About the programme
The PMSA programme is administered by Education New Zealand and is open to New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, over the age of 18. On behalf of Education New Zealand, InternChina facilitated a 10-week Chinese language, culture, business and internship experience in Zhuhai, China. Successful applicants received financial support via the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia (PMSA).
Selected candidates took part in an intensive two-week beginners’ course in Mandarin Chinese. During this period, they lived with a local family as part of our unrivaled homestay programme, giving them the chance to practice their newly learned language skills and experience local culture first-hand. Afternoons were reserved for cultural activities and business/factory visits.
Following the language course, participants carried out an eight-week internship at a company relating to their field of study/interest while living in our shared apartment accommodation with other interns from InternChina.
Throughout the visit in China, the students were supported by InternChina’s friendly and experienced on-site team. Including pick-up and orientation, 24-hour emergency assistance, and opportunities to join a range of ongoing events, trips and activities. There was even a trip to the famous and jaw-droppingly beautiful Yangshuo County (see the gallery below!)
Have a read of what the successful students made of their time in China and internship companies –
I’ve just completed a BDes majoring in Visual Communication Design at Massey University Wellington. For the past weeks, myself and the other interns have been doing language school every morning followed by a range of activities organised by InternChina, my favourite being a Chinese calligraphy class where we learnt a bit about the history of Chinese calligraphy and the five different styles. It was then over to us to test our skills (or lack thereof), which was fun and also hilarious because we were all so terrible.For the past seven weeks I’ve been working for Mindsparkz, a graphic design team that’s part of the ODM Group. The ODM Group work in the promotional products industry, so the majority of the work revolves around concepts and presentations for ODM’s clients. For my role as design intern, I do anything from photo editing, logo/brand design, to product brainstorming and mock-ups for a variety of clients. Every week there’s new briefs, tasks and brainstorming sessions, so there’s always something new to work on. The work here is collaborative, the various departments that deal with design, sales, and manufacturers all get involved in each job. This means there’s a decent amount of crossover happening and feedback coming from all stages of the project, not just design. It’s been great to be able to further hone my skills in design and adobe suite, and also learn about the product manufacturing industry. I came to this job as a complete newbie but have been lucky enough to learn how a product goes from a brief, brainstorming and concept sketches to a fully realised product. It’s been super rewarding to not only observe, but also be able to participate in this process – even in small ways. I can definitely see this experience being useful for future roles at different jobs, having an idea of how your designs work outside of your screen sheds the entire process in a different light. This new perspective will be helpful in plenty of design areas outside of product design and manufacturing, I’m excited to see how I can apply it to my future projects
Victoria University of Wellington
We dived head first into life in Zhuhai, China by being immersed in cultural activities, Chinese language classes, and living with a homestay family. So far, this experience has been filled with delicious food and wonderful people. My favourite experience has been our visit to the New Zealand consulate in Guangzhou. Learning more about New Zealand’s relationship with China was right up my alley of interests in the world of international business and relations. ”For the past 6 weeks, I have been the Marketing Intern at China2West. My main role has been developing the marketing campaign for their subsidiary company SOUL Inventions. SOUL Inventions currently have products that all utilise solar power, which has been really rewarding, as I am passionate about sustainable living.
SOUL Inventions aims to be funded by crowd funding through Indiegogo, where I have taken on the role of editing the pitch video, which aims to encourage viewers to fund the SOUL crowd funding campaign. Furthermore, I have been creating many series of videos that will be used in promoting SOUL products at the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in Denver Colorado.
Due to the release of many new products, I have also been redesigning and revamping SOUL’s website. This has included creating written content as well as photography for the updated website.
Throughout my time here I have also been managing and updating social medial profiles and presence such as Instagram and Facebook in order to stay relevant and keep followers updated. I have also been posting blogs entries on the SOUL website to keep the narrative of the SOUL product and business development, whilst also increasing search engine optimisation. I have also created newsletters in order to retain engagement with SOUL’s current mailing list to update them on the latest information about the trade show, Indiegogo campaign, and our latest products.
I have developed a lot of skills whilst working and living abroad in China, both in terms of working cross culturally as well as skills relevant to my field of interest. This has been a truly valuable experience and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”
I spent 2017 completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Massey University, and finished the course believing I was prepared for anything the world could throw at me. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for China.
I was thrilled when I found out I had been awarded PMSA funding to spend my summer in Zhuhai – a South China city that is miniscule by Chinese standards, but bigger than any city in New Zealand. From the day I arrived, I was bombarded with one surprise after another. I spent my first two weeks getting lost on streets that seemed impossible to navigate, struggling to learn the language enough to order a coffee, and fielding what felt like a thousand selfies with strangers.
Thanks to the team at InternChina however, and the incredible kindness and hospitality of strangers, I was never lost or confused for long. After two wonderful weeks of Chinese language and culture classes, which featured everything from tai chi by the sea to traditional tea ceremonies, as well as sampling some amazing local food, I finally felt ready to tackle a Chinese work environment.My internship with Delta Bridges has been a wild ride, with incredible highs that outshone any of the lows. Now that it is coming to an end, I’m deeply sad that it will soon be over.
For someone who had just finished studying, this was an amazing opportunity and a stellar first job. My wonderful bosses always listened to my ideas and I felt valued – something I gather that is not always common right out of uni. I had the opportunity to organise a portfolio of interviews with successful women in the Pearl River Delta area – with careers ranging from Consul-Generals to restaurateurs – a topic I am hugely passionate about. Meeting, speaking to, and writing stories about these incredible women has been the highlight of my work here, but that was far from all I did.
I have enjoyed every moment of my work, going to lavish events, building a wide network of contacts, travelling between cities, and even befriending the stray cats that like to swing by the office. I have been able to experience both working independently and with others, work in a completely different framework to what I am used to, and flex my creative muscles from time to time.
It has been an absolutely invaluable experience, leaving me feeling both uplifted and challenged. Whatever the future may hold for me career-wise, I know now that I’ll be able to handle it.
University of Auckland
The first two weeks were packed! My personal highlights were tea making, calligraphy and Tai Chi classes. Much like learning about the history of your country helps you understand it today, learning about the details of Chinese culture helped me understand the big picture (it’s a really big picture). In the same way, learning about the companies, taught me not only about the company itself, its processes and operations, but also the way western firms interact with Chinese. Part of the program was two weeks of intensive language classes, 3 hours a day in a room with other kiwis trying to learn Chinese was invaluable, although my Chinese is not comprehensive, it is enough to make a contribution to the language gap.
In China, at least where I am, the effort is more appreciated than required. The third part of the program was the homestay experience. Visiting companies and learning about culture is useful, but there is only so much that can be learnt by teaching. Living in a homestay forced me to open up to the culture and meant I was exposed to the intricacies. Reflecting on the past fortnight I think the most valuable thing that all the classes, activities, trips and events have taught me, is the soft skills. Cultural appreciation, empathy, an understanding of the Chinese approach, and an ability to work in Chinese culture, as well as, I believe, an improved ability to work with any culture.
I think the friends, contacts and memories I have made are all important, but overwhelmingly, participating in this program has been beneficial to my appreciation of different cultures, expanding my mindset.Working at Dentons Zhuhai I have visited court, provided legal opinions and learnt about the Chinese legal system. My manager gives me a lot of much appreciated advice about everything from working in law to life in general, last week she took me and another intern out for lunch and told us we should be dating! (I didn’t follow that piece of advice sorry).
Visiting court was an experience in Chinese culture, it is where the realms of politics, policy and day to day life in China come together. A few interesting points: 1. They have three Judges here, one ‘Head Judge’ and another two ‘People’s Judges’ who provide opinions for the Head Judge and 2. They don’t use case law in China (if you ask me this just makes the law easier to understand). Although everything in court was in Chinese, with the help of a colleague to translate it became clear how the entire system worked.
I have been working on international cases, so anybody who doesn’t speak Chinese does not need to worry (neither do I!). Many of these cases demonstrate how Chinese and Western business practices differ so much. When working on setting up a wholly foreign owned enterprise I learnt about the use of company chops in Chinese businesses (if you don’t know what these are google them they are great) and even got to draft emails to clients about the practise. Our perspective on foreign affairs is incredibly highly valued, and explaining western legal systems to a different perspective builds my own understanding of those systems.
It is not all work though, this weekend we will be tagging along to a weekend long excursion, where we will have to perform song from New Zealand and a Chinese song. This could be the scariest thing of the entire trip!
University of Otago
Law and Commerce
Hey, I’m Kim and I’ve just completed my Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Otago. I was fortunate enough to be a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia for 2017 and it has given me the opportunity to intern at an international law firm in Zhuhai, China.
In the first two weeks of our stay, we attended Chinese language classes and were placed with a homestay family which really immersed us in the Chinese culture. During this time, I tried pork liver, pig blood curd, raw crab soaked in wine, and the famous ‘salted duck egg’. We even had a box of live crabs delivered to our doorstep from Taobao! It was an awesome experience living with a local Chinese family and was a great way to settle into Zhuhai.
InternChina also organised various activities for us to participate in during the week. I really enjoyed the tea ceremony, calligraphy, learning to make dumplings and performing tai chi, just to name a few. What I found most interesting was our visit to the NZ Consulate in Guangzhou, meeting the team and listening to a presentation on the close relations and economic developments between NZ and China. It was great to hear familiar accents again!
Currently I am in a shared apartment with other Kiwi interns. From now until early February, I will continue my work as an intern. The work I’m doing involves translating foreign documents, discussions on the differences in law between countries and dealing with daily legal documents. My colleagues are very friendly, hard working and extremely hospitable. I hope to deepen my competencies in law as well broaden my knowledge of the business environment in China.
We’ve done a little bit of travelling on the weekends to Tangkou and Shenzhen and I hope to visit Harbin, Sanya and Yangshuo over the next few weeks. I’ve met some wonderful people and made friends with other overseas interns which has made the transition to life in China just that much easier. Aside from the dodgy internet connection, there’s really not a bad word I can say about my time in Zhuhai so far! I’m excited to see what else it has to offer and am truly grateful for this wonderful opportunity.“Working at Dentons Zhuhai has been an amazing learning experience. I have observed proceedings in the Criminal and Civil Courts, translated foreign documents, written legal opinions, made phone calls to foreign clients, and proof-read contracts written in English. In addition to this, I’ve learned about the vast differences between starting a company in China compared to in New Zealand, and about the Chinese Legal System and how it compares to the New Zealand Legal System respectively. When we visited Court, it was very interesting because not only was the set-up of the rooms different to back home, but the bench included two ‘People’s Judges’ who accompany the singular judge and they are there to offer their opinions (however, are not qualified lawyers).
In terms of the workplace culture, I was warmly welcomed into the Denton’s family and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my colleagues over lunch by trying out local restaurants. However, the workplace culture in China is much different to that of New Zealand, as people are always talking very loudly throughout the day… EXCEPT between 1pm-2pm when it’s ‘nap time’ and everyone whips out their desk pillows for a quick snooze!
This week we will be travelling to Ocean Spring Resort in Zhuhai for a company trip where I have to perform a song with a fellow Kiwi intern for the talent show. We will be singing Pokarekare Ana and a Chinese children’s song ‘Tiger Tiger’. As neither of us are very good at Maori or Chinese, I hope they don’t expect too much!
The advice and guidance I have received at Denton’s has been awesome and has been a great introduction and insight into what is expected at top tier law firms. It has affirmed my passion to pursue a career in law and has opened my mind to potentially working in China in the future.”
Auckland University of Technology
I attended Auckland University of Technology at the Auckland City Campus. I studied a Bachelor of Business with Honours Majoring in Economics and Management along with a Graduates Certificate in Applied Science, specialising in Human Anatomy and General Chemistry. Over the last couple of weeks, I had a soft landing into the Chinese culture, living with a host family for the first two weeks before starting my internship which allowed me to do 30 hours of cohesive and intense Chinese classes along with some cultural group activities with the group of kiwi interns such as a Chinese Tea Ceremony. My favourite activity so far was the visit to the New Zealand consulate. It was a taste of home listening to some kiwi presenters along with learning about the growing ties between New Zealand and China. Plus, the dinner at the Kiwi Styled Restaurant was an awesome bonus! Hot chups!! Currently I am a few days into my internship and I love it. A lot of self-direction, open inquisition structure and we get lunch made for us. Pretty sweet deal really.It is the 7th week of my internship and everything is kind of rounding up now, getting my final tasks completed. It has been an interesting experience overall. The most challenging part was convincing certain staff members to give me tasks. As I grew a relationship with them and developed trust by completing small tasks, I was given more difficult tasks as I progressed. The best part of my internship was being able to have a really big variety of tasks to complete. I worked on anything from designing posters to implementing and training staff on new business processes. Overall it has been a really great opportunity and the best advice to someone coming into an environment like this is to take the opportunity to create productive working relationships. Build a workplace presence by getting to know people in the workplace and you will be able to have a lot of fun.
PMSA (Prime Ministers Scholarship for Asia) is a scholarship funded by the New Zealand Government (endorsed by Education NZ) and is awarded to Kiwi students to experience life in Asia. They range in both time and place, but all aim to connect New Zealand and Asia through the next generation of graduates. Myself and 8 others were lucky enough to receive a scholarship to Zhuhai, China for the NZ summer of 2017/2018.
For 10 weeks we will be living in Zhuhai and experiencing Chinese culture and lifestyle. For the first two weeks we stayed with homestays and attended Mandarin language classes in the mornings, and then learnt about various cultural activities in the afternoons. Intern China has been our main network as they organized the whole program on behalf of Education NZ. For the remaining 8 weeks we are all interning at a variety of different companies that are somewhat relevant to our degrees back home. I am interning at a Charity called Come Together Community that raises money for organizations that help disadvantaged children in Zhuhai.
Upon entering China and finally making it out of transit, half the group had realized they had missed the baggage claim within customs and were without our luggage. The security guards had a giggle when we said we were from New Zealand, or now referred to as Xin Xi Lan, and allowed us back through customs to collect our luggage with nothing more than a nod – our first experience of Zhuhai’s laid back nature.
The weekend was spent with our respective new host families and mine took me to the central Zhuhai park, with a lovely display of forest temples and burning incense right in the centre of town. We then went to a small underground restaurant where I had my first authentic dumpling experience. What a treat!
The following two weeks of morning language classes was taught by the ever so patient Angela. She enjoyed our banter, and class always had plenty of laughs and giggles the whole way through. She occasionally bought us Chinese treats to try and we eagerly tucked in-sometimes to enjoyment and other times not so much.
Afternoons were spent doing a range of different cultural activities. Chinese tea ceremony, Yuan Ming Palace visit, Chinese calligraphy, musical instruments, traditional Chinese games and tai ji on the beach were all activities we found interesting, informative and at times difficult. As well as this, we had company tours around two large companies (both fully or partly owned internationally) and got to see how they operate in the free-trade zone on the outskirts of Zhuhai. We also went to an after-school centre for children with Autism, which is run by the Zhuhai Autism Society and funded by Come Together Community. Charles, who is the lead driver for the society has such a big heart and his passion for the kids and the school was obvious and inspiring when he spoke to us. We made the kids dumplings for afternoon tea (some very marginally wrapped ones emerged) and then played games and had an impromptu sing/dance performance by some of the kids.
One of the final visits was to Guangzhou and the New Zealand Consulate office. We had a presentation by five different sectors of the Consulate and discussed many different issues and interests within the (semi) political setting. We were joined by two of the speakers for dinner (Police NZ and Education NZ) at a local restaurant which was owned and specialized in Kiwi food.
Zhuhai has been an easy and comfortable transition for my first venture in Asia. Intern China has been awesome at helping us all through the early teething problems of living in a foreign country and we know that if we get lost and share our location on WeChat, someone is bound to come to our rescue. The food is different, the culture is different, the way of life is different but no matter where you are in the world if you are open to the new things [attempting] communication with a smile will go a long way. Now that we can all confidently ofo (cycles that you rent) around the city and (semi) confidently order from Chinese menus, life in Zhuhai is a positive one.My internship is with Come Together Community, which is a charity here in Zhuhai that raises money for organisations working with special needs and disadvantaged children. My role in the company is administration based, and I was tasked to work on collaborating data and information on the organisation. My supervisor is also from New Zealand and all the board members are expats. They all made me feel very welcomed to working within the charity. Throughout my internship I have spent time in two different offices. The standard working times are 9am to 6pm with an hour for lunch. A lot of the Chinese staff nap during lunch times with blankets and pillows, which is quite a sight!
Within my role in CTC I have created an Operational History of all the projects funded by the charity over the years. I have created work books for the operational side of the charity and been managing the social media. I have been given autonomy and trust within my role and have got to visit some of the projects that are funded by CTC such as a skating class for children with autism, and handing out donated Christmas gifts at Zhuhai Orphanage. I have gained more knowledge in blogging and website updating, as well as building on my knowledge of establishing databases and protocols for the way in which companies operate. The internship has been relaxed, yet productive.
It has been interesting for me to see how a charity operates from the inside and I am proud to have worked with a not-for-profit organisation that is 100% transparent and working towards a better future for those who need it the most.
Finance and Economics
Over the past few weeks I’ve have been blessed to experience an Internship in China. It started with an introduction into the Chinese culture with various actives, such as learning Majong, seeing traditional Chinese instruments being played and taking part in Calligraphy. Furthermore, we took Mandarin classes to understand basic Chinese so we could catch a cab, buy food and more. In regards to the interning part of the Programme, Intern China does a great job in selecting companies to take on interns and I have enjoyed my time being able to learn more about my specific field of study in a hands on environment. Lastly for me the most enjoyable times on the adventure is interacting with the locals, for me that was playing sports at the local courts and fields. I have loved my time so far here in China and would definitely recommend it.I have been working for almost two full months now and have thoroughly enjoyed my time in China. Living in Zhuhai is awesome can have some beautiful clear blue skies which a lot people wouldn’t expect from a Modern Chinese city.
Working in a multi-culture organization is great and from my experience here in china it highlights the importance of a part of one early on is one’s courier. Often companies become very linear in how they operate however being in an environment that has so many culture pulls is very interesting as these simple straight forward approach or trying to westernise their employees doesn’t work it is adaption and trying to integrate strengths from individuals and their backgrounds is how it becomes effective.
Working in a small standalone company of only 50 staff is also an interesting thing because I feel it was applicable to me as in New Zealand we don’t have multimillion dollar companies but instead in NZ we have so many start-up, family run business and these smaller sized companies. To see a finance director wearing so many different hats depending on the situation the communication that is needed and that it is more than just handling the finances which is required.
Interning can be challenging, busy and allot of fun. However, it also can get boring if your managers don’t give you much to do, so you need to sometimes keep yourself busy either by looking to help other department or doing your own research on things. You need to be proactive. As said I have really enjoyed my time here and I recommend it to anyone.”
University of Canterbury
Business and Marketing
I have been lucky enough to receive the opportunity to both learn Chinese and Internship in Zhuhai over this summer. The last few weeks for me have consisted of intensive Mandarin classes in the morning and culture activities in the afternoon; these have ranged from company trips to a traditional tea ceremony. My favourite activity asides from trying all the amazing food is between the New Zealand Consulate visit and Tai Chi on the beach. I really enjoyed the consulate visit because it was so interesting to find out how New Zealand and China connect and interact on both a business and personal level; it also revealed potentially career paths I hadn’t previously considered. Tai Chi was another personal favourite even if we did make a bit of a spectacle of ourselves. To be able to take part in the activity while learning about the culture elements –transference of energy- made this activity a truly immersive one.
I’m just starting to settle into my internship where I am doing the social media marketing for a small Mandarin school. I’m gaining so much experience learning how to operate each platform from a business perspective and how to get other websites interested in promoting us. As this is such a small business I am very self-directed in what I’m doing here but that challenge makes it all the more fun. The biggest perk of working here is the complementary Mandarin lessons; the goal by the end of it is to be able to order my own meal and actually know what I’m eating.My internship as at a Language training centre that specialises in teaching mandarin to foreigners. It has recently started expanded into teaching English to locals as well. My role at the school has been that of a social media manager and marketer. I have had a lot of independence in this role. I have just been working of the owner’s goals of trying to expand her client base. I have learnt many things since starting my role; finally being able to put the theories I have learnt in the classroom to use. I have also been fortunate enough to be given free mandarin lessons by the school so my language has developed greatly.
Here are some pictures from the trip, full albums can be found on our facebook page
Name: Sophie Comber
Programme details: 3 months, homestay and internship experience
University: University of South Australia
Sophie completed a 3 month internship at a media company, whilst also living with a Chinese family.
“Really for me it’s been amazing. There are a lot of different advatages to it. You can experience Chinese culture first hand because you’re living with locals.”
Interning in China, as well as living with a Chinese family meant that Sophie was able to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.
“I understand that it’s possible to understand China a bit more now. That you can come to China and you can learn about it and you can function there, and you can live and thrive and really enjoy yourself”
Name: Mumbi Mulenga
Programme details: 6 weeks, Cardiff University Funded Internship Programme
University: Cardiff University
Mumbi completed a 6 week journalism internship in Qingdao, where she noticed some cultural differences.
“In terms of the culture, I’ll take back the community spirit and leave behind the individualistic spirit that I came with from the UK, because everything here is done as a community.”
At InternChina, we say we offer “more than just an internship”. We aim to provide our participants with an all-rounder, life-changing experience!
“I didn’t just gain skills in the internship, I gained everyday skills and life lessons and I also learned so much about Qingdao just from working here”
During his time in China, Will took part in one of InternChina’s organised trips to Beijing.
“One of my best experiences was going to Beijing, seeing these amazing works of architecture in terms of the Great Wall, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. It was just so fantastic to see and so iconic of China.”
The 3+5 Generation UK Programme is a unique, funded programme that allows successful applicants to work, study and live in China.
“[The programme] has really helped me with the opportunity to be able to work abroad and be able to understand how a different culture works and behaves. This is really going to help me in my future career prospects as I’m interested and fascinated by working abroad, particulary in China”
– By Charlie Smith and Adelle Offerman
Arrival in Qingdao
We knew we were coming to China four our internship in the middle of winter… And we knew to bring our warmest of clothes… But there’s not much you can do to prepare a group of Australians for the sub-zero temperatures when they step off a plane in Qingdao!
The Qingdao winter breeze was living up to its name, our fingers were beyond numb, and it wasn’t long before we invested in some gloves.
Despite the temperatures, it was a very warm welcome in the city we would call home for the next five weeks.
We were so lucky to have a lot of help from our friends at InternChina. Without any Chinese language skills, we would have been pretty lost – we wouldn’t have known what to eat, how to order or even how to get around!
They passed on a lot of essential local knowledge – like to look for a red light when hailing a taxi, and the fact you can’t really trust the green man when crossing the road. Some other things we learnt the hard way like most public toilets don’t have toilet paper – safe to say, we now always BYO!
The Internship at REDSTAR
We feel we got really lucky with our internship placement at REDSTAR – a Qingdao-based magazine for expats and visitors to the area. We get to see some of the best spots in the city to write reviews and create content for the magazine. So far, we have had the chance to write articles for the upcoming issue learning about Chinese culture and in particular the upcoming Spring Festival.
Our supervisor has not just been there to oversee our writing, but has also been an incredible tour guide to some of the best local lunch spots, including fried dumplings, Chinese savoury pancakes, and lamb soup. We are so grateful to have had him!
Traditional Hot Pot experience !
One thing we weren’t so sure about was the traditional Hot Pot, which we agreed to try for work. Luckily, we weren’t told what the “delicacies” were until after we had tried it… pig’s esophagus, goose intestines and cow penis were just a few. It was a memorable experience to say the least and we would it is a must try when in Qingdao… We are told you can have less scary delicacies when at the hot pot, which we are looking forward to trying at our next InternChina Thursday dinner (a great way to meet up with other interns and the InternChina team every week).
Conclusion of this experience…
Our work has been busy but has been so diverse that it hasn’t felt like work, and our weekends have been even better with the InternChina sightseeing trips.
So far we have snapped the views, walked the pier and enjoyed the coffee street in the Old City, and hiked the incredibly beautiful Fushan Mountain in the heart of the city.
Qingdao is a city that is growing so quickly, and our first two weeks have gone by so quickly too! We looking forward to telling you about the rest of our internship and adventure in Qingdao!
Not many people from the West have heard of Qingdao, but to Chinese people and Westerners living in China, Qingdao is one of the most sought after living destinations in the whole country. The mix of clean air, pristine beaches, a moderate climate, active expat community and its close proximity to Beijing and Shanghai make Qingdao a dream location for ‘foreigners’ living in China. Qingdao is a city with over eight million inhabitants, about 2.5 million of which live in the downtown area, and boasts the third busiest shipping port in Asia. To read more about Qingdao – click here
This month’s featured internship is with a Qingdao expat magazine company called REDSTAR. This magazine company is the number one seller in the City. They are cool, edgy and always the people to turn to to find out what is happening in Qingdao. The English magazine and WeChat account serve as Qingdao’s Official Guide. In addition, they also offer comprehensive contract publishing services (print and web), event services, translation and sourcing. Their office is open plan and they often have live bands playing in the evenings. It is the perfect place for creative people to thrive. This is a great platform for interns to publish and showcase their own writing skills and build up a strong portfolio of professional work. Find out more about REDSTAR from their website.
We have been talking to Sophie Comber about her experience of interning at REDSTAR.
IC team: What is your role at REDSTAR?
Sophie: My roles at the REDSTAR magazine’s open plan office have so far included journalist, social media operator, website operator, and English grammar and style editor.
IC team: What are your main tasks?
Sophie: I have used my journalistic skills for research, carrying out interviews, and writing engaging stories for an expat family audience on timely and relevant matters. My writing has so far taken the forms of feature stories, current world events, upcoming event promotions, restaurant reviews, music promotions, and film reviews.
When the magazine is a few days from completion, I read over its entire content to check the grammar and style. A few weeks ago, I also decided upon a system for how the magazine should refer to Chinese words in regards to pinyin, characters, and tones.
IC team: What have you learnt from your internship?
Sophie: As is usual for China, REDSTAR puts a great deal of emphasis on the Chinese social media app WeChat, which was not an app I had used much before. I have gained skills in the area of social media and online layouts, producing WeChat posts about a great number of topics. Previously, I had little experience in lifestyle writing, my experience mostly being in the area of hard news and current affairs, so I welcomed this widening of my skill set.
IC team: What do you like best about REDSTAR?
Sophie: REDSTAR has an informal, friendly atmosphere with cheerful co-workers. We are all always willing to be supportive and lend a hand to each other—one of my favourite rituals of the day is going out together to buy lunch from one of the many delicious local eateries!
Throughout history, China, or the Middle Kingdom has had a special place in Westerners’ imagination. From the cradle of civilisation in the ancient Xia dynasty to the mighty empire of the Tang dynasty, China has always been a land of mystery for the majority of the Western world. Today, riding on the tides of globalisation, China is closer to the world than ever before. Many claim that just as the 20th century was America’s century, the 21st century will be China’s.
We have been asking our interns about their expectations of doing an internship in China. In an internship, interns look for lots of varied and interesting work. An internship should have at least one big project that interns can put a lot of their energy into and can really make a different to the company. Interns also hope to attain quantifiable goals and skills they can use when they return home.
“The internship is great. I’m learning lots of new things and my workmates are all fantastic. Another plus is that there is unlimited free rice and soup in the canteen!”
Joe Martin, Trade intern
Modern China is a country of many faces. The rapid economic growth over the past 30 years spurred high-tech development across the Eastern coastal cities that puts many Western cities to shame. Many who visit Chinese metropolises marvel at how similar China is to their home country, contrary to their expectations.
“After coming to China I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of cuisine here in Qingdao. Initially I was worried that I might struggle to adapt to Chinese food, but there are so many options to choose from that you will definitely find something that suits your taste. Even if you have special dietary requirements like being vegetarian or only eating halal food, you will still be able to manage!”
Meredith Kern, Marketing intern
Young Chinese are increasingly becoming global citizens that effortlessly keep pace with the latest pop culture hits. Youngsters from around the world are more and more drawn by China’s successes in the world of business. For many, China’s rapidly developing economy is the main reason they choose to come to China. It is now simply the place to be! Understanding Chinese business practice is becoming a necessity for anyone who wishes to embark on an international career in business.
“Learning the nuances of doing business in China and understanding the rituals of ‘guanxi’ have really made my time here that much more valuable.”
Griffin Baxley, Consulting intern
But it is not just the stunning economic development that instils curiosity in the minds of young people across the world. What makes China so enticing is precisely the blend of old and new. One could not hope to understand modern China without also understanding its rich and intricate cultural heritage. After all, the rules that underline modern business practices stem from age-old Chinese traditions and customs.
Some come to China in search of ancient Chinese culture, the way they know it from childhood stories:
“Every morning from my bedroom window in Qingdao, I look outside and see the craggy peaks rising high above, revealing twisting trails which seem to appear and vanish, intricately carved sculptures of fish and lions, jagged rocks, birds that wheel and hover, and trees that whisper and sway. When I look upon the light and dark greens and blues and browns of these high peaks, all blending together like the hues of a half-remembered dream, I think of Dragonkeeper—the mountain range before me just as I always imagined in the story.”
Sophie Comber, Journalism intern
And yet others find satisfaction in immersing themselves in the daily lives of the common people. They are pleasantly surprised when through their internship they get to know Chinese people as a whole better.
“I was taken aback by the hospitality and by how helpful everyone is. My company has been very accommodating to my needs (e.g. praying) and everyone here is really friendly. I’ve got an employee assigned to me and if I need any help all I need is just to ask. Also, the work expectations are not crazy, and I have an hour and a half lunch break!”
Tanvir Ahmed, Sales & Marketing intern
No matter what expectations interns have before coming to China, an internship in China is a great opportunity to show young people from around the world the ‘real China’ and allow them to form an opinion for themselves.
Short company introduction
Many business and English training centres in China claim to be international schools despite being Chinese owned and managed. They might hire foreign teachers, but everything about their business philosophy is local.IF was formed by four Englishmen. As well as all of the teachers, all of our upper management are from native English speaking countries.This means that when you are in our English classes, you are not just learning from a foreign teacher, you are entering an entirely English environment. In effect, an IF classroom is like a trip to London.
You can find more relevant information about the company and their field of work at their web page: https://www.international-futures.com/
Before leaving, Rafaela made a short interview with us. Here are the highlits of her stay in China and her internship in IF:
IC TEAM: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you come from, what are your interests?
“My name is Rafaela. I come from Lithuania and I´m currently studying at London South Bank University where I am going into my second year. I’m studying Multimedia Journalism there. I like travelling and reading- that’s my favourite hobby. And of course, I really like to spend my time with family and friends.”
IC TEAM: What was the reason you wanted to do the internship? Why did you choose to come to China, and Zhuhai, for that matter?
“I decided to do the internship myself there was no obligation from the university – I wanted to gain some work experience as well as some cultural experience.I watched a presentation at my University about interning in China and I was very interested, it just seemed very exciting and attractive. Also, I think it is great to gain some international work experience, especially in China. “
“I did some research and chose Zhuhai because it´s next to the sea and is said to be one of the most liveable and energetic cities in China.”
IC TEAM: What kind of tasks did you get up to over the course of your internship?
“The company I’m working for are launching a new e-learning English course, so basically I´m creating course material for business as well as for general English. Also, I´m working as a video editor.”
IC TEAM: How do you feel you got on with the locals? Did you make many friends?
“I work with some Chinese people, therefore I had the opportunity to get to know them better, and sometimes we go out together. Also, I just had recently one very funny experience. When I went to Guangzhou I met two Chinese people who wanted to be my friends, they showed me around the city and we went out for dinner. That was really nice.”
IC TEAM: For future interns, what would be your recommendations?
“First of all, I would recommend that they learn some Chinese, at least some basics before you come to China. Of course, you can still survive without the language but it´s very helpful because a lot of Chinese people hardly speak any English.
Also, I would advise them to apply for a multiple entry Visa so you can visit places like Hong Kong or Macau. Domestic flights are quite expensive and it´s really cheap to fly to, for example, the Philippines – but without a multiple entry that isn´t possible. If you are a person who likes to go out and party often then I would advise that you don´t choose a homestay because Chinese families are strict and it would be disrespectful considering how well they take care of you.”
IC TEAM: So what’s next for you?
“I´m going back to London to continue with my studies. I really would like to come back to China though.”
There is always so much more to say about a person’s experience here in China. We are so proud to meet with such extraordinary and positive people! You can see a small video interview with Rafaela below:
Are you interested in these kinds of experiences? Do you crave to discover that unknown and beautiful part of the world? Check for more internship options on our page www.internchina.com.