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Meet Jess, Zhuhai’s New Office Intern

About Me

I’m Jess, Zhuhai’s new Cultural Events Management and Marketing intern. Given by my teacher, my Chinese name “mĂĄ là” (éș»èŸŁ, spicy) replicates the sound of my surname (but is also in part due to my hair’s reaction to humidity reminding her of a particular spice girl). Although just beginning to learn Mandarin, I recently graduated from MSoA and moved to China two weeks ago.

Jess standing in front of a fountain during her Graduation

Background

Film and photography are my passion, but I also have experience in project management of my own non-for profit social enterprise LightUp Collective. The allure of travel, language and culture drew me away from my UK projects to this internship in China. In hand with a fast growing economy, the country is investing record amounts in the cultural sector. Through organizing events and excursions, my role ensures that our interns are enriched in Chinese culture. My camera, captures them doing so.

Experience of Interning in Zhuhai

Leaving for China can be daunting. On the last leg of my 22 hour journey, stressed and agitated I trudged off the plane. Although most excited for the prospect of my bed, as I stepped off the aircraft into Guangzhou, the realization that I had an opportunity to work in paradise (or near enough) hit me as quickly as the wave tropical heat.

A cup of coffee and a plane ticket in the airport

Two weeks into my time in Zhuhai and my mornings consist of a commute lined with palm trees, my days spent working hard affront a view of Macau glistening on the horizon. China, Zhuhai especially, is not what you expect, it’s more.

Lovers Road in Zhuhai

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When it’s time to move on…

When I arrived in January, I wrote my first blog in French. It may have been easier to write my farewells in my mother tongue but I’m happily taking the risk to use my English skills to reach most of you.
The more I’m growing up, the more I find time hard to capture. I still remember the first day I entered the office, my first impressions, my first time using Mandarin or the first noodles I tasted, but I would have never imagined that I will be sitting here, trying to do a recap of the past 6 months I lived.

6 months is a long time but still, it passed in a blink of an eye. I have seen a lot of people leave, and now my turn has come!

The view from our balcony

To cut a long story short, my experience can be split with the seasons: Winter and Summer.

Winter in Chengdu was cold, with only a few interns in the city: a small group with big hearts, we all quickly became friends, fighting the coldness of the streets by getting to know each other in the warm and smoky bars of Chengdu. When they left, winter left with them, and was replaced by a fiery Spring/Summer, along with more than 50 interns. Now we are fighting the heat and humidity, and because there are so many people, it’s harder to develop true bounds, even though their hearts are as big.

Spending 6 months working for InternChina was a professional experience far more than enriching: I’ve learned how to adapt to so many different situations that I feel I’m able to move mountains if I want to. We like to call our company a family, and it is! Even though I haven’t met most of my colleagues (spread in China or in Europe), we’re all connected and we can all count on each other.

I was lucky enough to have such an amazing team in Chengdu (Paul, Cassie, Lucy, Tamara, Henry, Joe, Miya and Rainie), a hard-working team always happy to go beyond what is expected of them. I have learned a lot from their undying energy.

InternChina offers to every participant an incredible social network, composed of very different individuals who would probably have never known each other, even if some are from the same countries. A great cultural melting-pot of open-minded people trying to learn as much as they can from Chinese culture.

I have struggled myself, I’m still struggling when I try to use the little mandarin I know, and most of the time my mind is blown away by the contrasts of this country. I love how China can be such a huge mess that works so well. I love how I got to know my Chinese friends and other foreign friends better and how I could learn from their perspective, their vision. I love how I improved myself by getting so much from other people, and give back as much as I could.

I needed to go to China by hook or by crook to see with my own eyes how this great country is moving forward, I’m happy to say that I found more than what I was looking for.

It is still hard to believe that my time here is over, but there is no place for sadness or sorrow, as I’m moving forward with great memories and a lot of stories to tell and to remember. InternChina gave me the push I needed to feel more confident with my own strength: ‘move forward’, ‘get out of your comfort zone’, ‘challenge yourself’!

I truly hope it would be the same for you.

Start your adventure, apply now!

 

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Scotland to Chengdu: An international experience!

Being from Scotland, and looking for a challenge I decided to travel to one of the most unusual areas of the world I could think of; Chengdu, China.
 

Having attended one of the InternChina talks held at Dundee University, I was intrigued by the description of the various locations on offer, but none stood out to me more than Chengdu. The mix between traditional Chinese living and modern surroundings seemed like the perfect combination and grabbed my attention immediately.

 

From there I sent off my application, went through the Skype interview process and after finishing my third year university exams, I am now an Intern in the InternChina Chengdu office for 6 weeks. Much like through the application process, arriving in China I was immediately supported and given all the help I needed. As in contrast to some of the other interns both in the office and in placements around the city I have never been to Mainland China before so I am at a slight disadvantage in this regard. However I was greeted at the airport by my manager Paul, and was put at ease straight away and the whole team has been great at helping me settle in!

 

Chengdu Thursday Dinners
Interns Dinner every Thursday in Chengdu

Thinking of the Adventure to Come

Having been here for a few days now I am taking my time to get accustomed to the culture and way of life, (however I have been told where I can find a few home comforts if needed!)

 

Throughout this internship I am hoping to achieve not only a greater understanding of Chinese culture, but also a way of working life. Having spent some time in the office already, it is refreshing to be tasked with real responsibility and trust, which is unlike many of the internships back home in the U.K. Although the office is a very welcoming and a fun atmosphere, the client-dedicated focus of InternChina means there is always something to keep you busy.

 

InternChina office Chengdu
The team in IC Chengdu Office

 

I am looking forward to see what the next few weeks will bring for me, and the challenge ahead, and hopefully I’ll be able to leave Chengdu with a few stories for life!

If you think this sounds fun why not  apply now!

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Chinese Cinema – What you should be watching

When someone mentions Chinese Cinema, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Raw special effects, ridiculously dramatic scenes, flying swordsmen fighting in fancy and flashy outfits?

In short, perhaps just the kind of cinema that you can enjoy for an hour or more, comfortably seated in one of those noisy Chinese movie theaters.

Yet, the Chinese cinematic art abounds with masterpieces that have the power to change our perspective on lights, streets or social realities that exist (or existed) in this enormous and thrilling country that is China. These directors give us the opportunity to understand a different society through the eyes of interesting and complex characters.

Here’s a list of beautiful movies which will introduce you to the delicate art of portraying a harsh reality, and will make you love China even more!

Raise the Red Lanterns by Zhang YiMou, 1991

In the 1920s, Songlian, a 19 year-old girl is set to be the 4th wife (and the 3rd concubine) of a wealthy old  man. Trapped in his family mansion, she enters into the harsh and threatening world of power games and mischievous manipulation orchestrated by the other women of the household, who are all vying for attention and privileges of their husband.

Starring Gong Li, Ma Jingwu, He Saifei

Farewell my Concubine by Cheng KaiGe, 1993

The story of two performers in the Beijing Opera, stage brothers, and the woman who comes between them. At the same time, it attempts to do no less than squeeze the entire political history of China in the twentieth century into a three-hour tour de force.

Starring Leslie Cheung, Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi

In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar-Wai, 2000

Hong-Kong, 1962.

Mr Chow and Ms Chan are neighbors. After severals suspicious coincidences, they get to know each other and realize soon that their respective partners are having affairs. A difficult relationship develops, as they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

Starring Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung

11 Flowers by Wang XiaoShuai, 2012

In 1974, in the midst of China’s Cultural Revolution, an 11 year-old boy looks up at the world of adults with little understanding of what is happening around him. A meeting with a murderer on the run pushes him into a world of secrets and lies, and strips him of his innocence.

Starring Liu Wenqing, Jing-chun Wang, Yan Ni

A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke, 2013

Dahai, a mineworker, decides to stand up against the corruption of his town leaders. San’er, a migrant worker, discovers the endless possibilities of his gun. Xiaoyu, a sauna hostess, reaches breaking point after being harassed by a wealthy client. Xiaohui works from one job to another, as time goes by, his working conditions gradually worsen.

Four characters, four different regions, four dramatic stories, one reflection on Chinese modern society.

Starring Jiang Wu, Lanshan Luo, Zhao Tao

ENJOY!

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WeChat and Other Apps: Your Survival Guide for China

WeChat Pay – A Wallet in Your Phone

With 818 million monthly active users, WeChat is now the most widely used social network in China.

This application allows you to have an account in which you can be followed by thousands of people and you can easily interact with each other. It also enables the user to have an “online” bank account on your phone with WeChat Pay.

wechat logo

If you were thinking about going to China soon, you would discover that no matter where you go, the Chinese always pay with their phone: in shops, in taxis, to refill bus cards or phone plans, and even to pay in a bar or book holidays.

Today, 413 million Chinese are online shoppers, or 30% of the population.

With apps like “Alipay” and “WeChat”, it is very easy for Chinese to pay online wherever they go. Everyone has a WeChat account to receive and send money. Even crazier, for Chinese New Year you can send a “virtual envelope” containing money to your relative.

pay using mobile phone application in store

You may be wondering, why are Western countries lagging behind in these new technologies?

Perhaps, it is due to new technologies confidence problems or simply to the fact that WeChat has few competitors in China. Being in a monopoly situation, it can do whatever it wants and remains the most-used way to pay. And which wouldn’t be possible in most of the western countries.

But WeChat is not the only used online platform in China.

Here is a brief survival guide for your next trip:

QQ Mobile: Another popular messaging system, especially for downloading music.

qq logo

Alibaba: The leader of Chinese e-commerce, with this application it is possible to order everything you need. It facilitates exchanges between China and western countries. They now account for about 80% of online commerce in China.

alibaba logo

Taobao: Operated by Alibaba group, this is the main online sales platform in China. It works approximately like Amazon.

taobao logo

Tmall : This is a platform for local Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to consumers.

tmall logo

Made-in-china.com : It is mainly for B2B business

made-in-china logo

Baidu: certainly one of the most useful app! The same principle as Google Map, with the advantage of telling you which bus to take, but also nearby taxis and even order them for you!

baidu logo

Weibo: Essentially the Chinese Twitter, it currently has 200 million active users and is one of the most visited websites in China.

weibo logo

Youku: The Chinese Youtube. You can find many online movies on this website. With a very large selection, including international films. (For the French people: it is even possible to watch Kaamelott, so you can imagine how international it is!)

youku logo

Ctrip: The most popular booking site for domestic flights to China. It allows users to consult schedules, prices and availability of trains and planes.

ctrip logo

 

But also some useful apps for every day life:

Pleco: The essential dictionary for China travel or Chinese study. It can recognize many characters with great precision, and you can draw them by hand, which makes the application very easy to use.

Plume Air : An application on air quality. To know if it is needed to put on your mask today to survive the Airpocalypse!

If you want to be a part of the IC story, APPLY NOW!

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Taipei’s Climate

The Tropic of Cancer runs straight through the middle of Taiwan bringing with it tropical and subtropical weather. Taipei has a similar climate to our other destination city – Zhuhai. Taipei usually presents an average temperature of 22C (71.6F) all year round. There is no severe cold in winter, but the weather in summer is very hot with high humidity.
During winter, the island experiences continental high pressure systems from Mongolia and Siberia, and is influenced primarily by the northeastern monsoon climate. The coldest months in Taipei are from January to March with the lowest temperature to about 10C (50F). Sometimes, in rare cases, you can see snow on the high mountains.
In summer, the island’s weather is controlled by the marine high pressure system formed above the Pacific Ocean, with a humid, southwestern monsoon climate. The hottest months are from June to August with the highest temperature up to around 38C (100F).

Taiwan has a naturally humid climate. June to October is the typhoon season in Taiwan, with plenty of brief showers and rainfall. So don’t forget to bring your umbrella!

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Shanghai oder Chengdu?

Wenn es um chinesische StĂ€dte geht, sind Shanghai oder Beijing womöglich fĂŒr die meisten AuslĂ€nder am prominentesten. Doch wie sieht es eigentlich mit den sogenannten ,,second-tier” StĂ€dten in China aus? Im Zuge der Urbanisierung in den kommenden Jahren rĂŒcken immer mehr StĂ€dte in den Fokus, deren Namen viele noch nie gehört haben, wie beispielsweise Chengdu, Qingdao, Zhuhai oder Dalian.
 

InternChina - Shanghai vs. Chengdu

InternChina – Shanghai vs. Chengdu

Ich war bereits in den ,,first-tier’’ StĂ€dten Beijing und Shanghai, aber auch in Tianjin und lebe nun seit fast zwei Monaten in Chengdu. Wer das ,,reale’’ China erleben will, sollte nach meinen Erfahrungen in den ,,second-tier’’ StĂ€dten in China leben. Weshalb? Dies werdet Ihr in diesem Blogpost erfahren und ich werde hierbei meinen Fokus auf Shanghai und Chengdu setzen und einen Vergleich ziehen.

Chengdu

Den meisten ist Chengdu nur fĂŒr eine Tatsache bekannt: In Chengdu gibt es die berĂŒhmteste Panda-Aufzuchtstation, in welcher die großen Pandas Zuhause sind. Doch was hat Chengdu eigentlich noch zu bieten? Fange ich erst einmal mit der Lage der Stadt an: Bereits die Lage Chengdus im SĂŒdwesten von China macht die Stadt unheimlich attraktiv, denn sie liegt in einer der fĂŒnfgrĂ¶ĂŸten Provinzen der Nation und bildet somit die Reisescheune Chinas. Von hier aus kann man zum Beispiel nach Tibet reisen und in der Umgebung liegen der Heilige Berg Emei Shan und der riesige Buddha von Leshan. Die Provinz Sichuan ist vielseitig und die Landschaft ist atemberaubend, aber auch die Stadt als solches hat vieles zu bieten. Chengdu empfing mich als eine moderne Metropole mit rund 14 Millionen Einwohner, modernster HochhĂ€user und ich war erstaunt ĂŒber die Sauberkeit der Straßen, die eher unaufdringlichen HĂ€ndler und freundlichen Menschen. FĂŒr eine Millionenmetropole eine unglaublich gelassene Stadt! Es gibt viele buddhistische und taoistische Tempel…und zwischendrin ĂŒberall große Parks mit ihren alten TeehĂ€usern. Dort treffen sich die Menschen tĂ€glich, um Tee zu trinken, Majiang zu spielen oder einfach um sich zu unterhalten. Und wĂ€hrend die Tage in Chengdu gern etwas geschmĂ€chlicher vergehen, können die NĂ€chte hingegen umso lebhafter ausfallen: Durch den Zuzug vieler Menschen hat sich in Chengdu eine junge Partyszene etabliert, in der sowohl chinesische, als auch auslĂ€ndische Bars und Clubs zahlreiche Möglichkeiten bieten, die Nachtszene Chengdus zu erleben.

 

InternChina - JiuZhaiGou Nationalpark

InternChina – JiuZhaiGou Nationalpark in Sichuan

Shanghai

In Shanghai hingegen empfand ich den Bund, die berĂŒhmte Uferpromenade mit Blick auf die futuristische Skyline, wirklich beeindruckend –  vor allem bei Nacht! Doch ich misste dort die traditionellen Aspekte, die Chengdu zu bieten hat. Noch vor einigen Jahrhunderten war Shanghai noch ein kleines Fischerdorf. Heute ist Shanghai bekannt als Wirtschafts- und Finanzzentrum Chinas, das sich in nur 20 Jahren rasant entwickelte. Zwar ist Shanghai in chinesischer Hand, doch das macht sie wahrscheinlich internationaler und moderner als andere StĂ€dte in China und lĂ€sst womöglich deshalb nicht ganz so viel Raum fĂŒr das ,,traditionelle China’’. Mit eigenen Augen konnte ich vor zwei Jahren erleben wie sehr sich die Globalisierung in Shanghai bemerkbar breit machte: Die Starbucks, KFC- sowie Pizza Hut-Dichte ist hoch und man sieht eher weniger von den kleinen und billigen, aber authentischen EssgeschĂ€ften. Pudong mag fĂŒr viele zwar faszinieren, aber sie bleibt fĂŒr mich unpersönlich und ein wenig stressig: Allein durch die Straßen zu gehen kann durchaus anstrengend sein und man ist umgeben von Wolkenkratzern und sieht nur ein kleines StĂŒck Himmel…Zudem hat Shanghai die meisten westlichen AuslĂ€nder aller StĂ€dte in China und hierher zieht es ebenso viele ausgebildete Menschen, die einen Job suchen – was das Networking in China auch ein wenig schwieriger macht. Andererseits ist Shanghai insgesamt eine spannende und pulsierende Stadt – man entdeckt immer etwas Neues auf den eher westlich geprĂ€gten Straßen.

Dies war meine kurze GegenĂŒberstellung der beiden StĂ€dte Shanghai und Chengdu. Meiner Meinung nach ist Chengdu genau die richtige Mischung nicht nur fĂŒr eine kurze China-Reise, sondern auch um das ,,wahre” China zu erleben. Nichtsdestotrotz ist dieser Vergleich natĂŒrlich nur subjektiv gesehen und basiert lediglich nur auf meinen Erfahrungen. Man darf hierbei nicht vergessen, dass ich meinen Urlaub nur zwei Wochen in Shanghai verbrachte – in Chengdu habe ich hingegen seit 2 Monaten eine geregelte Tagesroutine. Wer also eher den westlicheren Lebensstil bevorzugt, wird wohlmöglich in der Megametropole Shanghai gut aufgehoben sein und sie mag fĂŒr den einen oder anderen ihren eigenen Reiz haben. Jede Stadt ihre Vor- und Nachteile. Doch fĂŒr das VerstĂ€ndnis der chinesischen Kultur und Lebensweise bevorzuge ich definitiv die ,,second-tier” StĂ€dte wie Chengdu.

 

Wenn Du auch das ,,wahre” China in einer unserer StĂ€dte erleben möchtest, dann bewirb Dich hier!

 

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Do’s and Don’t of CV writing

Writing a CV can be quite a draining and sometimes nerve-wracking experience, often you’ll find yourself wondering where to start, or you might catch yourself doubting yourself every time you get started. However, your CV is one of the most important pieces of written work you’ll ever produce, as it will be your first port of communication with a potential employer. What is put into a CV varies depending on the culture/region that you are applying in.
 

  • Photographs – yay or nay
    In Asian cultures it is expected to put a professional photograph into your CV, this is very different in comparison to the West, where photographs on a CV are considered taboo. In the UK it is illegal to request a photo to be attached on to a CV. Whereas Chinese employers see a photograph as essential. The photo is most often passport sized. In the west, putting a photograph into your CV may cause employers to automatically reject your application. So, perhaps it would be a good idea to keep a professional photo handy, just in case.

 

  • Keeping your CV to a reasonable length
    A CV should always be kept at a reasonable length – however, this will also vary depending on culture. German’s wouldn’t take a short CV seriously; whereas the English prefer 2 pages – long enough to make it look like you’ve done SOMETHING but not so long that the employer loses interest. In America it’s all about summarising all your experiences onto 1 page. Chinese companies prefer your CV to be 2-3 pages long (longer if you have a lot of work experience). However, don’t leave blank spaces in your CV, this would look unprofessional.

 

  • Structure
    When creating your CV, it is important to structure it in a way that appears attractive to the eye of the reader, ensure your resume is easy to look through. Recruiters usually don’t take more than 15 seconds to check if a candidate matches the job requirements. Remember that a CV is your very own marketing tool which is supposed to show off your skills and experience (think of a brochure of your professional life). Make sure you double check your spelling and grammar before sending your CV out, the grammar should always be consistent, and mistakes will never be tolerated, no matter what country you apply for a job.

 

  • Sell Yourself
    Make sure you add tangibility to your achievements, this makes what you have done come to life and seem more relatable. If you increased sales, let your new employer know by how much! If you managed a team, let your new employer know how many people were within that team! However, never lie on your CV as it is very easy for employers to double check details.

 
CV Tips

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Henrik Larsen Business Talk

On Thursday 30 June, Henrik Larsen the principal coach and consultant at HWAO Consulting, did an exclusive business talk for the partner companies and interns of InternChina Zhuhai, the talk focused on the cultural differences between the East and West and how understanding these differences and adapting to them will ensure that a multi-cultural office is managed more effectively. With experience across three continents, including 18 years of management experience in China, Henrik has a comprehensive understanding of working in cross culture environments.

InternChina - Henrik Larsen
InternChina – Henrik Larsen

Henrik started the session by interacting with the participants, ensuring that he knew what cultures and work-backgrounds people in the room were from, this enabled him to deliver his talk in the most effective way. Henrik has a background in banking, IT, manufacturing, R&D high-tech electronics, coaching and consulting, meaning he has worked with a wide range of people from multiple different work backgrounds.

Throughout the talk, Henrik constantly asked questions and got the participants to interact with him. The atmosphere of the talk was up-beat yet comfortable – all participants were able to discuss their experiences in a judgement-free zone and often get Henrik’s advice. Matters regarding hierarchy, individualism, body language and humour were openly discussed. The talk gave the interns the opportunity to engage with some of their soon-to-be colleagues and employers in a business environment.

InternChina - Interactive Seminar
InternChina – Interactive Seminar

Hofstede’s theory and Meyers cultural map were also mentioned, this lead to them being analysed and questioned, participants would often look at the map and compare first-hand experiences. Often this would lead to discussions which would eventually lead the participants to evaluate their own managerial skills.

The talk that Henrik provided for InternChina and our partner companies was highly educational, eye-opening and enjoyable. The constant involvement from the participants ensured that they understood what was being discussed and helped them gain the most out of this experience.

InternChina - Zhuhai partners and interns at seminar
InternChina – Zhuhai partners and interns at seminar

The interns who participated in the talk were given the opportunity to learn about Chinese business culture before starting their internships. This has enabled them to go into their work placement with an open mind, and with the expectation or the working environment to differ from that they are used to.

InternChina - Zhuhai Office Manager thanking Henrik Larsen
InternChina – Zhuhai Office Manager thanking Henrik Larsen

HWAO Consulting works with individuals and corporations who desire to better understand and improve their position in China – through Business Consultancy, Board Work, Executive Coaching and Training. Find out more about the business here.

If you are interested in working in a cross-cultural environment all while experiencing Chinese business culture, please apply here.

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Travelling to Qingdao

A tale of eastern greetings, American cities and European supermarkets
On the dawn of Thursday 16 June, two twenty-year-old English boys approached the Qingdao runway offering prayers to Budda of a pleasant east-Asian sojourn. Upon landing, a welcome party greeted the aeroplane’s weary travellers and showered them with gracious souvenirs, fruits and benevolence to ensure a majestic reception. The esteemed party were surrounded by a locus amoenus: the sun’s rays chased away the retreating darkness, birds sang in an oriental voice and, in the distance, a colourful forest danced as though the breeze was conducting its favourite traditional song. The two boys exchanged a glance of widened eyes at their hospitality and were gently ushered towards a taxi.

Sunrise
InternChina – Sunrise

Okay, so that’s not quite how I arrived in China, but does provide a metaphor for my excitement at the coming three months!

I’m working for InternChina for the next ten weeks as a marketing, sales and business development intern. Having experienced the British Council’s ‘Study India’ trip last July I wanted to spend this summer developing my understanding of the world economy in another Asian financial and cultural superpower. I chose Qingdao as my desired location as a second-tier city provides insight into a China that isn’t trampled on by thousands of Western-style skyscrapers or blinded by limitless occident travel guides. It may be more of a culture-shock, but the hard-learned lessons will be more numerous and valuable.

09-Qingdao-bg
InternChina – Qingdao from the sea

I had four free days to explore the city both independently and with other foreign interns before I started work. In my young and humble opinion, lots of parallels can be drawn with American cities. There are numerous skyscrapers, wide roads impossible to cross without our equivalent of a pelican crossing, and you can’t lift a chopstick to your mouth without being exposed to some flamboyant advertising.

However, the most bizarre experience I had was in the French supermarket, Carrefour. In the ‘market’ section, a man was responsible for a pile of live shrimp. When a shrimp attempted a getaway, the man would shout ‘lái! lái! lái!’, meaning ‘come! come! come!’, and put the untoward crustacean back on his stockpile.

 

13415568_1347227041961420_7822466896169876790_o
InternChina – An organised weekly meal

 

Curious cultural differences aside, Qingdao is a splendid place to spend a summer internship and learn about the ‘real China’. I’m excited by the challenges the city has to offer and am looking forward to the lengthy debrief my parents will inevitably put me through when I return home to England in September.

If you want to see a man shouting at some shrimp AND have a rewarding internship at the same time, click here to apply now!