An introduction to China
Keen to learn more about China before carrying out your internship? We have picked out some of the best social media accounts and websites for learning about China, its language, culture and travel destinations! We have also chosen a couple of city-specific accounts if you are struggling to choose which city to do an internship in or want to find out more about the destination you have picked.
Looking for fun and easy ways to learn Chinese – take a look at the accounts below!
The Instagram account han_characters makes Chinese characters easier to remember by creating drawings of them. Each post shows a single character as a picture and explains the different words that that character features in with example sentences. Not only does this make learning Chinese easier, especially if you have a picture memory, it also helps you to understand the meaning of single characters which helps in learning multi-character words. Your time on social media can be made productive by learning Chinese just scrolling through Instagram!
Check out their Instagram here
The Chairman’s Bao
The Chairman’s Bao has abridged news articles in Chinese which you can filter according to HSK level. The website and app have a built-in dictionary and keywords and grammar points are listed at the end of every article. You can read sample articles for free, but to access all their language resources you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. However, the blog section is free and offers good tips and advice for learning Chinese, as well as articles about Chinese culture and news.
Travel in China
Want some inspiration of where to travel to China? Follow these accounts to see some incredible photography of China’s gorgeous landscapes, historic sites and cityscapes.
This account collates photos from around China and provides a description of the location, including an explanation about the place’s history and geography.
Check out their Instagram here
Nathan Ackley is a photographer based in Shanghai and Taiwan and the majority of his photos document these two places. He captures the buzzing cosmopolitan life in Shanghai, as well as beautiful temples and traditional buildings.
Check out his Instagram here
The account provides awe-inspiring photographs of life in rural China with short extracts explaining their background. It is summarised by their bio: “you know the city, now get to know the country – see how China’s other half lives”.
Check out their Instagram here
News about China
Sixthtone offers news and investigatory stories about China which you may not find in the mainstream news. The stories are split into five sections, based on the Chinese language’s five tones: rising tones, half tones, deep tones, broad tones and vivid tones. Each offers a different perspective on news and life in contemporary China. Sixthtone’s articles, photography and videos cover a wide scope of issues including social trends, economic development and life in rural areas. The weekly summary of China’s Week in Photos provides an insight into the hugely varied events and developments going on in China.
Follow China Daily if you want to keep up-to-date with national news and understand a Chinese perspective on international news stories.
Scan the QR code below to follow their WeChat account
This Instagram account uses pictures to convey the cultural differences between China and the West which are based on the illustrator’s experience of being a Chinese person living in the West. They may help prepare you for some of the cultural differences you will experience in China and resonate with you if you have spent time in China before!
Check out their Instagram here
Chengdu Expat’s WeChat and Facebook account lists recent news and upcoming events in Chengdu. Look here for all the best business, cultural and nightlife events, as well as some discounts and deals. The Instagram account also features a variety of pictures showcasing life in Chengdu which will give you an idea of what you might see, do and eat while you’re here!
sheleads is an international network for professional females in Chengdu and offers a mentorship programme and listing of events which focus on female empowerment and feature women. In 2019, they organised a Female Week and launched a podcast.
Follow them on Wechat: sheleads
discoverzhuhai showcases the local sites of Zhuhai and the surrounding region.
Check out their Instagram here
This new account started by an InternChina intern shows the vast range of delicious food available in Zhuhai with their locations listed. With zhuhaieater’s help, you will never go hungry in Zhuhai again!
Check out their Instagram here
This account targeted at expats lists upcoming events in Qingdao and information about the city.
Check out their Instagram here or follow them on WeChat: redstarqd
The official tourist account for Qingdao offers snapshots of its scenery throughout the seasons.
Check out their Instagram here
Unfortunately, Dalian is currently lacking any English language accounts but check out InternChina’s blog section about Dalian to learn more about previous interns’ experience here and maybe you will be inspired to start an account during your placement!
Get in touch:
As is often the case during the transition of relocating abroad, one of the most daunting factors within this process can be the change in diet. Coming towards the end of my second month here in Chengdu and third year collectively in China I can safely say that it is indeed that little bit of comfort in the form of a meal that offers that much needed taste of home. Therefore, as a self-confessed ‘foodie’ to make life a little easier I am going to layout where I feel are the best places to go, how to get there and how they compare in terms of price and quality:
Peter’s Tex Mex
Although this is possibly the oldest and one of the most well-known western food chains in Chengdu as well as Beijing, do not be fooled by the fact that there are several locations across the city. This was in fact the first place I visited for a western meal and I can honestly say that I left needing to be carried home bearing a full smile which is a rarity. From nachos, to pizza, to Mexican food and even all things sweet I was very impressed with the quality and variety of food here which came to roughly 400 RMB between me and a friend allowing us to have a nice banquet. If you are keen on a tipple, there are also some western lagers and the freshly made margaritas pack a real punch!
12 East Tongzilin Rd/桐梓林东路12号
To say these burgers are good is an understatement. Out of my three years in China, the burger selection is definitely one of the best I have ever had. Redbeard (an American expat) sources high quality ingredients (Aussie beef namely) for his seriously decadent menu that plates up everything from gargantuan buffalo burgers to classic beef delights layered in different kinds of cheese. He also offers seriously decadent smothered fries and you can wash them down with craft beers.
I find it hard to pick a favourite (although the ‘mutton chops’ comes close) and I’ve tried a fair few. The burgers are definitely on the pricy side but you really know where your money goes – servings are huge and quality is outstanding. They are also now available for delivery !
29 Zijing Donglu, Chengdu/成都紫荆东路29号
Although this is quite a popular chain across China, I feel that avocado and brunch is continuing to prosper amongst us and it is on that basis that Wagas deserves a try as well as the reasonable prices. To put it simply, the elegance and nostalgia associated with a poached egg done properly when thousands of miles away from home really is a welcomed luxury over here, especially when factored in with the ‘lighter’ choices including kale, feta, and so on for the more health conscious.
Located in the scenic area of TaiKoo Li, Wagas offers the chance to sit back, relax and take in the wonderful surroundings with the outside seating area and a wide selection of juices to compliment it !
TaiKoo Li Chengdu, L1/ 1345 中纱帽街8号成都远洋太古里L1 – 1345
Mike’s Pizza Kitchen
No matter where you are from and where you may be in the world, I think it is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of us all speak the language of ‘pizza’ due to the liberty of adding your own personal touch. At Mike’s, not only do you get the option of base, toppings, sauce and so on but every single element is of the highest quality.
The quality is in fact so good that you will be unable to eat here without a prior reservation and can only order delivery at an allocated time relative to your location. Nevertheless, when in Chengdu if you’re talking pizza then you must be talking Mike’s because I am yet to have tried one as good in the UK, let alone China.
4 Tongzilin Lu Ste. 7/桐梓林路4号附7号 – Just look for the Big, Blue “M”
“From the Heart of Tuscany to the tastebuds of Chengdu” is a perfect fit for the motto of this wonderful restaurant as you are taken on a culinary journey from the southwest to the more hills of Tuscany. This is nicely complimented by an array of stunning Italian wines that also reside there in the form of Bucciano’s own “The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne” brand.
As I’m sure you can imagine, although the choice of food and wine is endless rest assured that the majority of dishes are served with a generous lashing of Tuscany’s finest extra virgin olive oil coupled with traditional bread and vegetables to tick you over while you take in the ambience. From pizza to pasta, meat or seafood- you will not be disappointed !
314 Block 3, Building B, Poly Center, 1 Jinxiu Road, Wuhou District ( Near to the Ping’an Bank, Yulin, North Kehua Road)/ 锦绣路1号保利中心B座3楼314室(玉林、桐梓林、科华北路、武侯区、平安银行附近)
Check out the full gallery below !
Interested ? – 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!
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!
As you may know, in China food is one of the most important things! Indeed, sharing a meal is a social opportunity that is loved across China. However, reading a Chinese menu can seem intimidating.
At InternChina we love food too – check out this blog in order to know more about how we help you to explore Chinese cuisine. If you have never tried Chinese food before, don’t worry, you’ll definitely experience this soon enough!
And fear not, this article is here to hopefully help you understand a Chinese menu, so you can order yourself and impress your Chinese colleagues and friends!
The Chinese language may appear to be the most difficult language in the world at first, as we are not used to the Chinese characters. But don’t be intimidated! This ancient language is following a certain logic – as soon as you understand the logic, you’ll be able to read a Chinese menu without a doubt!
To avoid giving you a long history lesson, let’s just say that originally all Chinese characters were created using pictures, and were developed into the calligraphic style that we see today through several different steps.
History of Chinese Characters
Let me show you the evolution of the Chinese character for “horse” – if you don’t want to order this kind of dish, just look for it in a Chinese menu!
Now that you can understand how the Chinese characters work, just use your imagination and it will be way easier to read a menu! Let me show you some examples of the main ingredients you’ll find in a Chinese menu.
Meat on the Menu
These are basically the most common kinds of meat you’ll find on a menu in China. While horse meat isn’t that popular, in some places donkey meat is! Therefore, for donkey meat dishes you will have the character for horse, and one other symbol that looks similar to the tall ears of the donkey! So a donkey is a horse with tall ears, easy to remember- right? Can you find two more very similar characters? When you understand that the Chinese language is logic, it seems less and less hard, right?
After most of those characters in a Chinese menu you’ll see “肉-rou” that means “meat”.
Vegetables on the Menu
Obviously, the Chinese language can’t always be explained by pictures, but you can still see the logic behind the characters.
Let’s look at “potato” as an example. “Tu” means “earth“, and “dou” means “bean“. A potato is a bean that comes from the earth – easy!
Another interesting story can be found with “tomato.” Tomatoes weren’t originally found in China, they were imported. So in the Chinese name for tomato we have: “Xi” meaning “West“, “Hong” meaning “Red“, and “Shi” meaning “Persimmons“. Can you guess why? Because a tomato looks like a “red-persimmon imported from the West”! Clever, right?
“Bai” means “white” and “Cai” means vegetable, so the white vegetable is also know as the delicious Chinese cabbage! The easiest way to remember a Chinese character is to make a story from the shape of the character, or ask your Chinese friends to explain the character to you!
These are the main characters you’ll see in the dishes, so you’ll see if you are going to eat soup or some noodles.
Just one thing to remember about rice, restaurants commonly use “米饭” or just “饭” – character FAN– for rice. And a funny tip about “egg”- “dan” means egg, but in Chinese you’ll always call it a “Chicken egg”.
For the soup “tang” can you see the three dots on the left hand-side ? Looks like drops of water, right? Exactly! That’s the way of describing an object or dish with water inside, so now you all know that there is water in the soup now!
Our Favourite Dishes
Now that we’ve showed you the main characters you’ll see in a Chinese menu, let’s give you some more tips and the names of our favourite dishes!
These might take some more imagination to remember, as it won’t be as easy as the characters for various animals which were very close to the actual picture of the animal. However, these cards will be super useful while reading a Chinese menu. And, you can also show them in the restaurants if you can’t find them on the Chinese menu!
Don’t hesitate to choose those dishes if you see them on a Chinese menu, they’re delicious!
You can find the two first ones in every Halal restaurant, also known in Chinese as “Lanzhou Lamian, “and you can recognise these restaurants by the characters on the outside door: ‘兰州拉面‘. And the other dishes are found in any typical Chinese restaurant!
- XiHongshi Chao Jidan: Egg and tomato with rice.
- Jidan Chao Dao Xiao Mian: Fried egg, vegetables and cut noodles (this might be little spicy in some places!)
- Feng Wei Qie Zi : Fried aubergines.
- Tang Cu li Ji: Sweet and sour pork.
- Gan bian Da tou Cai : “Big head vegetable!” This will be some delicious Chinese cabbage and spicy sauce.
- Gong Bao Ji Ding : Chicken, peanuts and veggies, with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Please Don’t Forget!
Here some tips, that may save you one day – who knows!
- If a character has 月 on the left-hand side it is likely to be some sort of guts/intestines/belly/insides, i.e. run in the opposite direction!
- Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Then always avoid meals with this character “肉“, as this is “rou“, which means “meat.”
- Allergic to peanuts? This is the character you need to avoid : “花生“, pronounced “huasheng.”
- If you can’t eat spicy food, avoid this red one! “La” “辣” means spicy.
There is different kind of spicy food that our interns in Chengdu will be pleased to try! When you see those characters : 麻辣 be ready to experience some tingling and numbing sensation.
Don’t hesitate to ask our staff members on place to help you out with the pronunciation, or if you need any help ordering your food!
Did this help to convince you that living in China isn’t that difficult? Well then, you just need to apply now!
One of the most notable differences between Chinese and Western cuisine is breakfast. When most westerners think of breakfast, images of toast, cereal, pastries, eggs, bacon, orange juice and coffee come to mind. In China, breakfast is a whole different ball game. A major difference in Chinese cuisine is the lack of dairy. Milk, cheese, butter and yogurt are not staples in Chinese cuisine and often aren’t readily available in smaller markets and grocery stores. So many Western breakfast staples aren’t eaten often here. Chinese breakfast is usually savory and people don’t shy away from stronger flavors such as preserved eggs, pickles, and spicy oil to eat first thing in the morning. Many people go out for breakfast and grab a quick bite to eat on the way to work or school. Street vendors will open up early to sell their goods to passing commuters – always at a very cheap price!
Below I’ve listed some of the most common breakfast foods in our cities. This, however, is only a sampling of what options are out there – especially for the more adventurous eaters. So get your taste buds ready, and before you know it you will be a Chinese breakfast convert!
粥 Zhōu (Congee)
Zhōu (congee) is a popular breakfast dish, which can be eaten all over China, but especially in southern China. Usually made of rice, although there are variations made with cornmeal, millet, sorghum, etc., zhōu is similar to oatmeal or porridge. Zhōu, however, is not sweetened and instead of adding sugar or fruit as a topping, popular toppings include zhàcài (pickled vegetables), salted eggs, soy sauce, and bamboo shoots to name a few. Yóutiáo, (long, deep fried dough) is often served as an accompaniment to zhōu.
馒头 Mántou (Steamed Buns)
Another very popular breakfast food in China is mántou. The classic mántou is white and made from wheat flour, though they come in various shapes and forms. Fresh from the steamer, mántou are soft and pillowy, and make for a great breakfast or midday snack. In northern China, often times mántou will be served with a meal instead of rice, and grilled mántou are one of my favorite street barbecue items.
包子、饺子 Bāozi, Jiǎozi (Steamed Bao, Dumplings)
Dumplings are also a classic Chinese breakfast. Bāozi are large steamed dumplings you can eat straight out of your hand. They are usually filled with minced meat or vegetables, though some have sausage, egg and other goodies inside. Jiǎozi are smaller steamed or boiled dumplings you eat with chopsticks and dip into a vinegar and soy sauce mixture – and of course as much spice as you want.
煎饼 Jiānbǐng (Fried Pancake Wrap)
Jiān bǐng is a common breakfast food that is popular all over China. Similar to a French crepe, jiān bǐng are always made to order, and usually filled with egg, hoisin sauce, chili paste, scallions and báocuì (fried, crispy cracker).
肠粉 Chángfěn (Rice Noodle Roll)
Chángfěn is found in southern China – more specifically in the Guangdong province, and is definitely a staff favorite here in InternChina. For those lucky enough to be in Zhuhai, every morning you will walk past huge trays of steaming metal contraptions, with cooks churning out chángfěn faster than you can blink. Chángfěn is made from rice milk that is mixed with minced pork and egg, then steamed on large metal sheets. The resulting steamed rice noodle is then scraped onto a plate and covered in sweet soy sauce. Chángfěn may not sound appealing, and it definitely doesn’t win a beauty award, but is by far one of the best breakfast foods to be found in China! So if you’re coming to Zhuhai, make sure to give it a try.
And of course, no breakfast is complete without a cup of dòujiāng (豆浆), fresh warm soy milk, to go along with it!
An estimated 33% of the world’s population (give or take) use chopsticks on a daily basis. For the hungry first time user, guzzling down your meal with two small wooden sticks can be a real challenge. Chopsticks might seem tricky to master and somewhat unnecessary for those of us that grew up with a plastic knife and fork in hand, so why have they come to dominate the culinary habits of much of Asia?
Chopsticks are over 5000 years old, long sticks of bamboo were first used to retrieve morsels of food from cooking pots on the fire. Later on, evidence of chopsticks used as table utensils emerged as far back as 500-400 AD. It’s said the spread of popular chopstick use across China was down to population boom and fuel shortages; food was chopped into smaller pieces in an attempt to make the meagre rations go further (thus eliminating the need for knives at the table). Whatever the reason, people in Japan and Korea soon followed the trend not far behind!
The ultimate legend of Chinese culture Confucius (or debatably perhaps his disciple Mengzi) added his own two cents on the matter too, which always helps. Apparently a firm believer that “the honourable and upright man keeps well away from both slaughterhouse and kitchen, and allows no knives on his table.” 有名望的和正直的人要远离屠场和厨房。
FUN FACT: Did you know that Confucius was a vegetarian?
I’m not ashamed to admit that after 3 years in China, I am a total convert. Using chopsticks makes me appreciate my food more. Whatsmore, the sociable side to Chinese dinning, sharing and array of mouth-watering dishes, picking out tasty tit-bits from any dish at will, never gets old.
So here goes, top facts you should know about different types of chopsticks:
THE CHINESE CHOPSTICK
Typically unfinished wood, slightly rectangular top with a cylindrical blunt end. Doesn’t roll off the table so easily and more surface area means you’ve got a higher chance or transferring those tasty morsels all the way from the middle of the table right to your bowl!
FUN FACT: It’s a faux-pas to tap your chopsticks on the edge of your bowl, as this is what beggars do to attract attention.
THE JAPANESE CHOPSTICK
Traditionally lacquered wood or bamboo, with a rounded top and a pointy end that’s perfect for de-boning fish. They’re a little bit smaller than the Chinese equivalent and you often find red pairs for the ladies and black ones for the gents.
FUN FACT: Never stick your chopsticks vertically into your rice bowl, it’s reminiscent of incense sticks at a funeral.
THE KOREAN CHOPSTICK
The shortest model of the three, Korean chopsticks are usually stainless steel and flat or rectangular shaped. Potentially more hygienic but it definitely makes it harder to get a grip on your food!
FUN FACT: The king used pure silver chopsticks which would change colour if they came in contact with certain poisons. The people started using metal chopsticks to emulate him.
Anyway, hope this can inspire you to pick up a pair of chopsticks and come to China yourself. Even if you struggle to start with new chopstick inventions are coming up every day, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest ‘Chork’ on the market!
Ein Praktikum in China! Erfahrungen sammeln, einen Fuß in die Arbeitswelt setzen, echte Businessluft schnuppern. Klingt nach der perfekten Gelegenheit, eine spannende Zeit im Ausland zu verbringen und so ganz nebenbei auch den Lebenslauf mit einer wirklich erstklassigen Erfahrung aufzupolieren und aus der Masser hervorzustechen? Ist es auch! Also nichts wie ab in den Flieger nach… Peking? Hong Kong? Shanghai? Nein!!! Ihr wollt doch aus der Masse hervorstechen? Dann auf nach Chengdu!
Wenn man an China denkt, ist Chengdu wohl nicht gerade eine der ersten Städte, die einem in den Sinn kommt, egal, ob man nur eine Urlaubsreise in das Reich der Mitte unternehmen will oder sich ins Berufsleben stürzen möchte. Der eine oder andere hat vielleicht schon einmal von Chengdu gehört, einer Stadt, in der jedes Jahr mehr neue Firmen gegründet werden als kaum irgendwo anders in China, und in der Top Politiker wie Angela Merkel oder Barack Obama regelmäßig gern gesehen Gäste sind.
Wenn es um ein Praktikum geht, denken die meisten allerdings eher an die „big four“- Peking, Shanghai, Guangzhou oder Shenzhen. Was aber macht Chengdu, die 14 Millionen Einwohner Hauptstadt der Sichuan-Provinz, so besonders?
Ganz einfach: Im Gegensatz zur hektischen, angespannten und oft auch recht düsteren Atmosphäre stark westlich ausgerichteter Metropolen wie Shanghai ist das Leben in Chengdu nicht nur sehr entspannt, man bekomt auch einen Einblick in das „echte“ China in einer Stadt, die das authentische chinesische Alltagsleben in allen Facetten wiederspiegelt. Die Einheimischen sind extrem freundlich, hilfsbereit und lassen sich durch nichts aus der Ruhe bringen. Über Ausländer geraten sie meist hellauf in Begeisterung und somit ist es nicht schwer, in Chengdu chinesische Freunde zu finden, die einen oftmals schon bei der ersten Begegnung zu einer ihrer Lieblingsbeschäftigungen einladen: essen! Denn Chengdu ist nicht nur für seine Pandas und deren niedlichen Nachwuchs berühmt, der es jedes Jahr weltweit auf die Titelseite verschiedener Zeitugen schafft, oder für das größte Gebäude der Welt, in dem man wohnen, shoppen, eislaufen oder sogar faul am Strand liegen kann, sondern vor allem für seine erstklassige Küche! Ihr esst Zuhause regelmäßig oder wenigstens ab und zu beim Chinesen um die Ecke und liebt vor allem Glückskekse und gebackene Bananen? Dann werdet ihr hier eine große Überraschung erleben! Denn obwohl man uns im Westen oftmals glauben machen will, dass Glückskekse am Ende eines authentischen chinesischen Mahls kaum wegzudenken sind, hat hier in China tatsächlich kaum einer davon je gehört. Und auch, was uns im Westen als chinesisches Essen verkauft wird, ist oftmals extrem an unseren westlichen Gaumen angepasst und wird wohl kaum der einzigartigen Vielfalt der traditionellen südchinesischen Küche gerecht.
Zu jeder Tages- und Nachtzeit kann man in Chengdu in einem der zahlreichen Restaurants für wenig Geld gutes Essen für alle Geschmäcker bekommen. Street Barbecue, der Teigtaschenladen um die Ecke, dein persönlicher Obst-und Gemüsestand direkt vor der Haustür… Verhungern wirst du hier wirklich nicht! Wer sich nicht danach fühlt, nach einem Besuch in einem der zahlreichen Restaurants oder Dessertläden selbst geringste Entfernungen zu Fuß nach Hause zurückzulegen, kann jederzeit ein Taxi nehmen und sich selbst bei einer Fahrt von einer halben bis Dreiviertelstunde für weniger als fünf Euro direkt bis vor die Haustür kutschieren lassen. Denn Chengdu ist, im Gegensatz zu Shanghai oder Peking, nicht nur viel übersichtlicher, sondern auch erheblich günstiger und eine clevere Wahl für jeden, der die Reisekasse etwas schonen möchte.
Was die Stadt sonst noch zu bieten hat? Zahlreiche grüne Parks, in denen man spazieren und sich vom Großstadtleben zurückziehen kann, traditionelle Tempel und jahrtausendealte Kulturstätten, für deren Besichtigung man oftmals sogar nicht einmal Eintritt zahlen muss, die weltberühmte Sichuanoper mit dem traditionallen Maskenwechseln, die allerseits beliebte Pandaaufzuchtstation, in der sowohl große als auch kleine Pandas beheimatet sind, etliche Berge, heiße Quellen und Sehenswürdigkeiten in der Umgebung, zu denen man oft bereits einen Tagesausflug machen kann, und vieles vieles mehr. Neugierig geworden? Dann kommt her und überzeugt euch selbst vom easy going lifestyle einer der lebenswertesten Städte Chinas!
You think this is weird? Welcome to China!
When I talk to my family and friends back home, either on Skype or on Whats App Call (such a genius invention!), they often ask me what is life in China is like. They want to know what the differences are between everyday life here compared to life back home. They want to know what the weather is like, how the food tastes, how many people were on the metro this morning, how much you pay for clothes and what the city looks like between the skyscrapers. They are generally very curious about what people in Chengdu are like. I always try my best to answer their questions in as much detail as possible, but I often find that there are some things about China you just cannot explain. You have to experience them yourself. Still, I would like to share some of my “What China is really like” knowledge with you and tell you a bit about what I experience here every day.
Living in China’s food capital, Chengdu, it almost certainly means putting on some weight. However, for some reason this seems to be quite surprising for people at home. “In China they eat so healthy and they have lots of vegetables so how is this even possible?”. What they do not understand is, the food here is simply amazing and there are just so many new dishes to try that you do not want to miss out on anything! If your Chinese friends invite you over for dinner or want to take you on a city food tour to introduce their favourite dishes to you, you do not want to offend them by saying no. Luckily, there are quite a lot of gyms here in Chengdu…
It is very common to share dishes here in China so when you have lunch together you often order several dishes that are served in the middle of the table so everybody can help themselves. If you are invited for dinner you can be certain that your host has prepared one dish per person. That might sound like a lot of work (and I am sure it probably is) but if you think about the concept of sharing dishes this actually makes sense. Your host can be sure that no one goes hungry and as a guest you are able to enjoy a variety of dishes rather than just one. Just think about all those times that you spent dreading the food at Western parties, but had to put on a brave face in order to please your host…
Direct English translations of Chinese dishes may sometimes sound, well, a little exotic and slightly misleading. I do not mean this in a negative but in a positive way. One of my favourite dishes is 鱼香茄子 , translated to “Fish flavoured eggplant”. If I had known this before I tried it I would have probably thought twice about eating it. But don’t judge a book by its cover (or in this case a dish by its name)!
One of the most striking things I noticed about China when I first arrived here was the fact that it is always incredibly loud. Of course this is somewhat normal for a big city but there is a difference between big city noise in China and big city noise in the rest of the world. This is probably because the Chinese love all kinds of entertainment so there are always various radio or TV programmes on all at the same time. Display screens are literally everywhere.
The traffic here is also super loud. Not just because there are so many cars but because everybody, particularly taxi drivers, seems to love honking their car horns for no apparent reason. After more than three months of living here I have come to the conclusion that this is probably not the unfriendly “get out of my way why did they even give you a driver’s license!” kind of honking you often find in the West, but more like a way of communicating. After living in China for a while you just blend out the noise and it becomes normal.
If you are feeling unwell here in China you often hear “just rest and drink hot water”, as if this was some sort of miracle cure to make all kinds of pain disappear immediately. You know what? It works! This may seem totally weird to Westerners and I must admit I felt a bit strange about it as well when I was first given this piece of advice. After all, if you want a hot drink why not just drink tea or coffee? but just like with all things in life, this is something you’ll eventually get used to. Drinking hot water is actually really good for you!
If you are a foreigner like me, get used to people whispering “Wooow, beautiful” when you walk by. Even if you actually look your ‘worst’ on that day. It gives your ego a nice boost and I often cannot help but think how nice it would be if people at home did the same. At least to some Chinese people I look like a top model, so I do not have to worry about make-up and clothes all that much. I am not sure how many family albums or WeChat moments my picture has graced so far but it must be a lot. I often ask myself what people do with the photos after having taken them but I guess I´ll never find out. All that remains to say then is: Happy snapping!
Last but not least, some of my “top weird China experiences ” :
- One morning, when I stepped in the elevator there was a young gentleman on a ladder trying to change the light bulb. I was slightly confused and wanted to take the other lift but the repairman apparently thought that this was not necessary. He asked me to just ignore him and kept on working while the lift was going up and down…
- When I took an overnight train, people tried to sell me singing fish and toe clippers.
- There are no seat belts in taxis’ in Chengdu.
- Chinese song covers of popular Western pop songs are extremely funny.
- There are cars with only three wheels.
- There are so many things Chinese people manage to stack on their bikes…
- No limit on where you can sleep in China – everywhere is a possibility.
- Shops or restaurants vanish over night.
- Two days later there’ll be a new shop in it’s place.
- There are employees for literally everything.
- Some buildings have elevators just for scooter drivers.
If you want first hand China experience, apply now!
…and suddenly it is 2016 and my China adventure is over!I definitely learned a lot within the last 5 months. Not only did I gain a lot of experience within the working life, I also met people from across the world, and got around in a country without speaking the language.
I arrived in Chengdu at night time and the Anshun bridge was one of the first things I saw during my first night. I think, I stopped every 10m to take a picture from a different angle.
Living in a country with over 1 billion people, 7 major different dialects, and a culture completely different than the one I grew up in was interesting, challeging and exciting. It was also a lot of fun though because I never knew what the next day was going to bring.
During my internship I co- organized a trip to Kangding which is approx. 8h away from Chengdu. A group of 12 people went on the trip and it was absolutely amazing. It was the first time in a while that I had seen a blue sky, and it was the very first time ever I was over 4,000 metres above sea level and climbed up a mountain. The view was absolutely breathtaking and it was a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
I was also very delighted when I got to see the Giant Buddha in Leshan because in 1996 it was listed one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The area around the Buddha looked absoluely mystical the day we visited it because it was kind of foggy. Leshan is only 2h away from Chengdu and it is just amazing how much cultural sites the Sichuan province has to offer.
I really enjoyed using my weekends, travelling outside of Chengdu but also spending a lot of time within the city, exploring it and definitely eating a lot of local dishes. My most favourite dish which I probably ate once a week, was handmade noodles with potatoes, vegetables and a small amount of meat. I would have never thought about eating noodles and potatoes in one dish but now that my time is China is coming to an end, I don’t know what I will do without this dish in my future. Generally, the variety of food and its prize in China absolutely amazed me. I no longer want to cook at home because it so cheap and convenient to just get noodles down the road.
I am really thankful for the opportunity the InternChina team has given me and the things I have learned during my marketing internship. I know exactly what I want to do in life but as for now, it is time to say goodbye to the crazy, the different, the lovely, the very unique China!
If you are struggling with what to do next, if you want to get your ducks in a row, get out of your comfort zone, widen your horizon, don’t be afraid to try something new and apply here for a life changing experience.