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!
…and suddenly it is 2016 and my China adventure is over!I definitely learned a lot within the last 5 months. Not only did I gain a lot of experience within the working life, I also met people from across the world, and got around in a country without speaking the language.
I arrived in Chengdu at night time and the Anshun bridge was one of the first things I saw during my first night. I think, I stopped every 10m to take a picture from a different angle.
Living in a country with over 1 billion people, 7 major different dialects, and a culture completely different than the one I grew up in was interesting, challeging and exciting. It was also a lot of fun though because I never knew what the next day was going to bring.
During my internship I co- organized a trip to Kangding which is approx. 8h away from Chengdu. A group of 12 people went on the trip and it was absolutely amazing. It was the first time in a while that I had seen a blue sky, and it was the very first time ever I was over 4,000 metres above sea level and climbed up a mountain. The view was absolutely breathtaking and it was a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
I was also very delighted when I got to see the Giant Buddha in Leshan because in 1996 it was listed one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The area around the Buddha looked absoluely mystical the day we visited it because it was kind of foggy. Leshan is only 2h away from Chengdu and it is just amazing how much cultural sites the Sichuan province has to offer.
I really enjoyed using my weekends, travelling outside of Chengdu but also spending a lot of time within the city, exploring it and definitely eating a lot of local dishes. My most favourite dish which I probably ate once a week, was handmade noodles with potatoes, vegetables and a small amount of meat. I would have never thought about eating noodles and potatoes in one dish but now that my time is China is coming to an end, I don’t know what I will do without this dish in my future. Generally, the variety of food and its prize in China absolutely amazed me. I no longer want to cook at home because it so cheap and convenient to just get noodles down the road.
I am really thankful for the opportunity the InternChina team has given me and the things I have learned during my marketing internship. I know exactly what I want to do in life but as for now, it is time to say goodbye to the crazy, the different, the lovely, the very unique China!
If you are struggling with what to do next, if you want to get your ducks in a row, get out of your comfort zone, widen your horizon, don’t be afraid to try something new and apply here for a life changing experience.
Four month already?? Wow time flies by .. I still remember how Paul and Jessica were waiting for me at the airport, my first week in the Office in Chengdu, .. how exciting everything was. All these new impressions of being the first time in China.
Although some people believe it is quite hard to settle in China, personally I felt home very fast. Without speaking Chinese, communication can be quite hard sometimes. Here and there it was challenging, but there is always a way around I have learned. Pointing on pictures in a restaurant, using your arms and legs or just get out a small dictionary in the middle of a conversation. It was really exciting and interesting and so many funny moments I won´t forget very soon.
InternChina allowed me to meet so many people from all over the world which made my China experience unforgettable. But other than that, I gained so many insights in the Chinese business world which was very interesting and useful for my future working career. Being aware of intercultural differences is very important nowadays – especially as an International Business Student. Although I was travelling a lot in the past years, I believe that China has the most interesting culture I was able to experience by far . Probably because it is so individual and different compared to the German culture.
A massive THANK YOU to the entire InternChina Team, because you made this experience so unforgettable. It was an amazing time and I would never want to miss it.
No way, I’ve been in Qingdao for three months already… Time flies as we say. Three months completely disconnected from western countries, entirely immerged in the Chinese culture. Now after three months I will leave China with my head full of memories and amazing experiences!
Since the day I arrived, I was looking forward to go to Laoshan, the famous mountain near Qingdao. Sadly, in January, February and March, the weather was still too cold to consider climbing that mountain, and I was feeling desperate to never be able to climb that mountain. And finally, as the end of my stay drew closer and I resigned to not climbing it, I took part in a Laoshan trip organized by InternChina. After an early wake up at 5 am to get to the bus – Laoshan here we are! Even though the weather wasn’t that sunny, I think it was the perfect week end to go to Laoshan (and not because it was my last week end in Qingdao). The temperature was warm enough to take off our sweaters to climb the stairs!
We went through unofficial trails, in the wild part of the mountain. Thankfully we had a Chinese guide who seemed to know exactly where we were and where we went, he was amazing! And once he even took me by the hand and helped me to climb the stairs (not that I couldn’t have done it myself but it was far easier this way). Mid-April is cherry blossom time! A lot of flowers everywhere which gave me the feeling that spring was finally here. After a lot of stairs, I can say that I managed to reach the top of the mountain (or at least the top of the peak our guide led us to), and I am so glad that I was able to do it!
When I wrote my first blog, I still couldn’t believe I was in China, and now I can’t believe I am about to leave it. Three months, it’s short, but I used all the time I had to discover most of the places that have to be seen in Qingdao and to meet a lot of incredible people. I am so grateful towards all those people who made my stay in Qingdao unforgettable. Thank you especially to the InternChina team in Qingdao, for giving me this great opportunity. And of course, many thanks to my host family who has been so nice with me!
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Growing older happens not only too fast, but it can also be pretty exhausting especially if you are abroad for your birthday.
My birthday celebrations started on Friday when I partied with some of my InternChina friends. We went to a huge club area in Chengdu where we enjoyed some free drinks with many Chinese people. Club-hopping was amazing but we were out till about 4am. So I was able to catch some sleep until noon the next day.
I was a bit surprised that my host-family did not wish me “Happy Birthday”. Later though it turned out that it was only a cultural misunderstanding. In China birthdays are usually not given special importance until your 60th birthday. Bearing this in mind, I was happy they ignored it since my 60s are still some years ahead of me. Although they did not congratulate me, they invited my friends to come over to our flat for a party. During the day my host-sister Sophie was preparing hand-made cupcakes, milk tea and biscuits as well as rearranging the furniture to make sure all my 20 international guests would fit.
It was not only a birthday party but also an International Food Feast. Every intern as well as every Chinese guest brought one home-made dish and we shared all the international food: Bangers and Mash, Chicken Wings, Spaghetti Carbonara, American Pizza, Schnitzel, Bratkartoffeln, more mashed potatoes, Chinese vegetables, fried Jiaozi and dessert. I totally enjoyed having all this delicious food at the same time.
After dinner someone started blowing up balloons. It was lovely and colourful to begin with and distributing them all over the room reminded me of childhood birthday parties. Somehow the balloons found their way all around our living room landing on people and food. Soon the peaceful party took a different turn when people started throwing balloons at each other. Thankfully no one was seriously injured during the balloon fight =).
After the party I skyped with my family in Germany and went to bed already excited for Sunday, when we had decided to see the Giant Buddha of Leshan.
It was a terribly busy but amazing weekend. Since I am leaving tomorrow I wanted to say goodbye and thank all my new friends here in China. Hope to see you soon!
Incredible how fast the time can pass by. First, when I came to Qingdao I thought that 3 month is a really long time… Now I can´t even imagine that everything is over. It was a great time and I thank everybody who made my time in China so enjoyable. Thanks to Intern China for the support and help in all matters and for giving me the possibility to make such a wonderful, memorable experience in this great country.
Yesterday Shoko, Franz and I had our goodbye dinner at a Chinese barbecue place and 25 people came to see us a last time and to celebrate the great last 3 month.
We met really nice people in this time, learned a lot about the Chinese culture and the language und finally found some really good friends and I hope we will stay in touch afterwards too. I would recommend such a stay in China to everybody, because nobody can imagine how many unforgettable impressions each single person could get here.
Now I know and I will come back for sure! So maybe it’s better not to say goodbye. I rather say “see you” !