Nĭ hăo! Wo shì Shona and I’m the Design and Marketing intern at the Chengdu office, although my journey started further east, in Qingdao. I was lucky enough to begin my programme with IC working in the Qingdao office, which I was very happy about, as Qingdao is a beautiful city and right on the sea so there’s always a nice breeze to help with the heat.
Getting to Qingdao
What I loved most about Qingdao is that it’s a great introduction to real-life China, and as the IC offices are based in cities most tourists don’t think of, it’s an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Due to Qingdao’s history, there’s a real European feel to the city; however don’t let that fool you- the mass of markets and restaurants remind you that it still is, very much Chinese.
Settling in to China life was pretty easy for me, and while the first week was a bit of a shock- such as getting used to the commute to work (I’m still amazed how many people can fit on a bus here), the culture shock passed quickly. It’s incredibly easy to get used to the lifestyle and turn into a true Zhōngguó rén.
Life in Qingdao
I really enjoyed the lifestyle in Qingdao; there’s always something interesting happening, and despite how fast paced it seems initially, it also feels as equally laid back.
The work/life balance in Qingdao is just right and my favourite post work treat is winding down at the local BBQ spot with some Shao Kao and Tsingtao in hand- now that’s the life!
While in Qingdao I had the chance to help organise fun events each week, my first one being sailing! What better way to experience a Chinese seaside city than by boat? It was my first time running an official event, so I was a little nervous but the event ran without a hitch and everyone had a blast.
One of the best nights I’ve had in China was camping on the beach, at the foot of Mount Làoshān; the real highlight was floating around in the sea, surrounded by friends and all watching the fireworks light up the night, and moments like that are why I love China.
The first big Summer trip was a joint excursion to Beijing with the Chengdu, Qingdao and Dalian IC offices, and being my first trip in mainland China, I was so excited to see the China I’d seen in movies growing up as a kid.
We saw iconic landmarks such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the icing on the cake, the Great Wall. It’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed as Beijing has so much to offer, but the pinnacle of our trip was visiting the Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu.
The Big Move: Swapping Cities
Three weeks into my internship I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Sichuan to help support my colleagues in the Chengdu office. I had always wanted to visit Chengdu and love to travel so when the chance arrived, I jumped at it!
Travelling to Chengdu was exciting; even the legendary Chinese flight delays, which gave me the opportunity to make friends with the locals using my broken Mandarin, couldn’t dampen my mood as I headed to panda city.
First Days in Chengdu
Arriving in the Sichuan capital, I was lucky to have a few days off before starting work. So what’s the first thing you HAVE to see in Chengdu? Pandas! The panda base, or Xióngmāo jīdì as its known here, is hugely popular with tourist groups so it’s important to get there bright and early.
After waking up at the crack of dawn, I jumped in a cab that took me straight from my apartment to the base for 60 kuai, which was worth it just to beat the queue.
July in Chengdu is the peak of summer and with average temperatures of 30 degrees, and with it being so hot outside the pandas were hidden away in their cool enclosures. This meant I had to fight my way through the tourist mob to catch a glimpse of the famous bear cat, but it was worth it- after all, pandas are an icon throughout the world so I couldn’t pass through Chengdu without stopping by!
Life in Chengdu was a bit of a shock at first, especially the morning commute to work. Chengdu feels like a combination of the fast paced lifestyle of cities like London with bustling subways and seas of people, along with the easy going nature of the Chinese locals, sat playing Mahjong on the street at night- a contrast if there ever was one.
Since coming to Chengdu I’ve been involved in all sorts of IC events, from the weekly Thursday dinners eating famous hot pot to the Four Sisters mountain trip in western Sichuan. When staying in Qingdao I used to think it was the city that never sleeps, however since coming to Chengdu, I’ve realised what life really is like in a busy Chinese city.
Here in the hub of China’s “Go West” policy, there’s always something to do, somewhere new to explore, and it’s the perfect mix of culture and business. I’m looking forwards to what the next two months bring here in Sichuan.
Picture yourself sitting in a restaurant and overhearing a conversation of two random people sitting next to you. You are bored and alone and so you can’t help but listen. They are right now talking about an underground club they were in yesterday until 3 o´clock in the morning. They are talking about the music they heard, the people they saw, and about the cool location.
You will ask yourself: “why does he mention that?” Two people having a conversation about a night out in an underground club. Nothing remarkable about this!
But as I am describing you this image, I just showed you a small part of it. Like a zoomed-in shot in a movie. Let’s zoom out a little, and suddenly we realise the two people speaking, are Chinese. You will once again say: “Ok, but still why is he telling us this?” There is nothing special about it. So we zoom out a little more and notice we are in a Chinese restaurant in a Chinese city, Qingdao. Suddenly you notice that it is kind of special in any imaginable way.
Music in China
Let us be gentle and say that the underground scene in China is kind of underdeveloped. At least in comparison to the underground subculture in Europe or USA. And regarding electronic music, you don’t usually find a location playing EDM in China. And I don’t mean the type of club where the “DJ” is just some random guy fading one song out and the other in, while hopping around as if he has hurt his foot. You know the kind of guy, wearing his headphone only over one ear, and one hand is constantly waving as if he wants to scare away an imaginary fly that only he can see.
We are talking right now about the real deal. I mean a location where the guy or girl behind the turntables is actually mixing music. A club where you just go to dance and have a good time, and not for showing around the nice outfit you bought yesterday. A club where you’ll find like-minded people all there for the same purpose, gaining mental energy by getting lost of the physical one. All of that, in Qingdao? Of course in Qingdao!
The location I am talking about is literally an underground club, called: “UNITT”. As far as you can already tell by my plaidoyer for EDM you may not be surprised that I am an electronic music enthusiast. If the location is underground I prefer it even more. I got to know about it and the location from a fellow student.
I went there with her on a Saturday night to check it out. The first encounter is always the most important one. In this case it was magical. You arrive at the given address and first you see… nothing! The club is located in the suburbs of Qingdao, so you will find yourself in front of some closed shops and an entrance to an underground car park near a stadium.
My fellow student was pointing at the entrance of the underground car park and told me to listen closely. I heard, very softly, the beat of a rhythm coming from beneath the surface. So, we went into the car park. The sound grew louder and suddenly we were standing in front of the characteristic UNITT sign, a stylized Chinese socket.
The sound and the beat was even louder, and I suddenly noticed I was craving the beat. We went through the door, made from a cargo container -door, and suddenly we were inside the music. On that night, I had several “first-times”. First time seeing Chinese people dancing in this particular way, first time seeing people being there only for fun and first time seeing a real DJ in China. The whole location with its painted black walls, the small room with the big DJ-desk and the small lights on the table.
All together with the compatible soundtrack, it was a wonderful experience. I was so happy with that whole night and once again with the decision to come to Qingdao. When I left the club, with all my clothes fully sweated and the beat still inside my body I knew I would return. Qingdao has always the ability to surprise you.
Do you know these moments in your life, when you are leaning against a railing in a harbour, looking at the waves without really looking? Smelling the salty sea scent and listening to the seagulls screeching, but you don’t listen and smell actively?
In these kind of moments, you will have a talk with yourself and ask in your head with a tremulous voice: “what the heck am I doing here?” At least it was like this in my case.
I am a 29-year-old German. I worked as a bank clerk for 6 years in Germany. And now after studying two and a half years I landed in Qingdao. How come?
Am I a romantic enthusiast that practiced traditional “fan-tai-chi”? Am I a lover of Chinese poetry? Did I watch too much Kung Fu Panda? Or do I just like to castigate myself learning all the Chinese characters?
No, is the answer to all these questions, it was a reason wedding. But as history shows this can have quite good outcome (not that I recommend this style of marriage). In my case it pumped up the numbers quite high. While I used to ask myself the “what the heck?” question in quite unromantic places, now I can do this on the breath-taking coast of Qingdao.
I am here now since February this year. So, I could witness the change in weather and environment in Qingdao. I was freezing my “lower area of the back” off due to the famous “Qingdao-wind” in winter time. In summer time “Mediterranean” heat let me sweat Niagara Falls out of my body. A big thanks to the inventors of heaters and air conditioners!
Experiences in Qingdao
Although this may sound like advertisement for Air-con, Heaters and Qingdao, it is my utmost honest view of Qingdao. I am now looking forward on all the cool things that I will see and experience here. Why am I telling you this? The reason why is, that from now on, I will try to keep you guys updated and informed about these experiences. Don’t worry, I will not share the hilarious story of how I bought a bus ticket or the tremendously fascinating day when I was doing absolutely nothing.
The goal of my articles, blogging and scribbling will be to give you interesting insights in daily life here in Qingdao. As well as providing you with interesting news and hidden highlights.
I hope that the reading will give you an image of China, maybe inspire you or at least will make you sit in front of the screen smirking.
When you first come to China and Qingdao you will notice many things that are different in comparison to the so called Western. Important in my opinion are the small things. Already while arriving at the Chinese airport you will learn that the Chinese way of standing in line or as it is called here, “pai dui” differs from the more or less passive aggressive way back home. Here you will have to use your whole body and stand your ground and protect your position. That small nice looking Chinese grandma behind you, that will not hesitate to get into the ten centimetres gap that you left unattended to your predecessor in line.
You may start getting angry but suddenly you made it out of the airport and find a cab to get you into the city. But all of a sudden you will have a conversation with the cabdriver, and after he asks you the magical question where you are from, he will smile and give you a short introduction in your country´s shared history with China, it is their way of politeness
When I first arrived in Qingdao I was disappointed, where were all the pagodas? Where were all the dragon dancers, the fireworks and the traditional Chinese clothing, the typical old guy in the commie outfit smoking his cigarette sitting on a small chair in front of his apartment.
Qingdao just seemed to be one of those „small“ Chinese cities inhabited by only a „couple“ of million people. Skyscrapers everywhere and Western clothed people running busy in the streets or driving their European cars to work stuck in the traffic on their way to work. You end up asking yourself “what to do in Qingdao?”.
But then you get to know the city and the people better, day by day, walking through the streets, eating your first street food chatting with the Chinese, who really are friendly and kind and very helpful. For example, I once was on the bus and it was crowded, then a woman went inside in the back of the bus, and she gave her wallet to the people who passed it on to the front of the bus for paying and after that back again. This was done so naturally and left me speechless. In Germany I would never dare to give my wallet to someone that I don’t know.
You will walk under the shadow of old trees along the small alleys of Old Town, and you will find a couple of old folks sitting around drinking tea, smoking and playing Chinese Chess or Cards. All outside and together, laughing and always with that one guy standing behind the players with the expression of unlimited knowledge about the game on his face. Then you head to a small restaurant on a street corner, and on impulse, you order beer in a bag. Yes, I am talking about a plastic bag, full of fresh and cool draft beer!
You will hear people talking about the night market, as you did back in Europe and think of it as a magical place. Finally, you will get there and see everything, match your expectations, there are the red lanterns, there is the huge variety of different foods you heard of. Strolling around while eating a delicious lamp-kebab you find yourself asking the only question that matters: “Will I have ice-cream waffles after that?”. You will find things of high skilled craftsmanship, like beautiful carved combs, or if you are looking for it, a new case for your phone or sheets and blankets for your bed and a fan for the heat of the summer.
After that you will find yourself thirsty again leading up to the purchase of another bag of fresh draft beer, which you then carry around like your shopping purchases. You will head to the Beach near Lu Xun-Park with its beautiful small pavilions and wonderful trees, which is located right at the picturesque coast and its oddly shaped, reddish coloured plane rocks, where white crowned waves play around the cliffs.
I was so satisfied with the city, with the people and also the weather. I walked my bag of beer around the city blocks always on my way to the coast. Finally, on the way there I saw him, the old Chinese man with the white small beard and hair, sitting on his small chair in front of his apartment, wizened but wise, wearing a blue hat with a red star on it, barely looking at me as I was walking by, smoking his cigarette, as he does every day.
Then I arrived at the former teahouse, with its pagoda-like ancient architecture, in Lu Xun-park and sat down on a bench near a small square where couples were dancing to Chinese music and children were running around. In front of me the ocean of the Yellow Sea in my hand the bag of cool Tsingtao draft beer, on my mind the fresh impressions of the night market, while listening to the music of the dancers. And then I realised that although Qingdao is far away from home, it really isn’t that different from what I’d imagined it to be. It is the small things that matter and that I started to like and which I am happy for being able to discover, here in Qingdao.
Lu Xun Park address:
鲁迅公园 莱阳路 25 号
Lu Xun gong yuan lai yang lu 25 hao
Lu Xun park laiyang road no. 25
tai dong liu shi, tai dong yi lu
Taidong night market taidong-one road
Cuidao jiujia Qinyu lu
Cuidao restaurant Qinyu road
A little insight into my life in China…
Coming to intern in China was never a daunting prospect for me as I had previously visited China a few times, so it felt almost natural to come back and complete a 3 months’ internship. The only obstacle was trying to persuade my parents to let me travel all the way to Asia on my own again but this time for 3 months rather than a 2-week holiday.
Coming from an Asian background (Afghanistan specifically), one would think it wouldn’t be a huge deal for my parents to accept my decision in wanting to intern in another Asian country. However, knowing I would be living in a city I have never visited before genuinely worried them. I suppose what made them feel comfortable in knowing I was going to be safe was that I would have InternChina to rely on in case I felt in any way unhappy or unsafe. But being in Qingdao, the most dangerous thing I’ve come across these past three months has been trying not to cry whilst eating spicy food. Whereas, if this was London, by 11PM I would question and wonder if I should go home yet so I do not face any dangers that we, women, are constantly told to watch out for. I have had the privilege of travelling to many countries and nowhere makes me feel more safe and protected the way China does.
Culturally, China is not so different from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. We all have a big tea drinking culture. We enjoy sharing our food. We consider family to be our main priority. But most importantly respect and kindness to be shown to visitors. Chinese culture is so rich and pure that it has allowed me to feel at home so far away from home. I would wholeheartedly recommend interning in China, as you learn about a culture first hand and experience a way of living life very differently to your own.
When it comes to the business aspects of China, the culture is very different to the Western and Central Asian way of life. Only that in China, networking is incredibly important and making connections with whomever you can is the norm. Also, their work hours are somewhat longer but more laid back, as they take their time to complete a task rather than work to a deadline.
Being an intern in InternChina has been interesting as I have been given many different responsibilities which would be deemed too high for an intern in the U.K. We are treated more as colleagues than interns which I think is great, not only for our self confidence but knowing we have the ability to perform as well as an employee. It also helps open doors to our futures because being given tasks we would not normally complete allows us to challenge and stimulate our time. Here’s our intern Joe giving us 6 reasons on why we should intern in China (although I could give you many more reasons as to why you should intern here)!
My final words; yolo, come and experience China.
(check out the IC Instagram and you will understand why people consider China to be travel goals)
Nothing is more daunting than the fact you are about to graduate and you have no concrete plans for the future. The questions that arise are; do I carry on with education and do a masters or do I take the plunge into real life by becoming a full time adult and start work as a graduate?? Well, that was my predicament until I came across InternChina. I applied for the marketing & business development position in the Qingdao branch and was offered the 3 months internship (yay!). Interning in China has given me the opportunity to gain great experience whilst figuring out my future plans!
On my arrival, I was picked up from the airport by one of my soon to be colleagues. She was incredibly welcoming and helped me settle in the shared apartment. What I like the most about the apartments in Qingdao is that they are graciously spacious yet have a very cosy vibe to them. My roommates are my fellow colleagues at the IC Qingdao branch, so it was great to be able to meet them outside of the ‘work’ environment. (I did find it rather humorous that each one of us were from a different European country, one Brit, one French and one German… it almost sounds like one of those bar jokes).
As I had never been to Qingdao before, my roommates took me out and introduced me to fellow individuals who are part of the InternChina programme but are interning at different companies. As we are all connected through InternChina it was very easy to get along and feel comfortable with one another. Plans for the weekend were discussed and I was thrown into the mix and was able to explore Qingdao with them all!
There are really cool cafes, bars and restaurants in China, so regardless of the city you’re in, you will always be able to find somewhere that is to your liking. The food is cheap and cheerful -some meals will cost you max 3 pounds (I can’t find the pound sign on my macbook sigh). Moreover, you can actually find food that is halal and great for vegetarians!
Honestly, I have only been here a few days and already I have some ideas on what I wish to do once I get back to the U.K. It also helps to be around people from all over the world as it is a great way to broaden your horizon and learn more. So if you’re currently unsure and undecided, I would wholeheartedly recommend an internship (especially one in China).
To start your own internship adventure in China, apply now!
My name is Ingo, I am a student from Germany majoring in Business Administration & Engineering. Since mid-February I have been working as an intern at a British company in Qingdao. The company provides solutions for environmental protection using their purge and pressurization units to prevent dust, corrosives and other non-hazardous gases from contaminating electrical equipment installed in enclosures close to process applications. My task is to elaborate new functions in the enterprise resource planning system, elaborate and installing a shop-floor information system and support the factory supervisor. I am well integrated in the team and I am glad to have the chance to do an internship in Qingdao and in this company.
For the duration of my stay in China I am living at a homestay family. It is a small Chinese family with a little child. The home of the family is in Shuan Shan area near a big mall and well connected to public transport. The latter is very important for me due to my daily commute to work. I get breakfast and dinner at the family. The breakfast is most of the time a Chinese kind of porridge, boiled eggs and fried bread. For dinner, I am mostly at the parents of my guest mother. There I get all varieties of Chinese food – her father is an excellent cook. Occasionally, my homestay family invites me to meet their friends or to go on a trip. Also, my guest family speaks very good English – to the detriment that my Chinese knowledge is still stagnating on a low level.
Qingdao is regarded as a holiday paradise. The city is located directly by the sea and has several beaches. Near the city, the Lao Shan Mountain is located, from which– depending on weather – a wide view over the whole region is possible.
I do not regret my decision to do an internship in China and I am looking forward to my four remaining months in Qingdao!
So one thing that has caught my attention in the two weeks I have been living in the beautiful city of Qingdao are the large numbers of shops selling 海参 haishen – or sea cucumbers. Their English name is somewhat misleading, since sea cucumbers are certainly not cucumbers, let alone plants! In fact, they are animals that live in the Deep Seas and spend most of their day making their way slowly across the sea floor. So why are they so sought after here, and why would anyone pay up to 400RMB (around 60 Euros) for one single haishen?
Filled with curiosity, I recently ventured into one of the many shops specialised in selling haishen and was fortunate enough to meet Ms Qin, a sea cucumber expert who works at a store called “Di Yi Ming” (帝一铭). She was so kind as to enlighten me on several fascinating facts regarding haishen and also gave me the permission to take photos of the store and its products.
“Di Yi Ming” – which cleverly sounds like the expression for “number one” in Chinese, but is written with different characters – is located on Ningxia Lu in the southern part of Qingdao. Beautifully furnished with carved wooden shelves and a large Chinese style tea table in the middle of the room, it altogether feels more like a jewellery boutique than a shop selling sea cucumbers. But that is because here in Qingdao, sea cucumbers are regarded as treasures, with prices starting from 1800RMB (around 250 Euros) per jin (1 Chinese jin equals 500g) for the least expensive, and up to 11’800RMB (around 1600 Euros) for 1 jin of the most costly haishen.
Put differently, for the crème-de-la-crème, the price for one single haishen can go up to 400RMB (around 60 Euros). However, it is possible to get ones starting from a mere 10RMB per haishen. The price depends on which type of species the haishen in question is, and whether it was caught in the ocean or came from a farm.
The high wooden shelves are all filled with large glass jars – which in turn are all filled to the brim with dried haishen, waiting to be sold. Their appearance is somewhat underwhelming, at first sight it may be rather hard to understand why these small, dry, dark little knobbly sausages are in such high demand around here. However, after learning about the wide range of benefits that eating haishen can bring, I realized that they are not to be scoffed at. In fact, the medical benefits of haishen are mentioned in the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国药典), an official compendium of drugs that covers Traditional Chinese and western medicines, as well as in the Chinese Journal of Marine Drugs (中国海洋药物).
Here is just a small selection of the health benefits that eating haishen can provide:
- Enhances immunity, prevent colds, helps staying in good shape and not become tired easily
- Helps heal wounds quickly
- Helps with all kinds of stomach problems
- Helps lower high blood pressure
- Is good for the skin, as it helps keep it smooth and prevents wrinkles
- Enables better sleep
- Relieves back problems
- Keeps brain cells active and enhances faculty of memory
Ms Qin told me that she recommends her customers to eat one haishen per day and that on average, customers buy 1-2 jin (500g-1kg) of haishen per purchase. I asked her whether the store sells live sea cucumbers, but she told me that all haishen sold here are dried, because this way, their nutrition value is fully preserved, and they can be kept for a much longer time than if they were not dried. In fact, according to Ms Qin, in this dried state, the haishen can be kept for 3-5 years! A dry sea cucumber is approximately the size of your thumb, but before it is caught, it is actually rather large, about the size of your hand. When buying dried sea cucumbers, one needs to first let them soak in water for about 3-5 days before preparing them for eating.
Finally, I asked Ms Qin for her favourite haishen-recipes.
- Sea cucumber porridge (海参粥)
Sea cucumber porridge is a very nutritious breakfast. First, boil the rice until it is cooked, then add chopped sea cucumber into the porridge. According to your personal taste add a small amount of salt and sugar, also add a little ginger, then boil for 5 minutes. This way, the nutrition of the sea cucumber is retained, and the porridge is easy to digest.
- Honey sea cucumber (蜂蜜海参)
Sea cucumber dipped in honey is a very popular recipe because it is very easy, and best of all, the sea cucumbers nutritional value is very well preserved. Simply steam the sea cucumber and dip it into honey.
So, in case you want to experience the taste and health benefits of haishen for yourself, you now know how!
PS. Check out “Di Yi Ming” online: www.chinadiyiming.com (totally worth it!)
In den eineinhalb Monaten, die ich nun in China bin, entdecke ich täglich neue Sachen, die mich aufs Neue überraschen, verwundern und faszinieren. In diesem scheinbaren Chaos, scheint doch alles seine Ordnung zu haben und zu funktionieren.
Verkehr in China
Genauso wie in Deutschland herrschen auch in China Verkehrsregeln. Jedoch sind diese zum Teil einfach anders und zum Teil werden sie sehr selektiv umgesetzt.
Beispielsweise dürfen Rechtsabbieger in China IMMER fahren, auch wenn sie theoretisch rot haben und Fußgänger gerade die Straße überqueren.
Für Motorräder oder -roller scheinen überhaupt keine Verkehrsregeln zu gelten. Diese fahren ohne klar ersichtliche Regelungen, wie, wo und wann immer sie wollen. Man kann oft beobachten, wie Motorradfahrer die rote Ampel ignorieren, im Gegenverkehr oder eben auf dem Gehsteig fahren und dich anhupen, weil du ihnen den Weg abschneidest.
Dadurch kommen sie aber auch unglaublich schnell von A nach B. Aus diesem Grund werden Motorräder oft für Lieferservices verwendet, die dann im Nu vor Ort sind und liefern können.
Der Kampf mit Plastiktüten
Kurz nachdem ich in Deutschland die Tatsache akzeptiert hatte, dass wir nun überall für Plastiktüten zahlen müssen um unnötige Umweltverschmutzung zu vermeiden, kam ich in China an. Eine Sache, die mich hier täglich überrascht, ist die Vielfalt der Plastiktüten in unterschiedlichen Größen für Funktionen aller Art.
Die Menge an Plastiktüten, die ich in China innerhalb einer Woche von unterschiedlichen Ständen, Restaurants und Läden kriege, kriege ich vermutlich in Deutschland in drei Monaten.
Sei es nun die geröstete Süßkartoffel am Snackstand am Eingang zur Unterführung oder der gekochte Maiskolben vom Straßenstand, beide werden in Plastiktüten verpackt. Die Suppe aus dem Restaurant zum Mitnehmen? Die wird dir ganz ohne zusätzliche Behälter in eine Tüte geschüttet und zugeknotet. Für den Verzehr, kannst du die Suppe im Büro oder daheim (hoffentlich ohne Sauerei) wieder in einen Teller umfüllen. Ein Kaffee oder McFlurry zum Mitnehmen? Ab in die Tüte!
In China sieht man sehr selten Menschen auf der Straße Lebensmittel verzehren. Weder die noch warme Süßkartoffel, der Kaffee oder der McFlurry werden nach dem Kauf sofort verzehrt. Da die Menschen die Lebensmittel meist mit nach Hause oder ins Büro mitnehmen und somit längere Zeit transportieren müssen, scheint die Plastiktüte sich als Lösung eingebürgert zu haben. Aufgrund dessen begegnet man oft, wenn man darauf besteht auf die Tüte zu verzichten, auf verständnislose Blicke.
Straßen in China
Straßen sind nicht nur „Straßen“ in China. Sie dienen als Treffpunkt, als Verkaufsstellen, Postzentren und soviel mehr.
Von Männern in Anzügen, die in der Mittagspause im Kreis Fußfederball spielen bis hin zu älteren Herren, die rund um einen Tisch sitzen und chinesische Brettspiele spielen, auf Chinas Straßen kann man immer wieder Interessantes entdecken. Regelmäßig werden scheinbar planlos Stände mit Büchern, Spielzeugen und Klamotten auf den Straßen auf- und abgebaut.
Post, von Briefen bis zu Riesenpaketen, werden auf dem Bordstein vor den Bürogebäuden verteilt und sortiert. Geschäftige Fußgänger laufen meist mitten durch diese Brief- und Pakethaufen und würdigen diesen keinen zweiten Blick. Die Wäsche, von Unterwäsche bis hin zu Jacken werden zum Trocknen entweder an die Bäume an den Straßenrändern oder auf provisorische Wäscheleinen auf der Straße gehängt.
Inmitten in diesem Chaos strahlen die Straßen Chinas eine unglaubliche Ruhe, Wärme und Selbstverständlichkeit aus, die an keinem anderen Ort so vorstellbar ist.
Wenn du die Straßen Chinas selbst erleben willst, melde dich hier an!
Mein Name ist Büsra, 22, Studentin und gebürtige Augsburgerin.
Vor paar Monaten habe ich die Entscheidung getroffen mich raus aus meiner Komfortzone und direkt ins Abenteuer zu stürzen. Und welches Land wäre da interessanter als China? Das Land über das mehr Gerüchte kursieren als Fakten.
Trotz zahlreicher Zweifel von Familienmitgliedern, Verwandten und Freunden („China? Wieso China?“, „Du sprichst doch gar kein Chinesisch?“, „Was willst du da essen?!“, „Sind Chinesen nicht rassistisch/ islamfeindlich/ türkenfeindlich/ kommunistisch…?“ etc.), bin ich vor drei Tagen aufgebrochen, um mein Praktikum in InternChina in Qingdao zu starten. Mein Praktikum wird sechs Monate dauern und ist der letzte Schritt um mein Bachelorstudium in International Business abzuschließen.
Mein Flug dauerte mehr als 14 Stunden und ging über München (MUC), Frankfurt (FRA) bis (endlich!) Qingdao (TAO).
Meinen ersten Oh-oh-Moment hatte ich, als der nette Immigrationspolizist am Flughafen mir auf Chinesisch eine Frage stellte. Als Antwort guckte ich nur leicht benebelt und flüsterte entschuldigend auf Englisch, dass ich kein Chinesisch spreche. Gott sei Dank lachte der Polizist nur und winkte mich durch. Der zweite Oh-oh-Moment ließ nur paar Minuten auf sich warten, als ich am Gepäckband stand, mich umsah und mir dämmerte, dass ich nichts, WIRKLICH NICHTS, hier lesen kann. Natürlich war mir klar, dass in China Schriftzeichen verwendet werden, aber es dann tatsächlich am eigenen Leib zu spüren… Dass man etwas, was man seit dem man das erste Mal Lesen lernte als selbstverständlich annahm, von Schildern bis zu Menüs, nicht mehr kann, war doch etwas schockierend. (Später habe ich erfahren, dass in den meisten Restaurants die Menüs bebildert sind. Also kein Grund zur Panik. Ich muss nicht verhungern. :‘) )
Clare, die InternChina Branchmanagerin in Qingdao, holte mich vom Flughafen ab, brachte mich in meine WG und begleitete mich anschließend ins Simkartengeschäft, um mich mit einer funktionierenden Handyverbindung und Internet (HALLELUJAH!!) zu versorgen.
Die Menschen in Qingdao sind sehr freundlich und hilfsbereit und sie starren dich an und zwar nicht besonders unauffällig. Aber wenn ich bedenke, dass ich in den letzten drei Tagen, abgesehen von meiner Mitbewohnerin und meinen Kollegen nur drei andere „Ausländer“ gesehen habe, ist das verständlich. Auch ist ihr Blick nicht feindselig, sondern meist nur interessiert. Gleich an meinem zweiten Tag hier, rannte ein etwa zehnjähriger chinesischer Junge uns nach, holte auf, stellte sich vor uns hin und fragte „Where are you from?“. Nach meiner leicht verwirrten Antwort „eeeeh… Germany.“, überlegte er kurz sagte „XieXie!“ (=Danke) und rannte wieder davon. Ich vermute, dass ich hier öfter als Englischübungspartner verwendet werde. 😉
Die Stadt ist überhaupt nicht überbevölkert, was ich als leichte Klaustrophobin befürchtet hatte. Allerdings habe ich auch gehört, dass Qingdao im Sommer viel voller ist und es ist momentan Januar. Es fahren jedoch sehr viele Autos auf der Straße und sie fahren etwas wilder, als aus Deutschland gewohnt. Müsste ich die Fahrweise in zwei Wörtern beschreiben, wäre es „no chill“. Dabei dachte ich, ich hätte schon alles an verrückten Fahrstilen in Istanbul gesehen. Außerdem kann man sich den Parkstil in China wie ein Tetrisspiel vorstellen. Man quetscht sich an jede mögliche freie Stelle und berücksichtigt dabei nicht, ob man eventuell jemandem vom wieder herausfahren abhält.
Die Luftqualität und das Wetter waren, wider meine Erwartungen und zu meinem Glück in den letzten Tagen ganz gut. Wir nutzten das gute Wetter aus um entlang des Meers zu spazieren und paar Fotos zu schießen. Das Meer in Qingdao ist einfach wunderschön. Es ist schon länger mein Traum gewesen in einer Stadt am Meer zu wohnen und endlich ist es soweit.
And last but not least: Das Essen. Traumhaft. Jeder der etwas länger Zeit mit mir verbracht hat, weiß wie wichtig mir gutes Essen ist und hier gibt es mehr als genug davon! Vergisst die Nudelbox mit oder ohne Hühnerfleisch und die Frühlingsrollen! Chinesisches Essen ist so viel mehr! Vor allem ist es so günstig. Eine mehr als sättigende Portion kostet um die 14 RMB (=1,91€) und das sind weniger als zwei Euro. Adieu, Diätpläne… Ich habe vor wirklich jede Chance zu nutzen, alle (nicht allzu verrückten) Arten von chinesischen Gerichten zu probieren.
Generell sollte man so wenig Erwartungen an China haben, wie nur möglich und eigentlich alles, was man je über das Land gehört hat nicht so ernst nehmen. Jeder macht unterschiedliche Erfahrungen, aber ich denke es ist es auf jeden Fall wert das Land mal selber zu sehen und eigene Eindrücke zu sammeln.
Falls du auch Lust hast mal aus deiner Komfortzone rauszukommen und in ein Abenteuer zu stürzen, informiere dich hier!