Mexico

Category
All You Need to Know, Before your stay, China, Cultural, Daily Life in Vietnam, Food, Learn about China, Mexico, Mexico City, Travel, Vietnam, Vietnamese Culture, Vietnamese Food

Pre-departure Watchlist

Are you getting everything ready for your Pagoda Projects programme and counting down the days until you jump on the plane? Are your friends and family asking you loads of questions about your upcoming experience and even you aren’t sure what to expect?

We hope that our watchlist will get you excited to explore the sights and sounds of what is going to be your new home for a months. Why not download a couple of our suggestions to pass the time on your flight out…

VIETNAM

Netflix // IMDb
A 10-part documentary series chronicling the Vietnam war featuring the soldiers, protesters, politicians and families who lived it.Amazon Prime // IMDb
An in-depth documentary about on refugee family’s attempts to face its divided past and heal the motional wounds of the Vietnam War.IMDb
Separated at the end of the Vietnam war, an “Americanized” woman and her Vietnamese mother are reunited after 22 years.Amazon Prime // IMDb
Anthony returns to one of his favourite places on Earth, journeying to the centre of the country, near the coast and to a city he has never been to, Hue.Netflix // IMDb
Snail and broken rice are staples of Ho Chi Minh City’s Outdoorsy street food culture which has been shaped by both history and family memory.YouTube // IMDb
Luke Nguyen, acclaimed owner and chef of the Sydney restaurant ‘The Red Lantern’, returns to the country of his heritage to take a culinary journey through the northern regions of Vietnam.Amazon Prime // IMDb
An old British reporter vies with a young U.S. doctor for the affections of a beautiful Vietnamese woman.IMDb
Two plain clothed U.S. military policemen on duty in war-time Saigon investigating serial killings when their job becomes even harder.Amazon Prime // IMDb
In the mid 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.BBC // IMDb
Sue Perkins embarks on a life-changing, 3,000-mile journey up the Mekong, South East Asia’s greatest river, exploring lives and landscapes on the point of dramatic change.Amazon Prime // IMDb
A vicarious thrill ride as Tony discovers Vietnam from the buzzing streets of Hanoi to the rural beauty of the Montagnards, and the mysterious Island of Mr. Sang. This episode shows exactly why Tony has been completely seduced by Vietnam and its people.

CHINA

Amazon Prime // IMDb
An American finds refuge during the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking in a church with a group of women. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.Netflix // IMDb
A boy and his mother move to California for a new job. He struggles to fit in, as a group of karate students starts to bully him for dating a rich girl from their clique. It’s up to the Japanese landlord, Miyagi, to teach him karate.Netflix // IMDb
Renowned warrior Yu Shu-Lien comes out of retirement to keep the legendary Green Destiny sword away from villainous warlord Hades DaiAmazon Prime // IMDb
Anthony travels to Shanghai. Forget all the antiquated views your might hold about a communist-run, creativity-devoid bunch of state-controlled androids. The modern China is a vibrant, dynamic monument to capitalism. And nowhere is that more glaringly obvious than in Shanghai, a city housing 116,000 billionaires and multimillionaires who modestly call themselves the ‘bao fa hu’ or ‘explosive rich’.Netflix // IMDb
Tofu pudding. Fish head soup. Goat stew. The family-owned street stalls of Chiayi are bastions of Taiwan’s culinary traditions.Amazon Prime // IMDb
Pull up a stool and get your chopsticks ready – A Bite of China is the quintessential TV series on all things Chinese cuisine – from its rich history to the rarest dishes and wildest ingredients. Shot in more than 60 locations and featuring top chefs of the culinary world – it will surprise even the most jaded foodies around.Amazon Prime // IMDb
A couple embarks on a journey home for Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers, to reunite with their children and struggle for a future. Their unseen story plays out as China soars towards being a world superpower.BBC // IMDb
Dan Snow, Anita Rani and Ade Adepitan go behind the scenes to reveal the hidden systems and armies of people running some of the greatest cities on earth.Channel 4 
With unique access to the Forbidden City, this documentary reveals the spectacular history of the world’s largest palace, and the secrets of its astonishing design.Amazon Prime // IMDb
A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.Amazon Prime // IMDb
The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.Amazon Prime // IMDb
This Oscar-winning biopic traces the life of Pu Yi, the last of the great emperors of China, from his ascent to the throne at the age of three, in 1908, to the time he was imprisoned in the Forbidden City, witnessing decased of cultural and political upheaval.Amazon Prime // IMDb
True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet.YouTube
Reggie discovers contemporary China, diving deep into four megacities in search of the new generations transforming their future.BBC // IMDb
A cookery show focusing on Chinese food, with demonstrations of how to make various Chinese dishes.Channel 4 // IMDb
Guy martin’s love of industry and endeavour leads him to china, where he reveals the unseen side of its innovation, technological development and gigantic manufacturing.Netflix // IMDb
In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.

MEXICO

Netflix // IMDb
At the forefront of transforming Mexican cuisine, Enrique Olvera champions traditional ingredients under a haute perspective as he delves into the roots of Mexico to create award-winning dishes at his restaurant, Pujol.Netflix // IMDb
A look at the life of notorious drug kingpin, El Chapo, from his early days in the 1980s working for the Guadalajara Cartel, to his rise to power of during the ’90s and his ultimate downfall in 2016.Amazon Prime // IMDb
A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life’s harsh realities, all in the name of love.Amazon Prime // IMDb
Bourdain travels to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Cuernavaca to commune with local residents who express their passion through food, art, and the struggle for an improved quality of life. Bourdain talks with journalist Anabel Hernández on the impact of the area’s drug trade-related violence and how it affects local quality of life.Amazon Prime // IMDb
A documentary on some of contemporary Mexico’s most iconic artists and performers.IMDb
A documentary feature about the life of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.Amazon Prime // IMDb
Tomas is too much for his lone mother so she sends him to live with his older brother Federico, aka Sombra, in Mexico City.BBC // IMDb
Dan Snow, Anita Rani and Ade Adepitan go behind the scenes to reveal the hidden systems and armies of people running some of the greatest cities on earth.Netflix // IMDb
A journey through the colorful and varied world of Tacos.BBC // IMDb
In 1968 the young Rick travelled down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Mexican border and beyond. 50 years later he retraces his steps from San Francisco to Mexico enjoying unique dishes and meeting chefs. Amazon Prime // IMDb
Tony heads to Mexico with Carlos,who took over Tony’s old job.

SUGGESTIONS?

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Covid-19
All You Need to Know, China, covid-19, Manchester, Mexico, News, Practical Advice, Safety, Vietnam

Covid-19 Rolling Updates

Please refer back to this blog post for regular updates on the effect of Covid-19 on our partners and partcipants, and everything we are doing at Pagoda Projects to continue to bring you extraordinary and safe work experience.

If you’re a student signed up to one of our programmes or are thinking about enrolling and have any questions, feel free to give us a call on 0161 818 8824 or send Ali an email at ali.hashemi@pagodaprojects.com

Thanks, stay safe everyone!

PAGODA NEWS: COVID-19

Thursday 7th May

Vietnam is Back! Of course with cautious optimism, but over the last two weeks shops, restaurants, cafes and sports facilities are back open for business, with care taken to the numbers inside and the ability to safely distance. Schools are slowly going back and as Vietnam celebrated Reunification Day last week; 45 years after the end of the Vietnamese War, the country has supported each other and worked together to keep the virus at bay.

The picture is the view from famous Nguyen Hue towards the Saigon Opera house as people enjoy the cool city evenings. We haven’t been able to see this view for several years because of construction work to the Saigon metro, but this station is now finished!

Friday 24th April

A quick Vlog from our Vietnam Branch manager Vicki Offland today, chatting about the situation in Ho Chi Minh city at the moment regarding Corona Virus as successful government measures have helped keep the virus at bay which is leading to a phased relaxation of social distancing.

Vicki also reveals what Pagoda Projects has been doing to keep morale up 🙂

Tuesday 14th April

A couple of rays of good news from Taipei today!

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced today that there are no new cases of Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) to report for the first time in 36 days!
It appears the CECC’s efforts at quickly identifying, isolating, and tracing confirmed cases have held the virus at bay, for now…

Another trick up Taiwan’s sleeve is their new ‘Mask Vending Machine‘ which is being deployed across the city.
To help alleviate the queues at 7/11’s and pharmacies, the government have set up vending machines which can dispense up to 2000 masks per day! Costing only 45NTD for a pack of 3 ($1.5 / £1).

Thursday 2nd April

Our InternVietnam team are now working on developping our Remote Internship Programme for the University of Dundee from home! They are also planning for the arrival of our scheduled employability programmes in August/September 2020.

Vietnam has entered day two of a 15-day country wide voluntarily lock-down in order to prevent community transmission of COVID-19. Many of the population were already maintaining good social distancing and following government health advice. All non essential business are closed except in cases of delivery which maintain as normal and is making less inconveniences for the population.

As of today 62 out of 222 cases recorded have recovered and many business and organisations are adapting to this new way of working online through online webinar and workshops.

Friday 27th March

We are EXTREMELY excited to announce the imminent launch of a remote internship programme for our partners at the University of Dundee! The University of Dundee programme will be taking place this summer in a slightly different format. Take a look below to find out more. We will be expanding our remote internship opportunities to our other valued partners in the near future. Watch this space for announcements!

Company? – click here to find out more

University? – click here to find out more

Tuesday 31st March

Well, we have entered the second week of lockdown in the UK and seemingly more uncertain times lay ahead. All of us at Pagoda Projects just wanted to share a quick message to all our participants, alumni, partners and everyone going through challenging times.

Look after yourselves, whether that’s with crazy new home workouts,  becoming a jigsaw master or learning how to light a Zoom call like a Hollywood film set.

Friday 27th March

Although our InternMexico programmes for June & July 2020 have also sadly been postponed, our InternMexico Branch Manager James is busy planning the launch of our newest initiative from the comfort of his own home in Mexico City.

Friday 27th March

Our InternVietnam team waved goodbye to the final few participants on our Ho Chi Minh City programme this week. They are on their way home to the France, the UK and Germany, hopefully taking lots of fond memories of Vietnam with them.

All InternVietnam programmes for participants due to head out to Vietnam until July 2020 have been postponed but the InternVietnam team are still planning for some arrivals in August and September 2020!

Friday 27th March

Our Taipei team are hard at work and continuing to plan for participants wishing to embark on our Taipei programmes from September 2020 onwards.

Participants on place in Taipei are exercising caution and looking out for themselves. We are supporting these participants in their decision to either continue with their placements or to return home early, dependant on advice from official government channels such as FCO, DFAT, MFAT and GAC.

Our participant insurance policy will continue to cover those hard-working interns who are eager to stay under the current circumstances. However, we will be reassessing the safety of these participants daily in case of further developments and will remain in close contact with our insurance providers as things progress.

If you have any concerns regarding a participant currently on place in Taipei, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Daniel (in Taipei) or Clare (in the UK).

daniel.miller@pagodaprojects.com
clare.harding@pagodaprojects.com

Thursday 26th March

Our InternChina teams are slowly emerging back into the world after a period in lock-down. Our Chengdu Branch Manager Liam is thrilled to be back working in the office again.

Programmes that were due to take place in Mainland China in April or May 2020 have sadly been postponed in light of current travel and visa restrictions.

All of our study tours along with Australian and New Zealand Government and University programmes have already been postponed. Some of the InternChina programmes that are due to take place in June, July and August 2020 on behalf of students studying in the UK may also be postponed. We will stay in close contact with the participants and ongoing applications hoping to take part on these programmes about any changes to over the coming weeks.

This includes those applicants hoping to take part on the GenerationUK Programme this year, your programme dates may be subject to change. Please keep your eyes on your inboxes for an update and thank you very much for your patience and understanding in the meantime.

Thursday 26th March

Just as our participants, alumni and faithful partner universities and companies across the world are striving to endure, adapt and thrive through the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pagoda Projects are doing the same!

From all of us at Pagoda Projects, our thoughts and best wishes are with medical workers and governments who are doing their best to heal and protect.

Get in touch:
Internships Advice, Mexico

Top 7 Lesser Known Escapes in Mexico

Traveling the globe has always been my passion, I have discovered amazing and unique destinations and I would not change those experiences for anything in the world, but looking back at the past few years I realize that I know more places from other continents than from my own country. A few months back I decided to grab my backpack, a couple of friends and explore the land I grew up in, so I am going to show you my favourite 7 spots to backpack in Mexico.

7. Puerto Morelos

Located in between two of the most famous beaches in Mexico, Puerto Morelos has a unique feel that will not compare to Cancun or Playa del Carmen. If you are looking to relax at one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico with a smaller budget, and you want to experience real Mexican culture, then Puerto Morelos is the place for you. Just one hour away from this peaceful spot you can also find Tulum and Cobá, two of the most incredible tourist attractions of the whole country, full of history and amazing views. But be careful, you could end up falling completely in love with this place.

6. Zacatlán de las Manzanas

This “magic town” is located in Puebla. Just a three hour drive from Mexico city you can find the beautiful town of Zacatlan de las Manzanas, well known for having a distinct taste due to all the apples that grow there; making their apple pies, apple soda and apple liquor unique. Zacatlán is also known for being the home of watches and clocks in Mexico. There is a watch Museum, along with a clock sculpture in the main plaza. The colors, the food, the people and all the other attractions just outside this magical place will make you want to extend your visit at least a couple more days. 

 

5. Mérida

Located in Yucatan, Merida is an emerging city with just over 777,000 habitants, and a wide range of cultural heritage. Its peacefulness, food, architecture and weather will win your heart over and will make you want to stay forever. On top of that, to the East you will find Chichen Itza, to the north Progreso, to the west the beautiful beaches of Celestun, and to the south Uxmal. Merida was named the American Capital of Culture by Lonely Planet, and let me tell you that they were named it for a reason, definitely a place you don’t want to miss the next time you are in Mexico.

4. Grutas Tolantongo

A place I could never have imagined existing in Mexico. A canyon located in Hidalgo with over 500 meter-tall cliffs and a 15 meter wide valley, this place is paradise. The best part is that it only costs $120 pesos for the whole day. Tolantongo Caves has more than 30 warm mineral pools next to a paradise resort owned by over 112 families that want to preserve these amazing natural resources. It is certainly not something you see everyday.

3. La Huasteca Potosina

La huasteca Potosina, located in San Luis Potosí, has been on my list since I was little, it has always amazed me in pictures and my dream was to visit this place. Fortunately a couple months ago I was finally able to and it did not disappoint me at all. This place will transport you to another planet and help you reconnect with nature.

Just under 5 hours drive from Mexico City, you will find this amazing, unique place that will take your breath away. Make sure you bring your bathing suit, a friend and a new memory card for your camera because you will want to capture every moment.

2.Tequila

Tequila, Jalisco will put in practice your drinking and cultural skills and make sure you have a great time with friends and meeting new people. Many tequila companies have tequila tours that you can take, that provide unlimited tequila and food to make sure you live a fun-filled experience. A great way to discover our culture, as well as to learn how tequila has been made over generations and has become a big part of our heritage and tradition.

1.Islas Marietas

Located close to Nayarit, Marietas Island are two empty islands own by the government to protect its natural resources. In the past few years the government has implemented a campaign to prevent the ecosystem in this islands from dying so now only a limited amount of tourist can go into the islands per day. If you are lucky enough or plan you trip in advance you will be able to visit this incredible and unique place. In my experiences this has been the most amazing and relaxing place I have every been, placing Marietas Islands as my number 1 destination in Mexico.

Grab your back pack and let’s go.

 

Get in touch:

Mexico City Streets
Before your stay, Mexico, Mexico City, Practical Advice

How safe is Mexico City?

I have just returned from a two and a half month stay in the great metropolis of Mexico City. It’s an incredibly vibrant place, every district has something new and exciting to offer. From delicious smelling Tacos, Churros and fruit stalls everywhere, to an endless selection of museums and cafes. There are also green parks throughout the city full of dog walkers and pop-up handicraft stands. But how safe is it?

Mexico does still have a bit of a scary reputation abroad. How well deserved is that reputation? Is safety something that you need to worry about when travelling there?

The answer is, sure. Every major metropolitan city in the world has its own risks and of course, all travellers should be aware of possible problems. BUT DON’T LET IT STOP YOU!

Risk Assess

Before running our first InternMexico programme we did a lot of research on the topic, with the help of our partners Fortress Risk Management and IBERO University:

Risk Assessing Mexico City from Pagoda Projects on Vimeo.

Be Prepared

As part of Orientation Week with our participants, we sat down and had a long discussion about any potential dangers or concerns and recommended precautions.

Here are a few top tips we’ve put together. I’ve also asked our InternMexico participants to reflect back on their experiences in the city:

We had a full day safety orientation day with a third party company who have talked us through potential situations. Luckily, I personally had not have to use any of those measures.

David, Hungary

TOP TIP NO.1

Uber is highly recommended as the safest form of transport for getting around the city, especially at night (on average between 29 MXN to 130 MXN/£1.20 – £5.40/$1.48 – $6.65*).

The Metrobus system is also great during the day (single journey costs 5 MXN/£0.21 GBP/$0.26*).

I felt very safe throughout my time in Mexico, however the safety briefing in the very first week was helpful as it made me aware of potential dangers in the city.

Sam, Scotland, UK

TOP TIP NO.2

Try not to carry ALL your bank cards, mountains of cash and favourite jewellery in your bag. Why not separate things out into a second wallet or purse?

Even better still leave your actual bank card behind and transfer small amounts of money onto a cash card (like Monzo or Starling) for daily use. Foreign cards are widely accepted everywhere in Mexico City (apart from some of the market stalls).

Mexico City is a safe city if you pay attention to everything and don’t do the things you are told not to do at the orientation week.

Matheus, Brazil

TOP TIP NO.3

Dumb down the bling. If you don’t stand out then you have nothing to fear! Be sociable, make friends and ask them for local advice.

Mexico city is safer than I thought. People there are friendly and outstanding.

Chang, China

TOP TIP NO.4

There’s actually a ton of advice out here on the internet. If you are thinking of heading anywhere off the beaten track, a good place to start is your government’s foreign office advice online.

It’s safe in Mexico City, but still need to be careful.

Jing, China

Be Aware

I’ll leave you with my final thoughts, so long as you are aware of your surroundings, watch out for your fellow friends and travellers, you’ll be fine.

If you have any questions about personal safety during an InternMexico programme don’t hesitate to get in touch!

*currency conversions on this blog were last updated on 6th September 2019.

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