Pagoda Projects Reading List
Love to read? Hoping to get that little bit of business motivation? Want to find out more about our destinations? Check out our list of some of our favourite incredible fiction and non-fiction books!
We hope our reading list will bring you some fantastic recommendations to get stuck into!
by Cal Newport (Goodreads)
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. In this book, it shares cultural criticism and actionable advice for anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.by Graham Allcott (Goodreads)
In the age of information overload, traditional time management techniques simply don’t cut it anymore when it comes to overflowing inboxes, ever-expanding to-do lists and endless, pointless meetings. Thankfully there is a better way, and this is a practical guide to staying calm and collected, getting more done, and learning to love your work again.by Yuval Noah Harari (Goodreads)
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us – homo sapiens. In his book, Dr Yuval Noah Harari covers the span of human history, drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology, and economics to explore how history has shaped human society.by Dale Carnegie (Goodreads)
Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. It is a timeless bestseller with enduring principles that will help you achieve your greatest potential in our complex and competitive modern age. by Howard Schultz & Dori Jones Yang (Goodreads)
The success of Starbucks Coffee Company is one of the most amazing business stories in decades. What started as a single store on Seattle’s waterfront has grown into a company with over sixteen hundred stores worldwide. In this book, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shares the principles and wisdom he has gained from creating this enduring company.by Phil Knight (Goodreads)
This candid and riveting memoir from the founder and CEO of Nike explores the inside story of the company’s early days as a start-up, and its eventual evolution into one of the world’s most iconic shoe brands.by Verne Harnish (Goodreads)
The author shares practical tools and techniques for building a successful business, using approaches that have been honed from over three decades of advising tens of thousands of CEOs and executives. By helping front-line and executive employees navigate the increasing complexities that come with scaling up a venture, this book is written so everyone can align themselves to contribute to a successful business.by David Clark (Goodreads)
Similar to the Tao te Ching, David Clark has collected and interpreted the wonderful words of wisdom from Charlie Munger – Warren Buffet’s longtime business partner, and the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie’s investment tips, business philosophy, and rules for living are unique, intelligent, and revolutionary.by Eric Ries (Goodreads)
A startup is defined as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. The Lean Startup approach provides tips to help companies leverage human creativity more effectively, become capital-efficient, shift directions with agility, and test their vision continuously.by W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne (Goodreads)
This international bestseller challenges everything you thought you knew about strategic business success. The authors argue that cutthroat competition does not lead to lasting success, but rather, success comes from creating “blue oceans” of untapped market space ripe for growth. Such strategic “value innovation” moves often render rivals obsolete for more than a decade. This landmark work upends traditional thinking about strategy and charts a bold new path to winning the future.by Simon Sinek (Goodreads)
Why do you do what you do? Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? When leaders start with their WHY, they inspire those around them to achieve remarkable results. People who follow them don’t do so because they have to; they follow because they want to. This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others and find their WHY.by Rutger Bregman (Goodreads)
We can construct a society with visionary ideas that are implementable. The author explores how every major milestone of civilization was once considered a utopian fantasy. Now, new utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a fifteen-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime. This inspirational book explores solutions to how we can achieve these goals as a society.by Angela Duckworth (Goodreads)
Professor and psychologist Angela Duckworth believes the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a focused persistence called grit. Identifying our passions and following through on our commitments is the key to success.
by Peter Hessler (Goodreads)
River Town is an unforgettable portrait of a city that, much like China itself, is seeking to understand both what it was and what it someday will be. Told through the eyes of Peter Hessler, a Peace Corps volunteer who moved to Fuling in 1996 as the first American resident in more than half a century, he offers vivid descriptions of the people he meets, giving voice to their views.by Evan Osnos (Goodreads)
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control.by Kerry Brown (Goodreads)
This book is a must-read for the Western world to understand the hidden story of the rise of Xi Jinping – otherwise known as the “Chinese Godfather.”by Jung Chang (Goodreads)
This bestselling classic has sold more than 10 million copies around the world in 30 different languages. It is the story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of a memoir and the panoramic scope of eyewitness history.by Peter Hessler (Goodreads)
From the bestselling author of River Town comes this book on the human side of the economic revolution in China. In the summer of 2001, Hessler acquired a Chinese driver’s license and travelled the country by car for the next seven years, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were rapidly transforming China.by Peter Hessler (Goodreads)
The acclaimed author of River Town and Country Driving presents this rare portrait of twenty-first-century China as it opens its doors to the outside world. Hessler illuminates the past and places a human face on the history that he uncovers in a narrative that gracefully moves between the ancient past and the present day.by Leslie T. Chang (Goodreads)
At the time of writing, China had more than 114 million migrant workers – the driving force behind China’s growing economy. However, very little is known about their day-to-day lives or the sociological impact of their massive migration. Chang tells the real story through the eyes of two young women who she follows over the course of three years.by Pearl S. Buck (Goodreads)
This book tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. He nurtures the land and soil as it nurtures him and his family, whereas the nearby nobles consider themselves above the land and its workers.by Kazuo Ishiguro (Goodreads)
This masterful tale tells the story of an English boy born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai who suddenly becomes an orphan at age nine when his parents mysteriously disappear. He is then sent to live in England and becomes a renowned detective. More than twenty years later, he returns to Shanghai in an attempt to solve his greatest mystery.by Dai Sijie (Goodreads)
This enchanting tale about the magic of reading explores the story of two city boys who are exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. They discover a hidden stash of Western classic novels translated into Chinese and escape their grim reality through the realm of literature.by J.G. Ballard (Goodreads)
This classic, award-winning novel tells the story of a young boy’s struggle to survive in China during World War II. Separated from his parents, he endures imprisonment in a Japanese concentration camp, starvation, and death marches. This coming-of-age tale of survival highlights a world thrown out of balance.by Madeleine Thien (Goodreads)
Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the centre of this epic story are two young women.
by Octavio Paz (Goodreads)
Long acknowledged as Mexico’s foremost writer and critic, Paz has written one of the most enduring and powerful works ever created on Mexico. It is a beautifully written and deeply-felt discourse on Mexico’s quest for identity.by Alfredo Corchado (Goodreads)
Award-winning journalist and immigration expert Alfredo Corchado highlights the sweeping story of the great Mexican migration. His book merges the political and the personal in telling the story through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today. It is essential reading to understand the role of Mexicans in shaping America’s history. by Laura Esquivel (Goodreads)
This number one bestseller is a romantic, charming tale that takes place in turn-of-the-century Mexico. It shares the story of the all-female De La Garza family and a love triangle between sisters.by John Kenneth Turner (Goodreads)
From 1908-1911, author John Kenneth Turner posed as an American investor seeking to buy a tobacco plantation and was involved in the revolutionary movement in Mexico. His book exposes and criticizes the brutal labour system and corruption in Mexico at the time.
by Jeffrey M. Pilcher (Goodreads)
This book asks the question, “What is authentic Mexican food?” Many foods typically associated with Mexico such as burritos and taco shells were actually created in the United States. In fact, Mexican food was the product of globalization from the beginning due to the Spanish conquest. Ultimately, Planet Taco seeks to recover the history of people who have been ignored in the struggle to define authentic Mexican food.by Martha Menchaca (Goodreads)
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a majority of the Mexican immigrant population in the United States resided in Texas. As a result, this state became the focus of debates over whether to deny naturalization rights. This book provides an in-depth understanding of the realities and rhetoric that have led to present-day immigration controversies.by Mariano Azuela (Goodreads)
Widely regarded as the greatest novel about the Mexican Revolution, The Underdogs tells the story of a poor, illiterate Indian who must join the rebels to save his family. His courage and charisma lead to his generalship in Pancho Villa’s army before discouragement and disillusionment settle in.by Carlos Fuentes (Goodreads)
Described as the authors “most important novel in several decades”, The Years with Laura Diaz chronicles a migration from Veracruz to Mexico City during the Revolution. Told through the eyes of a woman who is also a political artist, wife, mother, and complicated heroine.by Juan Pablo Villalobos (Goodreads)
Tochtli is the child of a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful cartel, and what he wants more than anything in the world is a new pet for his private zoo. A pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia, to be exact. This masterful and darkly comic novel has created quite a buzz in the Spanish-speaking world and beyond.by Joe Tuckman (Goodreads)
Jo Tuckman reports on the world of Mexico’s drug wars, government strategy, and the impact of U.S. policies. While Mexico faces complex challenges, Tuckman concludes that the vitality and imagination of many in Mexico inspire hope for a better future.
by Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns (Goodreads)
Drawing on dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam, this book aims to highlight the perspectives of all those who were involved in the Vietnam War. From U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families to high-level officials, antiwar protestors, POW’s, and many more. This book plunges the reader into the chaos and intensity of combat without taking sides, but rather seeking to understand why the war happened the way it did.by Graham Greene (Goodreads)
This novel takes place in Vietnam in 1955 during the French-Indochina War. The narrator, a cynical British journalist, is living an idyllic life with his Vietnamese mistress until he meets the naive, anti-communist, and quiet American Alden Pyle. The two become friends, however, a complicated love triangle soon forms between them and the mistress.by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (Goodreads)
Originally written in Vietnamese by a famous poet, this novel is a sweeping multigenerational story of Tran Dieu Lan and her family from the 1920s to the present day. During the communist land reforms, Tran’s family was forced to migrate from the North to Hanoi. “Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.”by Andrew X. Pham (Goodreads)
Catfish and Mandala is the story of a young Vietnamese-American man who went on a solo bicycle journey in pursuit of greater understanding and connection to both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland. A vibrant memoir that is an unforgettable tale of one man’s search for cultural identity and belonging.by Graham Holliday (Goodreads)
This offbeat travel memoir takes readers on a colourful and spicy gastronomic tour through Vietnam, with a foreword by Anthony Bourdain. Journalist and blogger Graham Holliday grew up in a small town in northern England and eventually moved to Vietnam after seeing a picture of Hanoi in his early twenties that sparked his curiosity. This memoir will inspire armchair travellers, those with curious palates, and anyone who is itching for a taste of adventure.by Duong Van Mai Elliott (Goodreads)
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, this novel illuminates recent Vietnamese history by weaving together the stories of the lives of four generations of the author’s family. Based on family papers, dozens of interviews, and a wealth of other research, this is not only a memorable family saga but a record of how the Vietnamese themselves have experienced their recent history.by Camilla Gibb (Goodreads)
The Beauty of Humanity Movement is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption, and renewal, of long-lost love.
Pagoda Projects 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…
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.
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.
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.IMDb
Two young Mexican attorneys attempt to exonerate a wrongly convicted man by making a documentary. In the process, they expose the contradictions of a judicial system that presumes suspects guilty until proven innocent.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, stay safe everyone!
PAGODA NEWS: COVID-19
Monday 19th October
We had a little success story last week as Paul Yeandle, Director of Programmes, made it back into China after nearly 7 months in Vietnam.
A few negative COVID-19 Tests and, 14 days of quarantine in Guangzhou later – Paul was back in Chengdu. Keeping a routine, home exercise, Netflix and, of course, some work and engaging Pagoda team meetings kept boredom at bay!
Paul is now back in Chengdu where he’s linked up again with the Chengdu office and remarked at the way China has gone back to business following tough lockdowns and strict measures on the borders. It’s a price worth paying, according to Paul, to return to his wife, cat, and, an open economy!Thursday 24th September
This week marked the start of our #Funded50 Remote Internship Programme where 50 recent grads or placement students have been given the opportunity to intern remotely with companies in Greater China, Vietnam and Mexico.
Pagoda Projects secured a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop our online internship programme as well as a tech platform here interns can access all aspects of the programme; internship management & support, online events and the cultural mentorship. Throughout the internship, the interns will not only gain valuable international business insight from their day to day roles but also through workshops and events with industry leaders including LinkedIn Learning.Friday 18th September
It is safe to travel to Taipei for our year-long placement programme! Our participant completed his 2-week quarantine and today completed his first day at his company, Winnoz!
Quentin had the following tips for quarantine: proactively do some remote work for your host company, keep active in your room with bodyweight exercises and commit to a couple of series on Netflix!
In Vietnam, the second wave has been well controlled and Danang, the centre of the outbreak, has eased its lockdown. The borders have become to open foreigners, but still focusing on business experts, which is similar to the situation in China. Life goes pretty much as usual in the new normal – with masks and hand sanitiser.Thursday 30th July
Unfortunately after 100 days, Vietnam has recorded it’s first community transmissions of COVID-19 in Danang City. This has come as quite a shock to the community given how successful they had been at controlling the spread. Nevertheless, as usual, the government and people have reacted quickly by implementing social distancing, isolating those who may have been at risk of infection and contact tracing all those with possible connections.
Whilst it is a bit of a damper on the success so far, we remain confident in the measures being taken to effectively tackle this new wave of infections.Wednesday 22nd July
Somehow we are almost at August – where has this year gone? We were delighted a couple of weeks ago to host our first public webinar ‘Failures: The Secret to Success’ in conjunction with our Remote Internship Programme. We were joined with three great panelists from Zhuhai, Taipei and HCMC who shared on the challenges that they have faced to get where they are today.
As remote working / WFH has now become somewhat the norm, we enjoyed hosting a Remote Working Workshop yesterday as part of our Remote Internship Programme. As University of Dundee students come to the end of their internship after 8 great weeks, we are now joined by students from universities across Wales, England and Australia working for organisations all around the world for the next 8!
With August around the corner our UK team are looking forward to potentially heading back into their new office in Manchester. Fingers crossed!Thursday 2nd July
Vietnam has now gone 77 days without any community transmissions of COVID-19. Whilst the borders are still closed except for ‘experts’ working on projects of national significance and repatriated Vietnamese with mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival, business very much goes on as usual within the country (as does the traffic!).
All facilities, shops and services have now reopned, and since many have vacation at this time, domestic tourism is restarting with hotels, resorts and tourist attractions reopening up for business. Temperature checks and face coverings are only required in notably crowded places and there is certainly a sense of ease amogst the population towards the lower threat of the virus.
Vietnam has fantastically recorded no deaths, with the most serious patient making a remarkable recovery from the virus over the last couple of weeks.
Monday 29th June
Taiwan Celebrating NO NEW LOCAL CASES in over 88 days!
Only a few cases have been imported but contained.
Status report on daily life in Taiwan – Face masks are still required to be worn on entering public transport (metro and buses) but masks can be removed on the metro if a safe distance of 1.5 m can be maintained… Which is unlikely during rush hours!
All shops, offices, restaurants, cinemas (showing old western movies and new Taiwanese movies), parks etc are still fully open to the public. Large malls and some restaurants are still performing temperature checks upon entrance with alcohol spray for the hands.
Weather is sunny and hooooot as per usual 🙂Tuesday 2nd June
As lockdowns and restrictions have been eased slightly around Europe we have been very excited to onboard over 70 students onto our first Remote Internship programme. As interns have remotely settled into their new workday and host company throughout the week, we have held an Employability Skills Webinar and Virtual Fireside Chat with Louise Nicol, Founder and Director of Asia Careers Group.
Alongside their internship, interns have been paired with a Cultural Mentor to exchange stories and knowledge about the intern’s home country culture and their Host Company country’s culture. It’s been great to see their cultural journals, hear about their conversations and witness development of intercultural awareness. Even the Pagoda Projects team are learning new things!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).
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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So you want to come to Mexico City for an internship? Perhaps you are wondering, “How much money should I budget for daily life in Mexico?”
The good news is, your money can go a long way in Mexico City. You can get street food for about 30 – 75 Pesos (MXN) for a few tacos, and spend 200 – 350 MXN in a restaurant when you want to splurge! Even drinks can be cheap, with beers generally from 50-80 MXN and cocktails in the region of 170 MXN. Some bars even sell beer for as low as 20 MXN.
For travel, we recommend the Metrobús as the most convenient public transport. A single journey costs 6 MXN. You can also sign up to ecobici, a system of public bicycles which you can use to get around the city and are well maintained. You can buy a ecobici membership card for 496 MXN, which gives you unlimited 45 minute rides for the whole duration of your stay.
For the current exchange rates, please see here.
1 GBP = 28.45 MXN
1 EURO = 23.98 MXN
1 USD = 21.32 MXN
1 AUD = 15.34 MXN
1 NZD = 14.67 MXN
**Exchange rates as of 24/11/2021
Your individual lifestyle is the main factor that will determine your budget. It will vary depending on what transportation you decide to take, personal dining preferences, nightlife and more.
Below, we have put together some budget estimates of your expenses in daily life during your time with us. In general, you can live on a low budget and still be able to live quite well. For those looking to spend a little more, there are also medium and high budget estimates. See which budget is right for you!
All apartments will have kitchens, so you will have the option to cook your own meals. Making your own meals and packed lunches is a great way to save money.
For those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new things.
|Expense Type||Cost per week||Description|
|Transport||60-100MXN/week||Metro (5MXN), Metrobus (6MXN), ecobici (free w/membership)|
|Food||1000MXN/week||2 lunches out (90MXN); Dinner out (150MXN); Snacks (60MXN)|
Packed lunches & eating in most days (700MXN/basic weekly shop)
|Treats||400MXN/week||One night out per week including a few drinks/taxi|
|Events/Activities||400MXN/week||Attending an event, tourist site or fun activity every weekend|
For those who go to the gym, eat more western food or spend more in other ways:
|Expense Type||Cost per week||Description|
|Transport||240MXN/week||Taxi (60MXN) 3x/week; Metro (5MXN); Metrobus (6MXN)|
|Food||1000MXN/week||Lunch (50MXN); Dinner (120MXN); Breakfast/snacks (30MXN)|
Eating in 4x /week
|Treats||600MXN/week||gym, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region|
|Events/Activities||1200MXN/week||Attending an event, tourist site or fun activity every weekend|
For those who would like to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or foreign imports:
|Expense Type||Cost per week||Description|
|Transport||840MXN/week||Taxis (60MXN) 2x/day; Metro (5MXN); Metrobus (6MXN)|
|Food||2,000MXN/week||Lunch (80MXN); Dinner (150MXN); Breakfast/snacks (60MXN)|
|Treats||1,500MXN/week||Nights out at classy clubs and cocktail bars; Shopping for foreign imports; Gym; Individual travel|
|Events/Activities||1,500MXN/week||Attending an event, tourist site or fun activity every weekend|
As you can see, you don’t need too much money in Mexico City to have a good time. Be careful when you have a craving to buy a cup of coffee or give into the temptation to use cheap Ubers to get to work instead of taking the bus, as not everything is cheaper in Mexico, and all the little costs can quite quickly add up. All in all, however, you should find that your monthly budget in Mexico is significantly less than it is back at home!
For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.