business partner or colleague, is already pretty helpful to act more confident in a business related context.
6. Enjoying tasty Chinese food
Before coming to China, you might already have tried “egg fried rice” or “sweet ‘n’ sour chicken” from the “Chinese restaurant” around the corner. As you may know already, this is only a small corner of what Chinese cuisine has to offer.
When you take part in the Homestay you will have the chance to try delicious local dishes like “gala” (clams with Chili, ginger & garlic) or “jiaozi” (dumplings with pork & cabbage). Most likely, your host-family will introduce you to the secrets of home-made Chinese food, which is usually very healthy and nutritious. Nowadays a lot of families are busy with work, not all of them cook every day. So it might be that they will take you out to restaurants from time to time, depending on their financial situation.
To sum up, no matter where you will try the Chinese food, be aware that you will need to eat a lot. 🙂
7. Living a cheaper lifestyle
Living with a family often means fewer temptations to blow your budget! In the end, students who try to adapt to the family’s rhythm and take part in family activities will enjoy their time much more too. At the same time, it is only fun if you are ready to embrace the challenge to share your life with them.
8. Helping you with daily life in China
Finally, when you first arrive in China, the number of people, all the cars, the shops and the size of places can be overwhelming. If you don’t speak any Chinese it might be difficult for you in the beginning to get around independently.
A Chinese family can be really helpful in assisting you with your daily life in China. Things like buying train tickets or getting to know the local tourist spots. Some host families might take you to hidden underground shopping malls, others might prefer to introduce you to their family in the countryside.
Whichever part of China you get to know this way, it will be exciting and different experience!
To sum up, there are lots of good reasons to live in a host family. Have they convinced you to take part in one for your China programme? Before committing, it is always a good thing to ask yourself whether you feel ready for the challenge. If the answer is “yes” and you want to start your unique adventure, then let us know!
Hope to see in China soon!