leaving china

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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!

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InternChina News

Leaving China: Thank you, InternChina!

All good things come to an end… goes a saying. When I arrived in China the first time in 2009, I was a student. I had booked an internship with InternChina in Qingdao for 5 months – not really sure what to expect! The internship description was relatively vague but sounded like a good challenge and I was supposed to live with a Chinese family. What would it be alike? I was confronted with a mix of feelings: curiosity, excitement and a bit of anxiety.

InternChina - first time in Beijing
InternChina – first time in Beijing

When I got out the airport in Beijing the first time, it was freezing cold. Middle of March the temperature usually still ranges around zero in North China. I got my warm coat out of the suitcase, did all the sightseeing, gained a lot of new friends and after five days I was ready to move on to Qingdao.

InternChina - Visiting the Great Wall
InternChina – Visiting the Great Wall

I went by fast train and it took me five hours. I will never forget how I arrived in Qingdao: a beautiful sunny but cold and windy day. My first day at the host-family was strange: because it was early afternoon only the grandma was at home, watching TV having her feet on the couch table and making jiaozi. She was laughing at me because I didn’t understand her Yintaihua on the first day! I kept sitting on the couch and offered my help, trying to follow the Chinese soap operas on TV – but useless – of course I was a guest, so no chance to help.

InternChina - View from my Homestay Family's House
InternChina – View from my Homestay Family’s House

In the evening I got to know the rest of my family: my 12 year old brother and my host-parents. It was overwhelming, they were so nice and curious (but shy) to get to know me.

My first weekend in China was already filled with peculiarity: my host-brother convinced me to eat a  table-tennis ball sized (!!!) fish eye and I was friendly offered a fork in the restaurant when I accidentally dropped an oily peanut with my slippery metal chopsticks.

InternChina - on the way to work in Qingdao
InternChina – on the way to work in Qingdao

My first internship day I will also never forget: I decided to walk along the beach for an hour to the office – it was a great choice: streets were not too cramped with cars, so the air was fresh and clean, the sun was shining and fresh breeze blew along the seaside.

InternChina - Qingdao in 2009 with empty streets
InternChina – Qingdao in 2009 with empty streets

 

Qingdao was showing itself from its best side! However, finding the office ended up in an odyssey and when I finally arrived at InternChina I was warmly welcomed by the whole team who was expecting me already. Not knowing that this is the same place where I would come back two years later!

InternChina - Team in 2009 in Qingdao
InternChina – Team in 2009 in Qingdao

Well, what shall I say… five months internship in Qingdao went by quickly. I used another two months to explore the rest of China and went to Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilin, Hongkong, Xiamen, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai – it was a breathtaking trip full of joyful moments. I left China with millions of beautiful memories, lots of new friends and the offer to come back any time.

InternChina - Pagoda in Suzhou
InternChina – Pagoda in Suzhou
InternChina - Terracotta Warrior in Xi'an
InternChina – Terracotta Warrior in Xi’an

I took this chance after my graduation and started working for InternChina in Qingdao as an office manager in 2011! Later, I moved to Chengdu to take on a new responsibility by setting up the third office for InternChina!

InternChina - Team in Chengdu 2013
InternChina – Team in Chengdu 2013

It always has been a rewarding time – my last three years with InternChina were filled with the most beautiful, the saddest and the most exciting moments in my life. I grew personally, professionally and surely emotionally. Three years China definitely left a mark on me forever, I will never forget how crazy, contradictious and beautiful this country and its people are!

InternChina - with a millions of Chinese at Tai'Shan
InternChina – with a millions of Chinese at Tai’Shan

To InternChina I am just grateful for giving me the chance to experience such a great opportunity of growth and success, for meeting so many awesome people and seeing so many exciting places.

Leaving China is at least as emotional as starting in China: I am ready for a new adventure in my life but I am leaving with a mix of feelings again: curiosity, excitement and full of gratitude!

Xiexie 谢谢, InternChina and Zai Jian 再见!

If you also want to work for InternChina, get to know us through an internship or homestay! Contact our team  and apply now!