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Before your stay, Chengdu Business, China Business Blogs, How-to Guides, Job Market in China, Understanding Business in China

Cross-Cultural communication in China: West vs. East

Hello everyone,

My name is Jenny and I am the office manager of InternChina in Qingdao, soon I will go and open a 3rd office for InternChina in Chengdu. The first time I came to China was almost 4 years ago and since I was fascinated by the Culture and the people here, I decided to come back and actually work for InternChina in the future. China is fascinating me also because every day here is a new challenge! Even though, I am trying to improve my Chinese skills every day and a lot of Chinese people (incl. my colleagues) speak a very good English – I experience so many misunderstandings and situations in which I need to take a deep breath before I react, as people here are just communicating so differently.
This week we will start a series on our InternChina blog with a more Business-related focus. So, today’s blog will kick-off with giving you an idea of how different communication in China works compared to Western countries. In this article, I am focusing on general communication patterns in China, illustrating by using typical business situations.

When we talk about communication, we need to make clear, that it doesn’t only involve what we say but also how we say something. This can include body-language, gestures, mimics, volume and of course speed and intonation. Communication scientists, trainers and coaches like to refer to the iceberg-model, where the top of an iceberg (about 30%) is usually WHAT you say, whereas the underlying bottom which is hidden in the water (ca.70%) is HOW you say something, such as voice, mimic, gestures, the context in which you say it etc. This means, when you are transferring a message, most of your message is not transported by your actual words but by how you put your words.
Another model, which we should take a look at is the “Communication square” or “Four-Ears-model” (from a German scientist called Schulz von Thun), which implies that all verbal messages being sent, need a sender and a receiver. Each message hereby is sent on 4 different levels (free translation): 1. Formal Level (“The actual information”), 2. Self-revelation level (“what the sender is telling about himself”), 3. Relationship level (“What the sender thinks about the receiver, in which relation is the sender to the receiver”), 4. Plea level (“What the sender wants the receiver to do”). This model describes in an ideal case how communication works and can explain why misunderstandings in communication can occur. The idea is simple: If every message is sent on all levels, but some people weigh one level more than another, it can happen that the receiver is receiving a different message from the one which has been sent by the sender. Then we have misunderstandings and miscommunication. We can use this model to understand communication between man and women, but also to describe different ways of communication between different cultures.

Another approach to compare different cultures is the one from the scientist Edward T. Hall (“Beyond Culture”, 1976). He finds, that some cultures are communicating with a “high-context” and some cultures use a “low context” for their daily communication. Germany for example is a Low Context Culture – they say what they think and think what they say, messages are sent explicitly. They expect the same thing from their communication partner, so they avoid any misunderstandings through interpretation, maybe that’s why Germans are considered as so efficient (and unhumoristic) in the world. A typical example for a High-Context Culture is China: Messages are sent implicitly, there is space for interpretation, which can lead to even misinterpretations and misunderstandings. This is acceptable as long as two individuals or groups from one culture communicate with each other because they know what to expect – but it of course can lead to problems, as soon as two individuals or groups from two different Cultures communicate with each other.

If we apply these different models now to have a closer look on the Chinese culture, we will get some interesting findings. Even if you are not a scientist, these models can help to understand a little better, WHY certain things in China are done as they are done.

In a next step, I will try to describe three typical situations in a Chinese business. In all three situations Westerners are involved: as colleagues, interns, or business partners.

  1. I want to start with the typical case of a mid-aged Western manager who is about to freak out because he told his Chinese team already the 100th time, that deadlines are important. His Chinese colleagues will say “Yes Yes, no problem” and next time not meet the deadline another time.
    What happened? If we use the Iceberg-model to explain what happened, we could say, that it was less important WHAT the manager said but actually more important IN WHICH CONTEXT he said it. He didn’t speak to Westerners, for which it is clear what a deadline means. He spoke to Chinese colleagues. If you take the Communication Square to explain the situation, you will find that Germans (and other Westerners) send their messages mostly on the first level (“formal information”) and 4th level (“peal”), whereas Chinese receivers hear much more on the 2nd and 3rd level. So, for them, the deadline itself is not important – it is much more important of who told them that there is a deadline and why the sender wants them to hold the deadline. This is how the misunderstanding occurs: As Chinese are much more focused on relationships (so-called “guanxi”), a manager with a close relationship to his employees (meaning they actually accept him as an authoritative figure in a paternalistic understanding) will much more likely get a feedback on the status of the project and eventually has a chance to intervene when deadlines can’t be met. A manager with a good understanding of Chinese communication also will never shout at his colleagues because this means that not only he will lose face, but also will make his colleagues losing face as they have to watch him showing negative emotions and losing control about himself. The respect for him will be gone most likely and they won’t make any effort to change their behavior.
    Possible solution
    :Most of Westerners believe in fixed deadlines, so when we fix a date with our clients and pass it on to our colleagues, we believe they will first of all try to meet the deadline and secondly if they can’t make it, tell us what the problem is (right in time!) to find a solution. This might apply in Western countries with Low-context cultures, where we as receivers expect the sender to send us a clear message explicitly, non-negotiable. However, in China as a High-context culture a message is sent implicitly and a receiver would always expect “more” behind a message. Therefore, a deadline is not necessarily a deadline and everyone knows, there’s a silent consent about this idea, so no need to cry over spilt milk and invest more time in building up a trust relationship between you and your colleagues.
  2. A second very typical situation is a Western intern (let’s say a German), who is doing an internship in a Chinese company. He was told to be patient with the tasks, they will be given to him probably a little bit later, first he should get to know his colleagues better, then it is easier to assign tasks to him. After one week only sitting around, he will start checking Facebook and newspaper websites regularly during work-time. After two weeks, he will start leaving the company about one hour earlier and complain to his friends he has nothing to do, even though his colleagues seem to be nice in a way.
    What happened?
    The German intern expects a working–environment in which orders are coming up explicitly and very formal. Messages are usually sent in the first level, receivers will get the message on the first level, there is no space for interpretation (“Communication square” and “High-context vs. Low Context culture”). Additionally, communication about private topics at the working-place is not very popular in Germany, even in other Western countries you try to keep private communication to a lower extent than in China. But in China communication works differently.
    Possible solution: Before formal tasks can be assigned, it is helpful to get to know your team, drink a tea together, get familiar with your colleagues, get to know them – really get to know them – make guanxi! Talk with them about their families, food, their dreams and hopes, share your free-time with them, accept dinner invitations, speak as much Chinese as possible… etc. And your question as an intern to your colleagues “Can I help you?” will be received as a friend, not only as the “strange Western intern”, that nobody knows. It is much more likely you’re your colleagues actually really make an effort of assigning more tasks to you, if they know who you are and how you actually can help them as an intern – what are your skills, what are your interests? Not WHAT you say, but HOW and as WHOM you say it, is significantly important in China.
  3. The third situation describes the typical Business dinner with a Chinese company and the Western buyer, who actually just wants to talk about “business” during a “business-dinner”. After a while, the Chinese side just thinks: “Phew, why is he so not relaxed and just wants to talk about serious things, we just started our dinner…!” and the Western client after 2 hours of drinking and small talk will think: “Phew, when can I get out of here to sober up a little bit – and why we still didn’t have the chance to get any commitment from the Chinese side about our deal?”.
    What happened?
    Chinese people are traditionally skilled at Trading. Buying and selling –for the best price of course, is their mission. Business? Is a game! If you don’t understand their rules, you lose. It helps if you understand a little bit about Chinese communication to be more successful in China.
    Possible solution: The rules are simple, you “just” need to play them; drinking and small-talk during business dinners. Compliments are not to be taken serious, Chinese people will always try to flatter you, it makes you vulnerable. It is part of the game, so don’t be surprised if they don’t MEAN what they say. In China, everything can be interpreted. Thus, emphasizing something’s beauty vehemently, also can mean the complete opposite. If you explain this with the Iceberg model, you can see again, that it doesn’t matter WHAT you say, but HOW you say it and in which context. If a Chinese business partner says, he can imagine to work with you, it doesn’t mean that you need to take your laptop out and talk about business the next half hour. It could mean, he is thinking about working with you on another deal or it could mean not to work with you at all because later you fail the drinking contest or you say something that could make him think that you are mistrusting him. It always depends on the context he is saying it in.
    Interestingly, there’s no “NO” in China, but a lot of ways of saying something, that means “No”. If you analyze this situation with the High-context-Low-context model, you will find that in such moments as business dinners, you will need to take someone with you who is not only a translator but actually can explain you the RULES of the game, otherwise it is more likely that you won’t be successful.
    Or you start learning about these rules yourself.

This is easily done! Just send us your application to info@internchina.com and we can help you finding an internship in China where you will have the chance to get to know Chinese Business Culture through a first-hand experience!

Travel

My trip in Xinjiang (Sinkiang)

I went to Xinjiang for traveling from september 18th till October 13 th. I was planing to go Xingjiang since long time ago, after my traveling, I can tell Xinjiang is really an awesome place! Beautiful natural scenery, nice people and great foods, gave me one of the best traveling experience.
If you never been to Xinjiang, you will never know how big China is! I took train to Urumchi from Guangzhou, It was taken me 55 hours , 3 nights and 2 days, But not so bad, I got second class ticket, that mean I could sleep during the long trip.

Before my traveling, I posted some informations on a website to find some people to travel together, finally, the had 15 people join my team, they are from all over China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Dongguan… I think the best way for traveling in Xinjiang is rent a car or bus yourself with friends or follow tourist company, because Xinjiang is too big, we tried drove over 10 hours still in the gobi desert highway, but on the way, always good views, we even saw Przewalski horse(a kind of wild horse), wild donkey, wild goat….

For my long trip, the have too many stories, now I am just show you guys some pictures were taken by myself, I will write some details later if you were interested in it,haha 😉

Travel, Weekend Trips

5 Holy Mountains: Taishan

Tai’an, a small city in Shandong at 2:30 in the morning: My alarm is ringing and I feel like I want to turn around again and keep on snoozing. But we decided about two weeks earlier that we want to see the sunrise at Mount Taishan (Shandong). Accredited as one of the 5 Holy (Daoist) Mountains in China, Taishan can be climbed by stepping up 7000 stairs – the sunrise is said to appear astonishingly beautiful. Together with 3 other interns from InternChina (Qingdao) and my boyfriend we took the High-speed train from Qingdao to Tai’an. We were all looking forward to a peaceful mountain experience with little rests here and there, the will to take the challenge and mastering 7000 steps within 4 hours is driving us.
I turn off my alarm and get up: Our Chinese hotel room doesn’t supply hot water at that time of the day, so a cold splash hits my body and brings me up to my feet.

Awake looks differently, but finally we are all ready to climb up the Holy Mountain, which is said to be so beautiful.

InternChina – Getting Ready for the Hike

From our hotel to the bottom of Taishan it takes a 30 minutes walk, on our way we meet more and more Chinese people, who are on their way to the top, they are all eating, chatting, laughing…. We still try not to fall asleep whilst walking, though.

As we enter the gate which indicates the entrance to the Holy Mountain (entrance fee 130 RMB, students discount 65 RMB), the steps are starting… we realise too late, that it would have been fun to count the steps. However, we are sure someone double checked on the 7000 before… We get out our torches to enlighten the path, Chinese people passing by, everyone taking his own pace. Old grandma’s overtake without any lights: They seem to know the way.

InternChina – Sunrise at Taishan

Meanwhile it is 4 o’clock a.m. We make the first break as not everyone in our group is experienced with mountain climbing. A rest is always good to make your backpack feel lighter, we munch all the little snacks we took from home (or got packed by our worried Chinese host-families). The walk to the top is supposed to take 4-5 hours, we think we can make it easily to see the sunrise whilst we are walking up. However, after not even half of the way, twilight turns into sunshine. Seems, we missed the actual sunrise.

However, the closer we get to the top, the more people are crossing our way. We knew it before: Golden Week in China is going to be crazily crowded.

We are making our way up, with little tea breaks in between…eating more snacks: cookies, nuts, dried fruits, mini-sausages, Chinese mantou (a kind of steamed bread), drinking Green Tea… Chinese mountains are very interesting – because contrary to the belief in the West to protect valuable nature, Chinese mountains are exploited to the last: Rubbish covering the whole way up, sealed floor, shops with souvenirs and people, people, people (wearing fancy dresses as High-heels and suits)… Somehow, we thought Daoism had something to do with Harmony between Nature and Humans?

InternChina – Thousands of Tourists

It becomes more and more difficult to take pictures without other people in it and at a certain point we have to give up: As thousands (or even millions?) of Chinese people stream downwards after fullfilling their mission of watching the sunrise, there’s no space anymore to go up. For about half an hour we are stuck on the path: No back, no forth. It is a good chance to listen to Chinese people saying things like: “Zhong guo ren Tai duo le!” (There are too many Chinese people!)… Ironic it is, we think, and try to focus on the beautiful landscape.

After 5 hours, walking upstairs, we are still not there. The group split up, we just want to run to the top (as fast as you can run after a 6hrs walk up a mountain), but Chinese grandparents are blocking the way – I wonder, will we be able to climb up 7000 steps when we are their age? Parents carry their tired kids… the steps are too high for them to climb. The only thing I can hear is my heartbeat and my breath, we stopped talking a while ago…

InternChina – Temple on the Peak of Taishan

Suddenly… didn’t even think about reaching the top at one point anymore… it looks like we took the last step. A big platform, people taking pictures over pictures. this must be it: Mount Taishan! We finally made it and deserve to take a rest! 1545m above the sea level we can feel the fresh breeze and even though it was not enough to feel enlightened we are still surprised about ourselves how we could get up so early and spend the whole night hiking up a mountain.

After exploring all temples on the top, finishing our snacks and an intense photo-session with a Chinese people from all ages, we decide to save our knee joints and let the cable car carry us down to the bottom. Tired and exhausted we hang out in a little park next to the KFC where we restore our energies. Finally, we took the fast train back to Qingdao and fell into a deep sleep dreaming of 7000 Holy steps.

Note: If you are interested in applying for an internship in China, our team will assist you during your whole application process and stay. We believe, that exploring the Chinese Culture is crucial for understanding your life in China and creates a balance to your hard studies and internship – that’s why we organise regular Cultural and Sports Activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internship Experience, Job Market in China

Company Visits

As part of my internship at InternChina I have had the opportunity to go on company visits and see interns at their workplace.  This has been a real eye opener as it has allowed me to see for myself what placements InternChina provide and I have to say I haven’t been left disappointed.
The diverse array of internships on offer means that there should be an ideal placement for any student or graduate interested in a Chinese placement. Job roles I have seen range from contacting clients in host countries and marketing the company to very creative roles such as designing new products and editing magazines. What’s interesting to see is that internships are on offer in completely different industries and sectors. Interns have been placed in factories to co-ordinate the distribution of products to western countries, had responsibility in setting up and running events in music theatres and positions are also on offer in more corporate office jobs where negotiating with clients and drinking lots of tea is a necessity.

InternChina – Companiy Visit

Before my arrival, I had a few misconceptions of how businesses operate in China. What I first imagined was very quiet offices where employees would simply complete their work with minimal interaction. Strict rules would be set and a dismissive reaction would be used as a barrier to avoid any divergence away from the shared working norm. These initial thoughts could not have been further from the truth and I was pleasantly surprised by the openness and in a lot of ways expectancy of new ideas coming from foreign interns.  One main attraction to many Chinese companies taking on foreign interns are for the interns to transform the traditional Chinese workplace to give it a more western edge. Original thinking is welcomed, and it is up to you as the intern to make your mark on the company!

InternChina – Work

I have also noticed that business connections are predominantly made through making friendships. Sharing a few drinks or welcoming people into your home for dinner are ideal ways to create a long lasting business relationship in China. Chinese people very much look out for their friends- I have seen that InternChina’s service has been rewarded through relationship building. The team were invited to a wine sourcing company who welcomed us in and gave us tasters of wine they had on offer. At the end of the visit they provided us all with a free bottle of wine, which shows the perks of generating the oh so important ‘Guanxi’.

InternChina – Office

Putting the strict and uncompromising Chinese working culture stereotype to bed, it is not uncommon to have a beer after work at the end of the week,or even once a big business deal has been made.

Cultural, Qingdao InternChina Events

Fight Club in Qingdao!!

To all “Yùndòngyuán“ ( 运动员 ),
I want to dedicate this blog entry to a mysterious, hidden but at the same time fantastic place…
The “Fight Club” (Bó Jī Jù Lè Bù – 搏击俱乐部)!!!

Maybe first some background information: Jenny used to train long time ago with a wise, old and peculiar Chinese Kong-Fu/Kick-Boxing teacher, “Lǎoshī“ (老师), which dedicated plenty years of his glorious life to different kinds of fighting sports. One day, he disappeared without a trace– no one knew where he has gone and why he left unannounced.

Some days after my arrival, after getting to know the Qingdao-guys, Jenny told me about her ambition for fighting sports (what I would never believe to be honest :)) and that she plans to revive this ambition by having work-outs on a regular basis, when finding the suitable location. Because I am also interested in these martial arts, we arranged to search for a “Fight Club”, which suits our needs. So we started consulting different people, visited different gyms and finally entered THE glorious “Fight Club”. By entering it – the place is just 5 Minutes away from our office, inconspicuously based on the third floor of a random building, you sense the atmosphere of freedom and peace. The place is not especially clean and well-equipped but looks more like a basement or underground “club”, a place for initiated; people who just want to escape the big-city-feeling and the routine working life. And guess who we met there, sitting on one of the nicely suiting sofas, immerged in the special atmosphere of the “Fight Club”? The mysterious, wise “Lǎoshī“(老师) or master “Guànjūn” (冠军)!!! Please don’t ask why he is there and how he managed to be invisible for such a long time (2 years!) – We simply don’t have a clue but we are pretty sure that this is miracle! 🙂 Because he knew Jenny from earlier times, he welcomed us all (the two of us and two other “fighting friends”) with the words: “ Finally you made it, I waited for YOU for a long time” ( Ok fine, he didn’t say it, he just speaks Chinese, that’s what I understood or would like to hear… -.- ) He introduced us to some (unwritten) rules, e.g. that by entering the place, you should forget the daily problems you are struggling around with – during the workout-time neither problems, nor sorrows exist. And it helps – to train there is like a “therapy”; not important with what mood you enter the “Fight Club”, you are always leaving this place with a positive attitude and in a much better mood!

But what is it exactly making this place so special?

First of all, it’s the “underground” style itself – it looks like someone just said he wants to use a floor and opened a club, probably without having a license but the necessary connection. So you have a big floor, which is divided into separate “parts”, which altogether harmonize like different kinds of plants and trees in a forest. You have an area with punching bags, an area with a small boxing ring, an area functioning as a gym with some basic appliances, second area with mats and punching bags and an area which is not developed yet, also called the “black zone”, leading to a staircase, which brings you to a dancing place, where different kinds of dances are practiced (ranges from traditional dances to belly dancing :)). This area is occupied by (hot) Chinese girls, girls who also want to feel the magical atmosphere of the “Fight Club”.

Secondly, it’s the people training there, just Chinese people, ranging from very total beginners to very good fighters, from young to old and from pupils/students to business men. It is like a big family, everyone has a personal story to tell (in most cases in Chinese, so not everything is clear) but the sport bands us all together. Furthermore, you can try different sports, such as Chinese Kong Fu, Thai Boxing, Karate and others. You always can get assistance from one of the “Xiǎo Guànjūn´s“.

Last but not least, the place is just next to our office, so it´s really convenient and you can go there every day (!!!), from 10 am – 9pm. Because you know that after finishing work the traffic is horrible, going to our sacred place appears a reasonable alternative to go directly after work – after the work out you feel relaxed and it´s much more agreeable to go home, eating something and falling death on your bed! Moreover, because we represent “foreign faces” and make the place more multifaceted, we paid special prices, e.g. 1200 RMB for 1 year, which is a real gift for what the place offers!

Ok, enough rhapsodized about the “Fight Club”, I’m off for a work out there! We would be happy to welcome you one day to this place and feel the magic which is “hosted” here!

One thing in life is granted – no matter what happened in the past, there is always a next fight waiting for YOU! 😉

Travel, Weekend Trips, Zhuhai InternChina Events

Guangdong Province-Shaoguan DanXia Mountains and Geological Park (丹霞山)

Hello everyone,
This is Philippe, an Intern at InternChina, and last weekend I went travelling to the DanXia Mountains in the North of Guangdong Province.

We took a 1hour bullet train from Zhuhai to Guangzhou were we took another bullet train from there to Shaoguan. The ride was very smooth and the trains are very modern, comfortable and convenient. The Station in Guangzhou is very impressive! From a geeky/architecture perspective, I highly enjoy going to the new train stations being built everywhere, as they all have different design which can be described as “grand, shiny and humongous”

We stayed one night in Shaoguan , which has a nice river flowing in the center of it with a lot of ambiance lights. Saturday morning we took a bus and travelled for 1h30 to the DanXia Mountains Geological Park, which is famous for its mountain/rock formations and natural beauty. There is even a rock which is 28m long and 7m large, and looks exactly like a male sexual organ, and another one which looks likes the sexual organ of a woman. Yes a penis and a vagina. The Chinese were all having a great time taking poses for pictures with those rocks in the background, and it was quite funny.

We had a great two days of hiking and walking around looking at the different formations which are all very impressive and quite cool. We found some small trails and wondered off the beaten path, but mostly the “hiking” routes are all well managed and shown, they can be quite steep but aren’t that tough.

We wanted to go up in the morning to see the sunrise, however missed it 🙁 due to being asleep.  😀 That night we stayed in a hotel which was next to the mountains. There were many rooms being offered by the locals, but we decided to stay at a hotel and we actually ended up saving money! As the hotel was placed within the park, when morning came we just walked to the mountain trails without having to pay for a second ticket!

This was a great trip with really nice scenery and also some which is quite funny, only regret is not seeing the sunrise, but I guess that means I will have to go back!!

Philippe

Intern InternChina

 

Before your stay, Cultural, Homestay Experience, How-to Guides, Summer School

Cultural differences in Chinese host-families

Living with a Chinese host family is not only a unique chance to explore Chinese culture, it also gives you the chance to find new friends and practice Chinese with native speakers. At the end of the day, it is in your hands how far you want to adapt to the Chinese lifestyle!

Today I would like to explore eight good reasons (“8” is the lucky number in China) for choosing a homestay. Nevertheless, I want to be realistic at the same time and discuss a variety of points which should be considered as well before making a decision.

8 Reasons Why

1. Making friends by being part of a Chinese family
2. Practicing Chinese language skills
3. Experiencing daily life in China
4. Learning more about my own culture
5. Understanding Chinese people makes you more confident in business contexts
6. Amazing Chinese food
7. Cheaper lifestyle
8. Help you to adapt to daily life and get shown around the city

1. Making life-long friends

In China traditionally family life is of high importance for Chinese people. In former times it was the ideology of Confucianism which laid out the rules for a harmonious family life. Nowadays it is the One-Child-policy which turns a kid into the center of the family’s attention. A harmonious family life and a good relationship between husband and wife are still important values for Chinese families. Consequently, you will be integrated in daily life not only as a guest, but as a real family member; a daughter, a son, a brother or a sister!

This is the unique chance to explore Chinese everyday life in as much detail as possible, make new friends and gain a second family in China! Sometimes participants even get taken away on weekend trips to mountains or even to other cities as part of the family. If the family has a kid, then the parents will probably ask you to help the kid with homework when possible.

Chinese people in general are really friendly and very curious about foreign cultures. So, they will always try to live a harmonious life with you and integrate you the best they can.

2. Practicing Chinese

If you have come to China to learn and improve your Chinese skills, you might soon realize that the Chinese you learn in the classroom differs from the vocab that you would use in daily life in China.

Living with a Chinese family can help you with improving your Chinese skills. Even if you don’t speak any Chinese before your arrival, you will have the chance to learn some “survival” Chinese during your homestay. Every family who takes part in an “InternChina” homestay programme will have at least one family member who speaks English. Chinese people love teaching their mother tongue and won’t miss a chance to help you improve your language skills.

3. Experiencing daily life in China

Where better than in a family to immerse yourself in the local culture? Our unique homestay programme enables you to experience the life of Chinese people. Some families might take you out to dinners, some cook at home every day. Others might take you to Buddhist temples or Catholic church services. You will take part in big family dinners or get to know about Chinese weddings. Most likely you will sooner or later end up in a Chinese KTV (Karaoke) or in a foot massage place. You will see how much time Chinese invest in working, how much they enjoy shopping or how they motivate their children to study hard in order to do the best in school.

4. Learning more about yourself and your culture

However, you might realize during your stay that the Chinese culture is totally different from what you are used to live in the West. When asked about the most important thing students learned from their InternChina homestay programme, the most common answer is “patience”. Among others, patience is one character trait that we as Westerners usually lack. If there is one best place to learn it, it is a Chinese family.

You will realize that life in the West is not “better” or “more developed”, it is just different from China. On the other hand, you might be surprised that many things actually seem to be the same as back home. Either way, improving your awareness of the differences between Chinese and Western culture you will have the chance to learn a lot about intercultural communication and about yourself.

5. Understanding the culture and being more confident in business situations

If you are also taking part in our internship programme, you might be interested to see how Chinese people behave in business contexts. How do they negotiate? Which is the best way to approach a proposal? Is it really more difficult in China to address problems directly – as we might do in Western countries? How easy is it to make friends with your colleagues? By staying with a host family, you’ll learn more about how to interact in an appropriate way.

You might find the difference, that Chinese people are not always so indirect as we expect them to be – especially not when they consider you as a family member. However, it would be better to be careful about relating the behavior of Chinese people in private context to behavior in business related contexts. When Chinese are with family they are much more relaxed and informal; and address certain topics much more directly as they would ever do it at work.

Nevertheless, by knowing that Chinese people can act more informal than they would do when they meet you as a business partner or colleague, is already pretty helpful to act more confident in a business related context.

6. Enjoying tasty Chinese food

Before coming to China, you might already have tried “egg fried rice” or “sweet ‘n’ sour chicken” from the “Chinese restaurant” around the corner. As you may know already, this is only a small corner of what Chinese cuisine has to offer.

When you take part in the Homestay you will have the chance to try delicious local dishes like “gala” (clams with Chili, ginger & garlic) or “jiaozi” (dumplings with pork & cabbage). Most likely, your host-family will introduce you to the secrets of home-made Chinese food, which is usually very healthy and nutritious. Nowadays a lot of families are busy with work, not all of them cook every day. So it might be that they will take you out to restaurants from time to time, depending on their financial situation.

To sum up, no matter where you will try the Chinese food, be aware that you will need to eat a lot. 🙂

7. Living a cheaper lifestyle

Living with a family often means fewer temptations to blow your budget! In the end, students who try to adapt to the family’s rhythm and take part in family activities will enjoy their time much more too. At the same time, it is only fun if you are ready to embrace the challenge to share your life with them.

8. Helping you with daily life in China

Finally, when you first arrive in China, the number of people, all the cars, the shops and the size of places can be overwhelming. If you don’t speak any Chinese it might be difficult for you in the beginning to get around independently.

A Chinese family can be really helpful in assisting you with your daily life in China. Things like buying train tickets or getting to know the local tourist spots. Some host families might take you to hidden underground shopping malls, others might prefer to introduce you to their family in the countryside.

Whichever part of China you get to know this way, it will be exciting and different experience!

To sum up, there are lots of good reasons to live in a host family. Have they convinced you to take part in one for your China programme? Before committing, it is always a good thing to ask yourself whether you feel ready for the challenge. If the answer is “yes” and you want to start your unique adventure, then let us know!

Hope to see in China soon!

Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai InternChina Events

Shooting in the sports center of Zhuhai

Hey guys,Here is what the three of us, Leo, David and I, did last saturday. We went to the sport center “Ti Yu Zhong Xin” in Zhuhai to try something new we never tried before – shooting! The sports center is a big complex where you can do different kinds of sports. There you can find the sports hall for shooting. You can see it on the picture above! My very first impression was: “Is this really the right place for this activity?” But it was the right place and it was amazing. 🙂
After we entered the hall, a co-worker accompanied us to the room for the “beginners”. We went through other halls with different kinds of targets; I think some of them were also moving targets. Our “targets” were empty bottles which were located on three long, iron racks. First of all we tried the small gun. (See pictures! :)) A magazine of 8 bullets was 22 Yuan. It was the same price for the rifle which we tried afterwards. Both guns were nice, but all of us had more problems with the small gun because you have to target at the bottles more accurately and calculate some centimeters lower or higher. With the rifle it was much easier to hit the bottles but therefore less interesting. After few magazines were empty, we took some pictures and asked the two guys, who helped us with the guns, whether there are also other guns. Suddenly they opened a big, old closet with different other guns. Unfortunately our knowledge of guns is poor so I cannot say which guns those were. 🙁
But we recognized the big shotgun and we immediately asked the co-workers whether we can try it and what the price for one bullet is. One bullet was 12 Yuan. Not that cheap.
But we just wanted to try the shotgun, at least 2 bullets. It really was worth it because the feeling was incredible. It is like you experience a kickback after you shoot and it is so f…g loud. 🙂
To all guys who want to try it I can just recommend it to you. For us it was the first time and I can honestly say that we really enjoined it although it was just some minutes of fun! 🙂

Eating out in Zhuhai, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai InternChina Events, Zhuhai Nightlife

GO KARTING + BELGIAN BEER = SHEER ECSTASY

Hello lovelies!

Last night we all went go karting once again in Gongbei!  The experience was equally exhilarating as last time although I find myself lamenting the lack of propositions to engage in halotry – perhaps I looked considerably less desperate this time around.  Who knows.

Let’s do this chronologically, though.

Before go karting, we, i.e. myself, Jamie, Leo, Nicolas, James and Andy(Andrea) met up at Alain’s Belgium Beer Bar (A’S BBB) to enjoy a few bottles of scrumptious Belgian beer along with some over-due dosage of western gastronomy.  I had the most deliciously sweet beer ever.  I would compare it to … nothing.  Perhaps it is better described as what Willy Wonka would brew in his factory.  I can just image the fat German kid aka Augustus Gloop downing the illustrious Belgian brew from the quaint waters (beer?) of the alcoholic paradise candy river.  Yes, it was that good.

Most of us had a delightful pizza which was surprisingly lusciously toothsome.  Although a no-contender compared to a real, fresh Italian pizza, the pizza at Alain’s was, nevertheless, legit.

When it came to paying the bill, however, the tides changed.  Our favourite advertising/media firm Delta Bridges had a profile of Alain’s on their website and had a large image proclaiming that there was 30% off all alcohol from 17.30 to 20.30 EVERY NIGHT!  The discount, however, was seemingly nonexistent!  We pushed for it but the manager claimed that it was only valid for one type of beer.  NB: the ad said ALL alcohol. After we pushed some more, the cheque went down again but for an apparently random amount.

Brief review of Alain’s: delicious food, illustrious beer and lacklustre management.

GOKARTING, as previously stated, was wonderful.  It was Leo’s FIRST TIME EVER driving any type of vehicle and I must say that he managed quite well.  After the first round, Jamie was 1st and I was 2nd.  The second round, however, was a bit bizarre.  During the first round I had noticed that they were wielding the frames of some gokarts together and I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of driving one of these polished turds for my second round.  What a disaster.  The car kept spinning out and was just plain crazy.  Moreover, on my last lap, my brakes stopped working and I smashed into a barrier at the first bend.  Wonderful.

Damn you, polished jalopy turd.

A typhoon is coming to Zhuhai.  JOY!

Write to you all on Monday

Bacioni

Michæl

PS – Make sure to check out the pictures along with the score cards from last night in the gallery!

 

Eating out in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai InternChina Events

Cooking class in Zhuhai

Hey folks, this is Alex. I recently started my internship at the Intern China Business Exchange subsidiary in Zhuhai and it is really great so far. The entire team is very cool and they had just organised a cultural activity – a cooking class. Well, it was at least supposed to be one but it turned out to be an evening with lots of Qingdao beer and karaoke! To start from the beginning, when we arrived at the restaurant it was so packed that the chef didn´t really have the time to show us how to prepare local dishes; and instead the owner arranged a truly opulent dinner for us. The food was absolutely scrumptious and this event was a perfect opportunity to meet and exchange with the other interns here in Zhuhai. However, after that many dishes and bottles of beer it had become so late that the kitchen staff was already finishing work and powering on the KARAOKE machine. The good thing was that I was able to avoid singing and thus “enjoy” completely the performances of the restaurant employees. Nevertheless, we still got the chance to go in the kitchen and watch the chef preparing a fast dish. I really hope there will be more “cooking classes” while I´m here. 😉