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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!

qingdao experience

Cultural, Qingdao InternChina Events, Weekend Trips

Chinese New Year Travels: Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai

As you are probably aware last week was Chinese New Year, which meant a week off for all of us in China- and as amazing as Qingdao is we decided it was time to explore somewhere else in China. Which is how 5 interns ended up at Qingdao airport at 5.30 in the morning for the first stop in a week long trip to Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai. We were planning to spend 3 days in Nanjing (the most recent of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals in Jiangsu Province), 1 day in Suzhou (home of the world famous Humble Administrator’s Garden) and 3 days in Shanghai (need I say more?) Despite being warned about travelling during the busy Chinese New Year period we were prepared- after all, crowds are an everyday part of Chinese life!

Nanjing

Landing in Nanjing we were immediately greeted with sunshine and warmth, a welcome break from the recent minus temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in Qingdao. We were lucky enough to book a hostel in the middle of the beautifully busy Fuzimiao area, and despite our early start we were eager to see what Nanjing had to offer us. Sunday was spent exploring the Confucius Temple area, the Pedestrian Street, the Wende Bridge and the QinHuai River, along with trying a lot of the local food on offer. That night we were lucky enough to be treated to a New Year’s Eve dinner provided by the hostel staff, which was a great way to try a lot of traditional Nanjing dishes.

Monday morning we set off bright and early (after eating a ridiculous amount of fried dumplings for breakfast) to visit the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum and Nanjing’s Purple Mountains. After an interesting ride on what looked like a plus size golf cart to the Mausoleum, we were delayed by an eager group of Chinese tourists who wanted photographs with all of us- however their daughter was less eager, and cried every time her mother brought her near us.

The Mausoleum is an imposing, beautiful building based on top of 392 steps and through two grand entrance ways. Dr. Sun is interred there, and he is considered by many to be the “Father of Modern China”- he was involved in fighting against the Qing government, ending the monarchy after the 1911 revolution and helping to found the Republic of China. The scenic area surrounding the Mausoleum also leads to the Ming Xiaoling Tomb of the founder of the Ming Dynasty.

On Tuesday morning we visited the Nanjing Massacre Museum. This was definitely the most sombre point of our entire trip, as you are greeted with statues commemorating those who died, along with a very graphic account of what happened throughout the museum. However it was an interesting visit and definitely a must see for all of us. To lighten the mood after the museum, we spent the afternoon at XuanWu Lake (Xuánwǔhú 玄武湖) and the City Wall.

InternChina - XuanWu Lake
InternChina – XuanWu Lake

Suzhou

Wednesday morning was another early start for us to arrive in Suzhou by 11 am. We immediately sought out a late breakfast in the form of amazing jian bing (jiānbing 煎餅) and headed towards Shantang Canal to take one of the canal boats towards Tiger Hill. The canal boat was a relaxing break from all the activity of the past few days, and we soon arrived at the insanely busy Tiger Hill and Yunyan Pagoda (known as “The Leaning Tower of China”). We decided against visiting the Pagoda as we only had a few hours until we caught our train to Shanghai, so we visited the Humble Administrator’s Gardens (Zhou Zheng Yuan) instead.

The gardens as they are today were started in around 1510 by the poet Wang Xiancheng, and was changed and updated up until 1949 when the Chinese government bought the gardens and opened them to the public. It was obvious why the gardens have been granted World Heritage Site status, as they are amazingly beautiful and absolutely huge- every turn leads you to a pond, pagoda, tea house, bridge or collection of bonsai trees. Unfortunately we couldn’t spend long here, but it was still worth the visit.

Shanghai

Our train to Shanghai only took 20 minutes on Wednesday evening, however we still arrived quite late (mainly due to me holding everyone up in the train station after being issued a broken metro card). After finding our hostel tucked away into a side street we intended to go to bed early and catch up on sleep after the last few days however the bars of Shanghai proved too tempting for some of the interns.

We also visited Pudong to get an alternate view of the buildings you can see from the Bund, however the cloudy skies helped us decide against going inside the Shanghai World Financial Center, which at 492m tall gives one of the best views of the city on clear days. We then made our way across the river to the Bund after walking the Lujiazui Pedestrian Bridge (a huge circular walkway set above the traffic).

On Friday we visited People’s Park, a beautiful area filled with people playing mah-jong, cards and also the “Shanghai Marriage Market”. This was definitely something to see, as crowds of parents and grandparents lined the entrance to the park advertising their children to potential marriage partners. Despite the crowds surrounding the marriage market, the park wasn’t as busy as we expected it to be, and was definitely a lot quieter than the Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou. We spent a lot of the afternoon here exploring, and the park has a nice change of pace to the business of Shanghai’s streets.

On Saturday morning we visited the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square, which showcases a history of Chinese art (including pottery, jade, calligraphy and a history of the Buddha’s evolution in art). We also visited one of the fake markets near the Science and Technology Museum.

InternChina - People's Square
InternChina – People’s Square

Despite all the warnings we received about travelling during Chinese New Year, and how we would regret visiting these places during such a busy time, we only had positive experiences with all the transport we took- except for a minor 20 minute delay for our flight from Shanghai to Qingdao. Two flights, two trains, a few buses and a lot of metro journeys later, my first trip out of Qingdao was an exciting one! The crowds didn’t affect our experience at all, and we saw some of the most beautiful places in China during one of the most interesting times of the year.

 

If you want to experience a trip like this for yourself, apply now!

Internship Experience

Why is Zhuhai a good place for an internship?

When people think about China, the first cities that usually come to mind are, of course, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. If you know a little bit more about the country, you might think of Tibet, Canton, or even Nanjing and Xi’an. But if you have a limited knowledge and experience of China, it’s very likely that you’ve never heard of a city called Zhuhai.

Zhuhai, in the Southeastern province of Guangdong (where Guangzhou, or Canton, is also located), has a population of 1.5 million people. By Chinese standards, this can be considered a small city. So, why would a Westerner want to do an internship in Zhuhai?

To borrow the popular saying… “location, location, location”. Zhuhai is primely located in an area called the Pearl River Delta which, in geographical terms, is the area surrounding the Pearl River estuary. In economic terms, this area comprises several hugely important cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, to name a few. This region is considered an emerging megacity and is one of the main hubs of economic growth in China. Meaning: there are thousands of thriving businesses in the area and the number will only keep growing.


In 1980, Zhuhai was named a Special Economic Zone, due largely to its strategic location. This status has meant that the Chinese government is spending a great deal of resources to make Zhuhai a modern and leading city in terms of business, science, education, tourism and transportation. The amount of investment and the convenience of travel (you can walk across the border to Macau, take a 1-hour ferry to Hong Kong or the high-speed train to Guangzhou) has turned Zhuhai into a hugely attractive place for foreign capital. So, if you are a Western intern, it will not be hard to find a company that has business ties to your region of the world.


Now, we all know that an internship abroad isn’t just about the work experience. It is also about the chance to live in a place different from your own, have exciting adventures and learn about a new and exotic culture. Zhuhai is also the perfect place for this. While it is rapidly developing, it is still one of the smaller cities in the area and has not been affected by pollution, heavy traffic or crime. Here, you can relax on the beach after a long day of work and eat delicious traditional Cantonese food. If you’re homesick and longing for a bit of Western culture, you can hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for a day or a weekend.


So, as you can see, Zhuhai is arguably THE place to be when it comes to choosing an internship in China. The cherry on the cake? The Intern China family, ready to support you every step of the way and help make Zhuhai your home away from home.

Looking for the ideal internship location? Take full advantage of all that Zhuhai has to offer! Apply now or send us an email for more information.