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Cultural, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Understanding Business in China

Hear It From the Companies: Guanxi & Mianzi

Congratulations! You have acquired an internship in China! By now, you must have researched all about how to successfully communicate and work with your soon to be Chinese co-workers. Through the research you have gathered, you must have read about “face’’ and “guanxi’’ a lot. Well, here’s a bit more, with tips and advice from two of  our partnered companies here in China!

What is Guanxi or Mianzi?

Here is a quick introduction for those that don’t know these two concepts. Guanxi, or “relationships,” is used to describe relationships in their many forms. These can be between friends, families, or businesses.

You can read more about the concept of guanxi from James here, but it is absolutely essential to conducting business and succeeding in China.

Mianzi or “face”, explained here, is so important in Chinese social, political,  and business circles that it can literally make or break a deal! It can be translated as “honour”, “reputation” and “respect,” and the concepts are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture.

So how do you achieve Guanxi and Mianzi??

There are a few ways you can better your guanxi and gain some mianzi- read some comments from our partnered companies on how best to do it!

“Be open-minded, curious, and prepared!” – Marketing firm

The lifestyle and the business environment in China is different than it is in the West, so have an open mind for your new lifestyle here in China. You need to try being patient and understanding of your new cultural surroundings and work with potential language barriers.

Be Curious

Ask lots of questions while you are at your internship! Don’t worry about bothering your new co-workers, they want to help you, so ask away!

You should also engage in conversations while you are at social events, such as dinners, with your coworkers- this a great way of building your “guanxi!” However, you should remember to keep your questions reasonable and appropriate for the situation. You don’t want to ask any questions which might embarrass or cause your coworkers to lose face themselves.

Be Prepared 

Even though you might not know much about China in general, the city you are in, or the language, you can always do a bit of research to show you care enough to learn. This might mean doing some research before you visit, and continuing to ask questions and engage while you are there.

“Offer to buy dinner or go out to eat, and asking for help with and opinions on your work.” – Education company

interns-out-to-lunch-with-their-Mandarin-teacher-build-guanxi

But this doesn’t need to be anything fancy! Even something simple such as grabbing some nice dumplings or noodles at lunch can do the trick. Spending some quality time with your co-workers will be good for your guanxi and networking, and for your daily working life! If your coworkers ask you out for dinner after a long day of work, take the chance and enjoy a good meal and conversations- you will build your guanxi, mianzi and social circle!

Finally, ask for help when you need it. This is still an internship! You aren’t expected to know everything, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you don’t know something. Asking a colleague will show you are engaged and interested in the work, and they will appreciate sharing their knowledge of the task with you and gain face. It’s as great to earn as it is to give face!

Feeling ready for that internship now? Best of luck and enjoy your time in China!

Don’t have an internship yet? Check out 5 reasons why you should get one in China!

Before your stay, Homestay Experience, Qingdao Blogs

Living in China – Apartment or Homestay?

Everything is arranged: You know which company you will do your internship with, you might have booked your flights already but not sure yet where to live?
Today, I would like to give you some advice on your choice of accommodation when you stay in China. From my experience dealing with hundreds of students and interns every year and living in different cities in China, I am in a good position to give you a hand when it comes down to making a decision on your accommodation in China.

First of all, I would like to recommend you to put financial questions aside when it comes to your choice and really listen to your heart and find out what you want to get out of your stay in China. If you are interested in getting to know the Chinese Culture, picking up on or improving your Chinese, trying authentic Chinese food and getting in touch with locals, a homestay with a Chinese family should be the first option for you. As Chinese people are very family- and relationship oriented, they will not only accept you as a guest in their house but actually integrate you in their daily family–life which is great because it will help you settling down quickly. I personally can recommend you to stay with a Chinese family from my own experience that I had when I came to China the first time. On the other hand, if your focus in China is more in doing an internship and doing a lot of networking in the evenings, an apartment seems to be the better option as it allows you more independence and privacy.

chinese host family
chinese host family

Secondly, aside from your expectations about what you want to get out of your stay in China, you are still a student and you want to get the best value for money from our programme. A homestay will help you pick up some Chinese if it is your first contact with Chinese language or it will help you to apply and enhance your Chinese skills that you have learned before. Either way, it will always look good if you had contact with locals in a non-business-context during your stay in China. A homestay in China will be first and foremost a unique and once-in-a -lifetime-experience. You can even add it to your CV to emphasize your ability to adapt quickly to a new environment, independency, intercultural and communication skills. So, when it comes down to your financial situation and you cannot afford taking language classes but want to improve on your Chinese, it is always the best solution to choose homestay as an option of accommodation.

dinner with host family
dinner with host family

Thirdly, I hear a lot of people who want to arrange their own accommodation because they are here on a budget as they are still students. I can understand that arranging an apartment yourself sounds tempting if you speak fluent Chinese. However, you are also missing out on a lot of great experiences if you stay in your own place, where you might end up really far from your host-company or paying a lot more money than through our programme because you will get charged an agents-fee, pay utility bills and internet extra and have trouble negotiating with the landlord when something is broken in the apartment. But wasn’t your initial plan to come to China to achieve something and to meet great people? Well, then don’t waste your time with arranging your own accommodation! InternChina is providing this allround-service to you through our friendly, local, English speaking Chinese staff. We are experienced to help you with whatever you need to make your stay in China pleasant and a great experience.  We will be there when you lost your key for the apartment or the toilet is broken, we provide bedsheets and cooking utensils for you.
So, you can focus on the things that really matter when you are in China from your first day after your arrival:  your internship and your guanxi!

You are not sure whether homestay or apartment is the better option for you? Please contact our friendly InternChina team directly, they will advise you!

Before your stay, Cultural, How-to Guides, Languages

Thea on Chinese Dating: Where East Meets West

Source: https://theweek.com/article/index/235200/the-25-most-powerful-tv-shows-of-the-past-25-years

China is known to be diverse and exotic in many ways, but it’s not just all about food, language and scenery. What is also different and makes our lives more exciting here in China are the cultural differences in dating! Dating in China is different, but to what extent? Of course, no matter what cultural background, an ideal relationship should be based on your feelings for one another, but it can still get a bit tricky when you’re somewhere else. Here’s my take – Get ready to find out what makes dating in China different from the West!

Source: https://www.brainlesstales.com/2008-03-30/east-meets-west

First, how do you approach Asians? Is it socially acceptable for girls to ask guys out? No big deal in the West, some guys might even be attracted to that type of girl. But in China guys definitely prefer to chase a girl instead of being the chased as this is the traditional way and makes the girl appear shy and cute. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Source: https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/frolick?language=fr_FR

So once you got a date with an Asian, what now? No big deal for a Western girl. There is not much you could do wrong since most Asian guys would pretty keen for a chance to date a Western girl, to the point where it’s often even considered linked to an issue of “national pride”. Let’s be honest, we’re talking about guys, so they’re not as picky as girls. Chinese girls also appreciate Western guys very much, as they are considered as quite attractive. For a Chinese girl though, her friends and family influence who she dates, so if you manage to win their approval, you’re good to go.

Source: https://hilariousnyc.com/?p=2849

Want to bring something to the date? In Western countries flowers and chocolates are still a big deal, especially on special occasions such as St. Valentines. For sure there is no girl that wouldn’t be touched by those presents, but they are not usual in China and might be interpreted as pretentious.

Source: https://www.datingish.com/743318509/women-can-foot-the-bill-on-a-datesometimes/

So once on the date: Who is supposed to pay? In both cultures it’s usually the men. As we all know, it changed in the West during the last century to the point where bill sharing, colloquially known as “going Dutch”,  is acceptable. In China though, a place famous for preserving its old tradition, women often expect their boyfriend to pay for the dinner dates.

Source: https://news.alibaba.com/gallery/detail/business-in-china/100015580-1-chinese-marriage-customs.html

Once in a relationship, the question of commitment is very important. Dating has a practical reason in China and Chinese girls are known for being pushy for marriage because in their home culture once they hit 30, they’re “near their due date” (the sheng nv 生女 phenomenon has been widely documented in China). One should keep in mind that age is an important factor considering commitment.

Source: https://testprep.about.com/od/Study_Skills/tp/Study_Skills_Students.htm

Of course, these tips are more general guidelines than hard-core facts. Cultural habits are changing and assimilation is often observed between Western and Chinese customs, but just keep them in mind and go get yourself a nice date – Chinese style. Who knows, maybe it’ll spark!

Interested in a cultural exchange in China that’s a bit more personal? Why not come to China! Apply now or send us an email for more information.