Last month I was lucky enough to visit our office in Zhuhai and also enjoy the Chinese host family experience with Sunny Sui, our customer relations manager in Zhuhai.
From the moment I stepped off the plane I was greeted by the Guangdong – ‘let’s get down to business’ attitude. As I stepped on board the airport bus I was immediately drawn into an interrogation by half of the bus – now my Chinese is okay – but when I am being bombarded by a bus full of Tiger Mama’s (mothers who have ridiculously high standards for the Children’s future and are extremely committed to ensuring their future success) and a grandfather with a quick mind and a head full of questions I started to crack under the pressure.
– Where are you from?
– What’s your name?
– Who do you work for?
– How much money do you make?
– How big is your apartment?
– Do you like Chinese girls?
– Can my son work in your office? (Guangdong specific)
Now these questions are quite normal in China and my answers to these questions are well rehearsed. It was when they saw the wine (a gift) in my bag – a big discussion started about the quality and after a good 10 minutes of discussing, it passed their approval. This is the type of discussion that I used to think was unbelievably rude but now I know it is part of the colourful Chinese life – where things considered impolite to discuss in the West are fair game in China. I really love moments like this in China as it reminds me of the time when I was first in China, my eyes were opened to a completely different way of interacting and thinking. This is key to making China interesting and at times is still bizarre even after 2 years.
Anecdotes aside, Zhuhai is lovely – I highly recommend it for anyone visiting China and indeed for an internship. The feeling of being beside the sea and surrounded by Palm Trees is certainly something I would not get sick of! I also enjoyed getting a seat on the bus (this is very rare in Chengdu) I also liked, despite its smaller population, how Zhuhai business moves fast and the meetings I attended were straight to the point and there is a desire to “get things done”. In Chengdu the business culture is much slower and meetings can last hours rather than minutes and it is also impolite to talk too much business at the first meeting. Since I can talk for Britain this is no problem, but I also liked the straight-talking Guangdong way of doing things.
I also loved my homestay experience with Sunny, every evening after work we could pop into the wet (seafood) market and buy a wide variety of fish and seafood straight off the boat! Sunny is a great cook and the food was delicious – I really enjoyed the fact she introduced me to her friends and I got a real great insight to her way of life in Zhuhai – which involves lots of Cycling and outside activities!
It was also great to spend time with all the team in Zhuhai – find great places for lunch and enjoy a weekend trip and a few beers with the Zhuhai interns. It was really interesting to see how their life in China differs from the interns I have welcomed to Chengdu!
I would like to thank the whole Zhuhai team for looking after me whilst I was in Zhuhai. So many memories including: sweet pork / crab hot pot / hangover Trekking / Getting lost on a mountain / friendly shop assistants / best breakfast in China / weird “hot springs” / crazy tour guides / new friends / learning / sharing of ideas.
So Zhuhai or Chengdu? Well, you could choose both? Zhuhai has weather and natural scenery which is unrivalled in China as well as being close to many of the larger cities. Chengdu on the other hand offers the chance to experience one of the fastest growing cities in China, and one which is both laid back whilst at the same time speeding towards being one of the most important cities in China.
Apply now for an internship in Qingdao, Zhuhai, Chengdu or maybe you would like to do two internships in two of the cities and experience the different lifestyles of both.