Please refer back to this blog post for regular updates on the effect of Covid-19 on our partners and partcipants, and everything we are doing at Pagoda Projects to continue to bring you extraordinary and safe work experience.
If you’re a student signed up to one of our programmes or are thinking about enrolling and have any questions, feel free to give us a call on 0161 818 8824 or send Ali an email at email@example.com
Thanks, stay safe everyone!
PAGODA NEWS: COVID-19
Thursday 7th May
Vietnam is Back! Of course with cautious optimism, but over the last two weeks shops, restaurants, cafes and sports facilities are back open for business, with care taken to the numbers inside and the ability to safely distance. Schools are slowly going back and as Vietnam celebrated Reunification Day last week; 45 years after the end of the Vietnamese War, the country has supported each other and worked together to keep the virus at bay.
The picture is the view from famous Nguyen Hue towards the Saigon Opera house as people enjoy the cool city evenings. We haven’t been able to see this view for several years because of construction work to the Saigon metro, but this station is now finished!
Friday 24th April
A quick Vlog from our Vietnam Branch manager Vicki Offland today, chatting about the situation in Ho Chi Minh city at the moment regarding Corona Virus as successful government measures have helped keep the virus at bay which is leading to a phased relaxation of social distancing.
Vicki also reveals what Pagoda Projects has been doing to keep morale up 🙂
Tuesday 14th April
A couple of rays of good news from Taipei today!
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced today that there are no new cases of Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) to report for the first time in 36 days!
It appears the CECC’s efforts at quickly identifying, isolating, and tracing confirmed cases have held the virus at bay, for now…
Another trick up Taiwan’s sleeve is their new ‘Mask Vending Machine‘ which is being deployed across the city.
To help alleviate the queues at 7/11’s and pharmacies, the government have set up vending machines which can dispense up to 2000 masks per day! Costing only 45NTD for a pack of 3 ($1.5 / £1).
Thursday 2nd April
Our InternVietnam team are now working on developping our Remote Internship Programme for the University of Dundee from home! They are also planning for the arrival of our scheduled employability programmes in August/September 2020.
Vietnam has entered day two of a 15-day country wide voluntarily lock-down in order to prevent community transmission of COVID-19. Many of the population were already maintaining good social distancing and following government health advice. All non essential business are closed except in cases of delivery which maintain as normal and is making less inconveniences for the population.
As of today 62 out of 222 cases recorded have recovered and many business and organisations are adapting to this new way of working online through online webinar and workshops.
Friday 27th March
We are EXTREMELY excited to announce the imminent launch of a remote internship programme for our partners at the University of Dundee! The University of Dundee programme will be taking place this summer in a slightly different format. Take a look below to find out more. We will be expanding our remote internship opportunities to our other valued partners in the near future. Watch this space for announcements!
Company? – click here to find out more
University? – click here to find out more
Tuesday 31st March
Well, we have entered the second week of lockdown in the UK and seemingly more uncertain times lay ahead. All of us at Pagoda Projects just wanted to share a quick message to all our participants, alumni, partners and everyone going through challenging times.
Look after yourselves, whether that’s with crazy new home workouts, becoming a jigsaw master or learning how to light a Zoom call like a Hollywood film set.
Friday 27th March
Although our InternMexico programmes for June & July 2020 have also sadly been postponed, our InternMexico Branch Manager James is busy planning the launch of our newest initiative from the comfort of his own home in Mexico City.
Friday 27th March
Our InternVietnam team waved goodbye to the final few participants on our Ho Chi Minh City programme this week. They are on their way home to the France, the UK and Germany, hopefully taking lots of fond memories of Vietnam with them.
All InternVietnam programmes for participants due to head out to Vietnam until July 2020 have been postponed but the InternVietnam team are still planning for some arrivals in August and September 2020!
Friday 27th March
Our Taipei team are hard at work and continuing to plan for participants wishing to embark on our Taipei programmes from September 2020 onwards.
Participants on place in Taipei are exercising caution and looking out for themselves. We are supporting these participants in their decision to either continue with their placements or to return home early, dependant on advice from official government channels such as FCO, DFAT, MFAT and GAC.
Our participant insurance policy will continue to cover those hard-working interns who are eager to stay under the current circumstances. However, we will be reassessing the safety of these participants daily in case of further developments and will remain in close contact with our insurance providers as things progress.
If you have any concerns regarding a participant currently on place in Taipei, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Daniel (in Taipei) or Clare (in the UK).
Thursday 26th March
Our InternChina teams are slowly emerging back into the world after a period in lock-down. Our Chengdu Branch Manager Liam is thrilled to be back working in the office again.
Programmes that were due to take place in Mainland China in April or May 2020 have sadly been postponed in light of current travel and visa restrictions.
All of our study tours along with Australian and New Zealand Government and University programmes have already been postponed. Some of the InternChina programmes that are due to take place in June, July and August 2020 on behalf of students studying in the UK may also be postponed. We will stay in close contact with the participants and ongoing applications hoping to take part on these programmes about any changes to over the coming weeks.
This includes those applicants hoping to take part on the GenerationUK Programme this year, your programme dates may be subject to change. Please keep your eyes on your inboxes for an update and thank you very much for your patience and understanding in the meantime.
Thursday 26th March
Just as our participants, alumni and faithful partner universities and companies across the world are striving to endure, adapt and thrive through the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pagoda Projects are doing the same!
From all of us at Pagoda Projects, our thoughts and best wishes are with medical workers and governments who are doing their best to heal and protect.
Get in touch:
Time is flying by, so let’s have a look – What has changed in Chengdu?
General information about Chengdu
Chengdu is still the fifth-most populous city in China with 14,047,625 people living there. Chengdu is one of the most important economic, financial, commercial, cultural, transportation, and communication centers in Western China. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is one of the 40 busiest airports in the world. More than 260 Fortune 500 companies have established branches in Chengdu due to huge demand of Western China.
Development in 2015
In April, several firms based in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia also kicked off a 2-billion-yuan (US$315 million) project to construct a range of office buildings, research centers and other facilities meant to foster business and cultural exchange between China and Germany.
In May direct flights between Moscow and Chengdu have started. Sichuan Airlines will use Airbus 330 aircraft to travel between Chengdu and Moscow three times per week, opening the west China’s first direct route to Russia.
In July, the 1,578-square-kilometer multi-function area became even more accessible thanks to the opening of a new Metro line linking it with downtown Chengdu, augmenting existing bus routes to the area.
The recent 3rd Sichuan Agricultural Expo & Chengdu International Urban Modern Agricultural Expo, which was held from November 19 and 23, highlighted the integration of modern agriculture with high technology, entertainment as well as the fast-growing e-commerce industry.
Just last month Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport has seen its annual passenger throughput surpassing 40 million on December 10, strengthening the city’s status as China’s fourth-largest aviation hub.
The construction of Tianfu New Area is implemented in three stages. The first stage was from 2011-2015 which means that it is almost completed. During this stage, the New Century Global Center was built. The multipurpose building in the Tianfu New Area is the world’s largest building in terms of floor area.
The stages also include building and finishing the subway line network in Chengdu. A huge success for Chengdu was their 3. subway line opening with line 4, on December 27th. The plan for the next 3 years is to finish and open 4 more lines making travelling within Chengdu most convenient for everyone.
The mid-term stage is from 2016-2020 and will be used to make full use of the new airport, high-speed railways and expressways and other regional transport hubs and traffic facilities in Chengdu. It is basically used to create a state-level modern industrial highland, and realize the regeneration of an industrial Chengdu.
The long-term period is scheduled for 2021-2030. The goal is to complete all constructions in Tianfu New Area in an all-round way, promote the industrial upgrading and quality improvement, strengthen high-end consumption, scientific & technical innovation and cultural communication, improve the integrated services and build a state-level innovation-oriented city as well as an international modern new city suitable for industries, business, and living.
Chengdu is on the rise and the most successful economy of any mainland Chinese city.
If you want to be a part of the business development, apply here.
Andrew studies ‘International Hotel Management’ in his 3rd year at the University of West London. He is enrolled in a four year program in which one of the years must be spend abroad which led him to apply for an internship at the Crowne Plaza Panda Garden in Chengdu.
The 5 star hotel is located 45 minutes outside of the city center and is only 5 minutes away from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding which is the biggest facility of this kind in the world. It is home to 60 giant pandas, but also has some red pandas and it is one of the biggest reasons foreign guests come to stay in the Crowne Plaza Panda Garden.
Andrew decided to do an internship in China to gain experience in an international company, where he is able to practice the knowledge he learned in several of his classes.
“I really enjoyed studying finance because it will be of great value to me when I obtain my goal and become a general hotel manager in the future.”
The main tasks of Andrew’s internship are making sure that the foreign guests will have an excellent time in Chengdu. As soon as they arrive, he prepares them with a welcome pack, a map of Chengdu as well as the panda base and makes sure they have everything they need.
“I start working at 11am every day, which gives me enough time to work out. Sometimes I even go for a swim in the pool. Afterwards I often eat pancakes and bacon in the hotel restaurant before I get ready for work.”
Andrew gets to experience the dream of living and eating in a 5 star hotel every day.
If you want to know more about Andrew’s experience and see how the hotel looks like, watch our video below:
If you are studying something similar as Andrew and want to gain international experience, apply now!
¥ 91 billion = $14 billion = £9 billion= absolute madness
That is how much money the Chinese population spent online in 24 hours, on November 11th to be exact, which is also known as Singles‘ Day or Double Eleven. It was originally invented as a sort of anti-Valentine’s day for the unattached, which developed into the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals.
One of the web portals is called Taobao which is similar to eBay.com. It offers nearly a billion products and is one of the 20 most-visited websites globally.
In comparison: Amazon sells over 200 million products in the USA.
What do you buy online? Electronic devises, clothes, bags, furniture?
Have you ever thought about buying toilet paper for the entire year? Or stock up on toothpaste, tissues or shampoo? No? The Chinese love to buy items like that on the 11/11 because they can save a lot of money and everything gets delivered to their doorstep.
Where did you get your pets from? The local animal shelter? Or maybe a friend gave it to you? Well, the Chinese people buy their pets online! It takes a few clicks, make an online payment, wait a few days for the delivery and voilà: Congratulation, you are a pet owner now!
Singles’ Day is about scoring the best deals, spending the smallest amount of money on goods you have been dying to buy and buying as much as you possibly can.
A little ‘tip’ regarding online shopping: in case you visit China over Chinese New Year’s and you don’t have a date yet, have a look on Taobao and rent yourself a possible a possible future husband/ wife.
If you want to see the crazy and exicting China through your own eyes, apply here.
“Welcome to Chengdu home of pandas, land of abundance” so let the journey begin…
There is no better way to start the day with a nice coffee or smoothie, right? So check out the Bookworm, grab a nice book and plan your day!
• Take metro line 1 to go to Tianfu Square
• Walk from Tianfu Square to People´s park
Tianfu Square is in the center of Chengdu and is filled with high class shopping malls, nice restaurants and overlooked by an enormous Chairman Mao statue. If you walk to the West, you will get to People’s Park after about 15 minutes.
- Enjoy a walk through People´s park
- Have a tea at one of the traditional tea houses
After you had a little rest, walk over to Kuanzhai Alleys to buy some nice souvenirs for family and friends. You should try out dumplings for lunch at Zhong Shui Jiao at the beautiful Wenshu Monestry. To see more of the cultural sight of Chengdu, go to Du Fu’s Cottage and Jinli Ancient Street which is about 550m long and the buildings are in the Qing Dynasty style.
Tai Koo Li offers a lot of different restaurants, so just walk around and make your decision on a whim. If you haven’t gotten enough of cultural activities yet, enjoy a play at the Opera which could be followed with a beer or two at one of Chengdu’s best bars, the Beernest I.
- Book a room in the heart of Chengdu
The Mrs. Panda Hostel is a 2 star hostel and offers rooms from $5 a night and is very close to Tianfu Square. It offers free Wi-Fi and has a shuttle bus to the airport.
Chengdu is known for their research base of giant pandas and they are too cute to miss out on. I hope you didn’t get too wild last night, so that getting out of bed is easy!
- Make sure to be there at 8 a.m. so you can watch the pandas having breakfast
- Take a taxi to Wuhuo Shrine
- After walking around at the panda base, seeing both white and red pandas, go get some lunch in the park next to Wuhuo Shrine which is the free part of the Monastery.
- Visit Wuhuo Shrine
- Go to the Tibetan area and buy some snacks
- Take metro line one and go to Chunxi Road
Chunxi Road is known as the major shopping area in Chengdu. It is magical and gives you the feeling of being at the Times Square in New York City. The area has plenty of different stores to offer, so make sure you bring enough cash.
After a long shopping haul, sit down and enjoy some delicious dinner and maybe try out some HotPot or other Sichuan food Chengdu is known for.
- Go clubbing at Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong looks beautiful at night, especially if you cross Anshun Bridge and it offers plenty of good clubs and bars to dance the night away.
- Book a room in the heart of Chengdu
If you want to try out a different hostel for the night, the two star Flipflop Lounge Hostel is very popular among young people and is located next to Chenxi Road. You can book a room from $5 per night and is also offers free Wi-Fi.
Are you interested in coming to Chengdu, experiencing the city with your own eyes? Then apply here!
The Southwestern city of Chengdu, located in China’s Sichuan province, is known mainly for its fiery food and giant pandas. But what was once just one of thousands of the nation’s unassuming cities has become one of the biggest cities to watch in China.
With over 10 million people Chengdu is one of China’s largest cities. Chengdu is an integral part of the Sichuan economy responsible for an estimated 30% of Sichuan’s GDP, which grew 13% to RMB 813.9 billion in 2012.
More and more, second- and third-tier cities like Chengdu are on the rise for local and foreign investment, attracting tourists, businesses and new industries to the city.
Chengdu’s laid back culture, green environment and improving infrastructure, its subway line network which is currently growing, helped to attract a large amount of business to bolster its traditional commercial and tourism industries.
Chengdu has a prosperous manufacturing sector where over 100 of the world’s top 500 largest corporations have a presence. That is including companies such as Toyota, Motorola, IBM, Nokia, Siemens, Canon and Microsoft but also food and beverage companies, like Nestle and Danone Group, and medical giant’s like GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever.
Chengdu – iPad City
Chengdu is already a hub of sorts for a lot of tech manufacturing. Somewhere between one-third and one-half of all iPads are sold around the world are assembled in Chengdu, while about half of Intel’s microchips are also made in the city.
The number of international air routes that go directly to Chengdu, including cargo routes, making it the biggest hub of international flights in the Central and Western regions of China.
The city’s “hi-tech development zone” has attracted about 29,000, of which 1,000 are foreign enterprises.
Chengdu is growing rapidly within the production and distribution of chemical and new energy products as well as the manufacture and distribution of meat and milk products.
There is not really “one strong industry” in Chengdu, or even two or three, the city is on the rise and it almost seems unstoppable.
If you’d also like to experience the “real”-China and would like to visit Chengdu, apply now!
Dalian has a significant history of being used by foreign powers for its ports and is still divided into two sections: a former Japanese district and a Chinese residential area. Moreover, Dalian offers a variety of seafood and you can find a lot of Korean and Japanese restaurants.
Doesn’t that all that super interesting? Right, so let’s talk more facts:
Dalian is a sub-provincial city in the Eastern Liaoning Province in China, and also China’s northernmost ice-free seaport. It is located on Korea Bay north of the Yellow Sea and roughly in the middle of the Liaodong peninsula with a coastline of 1,906 km (1,184 mi). That means lot’s of beaches.
Doesn’t that also sound pretty amazing? Let me give you some details about the climate:
Dalian has a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate, characterized by humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and cold, windy, dry winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone.
Dalian governs the majority of the Liaodong Peninsula and about 260 surrounding islands and reefs.
With a huge, well-protected harbor, modern freight-handling facilities, and fine rail connections, Dalian is the chief commercial port of Northeast China and an oil-exporting port.
It is also a major industrial center with large shipyards, fisheries, an oil refinery, textile mills, chemical and fertilizer plants, and factories making locomotives, rolling stock, and electrical equipment.
China’s largest diamond deposit is nearby.
In addition to that, the city is considered as the fashion capital of China. Who would have thought that, right?
It is also the financial center of Northeast China which indicates how important Dalian is.
And here are some important facts about Dalian’s history:
- The city began as a Russian town and port, and then it was part of Japan’s mainland colony from 1905 until 1945.
- 1858 The British Empire occupied the area.
- 1898 The Russians built a town there to support their railroad and port.
- 1905 The Empire of Japan conquered the area.
- 1945 The USSR took control of the area.
- 1985 Dalian was designated as a Special Economic Zone.
Dalian sounds very interesting and like a lot of fun? Come visit and check out more about our programmes
Dalian is the Southernmost city of Northeast China and China’s northernmost warm water port, at the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula. Dalian is the province’s second largest city and it is often recalled as a bathing paradise.
Let me give you a little more inside about the three main areas in Dalian.
It is always a good idea to check out the downtown area. The one in Dalian presents the historical heritage, exotic flavor and modern charm of the city. The Zhongshan Square, which is also called ‘Nicholas Square’ is the central landmark and due to a mixture of Western style buildings of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance designs it got the name ‘Oriental Wall Street’. If you don’t feel like walking, you should definitely tour the city in an antique trolley car from the early 1900s.
If you love the Ocean you should definitely check out the BinhaiRoad. Don’t forget to bring your significant other because it is also called “Valentine’s Road”. In case you are newly weeds, you should go check out the area of Birds Nest Mount Range and the Great Northern Bridge. Binhai road is 32 km long and offers a lot of restaurants and shopping opportunities.
Xinghai Park is situated on the Southwestern side of Dalian City and borders Xinghai Bay from which it takes its name. Some 800 meters in length, the park has luxuriant trees and flowers on the landward side while the coastal side comprises a beach of golden sands.
The park attracts many visitors as it is a haven of tranquility as well as offering excellent facilities for bathing. As well as the natural beauty of the park the visitors will be drawn to the architectural delights of the Qile Pavilion, Wanghai Pavilion and Yingchao Pavilion that are connected by footpaths.
The Tanhai Cave can be seen in the Eastern cliffs. The name of the cave means ‘exploring the sea’ and as you descend the steps within it you will find the sea-spray rising at your feet, a truly amazing sight!
Another feature in the park is the Sun Asia Ocean World where you can observe many of the often bizarre creatures that live in the sea. This aquarium is the first in China to have an underwater tunnel from which you can see the marine life. In addition you will see the world’s first underwater pyramid! This is the only museum in China dedicates to a fine collection of fossils from all over the world, each one being several hundred million years old.
Dalian and its cuisin, breathtaking views, 7 million people and endless white beaches is definitely worth visiting. If you want to read more about InternChina and its internship locations, click here.
On Monday, August 10th 2015, China’s decision to devaluate the Yuan by 2% became public. The reasons for the devaluation seem to be the falling exports and a slowed down manufacturing sector. With a depreciation of the Yuan, the Central Bank hopes to push down the borrowing costs and to increase China’s exports as it could offer cheaper prices again.
According to the People’s Bank of China the trading band was reset at 6.2298 US Dollar (-1.9%). The so called “one-off depreciation” causes the Yuan to be at its weakest point against the US dollar since three years.
In comparison to other Asian currencies, the Yuan against the dollar had become relatively expensive. As a result, China implemented fiscal, monetary and equity-boosting policies, but all of these attempts to diminish the fear of an economic slowdown seemed to fail.
Another or maybe the only way to boost the economy again was the depreciation of the Yuan. However, the consequences of devaluating the currency might be fatal. Most likely China’s competing currencies, like the Singapore dollar, the South Korean won or the Taiwan dollar, will fall as well. This “could generate headlines heralding the start of a devaluation war”, according to Masafumi Yamamoto, senior strategist at Monex in Tokyo (theguardian.com).
Also other currencies like the Australian dollar and regional markets reflect the impact of the depreciation as investors are worried about an ongoing fall in demand from China’s economy.
Next to the possible snowball effect of the world’s second biggest economy by GDP on the other Asian currencies, the devaluation could also set off copycat devaluations by central banks to keep their own competitive position against China.
Some other possible theories about the devaluation of the Yuan are (theguardian.com):
“The devaluation may be an attempt to make trading more open and market-based”, observers said.
“I don’t think this is a reaction to the weak trade data over the weekend, I think it’s because of the SDR,” said Zhou Hao of Commerzbank in Singapore.
“They need to have a market-based mechanism and they need volatility.”
The Guardian. 2015, China devalues yuan by 2% to boost flagging economy. [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/11/china-devalues-yuan-by-2-to-boost-flagging-economy [Accessed 11th of August 2015]
Soon it will be Chinese New Year – the year of the Snake will come to an end and the year of the horse will begin!Around this time one year ago, I moved from Qingdao to Chengdu to set-up a new office for InternChina. My colleague Leo from Qingdao joined me for the ramp up phase – there was a lot to do: Finding a suitable office location, equipping the office with furniture, computers and printers, hiring staff, renting apartments, finding partner companies, to finding Chinese families for our Homestay program… It was a lot of work but it was very exciting and rewarding!
So, where are we now?
- We have placed 40 students with partner companies across the city in different fields of industries. Check out our youtube channel to watch the video references from Ryan, Lars and Martha.
- We successfully established a co-operation with an excellent Chinese language school who are teaching customized Mandarin Group Classes and 1-on-1 classes to our clients!
- We have hired Kenny Qing as our local Customer Relations Manager!
- We hired Paul Yeandle who is currently undergoing training and will become the future Office Manager.
- We have had numerous of great interns from Germany, UK, Canada and China in our office supporting us during a busy and exciting time!
- We have organized many great trips and activities in and around Chengdu (e.g. Jiuzhaigou Valley, Emeishan, the Giant Buddha in Leshan and of course our popular Thursday dinners!)
- We have built up wide networks amongst local corporations within the city, Chinese families, educational institutes and business associations.
- We are going to run two customized Group Programs in Chengdu – one for a German university and one for a Canadian university!
- We are now ready to welcome at least 150 students this year in Chengdu!
For questions regarding your stay in Chengdu, you can contact our friendly Chengdu-team directly by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!
I would like to thank the whole InternChina team and all InternChina friends for your support and your strong belief in the success of our team! It was an amazing first year for us in Chengdu and there is so much more to come! XieXie!!!