„You need to go to this place!“, “ It is totally worth the long bus trip!”, “You will never regret to go there.”
These are just a few of the comments that I heard about JiuZhaiGou. Naive, I went to the bus station to meet all the new and some long term interns who joined the trip. All in all we were seventeen people. The bus departed on schedule and after two hours we already were able to see the first mountains. Long bus ride few words. Instead of around eight to ten hours journey we needed thirteen. But the welcome of JiuZhaiGou at night is awesome. Between the big mountains are the small cities which enlighten their houses and advertisements in every colour. We had a very late and delicious dinner. But my thoughts just jumped between “I need sleep” and “hope it is worth this long bus ride”.
The weather the next day was amazing. Blue sky and warm sun. The shadows were a little bit cold but only in the morning. After we entered the park we needed to take another bus to one of the two peaks. But it was a fast ride and the view out of the window was just a small appetiser of what we would see later. I don’t know how nature transformed this place but it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. You don’t need any filters or Photoshop to create an astonishing picture. Just take your phone and you will have beautiful pictures. I never could imagine that water could be so clear. I never could imagine that a lake could look like a swimming pool (created by nature). You just want to jump into it and swim in it. Big waterfalls connect the different lakes and complete the picture of this gorgeous place.
After just one day in JiuZhaiGou I hope that I will be able to visit it again one time in the future. I just can say: “You need to go to this place! It is totally worth the long bus ride! (Even thirteen hours) You will never regret to go there.”
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你好!This is my last blog post from China… I’m leaving this amazing country tomorrow! Even though I spent only 3 weeks here, I got to do some very special, China-specific things which will stay in my memory forever!
Whilst visiting one of the many beautiful temples in Chengdu I used the opportunity to have my future predicted by an old Chinese fortune teller. He told me a lot of good things about my future marriage which made me very happy… And hopeful. 😀
The most exciting part of my stay in China was obviously the food! I dined at many different restaurants and tried a lot of Chinese cuisine classics as well as typical Sichuanese dishes. Some of my favourites were: Kung Pao chicken (宫保鸡丁, pinyin: gōngbǎo jīdīng), Dan dan noodles (担担面, pinyin: dàndàn miàn) and Sichuan hotpot (四川火锅, pinyin: Sìchuān huǒguō). They were all delicious and quite different from typical Chinese food served in the West. I didn’t expect the spiciness but it was definitely a positive surprise. After all, who doesn’t like their mouth on fire? Haha! This brings to mind a very useful sentence in Chinese: 请不要太辣，谢谢 (pinyin: Qǐng bùyào tài là, xièxie) which more or less means “Not too spicy, please” – very useful in Sichuan!
During my stay in China I was attempting to master the Chinese language. The task proved less scary than I initially thought. I really liked the classes I took and of course my teacher Sherry (pictured below)! Don’t get me wrong, I still think Chinese is difficult but if you’re committed, anything is possible. 😉
The last thing about China that I will never forget is the way business is done here. First of all, I had some first-hand experience with people not answering my emails when I first introduced myself in writing. However, networking in person at a business event in Chengdu was great fun, and very effective. I had the opportunity to exchange some business cards ‘the Chinese way’ – using two hands and reading the whole of the other person’s business card, right after receiving it. I studied it in business school and I was chuffed and excited to be able to apply it in practice.
That’s it, I’m afraid. I will miss China very much and I’m sure I will come back here very soon. I’m also really sad to be leaving all the amazing people I’ve met here, including the lovely IC Chengdu staff!!! 🙁 I loved my stay here. Goodbye China! 再见!!!
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The iBox is one of the most colourful places in Chengdu. It is next to the Niuwangmiao Subway Station and provides a place where creativity and urbanisation coexist. The design of this area is inspired by the London’s creative BOX – Park. It is an eye catcher for everybody who passes this area. The iBox showcases to the public a unique space with an unique atmosphere and astonishing galleries, designers and fashion from Europe, Taiwan and Japan. The comfortable Café, bars and food options give some space for you to free your mind and relax a little bit.
This weekend a Startup Weekend will take place over there and provide young entrepreneurs an opportunity to make friends, build ideas, improve skills, find mentors and hopefully start a company.
Even if the iBox is not so far from my home I wasn`t so often over there. But once you enter this place you can fell that something is different in there. The first time I came into this area I went into a gallery of an artist who draw some awesome horror pictures. His skills of to draw with a pencil were amazing and the Chinese content immediately caught my attention. I couldn’t help myself and bought a small notebook for my Chinese Characters.
If you are in Chengdu and want to have a rest this one of the places you will find some relaxing moments.
How to make friends in a city like Chengdu? Everybody will tell you a different story about that. Some will focus on the intern group and some go out late at night and make some good friends in a bar etc.
I have been rock climbing now for a few years. Bouldering is one of my favourites, the walls are not higher than 4-5 meters and there is no need for a rope. Standing in front of the wall, seeing the handles of the rout and figuring out how to climb it, is a situation in which you will make friends quickly. After three astonishing weeks in Chengdu, I decided to look for a climbing hall and I finally found it on top of a shopping mall. Firstly, I needed to ask a few people how to get there. It was not clear how to get there because it was on the 5th floor and I had to go to the 3rd floor in the elevator and then go upstairs to the 5th floor, but in the end I found it.
After figuring out how the routs are marked, I saw lots of stones but only a few routs so I approached another climber and asked him. It only took a few words and I was invited to climb with him. Finally I understand that you need to be a little bit more creative in this climbing hall which makes climbing more exciting. I enjoyed my first visit there and my new WeChat group keep me in contact with the other climbers of four different nationalities. The group helps me to socialise as well as improve my Chinese.
That is my story on how to make friends in Chengdu.
My name is Joanna Embley and I am currently working with InternChina as an intern. I have been in China for just over a week now and I am enjoying every second. I secured a place with the InternChina team by applying through my University, UCLan which is based in Preston, Lancashire. The application process was challenging however I was determined to try my hardest and do what I could to be able to visit China. After multiple emails and conversations, I received the email that I had been accepted onto InternChina and I couldn’t have been happier. I just wanted to tell the world that a 20 year old female from a small town in Lancashire called Burnley was going to do an Internship in Chengdu. I could not believe it. I began researching the InternChina, Chengdu and what Chinese culture has to offer immediately!
I arrived at Manchester Airport and met the other lucky 13 applicants as we waited for our plane. Unfortunately the place was delayed, which resulted in us having to run to catch our next plane from Amsterdam to Chengdu. We then got to Chengdu to find our luggage had been left in Amsterdam which resulted in us having to buy new clothes – but we were so ecstatic about being in China, that we were not too bothered about the suitcases! We have eaten lots of amazing food, attended Chinese school once a day for three hours, where we discovered our names in Chinese and have visited many markets. We often stood in awe at all the amazing buildings, especially at night as the buildings beautifully lit up Chengdu showcasing what Chengdu really has to offer. We visited Wenshu Monastery and the Peoples Park which consisted of many events including dancing, games, drinking tea and grandparents trying to find their grandchildren a partner!
The group were taken to Shui Jing Fang Distillery which gave us an insight into the Drinks industry, as Shui Jing Fang is where 10% of the Chinese’s baijiu is made. Throughout the week the group visited many businesses including the British Centre, allowing the group to understand the work of the British Centre in Southwest China, Urban Hybrid, a British Architecture Firm and Ubisoft, a French Computer gaming company. Each business was a fantastic insight into how business evolves in China and how to maintain relationships. The group was thoroughly briefed on how to do business in China. Relationships are very important within China; going for meals with your business partners, attending drinks with new clients in order to secure a deal and maintaining those foundations. Without building these relationships in such a special way, most businesses would fail in China, which is very different to the UK!
InternChina also took us to visit the Giant Panda Base, we were lucky enough to see pandas up close and personal. It was such a magical day and none of us wanted to leave. The weekend arrived and the group endured a 10 hour coach journey to JuiZhaiGou National Park. It was an early start for each day but it was definitely worth it. The breath-taking views were incredible and you could definitely lose yourself within the beauty of JuiZhaiGou. This week we begin our Internships and we are all very excited and eager to begin work within China. In addition the group get to experience Chengdu’s famous Hot Pot, try a Chinese massage, visit BeerNest and sample their beer as well as observe a presentation regarding BeerNest’s business in China. Overall Chengdu is a fabulous place brimming with potential. As a group we love it here and can’t imagine going back to England. Personally, I would feel extremely comfortable living in Chengdu as the people are lovely, Chendgu seems very relaxed and there is always something to occupy your time with. I am extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity and still cannot believe that I have been to China.
I would encourage everyone to apply with InternChina in any way possible; it’s a fantastic company offering outstanding opportunities.
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In the beginning of March, InternChina had the pleasure of hosting 19 students from the German University “HS Heilbronn”. Since I started my internship at InternChina in Chengdu in the beginning of February, I was still involved in some of the planning and organization of this Group Trip. Therefore, I was even more excited to meet all of the students in person and have a great time with them. Finally, the day of their arrival came and we were waiting at the airport to give them a warm welcome.
The welcome was really exciting (some of the guys literally entitled me as a Whooo girl – sorry again guys, I could not hold my excitement :D) and we had a great welcome breakfast and orientation with all of them in one of the most coziest cafés in Chengdu. After the breakfast, finally all of the Chinese host families arrived and picked up their new family member :). Everybody was really excited and nervous at the same time, but the host families gave each of them a really lovely welcome and made them feel very comfortable.
The next days were full of great and exciting activities in Chengdu. Starting with the daily Chinese classes in our partner language school in Chengdu. The students made great improvements and even presented some of their Chinese skills in the end which was so much fun :). Furthermore, we visited plenty of companies in Chengdu to give the students an authentic insight into the Chinese business environment. It was great to find out more about the differences in business between Western and Chinese culture and being able to ask as many questions as we wanted (Again, a massive thank you to all of the interesting companies in Chengdu)!
And of course there were a lot of fun activities to enjoy the Chinese culture and get a deeper understanding of the life in China. The Group participated at a Chinese painting and Dumpling making class which was a lot of fun. We went on a weekend trip to Mount Emei and climbed up 50,000 stairs within two days (hope this still goes under fun activities :)) and stayed at a Temple in the middle of nowhere. This was such an unforgettable experience for all of us. We never had such a feeling of happiness when we arrived at the Golden Summit of Emei Shan. And of course visiting the Research Panda Base in Chengdu was a great highlight for many of the students.
I believe that this was an amazing time and that is was more than just a two week group program in China – It was amazing to meet all of you :). Thanks again to all of the students who made those two weeks really unforgettable :). It was great to have you and we hope that we can welcome many of you in Chengdu soon again!
Sunlight… finally… It can’t be too far anymore… just keep moving… In life we often face situations that challenge our mental limits, physical limits or even both. Especially in China we, as foreigners, are frequently confronted with situations that seem to be mysterious, surreal or even abstract. These situations often challenge our cultural empathy or, in the case of a broken elevator, even our physical fitness to climb up the stairs. Hopefully your flat or your office is not too high up. I’ve never imagined that I would have had to climb as many stairs as I did last weekend (03.13.-03.15.) Also, I now know that going upstairs is more a matter of will power than of fitness. It all began on Friday when we, the InternChina staff at our office in Chengdu, met up with the German group who had come to Chengdu for a two week business and marketing programme. Besides learning about business and marketing in China, we also gave students the opportunity to study Chinese and learn more about the Chinese culture. As the giant Buddha statue is worth seeing and the Emei Mountain is not far away we went to see both. Determined to go to the top of the Emei Mountain we spent the night at a hostel and started climbing the mountain early on the next morning. Luckily, the weather was nice. First of all, we realized that climbing a Chinese mountain connotes climbing stairs which has nothing to do with a typical hiking trip in Europe. Secondly, we discovered that the stairs seem to have no end. I need to mention that Paul, the Office Manager in Chengdu, had warned us that this would be a hard trip, but even I was shocked about all the stairs. Moreover, it was a constant up and down. For every set of steps we went down we had to climb up ten. After nine hours of climbing (or a few thousand stairs later) we finally reach the temple where we spent the night. We had climbed so high that we were above the clouds. All of us were exhausted from the hike, so all we wanted to do was having dinner and going to bed. The next morning we got up very early and, after a short breakfast, started our last day on the mountain. After three hours of climbing we reached the snow zone. Despite of the low temperature, most of us were covered in sweat. Determined to climb to the top, we carried on. And then, after what seemed like an eternity, we saw the sun breaking through the clouds. The top wasn’t far anymore. And there it was – the golden statue. We had reached the top of the mountain.
One of the benefits of living in China is that you are well positioned to dip into new countries. For those with a love of finding new places and experiencing interesting cultures it’s possible to conveniently and cheaply arrange flights all over Asia via low-cost local carriers. Whilst China has an array of popular tourist destinations; The Great Wall, The Terracotta Warriors of Xi An, the Yangzi and Yangshuo rivers as well as the scenic masterpieces of Zhangjiajie and Jiuzhaigou tend to top the list, there are other unique and cost effective options well within reach from most of China.
Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou in the South East are excellent international hubs. Beijing, Nanning and Shanghai have excellent low-cost flights if travelling from the north east. Chengdu, Nanning and Kunming are some of the busiest in the west and south-west of China. All provide excellent options for South East Asian destinations such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia to name but a popular few.
Once upon a time you may have spent months of planning and coughed up a large amount of cash for your big trip to Asia. However once you’re based in China, even for a short time, it’s a massive plus to be able to arrange last minute holidays at low cost. This is exciting to those who only have the slightest interest in travelling but for keen explorers it’s a golden ticket! Why not experience China for an internship and springboard onto other Asian destinations to satisfy the wanderer in you? Go on, spread your wings!
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Chengdu is known for pandas, spicy food, hot girls and of course; home the newest INTERNCHINA office. Over the last year or so there have been significant developments within the city’s infrastructure and the whole Chengdu lifestyle is arguably changing from a chilled out, tea drinking society to a fast paced, iPhone talking, Gucci Wearing, consumer spending economic powerhouse.
InternChina – New Developments – TaiKoo Li
But perhaps it’s better to say the two aspects of Chengdu life are starting to coexist in a fascinating mix match of new and old, local and foreign, rich and poor. Recent developments between Lang Kwai Fong and the ShangriLa Hotel and the newly opened TaiKooLi (of Beijing Sanlitun fame) show a desire to keep architecture in line with traditional buildings and represent a welcome change from giant glass structures of over 60 stories (Chengdu is building a lot of these).
Perhaps what is happening in Chengdu is just a localised version of what you can find across the country. When people mention China – it’s quite hard to put your finger on what is China? We operate in 3 different cities and the marketing, local culture and treasures for each are very different. From Spicy Chuan Chuan in Chengdu, to Beer Bags in Qingdao and Dim Sum in Zhuhai – each part of China is unique and more importantly worthy of visiting if you can.
To provide a more personal example of how life can differ in China I want to give you an example of how my life has changed in China. I have lived in rural China for a while before moving to the big city of Chengdu.
Mile County, Yunnan (about 2 hours from Kunming) pop. 500,000
A typical day is….(and there never was)
- Wake up to beautiful sunshine (Yunnan is VERY sunny) and mountain scenery.
- Walk to town along a dusty path, past the odd horse and cart and buses of people – all dressed in minority clothing who are on their way to the downtown market.
- Pose for several photographs, whilst shouts of “hello” and “laowai” are whispered follow me around the shops which sell everything apart from anything I really recognise.
- Observe people cooking tea eggs, smelly tofu, steamed buns and other unrecognisable dishes.
- Eat at a fine Chinese restaurant for less than a beer in Chengdu and walk home with the sun setting
Chengdu China population 15 million
A typical day is…(and there never is)
- Wake up in my high rise apartment (42 floors) look out at the expanding CBD district as another floor of a Skycraper goes up.
- Walk to a spotless subway station past Starbucks, H&M, 7/11, a funky new Art exhibition as well as the familiar morning street food like pancakes jian bing and bao zi. As I reach the station a chorus of “Modi Modi!” rings out – these guys are basically trying to get you to go on the back of their motorbike taxi across the city at lightening speed.
- Take a busy subway with fashionable businessmen and women rushing to work whilst carrying the latest iPhones and designer bags
- Conduct business, meet clients and talk to companies who are designing computer games, marketing events for high end clients or designing the latest luxury shopping mall
- Dinner at either a local favourite or numerous western restaurants; Japanese, Cuban, Belgian, Indian it’s all here as well as the latest fashionable imports from Shanghai and Beijing such as Element Fresh and Blue frog.
- Home and I can finally relax above a city which is still not sleeping.
Clearly Chengdu has woken up from being a sleepy city and now is the centre of West China’s still double digit growth. New developments are everywhere come and see it for yourself! This weekend I might take a taxi to one of the parks and maybe eat some BBQ but similarily I could take a UBER Audi A6 to a new shopping district.
Being an intern based in Chengdu opens up a Pandora’s Box of travel destinations in Western China, not least of which is the fascinating tumult of Chongqing; a city of staggering development, tortuous steps and hidden charm.
Chongqing is also home to the British Council in South West China, without whom many interns would not have made it here. It is thanks to Generation UK funding that students from all over Britain get to live in China for 2 months and experience business from a new cultural perspective. So we welcomed the chance to go when we were invited to visit the British Council – to catch a train to Chongqing, say thank you and seize the opportunity to explore!
During the day we wandered the streets from steep alleys of derelict housing about to be demolished straight into the heart of the modern city, complete with New York style skyscrapers and shiny glass doors. Then we continued on to the hustle and bustle of riverbank and the great mass of the Yangtze River.
The evening was spent in the company of the British Council, whose hospitality knows no bounds. Great food and good company, it was a chance for all of us to meet local Chongqing businessmen and other foreigners currently working in the area.
Next day we scoured the antique stalls around the People’s Square, disputing the value of pretty much everything there but eventually came away happy with our purchases. As darkness fell, we caught the cable car over the river to the opposite bank to catch a glimpse of Chongqing’s night lights.
Late night is the time to enjoyed impromptu street food meals of spicy barbecue squid and all manner of veg topped off with a nice bottle of Harbin beer. What more could a weary traveller ask for? Barely having waved goodbye to the buzzing street food restaurant, we rose early for our train the next morning and stepped straight out into the rush of morning tradesmen, unloading truckfuls of goods and heaving them up the narrow steps through the bustling market and up the hill. It’s a city that never seems to sleep.
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