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Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs

University of Notre Dame: Charlie and Adelle’s Internship at Redstar

– 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!

REDSTAR - Reading the Qingdao based magazine !
REDSTAR – Reading the Qingdao based magazine !

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).

Traditionnal Hot Pot Experience !
Traditionnal Hot Pot Experience !

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!

Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Learn about China, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs

PMSA New Zealand – Zhuhai Cultural Programme

by Nick Goldstein  

Two Week PMSA Language and Culture Programme

PMSA zhuahi

I’m not a very good writer, but when asked to write a piece on my first two weeks in Zhuhai as part of the PMSA Programme I volunteered. Not only because I want to get better, but because coming here under InternChina’s culture and internship program taught me the value of doing things you are scared of. That’s why I ended up here writing about InternChina’s program, having already wasted the first 60 words.

The first two weeks were packed! My personal highlights were tea making, calligraphy and Tai Chi classes. Although lots of fun, I also learned a lot. 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!)

During this time, we visited two companies operating in the free trade zone. In the same way as our cultural activities, 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. I saw two models, although on the surface very similar, in practice very different, and I felt the difference. If I were to set up an operation in China, I know what I would do differently.

Language Classes

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, and 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.

Homestay Experience

The third part of the program was the homestay experience. Make no mistake this was an experience, living with my own family was difficult enough, someone else’s is downright terrifying. Despite this, however, the most valuable aspect of the course was the homestay. Visiting companies and learning about culture is useful, but you only learn so much by teaching. Living in a homestay opened me up to the culture, exposing me to the intricacies.

Examples of what I have learnt are 1. That, at least in my family, no matter how loud your child’s friend is screaming, you don’t tell them off and 2. People really don’t like it when you wear shoes in the house, like REALLY don’t like it!

homestay

What I’ve Learnt

Jokes aside, I learned about the details of the culture, and I have made friends that I will take back to New Zealand. Reflecting on the past fortnight I think the most valuable thing I have learnt are 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. Overwhelmingly, however, participating in this program has been mostly beneficial to my appreciation of different cultures, expanding my mindset.

Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

Qingdao’s Biggest Fan: From Student to Intern

Hi everyone, 大家好! I’m Pauline, the new InternChina Qingdao office intern. This internship will be a great opportunity for my personal experience of course, but it’s also a chance for me to come back to my favourite city in China so far: QINGDAO!

Why Qingdao?

You might want to ask me why Qingdao is my favourite city in China, so let’s try to see how it is different from other Chinese cities and what makes it the best city for me.

I first came here as an exchange student in 2014 and as it was my first experience abroad, I guess I enjoyed it even more. There’s plenty of things to do here- let me try to convince you!

InternChina - Qingdao seaside

Food

Do you like food? Well, one of the most important things is that you can find any kind of restaurant here. As you may know Qingdao is a port city, so the local seafood is amazing for sure! But the other traditional Chinese food is also excellent and not too spicy for a first discovery.

You can of course find Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and even more Asian restaurants, or if you feel like missing home and having a pizza, or some cheese for the Frenchies, there is plenty of nice European restaurants!

But you definitely should try the famous street barbecue- doesn’t it look tasty?

Street BBQ food in Qingdao

 

Scenery

Qingdao is also well known for its amazing seaside scenery, where you can easily find typical Chinese temples to rest and admire the view. If you’re up for something a bit more challenging, I’d recommend you go to Laoshan (崂山). Don’t forget your camera because the view from the top is definitely something you need to share with your Instagram followers!

Seaside at Qingdao with a pagoda and skyscrapers in the background

Culture

Are you a fan of Chinese culture and history? You might also want to visit some Buddhist temples, or a typical Chinese park – how about Zhongshan Park (中山公园)? You might as well want to see the German legacy, which you can find when you walk around the Badaguan area (八大关), or in the Old Town enjoying the old churches and architecture.

I am sure you’ve heard about Tsingtao beer before, right ? If you’re a fan of beer, you can check out the Tsingtao Beer museum, where you can taste the beer at the end, and even customise a bottle with your own picture!

German buildings in Qingdao's Old Town

What are you afraid of in China? Scared that all you’ll see is skyscrapers? Here in Qingdao they are not covering the sky. Of course if you look up you’ll see tall buildings, but also mountains and seaside. The climate here is so comfortable thanks to the sea wind, so you’ll never feel too hot! The language barrier can be a problem everywhere, but here, people are well known to be really friendly. I really experienced it when I got lost -just stare at your map and somebody will come to help you!

Afraid of missing your country? The expatriate community is growing fast, with lots of events and social activities to get involved in. You’ll never be alone in Qingdao!

You should join us in, and Apply Now!

Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

Alfred’s New Experiences in Qingdao

Do you know these moments in your life, when you are leaning against a railing in a harbour, looking at the waves without really looking? Smelling the salty sea scent and listening to the seagulls screeching, but you don’t listen and smell actively?
In these kind of moments, you will have a talk with yourself and ask in your head with a tremulous voice: “what the heck am I doing here?” At least it was like this in my case.

About Me

I am a 29-year-old German. I worked as a bank clerk for 6 years in Germany. And now after studying two and a half years I landed in Qingdao. How come?

Am I a romantic enthusiast that practiced traditional “fan-tai-chi”? Am I a lover of Chinese poetry? Did I watch too much Kung Fu Panda? Or do I just like to castigate myself learning all the Chinese characters?

Chinese women practicing fan tai chi

No, is the answer to all these questions, it was a reason wedding. But as history shows this can have quite good outcome (not that I recommend this style of marriage). In my case it pumped up the numbers quite high. While I used to ask myself the “what the heck?” question in quite unromantic places, now I can do this on the breath-taking coast of Qingdao.

Qingdao Weather

I am here now since February this year. So, I could witness the change in weather and environment in Qingdao. I was freezing my “lower area of the back” off due to the famous “Qingdao-wind” in winter time. In summer time “Mediterranean” heat let me sweat Niagara Falls out of my body. A big thanks to the inventors of heaters and air conditioners!

Experiences in Qingdao

Although this may sound like advertisement for Air-con, Heaters and Qingdao, it is my utmost honest view of Qingdao. I am now looking forward on all the cool things that I will see and experience here. Why am I telling you this? The reason why is, that from now on, I will try to keep you guys updated and informed about these experiences. Don’t worry, I will not share the hilarious story of how I bought a bus ticket or the tremendously fascinating day when I was doing absolutely nothing.

Alfred standing on a boat in the Qingdao sea

The goal of my articles, blogging and scribbling will be to give you interesting insights in daily life here in Qingdao. As well as providing you with interesting news and hidden highlights.

I hope that the reading will give you an image of China, maybe inspire you or at least will make you sit in front of the screen smirking.

Uncategorised

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 “má là” (麻辣, 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

Cultural, Dalian Blogs, Things To Do in Dalian, Travel, Weekend Trips

Weekend Escapes from Dalian City

Dalian is a fantastic place for you not only for internship, but it is also a great place to enjoy yourself and explore other destinations nearby. You have been in Dalian for a while now and are already familiar with places around you and want to go somewhere you have never been before? If you want to experience something different then why not have a look outside the city’s borders and go for a weekend or day-trip in the surrounding area?

Dalian location on the map
Dalian location on the map, showing other surrounding cities and countries

 

Map of Dalian
Map of Dalian

There are many choices for you to have fun in or near Dalian instead of staying in the city centre. Since Dalian has an excellent geographic location, which is close to many national parks, resorts and many other attractions and scenic areas. You can easily discover new places and have fun outside of the city centre of Dalian during the weekend. Here are some recommendations for sightseeing and outdoor attractions, which are close Dalian.

1. Lushun (旅顺)

Map of Lushun
Map of Lushun

Actually, Lushun is a district and it belongs to Dalian city. However, since it is not really close to the downtown (about 30 kilometres), it’s becoming one of the best choices for local people to enjoy themselves during the vacation. Lushun has a very special history background as well, it was a colony of Japan and Russia several decades ago. Therefore, there are lots of museums, old battleships (close to the West Harbor) in Lushun. There are also lots of resorts and scenic areas for you to visit as well.

2. Golden Pebble Beach (金石滩 Jinshitan)

Map of the Golden Pebble Beach
Map of the Golden Pebble Beach

This is another area that attracts many visitors, especially during summertime. The Golden Pebble Beach is well-developed and it has an amusement park, a golf club, and of course beaches. There are also lots of nice hotels there as well. You can enjoy the nature and beautiful seaside scenery here. You can conveniently reach it via monorail from downtown Dalian – the monorail station is located right behind Dalian train station, the ride to Jinshitan takes around 1 hour.

3. Changshan Islands

Changshan Islands on a sunny day before sunset
Changshan Islands

Want to enjoy the life on islands? Fishing enthusiast? Then you should consider a trip here. You can go out fishing with native people on a boat in the morning, and enjoy seafood in the afternoon. This is also one of the best places to experience life like a native. Highly recommend visiting islands during the summer since the sea water is warm enough to swim. You can easily go there by ship from Dalian Port and it usually takes about two to three hours to get there.

 

4. Dandong

Map of Dandong, border of China and North Korea
Map of Dandong, border of China and North Korea

Dandong is a small city located on the border of China. It is about 300 kilometres away from Dalian. Even though it is a little bit farther away, thanks to the newly built high-speed train link it only takes two hours to get there. There are many places for you to visit there, like Yalu river, which separates the two countries, the famous Broken Bridge, Phoenix Mountain for a hike, or even a section of the Great Wall from which you can oversee North Korean territories. If you want, there are also lots of agencies which can take you to North Korea and have a unique experience, either enjoy North Korean traditional food, or discover what life is like under Kim Jong-Un’s control.

5. Seoul, South Korea

Map of city of Seoul, the capital of South Korea
Map of city of Seoul, the capital of South Korea

You might be surprised if it is possible to go abroad in this short period of time, because you never realise that it only takes 55 minutes by plane to Seoul from Dalian. You can enjoy Korean barbecue, beer, or if you like K-pop, superstars, this should be your first destination because famous companies like SM Entertainment, JYP and so on are located in Seoul as well. A visit to the imperial palace, ancient temples and famous Gangnam district also should be included in a trip there. Here is a cool site which gives you some tips on where to stay in Seoul: https://triphappy.com/seoul/where-to-stay/84746.

(Attention: if you plan a trip outside of China, make sure about that your visa for the People’s Republic of China is a double entry or multiple entry visa, otherwise you won’t be able to re-enter the country!)

Credit to: 曲天昊 (Danny Qu)

Pretty attractive? Want to start your internship in Dalian? Apply now!

 

Cultural, Dalian Blogs, Things To Do in Dalian, Travel

A Day in Jinshitan – Things to Do

I have been living in Dalian for about 4 years, but most of the time, I stayed at a small northern part of Dalian, called Jinshitan. I know the area very well and know all the places to go to have some fun. As I know Jinshitan so well, I can take advantage of its beautiful scenery, great restaurants and other locations, where everyone can have a good time.

Dalian's Golden Pebble Beach Jinshitan
Golden Pebble Beach Jinshitan

When I think of this place, I think of the beach and the endless shoreline along it. It is a truly beautiful and a relaxing place to be around. When I have free time, I just go to the beach with my friends to play volleyball or frisbee. After enjoying the sunny day with my friends, it is good to just relax and lay on the sand at the beach, feel the breeze from the tides and get a tan. The beach in Jinshitan is big and lets everyone to enjoy the summer while playing games, sports or relaxing outside, which is one of the main reasons I love this place.

Things to do:

Another way to spend time in this area, by just walking around Jinshitan. Jinshitan is not a big place, but offers a lot of things that, downtown Dalian does not have. However, there is no doubt about that, walking along the beach is my favourite thing to do in Jinshitan. There are many other great attractions and activities for visitors and locals in Jinshitan, such as a hunting club, which is located near the end of the shoreline, where you can shoot clay pigeons or do paint ball with friends. The prices of these activities are affordable and it is definitely a place where I would go with my friends. There is a huge amusement park in Jinshitan, called Discoveryland and it is always filled with people during the summer. It is a very popular attraction both for locals and the visitors of Dalian.

There is also the Jinwan golf course and a soccer field in Jinshitan as well as many other activities and attractions, which can be enjoyed both by locals and tourists. There is also a hiking trail along the coast, which takes around two hours to walk. It is great for people who enjoy being outdoors and there is a beautiful sight along the way. Due to the low population of Jinshitan it is easy to get around and find the way to all attractions and restaurants. Anyone, who is looking for a place to have a have a getaway near Dalian, should visit Jinshitan as it is definitely the right place.

Dalian Hunting Club and Jinwan Private Golf Course
Hunting Club and Jinwan Golf Course

Some other popular activities and attractions in Jinshitan include the hot spring resort, which is wonderful, but the prices are also higher than other resorts in the area. However, it is located at an amazing area with good and clean environment and the hot spring resort is also very clean and worth a visit. There are some restaurants and street food markets nearby, which is very convenient, if the visitors of the hot spring resort would like to go for a tasty dinner after their relaxing time at the resort.

Clubbing / Dinning:

There is a newly opened club in Jinshitan, Soho916. It is a popular spot for young people from the local colleges and universities. The club has large parties on Thursdays and Fridays. There is great music provided by two DJs, one is from America and another from Peru. The club is located at the very northern part of Jinshitan, so people who would like to go to this club will need to take taxi or some other type of transportation.

Jinshitan is worth visiting just to try some of the food it offers. As I mentioned before Jinshitan is a small area, with not too many people and most of the local people live in the area near the Jinshitan hospital. However, the number of tourists increase during the main holiday season, making Jinshitan a popular holiday destination for domestic tourists as well as for some international visitors. In this area, there are many great and tasty food, my favourites, include some western restaurants and barbecue places. Toni Kocht is a very good German restaurant with very reasonable prices. The street at the jīn shí tān yī yuàn 金石滩医院 area, which has many barbecue places, is amazing and worth the visit. The food in Jinshitan is definitely worth trying.

To discover some of these attractions and many more, Apply Now!

Credit to 陈有健 (Jack Chen)

Articles en français, Avant le depart

Stage en Chine – Quelle ville choisir?

Bonjour à tous!
Vous n’arrivez pas à vous décider sur la destination de votre stage? Voici quelques infos sur Qingdao qui pourraient vous aider dans votre choix!

Ces derniers mois, quand on me demandait où j’allais faire mon stage en Chine, la plupart des personnes en entendant Qingdao n’avait pas la moindre idée de l’existence même de cette ville. C’est seulement en mentionnant la bière Tsingtao que le nom semblait alors familier à quelque uns. Mais il ne faut pas se fier à ce que les français connaissent de la Chine mais plutôt à ce que la Chine a à vous offrir !

InternChina - Tsingtao Beer
InternChina – Tsingtao Beer

Il y a quelques années faire un stage en Chine était encore quelque chose d’extraordinaire et réservé aux personnes ayant un intérêt particulier pour la culture et la langue chinoise. Désormais de plus en plus d’étudiants et de jeunes travailleurs voient en ce pays une belle opportunité pour commencer leur carrière. Les grandes villes chinoises sont donc aujourd’hui pleines de 老外 (étrangers). Il est alors nécessaire de se démarquer notamment quant au choix de la ville où vous vous rendez en tant que stagiaire !

Qingdao est un bon exemple de ville chinoise économiquement très développée mais encore peu connue des étrangers (ça ne saurait tarder). Ça peut bien sûr paraitre assez effrayant de partir à l’aventure dans une ville dont même le nom vous est inconnu mais avoir une expérience professionnelle en dehors de votre zone de confort est un atout indéniable ! En effet, après avoir effectué un stage et vécu dans un environnement aussi différent du votre, vous gagnerez en assurance et vos capacités d’adaptation et d’intégration seront d’autant plus grandes !

InternChina - Quartier des affaires
InternChina – Quartier des affaires

Il ne faut pas oublier que Qingdao est une ville portuaire et a donc eu la chance de voir son économie ne cesser de se développer grâce aux activités d’import/export notamment, depuis l’ouverture de la Chine à l’international. De plus en plus d’entreprises de tous genres s’installent à Qingdao. Les opportunités y sont nombreuses dans la mesure où le marché est en plein développement et encore assez jeune, ce qui laisse la place aux grandes comme aux petites entreprises de s’y installer et profiter des avantages de la ville. Les entreprises à la recherche de stagiaires sont donc très nombreuses, et aujourd’hui ce sont notamment les entreprises chinoises à la recherche de stagiaires anglophones qui font appel à InternChina.

En dehors de ces aspects économiques, Qingdao est également une ville très agréable à vivre. C’est une bonne alternative aux grandes métropoles chinoises et offre une sorte « d’entre deux » qui réjouit les expat’. Malgré leur affluence, la ville a su garder un côté authentique qui permet de vivre l’expérience chinoise à fond, tout en ayant accès à quelques centres commerciaux et restaurants occidentaux, toujours utiles en cas de mal du pays !

Cependant, ne pas profiter de la richesse culinaire qu’offre Qingdao serait une grosse erreur ! Les chinois ont l’habitude de dire 入乡随俗 : quand vous êtes à Rome, faite comme les romains ! Vous pourrez bien sûr profiter des plats chinois typiques ainsi que de la « street food » présente dans toutes les villes de Chine, mais Qingdao est aussi et surtout connue pour ses produits de la mer. Entrez dans un restaurant en bord de mer et appréciez des produits frais accompagnés d’une bière Tsingtao, évidemment ! Qingdao étant très proche de la Corée, vous aurez également l’occasion de découvrir notamment les fameux barbecues coréens ou le Dagkalbi (plat à base de poulet et choux, cuisiné sous vos yeux dans une espèce de grand plat à paella).

InternChina - Resto chinois
InternChina – Resto chinois

En résumé, il est difficile de s’ennuyer à Qingdao ! Après avoir visité les grands sites de la ville comme la vieille ville ou le musée de la bière, les montagnes et les plages environnantes vous donneront de quoi vous occupez agréablement pendant toute la durée de votre séjour !

InternChina - Qingdao
InternChina – Qingdao

Si partir à l’aventure vous intéresse, venez découvrir la Chine! Postulez ici.

Qingdao Blogs

Zàijiàn Qingdao!

So the time has sadly come to say goodbye to Qingdao and InternChina. I came to China only intending to stay for two months, then two turned into six, and now eight months later I am (somewhat reluctantly) going home.
I was incredibly lucky during my time in China. Not only did I get to live in Qingdao, a beautiful city on the East Coast, but I got to experience working in Chengdu in the West for 2 weeks as well. I got to work with an amazing international team of people, and made friends from all over the world in every city I visited.

I think I managed to squeeze in a lot of travelling during my 8 months here. I managed to successfully navigate my way to Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Suzhou, getting to experience not one, but two, Walls in the process- the original Great and the lesser known Fake in Luodai.

Exploring Qingdao would have been enough even if I hadn’t decided to travel about the place. I would happily spend every weekend exploring the Laoshan mountain ranges and probably not do the same route twice- even if I got bored of Laoshan, there was always Fushan with its German bunkers and tunnels. Old Town provided plenty of history with the Tsingtao Beer Museum and the historical houses, while Taidong Night Market and Jimo Lu fake market provided entertainment with an IC scavenger hunt (which may I add, my team won). Calligraphy classes, go karting, roller disco, ice skating and visits to tea houses all made sure my weekends here were never boring.

My time in Chengdu let me tick off a bucket list item of seeing the Panda Base, as well as getting to pick tea and cycle around Pujiang on a tandem bike (add that to the list of things I didn’t expect to do here). I also visited the “fake” wall of China in Luodai, and tried some of the best food I’ve ever had… the thought of chuan chuan alone might be enough to bring me back!

Street barbeque until 5 am in Qingdao, my beloved lanzhou lao mian, deep fried aubergine, biang biang mian, crispy sweet and sour pork, tudousi and rojiamo… I am definitely going to miss the food here. I don’t think I’m ever going to be happy with Western “Chinese” food again, and I’m certainly not going to find somewhere to buy a bag of beer in Belfast!

The other interns definitely made my time here a lot more enjoyable- without their collective enthusiasm it would have been much more difficult to motivate myself to do all of these amazing things. It isn’t much fun climbing a mountain or travelling alone compared to doing it with a mixed group of five or six other equally clueless people. We got lost in Shanghai, avoided the scorpions on a stick in Beijing, ate street barbeque in Chengdu at 6am, hiked across two provinces along the Hui Hang Ancient Trail and turned the steps at the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum in Nanjing into a slide. Countless selfies with the locals, bus rides perched on makeshift seats and several amazing nights in bars and hostels across the country meant I was able to create amazing memories with people I’d maybe only known for a few days or weeks!

If you want to see the real China, all while gaining that coveted international work experience then I can think of no better way than through InternChina. Gaining essential life skills, an amazing internship and the confidence to go anywhere in the world- why wouldn’t you want to come here!

If you want to experience everything I did and more, apply now!

qingdao experience

Comparisons, Travel

A Tale of Three Cities

Type ‘China’ into any search engine and a bewildering mishmash of skyscrapers, shopping centres and super-sized monuments flood the screen. From photos, at a casual glance, one city can look quite similar to another. But in a country that spans 9,600,000KM² and what should be 5 different time zones, there’s a wider variety of cultural differences than first meets the eye. So what sort of local culture can you expect to encounter doing an internship in Qingdao, Chengdu or Zhuhai?
Lucky for me, I’ve had the opportunity to visit or live in all three cities now. From my internship in the central western metropolis of Chengdu, to living and working in Qingdao out on a peninsula on the east coast of China, and finally visiting Zhuhai for business in the far south coast bordering Macau. I’m starting to develop a real sense of the local flavours in terms of food, culture and general attitudes to life. Let me see if I can summarise it for you:

InternChina – Sauteed Clams

InternChina – Hot Pot

The Food (in my opinion the best way to get a feel for any Chinese city)
Far east Qingdao meal times are all about, yes you’ve guessed it, the famous local brew Tsingtao Beer. Whether the Qingdaonese are eating out in the late evening at the street BBQ round the corner or cooking at home, there’s a jug of Tsingtao on the table. Interns here over the summer months often see people winding their way home with a few plastics bags full of beer swinging from the handle bars of their E-bike or scooter. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a plateful of sautéed clams or BBQ chicken wings.

Out west in Chengdu is renowned for its tongue numbing SPICE. Moving here most interns learn to develop and iron lining to the inner stomach pretty quickly, but the flavours make it absolutely worth it. The locals don’t just leave the restaurants to the visitors either, the Sichuanese love a regular family night out. They can spend hours around a pot of Ganguo (Dry Pot) or Huoguo (Hot Pot) chatting noisily, chilling and drinking copious amounts of beer to quell the numbing thirst.

Down south in Zhuhai the flavours are much more delicate but just as mouthwatering. Meals here usually start off with the careful observed tradition of rinsing your cups, bowls with the hot water provided. It quickly becomes a habit that you miss when visiting other cities. The best thing about Zhuhai though is the breakfasts! Arrays of Dim sum (variety of small stacks mostly consisting of steamed shrimp and meat dumplings) accompanied by a warm bowl of rice porridge that sets you up nicely for the day to come.

InternChina – Chinese Chess

InternChina – Playing Mahjong

The Elderly
I always think the elderly are of the best indicators of local culture. China’s ageing population are noticeable wherever you go. The Chinese love spending most of their morning practising Taiqi and their days with their grand kids, but all three InternChina cities have their fair share of elderly Chinese Chess (Xiang Qi) players and card sharks too.

In Qingdao you’re more likely to find these groups in the peaceful parts of Old Town, congregated under the shade of big trees planted in the German colonial period. With the grand-kids running around them the scene looks pretty idyllic but I’m fairly sure at least some games of Baohuang (Protect the Emperor!) and Gouji (High Level) end badly for at least some of the players involved! Both are local card games invented in Shandong province.

Over in Chengdu it’s the tea houses that draw in the Sichuanese senior citizens. A fellow intern once told me of a disastrous time they bet against the grandmother of her host family in a game of Mahjong. Trust me, they won’t go easy on you, the only way is to learn their tactics the hard way! It might be hard on your self-esteem but it’s not a bad way to practice your local Sichuanese accent outside of the language classroom.

Down in Zhuhai, it’s a fair bet that they take no prisoners either when betting on card games like Tuolaji (Tractor) and Doudizhu (Fight the Landlord). With such close proximity to the world’s largest gambling centre Macau just over the border, it’s no wonder the gambling spirit has permeated Zhuhai’s local population too. At any rate, when their not at the cards you’re likely to find most of Zhuhai’s pensioners wandering along Jida Beach and Lover’s Walk.

InternChina – Qingdao Facekini

InternChina – Chengdu shopping

The Stereotypes
People from Shandong Province where Qingdao is based are renowned for having a hospitable nature. However there’s also a strict and disciplined streak in there. Qingdao-ren get things done! That’s why Qingdao’s port is one of the busiest in the world. Weekends are often spent fishing from the shoals or relaxing in a tent on the beach make up for the bustle of the city centre.

Chengdu people can have a bit of a spicy temperament, just like their food. But in day to day life the locals are extremely easy-going. They like to take things slow which is a direct contrast to the booming development of the city growing up around them. For the younger generation, resident foreigners and visiting students though, Chengdu is fast becoming a party capital for China.

Zhuhai-ren is also incredibly laid back. They also have a reputation for pragmatism, a pinch of ambition but also a warm dose of hospitality. The truth is that very few Zhuhai people are originally from Zhuhai, due to its location bang in the middle of Hongkong, Macau, Shenzhen and Guangzhou it’s attracted people from all over the country as well as many a foreign face. This also makes Zhuhai a hot-spot for big corporations from Hong kong breaking into the Chinese mainland market.

InternChina - Zhuhai Lover's Road
InternChina – Zhuhai Lover’s Road

The first cities that usually come to mind for people in search of a competitive work environment, where you can learn new skills in China are usually Beijing or Shanghai. But if you’re really up for a new encounter, and a chance to get immersed in a different culture whilst discovering what makes China’s economy tick, then find out more about some of the internships on offer in Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai. Apply now!

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