Hello everyone ! My name’s Audrey and I come from Strasbourg, France, and I just graduated with a Bachelor degree in Trade in the European Environment. As part of my studies I already had the opportunity to do an internship in Shanghai in 2015, and this was by far my most memorable and rewarding experience! The idea of going back again to China has been haunting me since, s0 now I’ll be interning in the Zhuhai office for 6 months!
I always had an interest in Asia, I could not explain it, it is just a part of me! My trips to Shanghai made me fall in love even harder. Before I arrived in Zhuhai, I wasn’t stressed at all- I waited for so long after being offered the role that it felt much more like a release to finally arrive! My adrenaline level was at its height when I jumped in the plane and made my way to Zhuhai via Hong Kong and Seoul. At the airport, my roommate and fellow office intern picked me up and brought me home!
Zhuhai so Far
It has been 1 week so far and Zhuhai is better than expected. The people are nice and welcoming, the food is delicious, the views are stunning and the relaxing vibe is amazing! The IC office staff are always keen to help and explain anything I need to know. Although I got overwhelmed in the beginning of my stay, the more time passes by, the more this experience seems like to be the opportunity I needed to move on and find my path. I kind of struggled with English at the start of my stay, but time will help and now I feel more at ease with people. Especially as I can enjoy the nightlife here with people from all over the world!
I hope to :
- Develop my “Guanxi”.
- Acquire new professional competencies through my work within an international team.
- Gain more self-confidence.
- Re-discover and deepen my knowledge of China and its business environment.
- Enjoy the city and its possibilities as well as the local culture.
欢迎光临青岛 – Welcome to Qingdao!
When I told my friends and family in Germany about going to China, their reactions were pretty much all the same: “OMG, why do you want to go there?”. Just a few were actually interested in why I was coming and what I expect from the trip to China. I really want to experience as much as possible to show my friends that it is a great and very diverse country!
My interest for China started at University. At Uni, it is necessary to receive some credits that do not have anything to do with your basic studies, to give you an opportunity to improve your skills in other fields. In my first semester I started taking Chinese out of curiosity and the fact that it gives twice as many points as all the other languages. It was just fun going every week, learning some words which sounded completely new to everything you’ve heard before. I mean have you ever heard someone speaking Chinese? It’s just crazy to listen to!
I finished University in April 2013, majoring in English, French and Economics. Luckily my Masters does not start until October, therefore I had the chance to fill that time with whatever I wanted. I love traveling and getting to know new cultures. In 2006, I spent my first year abroad as a High School student in the United States. This experience opened up the world to me. I met people from all over the globe which gave me an inside view to how diverse and especially how interesting other cultures can be. Once gone abroad you will never settle again. I pretty much counted the days until my next journey. After my school graduation I spent two months in a French host family as an Au-Pair. Sadly in two months you do not really have the possibility to experience a country as much as I thought. During my studies I had the chance to go back to France, so I spent another two semesters abroad.
So there I was in December, pretty much done with my studies and with the urge to go traveling again. I wanted to see something completely different! Something I haven’t experienced before… I thought “hey, you took some Chinese already, you should go to China”. No sooner said than done. I found advertisements for Intern China online and applied for an internship. Luckily they accepted me and now I’m here. Small town girl in an eight-million-inhabitant city! I’ve been here for five days and I’m loving it. Of course I still don’t understand a lot, but the food is awesome, the people are very nice (of any nationality) and my welcome was just so friendly that I’m sure I’m going to have a great time in Qingdao!
So you are planning to come to China soon and it’s the first time?
If the answer is yes, here are some good tips you should know before you come.
I’m especially writing this for the French BTS Students, firstly because I’m a former one; when I came here the first time I can tell you that I was really surprised since I had different expectations about China.
Secondly because for most of the BTS people, this trip is the first (and certainly not the last) international experience and coming to China is a big challenge for most of them (at least it was for me).
My best advice before you come: buy a guide to China (like Lonely Planet, or Le Guide Michelin and le Routard for French readers). These small guides give you the most precise idea of what China looks like. They contain advice on how to behave in daily situations, with some Chinese vocabulary in it, so you can order food or explain where you want to go to a taxi driver.
I swear by my Michelin guide, it was my best friend when I came the first time and used it countless times.
I also believe you should be prepared for the contrasts here. You can be walking in a rich part of town where people don’t even look at you and you have to pay attention not to be run over by these same people in their big western car. Then if you continue your walk, maybe less than a kilometre away you may arrive at a part of town where not so many foreigners are living, and people are surprised to see a white guy walking around and sometimes even take some pictures with you.
Be also open minded in your everyday life, don’t have a western outlook on things. Otherwise you’re going to be disappointed – adopting a cool and relaxed attitude is the best way to really enjoy your Chinese experience.
You won’t feel lonely in China because you will always have people around you, Intern China teams in Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu will always be here for you if you have any problems or questions about the Chinese way of life, plus there are many other interns who can help you.
That takes me to my next point of advice: Mingle! The best way to integrate into Chinese life is to meet people and create a strong network of friends and acquaintances. There are many foreigners in Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu so it’s likely that what you experience will have been experienced by someone else at some point. So talk, ask questions, exchange thoughts and ideas, and soak it all up!
If you have any questions or concerns before you come to China you can always send me an email at: email@example.com.
So last week some of the Zhuhai interns decided to spend our Wednesday evening go-karting at an indoor track in downtown Zhuhai. Little did I know that this fun activity would result in my first visit to a Chinese hospital!
It wasn’t a big accident – I was stuck against the tyres and Dina came crashing into me at full speed. But the whiplash effect that I got that night was so discomforting and painful that the next morning I decided to go and get myself checked out.
I must admit I was quite dreading that hospital visit. Even though I’ve lived by myself in 3 different countries for the past 4 years, every time I get sick or hurt all I want is for my mom to be there with me. Now I was on my own, with very few words in my Chinese vocabulary, feeling like I was going to cry every time I bent my knees or tried to turn my head. Yet I gathered up my courage and managed to get myself to the Zhuhai People’s Hospital. Our French office manager here at InternChina in Zhuhai knows the local hospital well, and this was his advice: go to the 5th floor, pay the 50 RMB (around 6€) for VIP service and they’ll find you someone who can speak English. True enough: even though the nurses’ English wasn’t that extensive, they helped me fill out all the forms, took me to the cashier to pay, and stayed with me the entire time I was there.
I was taken to the Physical Rehabilitation Clinic, where the doctor asked me what had happened. After struggling to explain what go-karting was (she thought I’d been in a real car crash!), I managed to describe my symptoms to her while the other patients and their families listened attentively, though I’m pretty sure they couldn’t understand what I was saying. She then examined me all the way from my neck to the end of my spine, and wrote everything down on my patient booklet.
All I wanted was to make sure I didn’t have a serious injury, so I asked her if I could get an X-ray. I was also secretly hoping she would prescribe me some painkillers, give me a neck brace and send me on my way. But she said the X-ray wasn’t really necessary, that my spine was just a little bit twisted and all it needed was some straightening out. Her prescribed treatment was this: a shot for my muscles, a massage with hot compresses, some acupuncture and a bone cracking. The shot was painless, the massage felt quite good, the acupuncture felt strange but much less scary than I’d imagined (it was my first time getting acupuncture), and the bone cracking hurt at that moment but I immediately felt the improvement.
She told me to go home and rest, keep my body warm and drink lots of water, and come back the next day if I was still hurting. I heeded her advice and took it easy the rest of the day. The next morning I was still sore but not nearly as bad as I felt the previous day. I was too lazy to go back to the hospital but as I continued to feel better the rest of the weekend, I realised it wasn’t really necessary.
Now it is Tuesday and I feel as if nothing had happened to me. It’s funny to think that sometimes we are so convinced that the way we do things is the right way, that we don’t even open ourselves to other options. I don’t know what kind of treatment I would have been prescribed had I been in Mexico or the UK, but I am certain that the one I got was exactly what I needed. So thanks, Doctor!
Here is the hotelroom they offered for free to us, unfortunately we did not have enough time to have a cup of tea and enjoy the beautiful countryside view there, but we did lots of fun things:
After we checked in, they had an opening ceremony. We went there and joined in. After the ceremony, they had lots of fireworks. There were also many local snacks which we could (and did) try. Phil and me tried several kinds of snacks and drunk several bottles of beer (it’s part of doing business in China, not that you think we had any fun there ;)), then we were invited to a decent French restaurant to have some great food, coffee, deserts and lots of wine. They had a wine tasting party there, we tasted some rose wine, white wine and champagne.
After lots of wine, we moved out to the garden, we were drinking some nice wine again and talked to our friends. When drinking with a bosom friend, a thousand cups will still be too little, haha…
We went back to our hotel room around 4:30am, and had a very good rest after the big party, I really didn’t want to get up in the morning, but I didn’t want to miss the Spa, so I got up at 9:30am with super hang over, after taking a shower, I wore my swimsuit and bath robe to have breakfast, I met Phil there. We had some western food and felt much better after. Then we went to the spa. They have over 30 pools there, we almost tried all of them in 1.5hours. I can say that a great spa is the best thing when having a hang over. Especially on a rainy morning.
I’m Antoine, the new French intern in Qingdao and I arrived last week. That’s my first time in China and so far, my impressions are very good. It’s really cold right now in Qingdao but people are really warm and welcoming.
I have a lot of various and interesting tasks here like assisting Philippe with the French Universities and internship inquiries. The work atmosphere is really positive at the office and I think I will have a good time being an intern at InternChina.
See you in Qingdao!