I have just returned from a two and a half month stay in the great metropolis of Mexico City. It’s an incredibly vibrant place, every district has something new and exciting to offer. From delicious smelling Tacos, Churros and fruit stalls everywhere, to an endless selection of museums and cafes. There are also green parks throughout the city full of dog walkers and pop-up handicraft stands. But how safe is it?
Mexico does still have a bit of a scary reputation abroad. How well deserved is that reputation? Is safety something that you need to worry about when travelling there?
The answer is, sure. Every major metropolitan city in the world has its own risks and of course, all travellers should be aware of possible problems. BUT DON’T LET IT STOP YOU!
As part of Orientation Week with our participants, we sat down and had a long discussion about any potential dangers or concerns and recommended precautions.
Here are a few top tips we’ve put together. I’ve also asked our InternMexico participants to reflect back on their experiences in the city:
We had a full day safety orientation day with a third party company who have talked us through potential situations. Luckily, I personally had not have to use any of those measures.
TOP TIP NO.1
Uber is highly recommended as the safest form of transport for getting around the city, especially at night (on average between 29 MXN to 130 MXN/£1.20 – £5.40/$1.48 – $6.65*).
The Metrobus system is also great during the day (single journey costs 5 MXN/£0.21 GBP/$0.26*).
I felt very safe throughout my time in Mexico, however the safety briefing in the very first week was helpful as it made me aware of potential dangers in the city.
Sam, Scotland, UK
TOP TIP NO.2
Try not to carry ALL your bank cards, mountains of cash and favourite jewellery in your bag. Why not separate things out into a second wallet or purse?
Even better still leave your actual bank card behind and transfer small amounts of money onto a cash card (like Monzo or Starling) for daily use. Foreign cards are widely accepted everywhere in Mexico City (apart from some of the market stalls).
Mexico City is a safe city if you pay attention to everything and don’t do the things you are told not to do at the orientation week.
TOP TIP NO.3
Dumb down the bling. If you don’t stand out then you have nothing to fear! Be sociable, make friends and ask them for local advice.
Mexico city is safer than I thought. People there are friendly and outstanding.
TOP TIP NO.4
There’s actually a ton of advice out here on the internet. If you are thinking of heading anywhere off the beaten track, a good place to start is your government’s foreign office advice online.
It’s safe in Mexico City, but still need to be careful.
I’ll leave you with my final thoughts, so long as you are aware of your surroundings, watch out for your fellow friends and travellers, you’ll be fine.
If you have any questions about personal safety during an InternMexico programme don’t hesitate to get in touch!
*currency conversions on this blog were last updated on 6th September 2019.
Get in touch:
大家好! My name is Nhung, I’m 21 years old and I have just started my internship at the InternChina office in Qingdao. I am from Germany, and am currently studying Modern East Asian Studies at University. I am here in China to do a language program as part of an exchange program for a year.
Before coming to Qingdao I did a little research on different cities in China and most websites said that Qingdao is one of the cleanest and most liveable cities. They also mentioned that Qingdao has some of the most satisfied and pleased citizens in China, as well as an agreeable climate and beautiful beaches. So far, I can confirm this. The pollution isn’t too bad, summers aren’t too hot and winters not too cold. However, what has impressed me the most is the Chinese people with their kindness.
On my arrival day, back in September, my flight from Beijing to Qingdao was delayed and by the time I arrived it was too late for me to check into my universities accommodation. As I was standing on the streets a little bit lost, I asked the first person I saw to help me find a hotel for the night. Luckily for me, she was fluent in English, something I later found out to be a rare thing. She not only helped me find a hotel, but also walked me there and checked in for me. She was an example of how kind the Chinese are and gave me a first great impression of China.
While at University learning Chinese, I made a lot of new friends. One of them told me that he did a program called Generation UK in Chengdu last year. He said that it was through a company named InternChina and was funded by the British Council. These are two companies which constantly work together. Now he has received a scholarship through them to learn Chinese for half a year in China!
After being introduced to them I took the opportunity and applied to do an internship with them as well.
I’ve been in Qingdao for six months now and I still wake up with this feeling of being on an adventure. There is always something new to discover or learn every single day.
If you are also interested in an internship in China, get more information about your possibilities here!
Ni hao, everyone. In this blog post, I’ll write a bit about how life’s going in Zhuhai.
I’ve been pretty busy since my last article, and it’s true what everyone’s been telling me – time really does fly, here. I can’t believe that it’s already been three weeks!
Last week, I said goodbye to my flatmate, Rob. It was great to get to know him and he’s a cool guy.
My internship’s been going well. I’m working in a small team for an American company. My colleagues are all nice and interesting people. I like the fact that most of my co-workers are Chinese. This way, I get to learn more about Chinese culture. They also know all the best places to eat!
On the weekend, I went to my Chinese friend’s dinner party. The food was delicious – Chinese hot pot with an assortment of veggies, seafood and meat, not to mention a generous helping of beverages. It was really fun and I was surrounded by excellent company.
The next day, I went on a Santa bar crawl. As a westerner, I already stuck out like a sore thumb. But as a Santa-Clause-dressed westerner, it’s fair to say that I turned more heads than usual. After the last bar, we went to a club called MiuMiu. I can now tick ‘stroll up in a club dressed as Santa’ off of my list of things to do before I die.
Sunday was a relaxing day out with my Chinese friends. We had some spicy Sichuan food for lunch, went to the park, walked along the coast and saw the famous Zhuhai Fisher Lady. After this, we had more tasty seafood for dinner.
It’s been a great experience so far. I realise that I’ve mainly talked about food in this article. Well, I make no apologies. It’s worth coming to China just for that!
I do miss loved ones back home, but thanks to technology, it’s easy to keep in touch. Making the effort to meet new people here has helped, and the friends I’ve made have been very good at making me feel at home.
If you’d like to meet Rob and enjoy the same experience, apply now!
Leaving all the economic figures and business aspects aside, what makes me particularly attracted to Dalian on a personal level are the following 3 points:
While I’ve been living in Chengdu and undoubtedly grown fond of the spicy Sichuan cuisine over the past one and a half years, it always somehow felt that something’s missing to my complete culinary satisfaction – fresh seafood!
Luckily, and considering its geographic location not very surprisingly, Dalian has plenty of that.
oyster omelet for breakfast, steamed clams and spicy prawns for lunch and barbecued squid skewers for dinner – I could easily survive a year on that!
During my previous 3 visits to Dalian in 2014 and 2015, I do not remember having a meal that didn’t contain any sort of fish or other seafood.
Due to historic reasons, with the city being under Japanese rule for 40 years, and the proximity to Japan and Korea, there’s a visible influence of these 2 cultures present in the city. Not only are there a vast number of Japanese and Korean companies having their branch offices and factories in Dalian, but thousands of tourists from both countries come to visit the city every year, as well.
This results in a multitude of delicious dining options for Korean and Japanese food, which in combination with the mouthwatering Northeastern Chinese cuisine creates a true heaven of food awesomeness.
Considering that I’m a big travel enthusiast (with currently 40 countries under my belt) who’ll never give up exploring new countries, regions and cultures, Dalian’s location in Northeast China, at the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula, just makes it predestined for spontaneous trips to Russia, Mongolia, South (or North, if you dare so!) Korea and Japan. Seoul or Osaka, for example, can be reached by plane in one, respectively two hours.
Hopping over to the nearby islands, even farther to Korea on a ferry or a weekend visit to the nearby capital Beijing are other interesting options for short trips.
3) Flair of the city:
Situated on and spread out fairly wide across the Liaoning Peninsula, Dalian is surrounded by the Yellow Sea and has a very comfortable climate, treating its inhabitants with clear blue summer skies and a refreshing sea breeze. The vast green spaces, large city squares and the very distinctive historic architecture – which dates back to the times of Russian and then Japanese occupation – give the city of Dalian a very distinctive, lively and charming flair.
Sooo, after a first plane delayed, a connecting flight missed, an unexpected stop at Hong Kong and a 5 hour delay on my last flight, I finally landed! It’s been three days since I arrived and I’m already in love with Chengdu. But maybe I should introduce myself first… So, my name is Paloma, I’m from Nice, in the south of France, and I’ll be working for three months for InternChina in the Chengdu Office !
With a long standing passion for Chinese culture and language, I recently completed a bachelor degree in international relations and translation in Chinese and English at the Catholic University of Lyon in France.
This passion pushed me last year to take part in a linguistic trip to Shanghai and Suzhou (also known as the oriental Venice) for a month with 5 of my friends. Travelling in those cities was a good opportunity to improve my mandarin as well as discovering more about the culture(and the local clubs ! :D). When I got back to France, my feeling was that I definitely had to discover more about China and more places. Actually, the only thing I had in mind was to go back to this country. I wanted to have a very deep immersion in Chinese culture, and what other better city than Chengdu ? After a month of researching and scanning all the internships websites ; I came across the InternChina one and saw a great opportunity. During my training I always heard about the Sichuan food, with the famous Hot Pot (火锅) or the spicy peanut & chicken (宫保鸡丁), but also about all the wonderful and unique places in the Sichuan province such as Jiuzhaigou, the Emei mountain or the Huang Long valley. It will also be interesting to be where one of China’s greatest poet Du Fu杜甫 realised a huge part of his work. This place is full of treasures that I’m so exited to discover! Apart from that, I’m also going to work, and life in the office is gonna be pretty busy this summer, but the IC team is great and very welcoming since the beginning (Especially Martin, the Chengdu Office marketing intern who waited for me until 4 am the night of my arrival 😉 ). Hopefully, I’ll be doing a master in international marketing in Suzhou next year, and I see this internship as real opportunity to broaden my knowledge in this field. I’m sure I’ll have an amazing time here and I’m looking forward to meet new people!
Hi there,I am Manon, new intern at the Qingdao InternChina office. I am from France, Brest, city in the far west of Brittany. The “end of the world” as I like to say. Brest has the reputation of being one of the rainiest city; about 300 days a year. Obviously it is not true! I was born there, I lived there for 20 years, and I definitely really love this city. As it is located near the ocean, the weather is not so cold in winter (for instance snow is not common there), and not so hot in summer. Nevertheless this summer, Brest had one of the best rates of sunshine! Unusual? Yes! Brest is also known for its military port, with hundreds of military boats. Qingdao is also sometimes referred as the “Chinese Brest”, I don’t know why, because I don’t see real similarities, except the ocean proximity.
In minds of foreigners, “France” is often synonymous of “Paris”. But it is not only that. Not only Paris, love, cheese, baguette, wine, snails and frog legs. Actually I even never tasted these two last ones. France is very diversified, every region has different traditions, customs, regional food and music. For instance in Brittany, there is the traditional Breton dance, “la Bigouden” (women wearing traditional clothes from the South-West Brittany), and crepes. Crepe may be my favorite meal.
What about me? I am 20, and actually in my third year of Applied Modern Language Studies in the University of West Brittany. I am studying lessons such as English, Chinese, Spanish, economy, law, marketing, management etc. During the 6th semester, I have to carry out an internship in a foreign country. As my studies included Chinese lessons, it was the opportunity for me to come to China, and to discover a country so different. So, here I am! I was very excited, but also a bit stressed about the visa, because in France, it is difficult to get the Chinese visa. However Intern China helped me for the visa process and everything went on without difficulties. Then, I just had to pack my bags and to say goodbye…
I arrived on Thursday night, at 1:00 am after a long trip. I first took a train from Brest to Paris, then a plane from Paris to London, another one from London to Beijing, and finally a last plane from Beijing to Qingdao. Actually, it was the first time I took the plane… For the first time, I didn’t choose a closeby destination! The first thing I thought when I saw Beijing from the plane was that there were a lot of high buildings, so different than in France. In fact, everything is different than in France. Since I am here, I already visited some of the famous places of Qingdao, such as the Marina City, Taidong night market, the May Fourth Square… On Friday evening I ate in a Sezchuan restaurant where the food was very spicy (I will have to get used to it), and I also enjoyed the taste of the famous Tsingtao beer for the first time. Oh, and of course I went to a KTV, the “must”! This is just the beginning and I already can’t wait to see other things of the city, like the Laoshan Mountain, the Old District, and taste the street food.
I’m sure I will have a lot of fun with all the InternChina members, and that my trip to China will be a great adventure!
Coming to China you realise that just like ancient Roman & Greek legends we hear about in the West, there are many ancient myths and legends that form the backbone of Chinese tradition – and Qingdao has its fair share. There are little reminders left all over the city most of which seem to have one theme in common – heroes long lost at sea.
The Old Stone Man (石老人)
One of Qingdao’s most popular tourist spots is the Old Stone Man Beach in the Laoshan District. As the legend tells it, this stone column just out to sea is the remains of and elderly fisherman whose daughter was kidnapped by evil pirates. In his grief he passed every day of his life waiting on the beach for her daughter’s return sadly watching the ebb and flow of the waves. With every turn of the tide his hopes were crushed again and again. Until finally his forlorn figure was turned to stone where he stood, and there it shall remain, mourning for his long lost daughter. (The little old man must have grown in his grief however as he’s significantly taller then any fisherman I’ve ever come across!)
Little Qingdao Island, Girl with Guqin (琴女)
Legend has it that the girl with the Guqin (stringed instrument like a harp), was a fairy goddess who fell in love with a young handsome fisherman and eventually married the mortal. She would pass her time waiting for her his return each day, playing the small harp on the beach. Until one day the Jade God heard of their marriage and went into a jealous rage. He overturned the young man’s boat and locked him at the bottom of the sea with his evil sea snakes. The fairy goddess waited in vain for 90 years for her husband to return, playing the harp on the beach as her hair tired grey and her eyes failed her. Never to hear from him again.
Mazu Goddess of the Sea (妈祖)
There are many different stories about the humble origins of Mazu. Some say that from an early age as a fisherman’s daughter she withstood perilous weather conditions, standing on the beach dressed in red to guide her father and brothers safely back to shore. Others claim that she performed magical feats before becoming a divinity. Whatever the story, she now stands as the deified protector of sailors and fisherman throughout all time, a legend that is worshipped all over China, and she has been given pride of place on Qingdao’s coastline too!
There are a few legends from more modern times too…
The May Fourth Wind Sculpture (五月风)
Not so much one legend but many, this is the ultimate emblem of modern Qingdao, a memorial to the May Fourth political movement which was triggered by the anger over the Japanese occupation of Qingdao in 1919. It’s a symbol of Chinese nationalism and the beginning of a new cultural consciousness in China.
You’ll have to come to Qingdao to discover the rest. Apply now!
Merry Christmas and 圣诞快乐！
We hope you will enjoy your Christmas in China this year. Have a great time with your friends and family. Stuff yourself at one of our Christmas dinners and have a drink or two. 2014 has been a great year for us and we sure enjoyed our time with all of our interns. Therefore we wish all our past, current and future interns a Merry Christmas or Shengdan Kuaile – 圣诞快乐!
Before we start talking about this subject, let us give you some facts about football in China. Football (or soccer) is called Zúqiú and written as 足球.China has always had a great interest in football and invested a lot of money in stimulating the youth in playing football. All across China you can find new grass fields that were specially made for football, some of them even have fake grass, advanced sprinkler systems and even heated fields during the winter. China’s Men’s National Team is currently ranked 99th in the world and Women’s National Team is ranked 14th.
Football is one of the most well supported sports in China, since it was introduced in the early 1900s. The national governing body is the Chinese Football Association (CFA). Hong Kong and Macau have separate leagues that sometimes compete with each other during special events.
Chinese football fans often associate themselves most with teams from other, more successful football countries. The Premier League, The Italian Serie A, The German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga. Chinese players that get the unique chance in playing in these exclusive leagues attract massive media attention in China. Some examples include Sun Jihai – Manchester United, Zheng Zhi – Celtic, Yang Chen – Eintracht Frankfurt.
Football is and will always inspire the youth all over the world in pursuing a career in football. Some do succeed while the vast majority holds on to studying, working and living the normal life their parents, family and friends told them to have as it has more security.
China certainly has the will and money to improve. International top players and coaches are flown in from the west for millions of dollars to inspire the local players and youth. A couple of questions do continue to linger in our minds when it comes to the future of football in China. Can you really copy the art of football? What is really holding back the Chinese from performing better? How come we don’t see kids playing on the streets? Only time will tell…
China: Das Land der Mitte, inzwischen an der Spitze der Weltwirtschaft und Weltpolitik und zugleich einer der wichtigsten Export- und Importpartner für Deutschland.
Doch wie funktioniert das Geschäftsleben eigentlich in China?
Hier sind einige Tipps für erfolgreiche Geschäfte in China:
- Kontakte (Guanxi) sind alles in China. Versuchen Sie möglichst früh gute Kontakte in China zu knüpfen und diese auch aufrecht zu erhalten.
- Zwischen privat und geschäftlich wird oft nicht getrennt, daher wird sehr viel Wert auf ein gemeinschaftliches Essen im Anschluss an ein Meeting gelegt, welches ausschlaggebend für den Erfolg einer Verhandlung sein kann. Gesprächsthemen beinhalten unter anderem Familie, Gehalt und Hobbies. Die Regierung, bzw. chinesische Politik im Allgemeinen, sollte eher nicht thematisiert werden.
- Visitenkarten. Achten Sie darauf ausreichend Visitenkarten mit einer guten Aufmachung auf ihre China-Reise mitzunehmen. Neben ihrem deutschen Namen kann auch eine chinesische Übersetzung hilfreich sein. Wenn Sie Visitenkarten erhalten, nehmen Sie diese mit beiden Händen in Empfang und betrachten Sie die Karte aufmerksam. Visitenkarten sollten nicht bekritzelt oder einfach in die Hosentasche gesteckt werden.
- Gehen Sie vorsichtig mit Kritik um. In China ist es sehr wichtig sein Gesicht zu wahren. Eine zu geradlinige Kritik kann zu einem Gesichtsverlust ihres Gegenübers und damit zum Scheitern von Verhandlungen führen.
- Bleiben Sie aufmerksam und versuchen Sie zwischen den Zeilen zu lesen. Oft werden wichtige Dinge nicht am Anfang genannt; es wird sich eher langsam dem Kern der Sache genähert.
- Geschenke! Ein kleines Mitbringsel für Ihren Geschäftspartner wird sicherlich einen guten Eindruck machen. Dabei sollten allerdings Uhren und weiße Blumen aufgrund ihrer Symbolik vermieden werden. Rot ist hier die Farbe der Wahl.
- Ein “Ja” ist nicht immer ein “Ja”, vielmehr ist es zunächst einmal die Bestätigung, dass man gehört wurde. Ob es sich um eine Zustimmung handelt sollte vorsichtig eruiert werden.
- Seien Sie sparsam mit ihren Emotionen. Laut zu werden oder mit der Hand auf den Tisch zu hauen wird eher als Zeichen von schlechtem Benehmen gesehen.