Imagine travelling for 21 hours to get to Vietnam, with all 3 flights delayed along the way at some point, only for you to arrive, but not your luggage. Unfortunately this is what happened to me on my trip to China.
There had been a bit of a misunderstanding at my transfer in Beijing. My bag was supposed to go all the way through to Qingdao, but I needed to get a new boarding pass for the internal flight. I arrived at the transfer desk and a fuss ensued because I did not have my luggage with me. Naively, I believed this was all a big misunderstanding; the airline assistant simply did not understand my Scottish accent and all would be fine when I arrived in Qingdao and reunited with my backpack! This was not the case.
It quickly became apparent that I was not going to get my bag in Qingdao when the few people on my flight collected their luggage, and I was left cutting a very lonesome figure in the baggage hall watching the empty carousel go round and round. I filed a lost baggage claim and left the airport for my new Qingdao residence.
After 18 phone calls and 4 days with no clothes or personal belongings, I was finally reunited with my backpack!
Over 3.3billion journeys were made by aeroplane in 2014 and of these, 24.1million bags were mishandled (i.e lost or misrouted). Statistically this means there is less than a 0.1% chance of your luggage going anywhere but its intended destination. Unfortunately I was one of that 0.1%, and there is a very, very small chance you could be too. Therefore, this post outlines how you can avoid losing your luggage and also, what to do in the event that it does go missing.
How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage
According to some key travel experts, every time you fly you should assume your luggage will go missing, and should therefore take note of these key tips to minimise the risk!
Never leave home without a nametag. This is essential to helping airport staff locate your bag if it does get mishandled and it could be the difference in you getting your bag within 24 hours or a few days. Another tip if you are unsure about putting your personal details such as your name, home address and telephone number on a luggage tag, is to print your Twitter handle or social media accounts on the tag. This allows any airline staff to quickly contact you without compromising your privacy.
Check in early
At least 2-3 hours before an international flight. This gives airport handlers maximum time to move your bag to the correct area of the terminal and on to the right plane.
Pack your itinerary
Place it somewhere easy to find in your checked bag. The journey from check in to plane can be quite rough for luggage and sometimes the airport tag with the intended destination can get ripped off. If you have an itinerary in your checked luggage, when airport staff open the bag to look for information, they can quickly identify the bag’s owner and intended destination.
Personalise your bag
Embellish your bag with stickers, ribbons or a luggage belt- anything to make it stand out! Firstly this helps at the carousel as it will stop somebody picking up your bag accidently but also, if your bag does get mislaid, it will make your luggage easily identifiable to airline staff.
Before you close your bag up for the last time and head to the airport, take photos of your belongings in a pile. This will help you remember exactly what was in the bag, and it will also help you prove the value of the belongings in your bag if you do have to make a lost luggage claim.
Double check the airport code
Airport staff are only human, and they make mistakes too. Double check that the right airport code has been attached to your bag so if its intended destination is London Gatwick (LGW), it doesn’t go to La Guardia, New York (LGA) by mistake!
If you really want to be on the safe side, you could invest in an electronic tag with a microchip that sends you updates on your bags location anywhere in the world.
Prior to leaving the UK, I was not aware of most of these tips. Unfortunately my bag ended up in South Korea but eventually I got it back after 4 days.
Less than 0.1% of luggage gets mishandled or lost, so it is extremely unlikely that it will happen to you; but mind these tips to further ensure your luggage arrives in Vietnam at the same time as you!
Finally, it is also worth noting that in the event that your luggage does unfortunately get mishandled, you should have your hand luggage prepared with the necessities to keep you going for a few days.
Remember to Take
Take at least a spare top and underwear. If you arrive in Vietnam without luggage, you will desperately want some clean clothes to change into. The spare clothing will also help you get by until you can get to a mall or market to buy some new garms!
Again, pack the necessities that will get you through at least your first night in Vietnam. This includes any travel-sized cleanser/moisturiser etc as it can be quite tough to find your preferred products in Vietnam due to the inclusion of whitening ingredients in the formulas.
Remember to take any medication in your hand luggage in case your checked bag goes missing. If you are staying in Vietnam for a few months or longer and therefore have a substantial amount of medication with you, remember to take a prescription and/or doctor’s note with you to present to customs if asked.
Charger and adapter plug
It’s really essential when you arrive in Vietnam to have a charged, unlocked, functioning phone. This is especially important when you arrive at the airport in case there are any delays, but also because you will use your phone frequently to navigate the city and keep in touch with your new friends!
The above list is in addition to standard carry on baggage items such as:
- Wallet/Purse with VND, credit card (if you have) and at least 1 debit card.
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
- Pen- for filling out customs forms!
- Hand sanitiser
If you want to join us in Vietnam for an amazing internship, you can apply here!
Nothing is more daunting than the fact you are about to graduate and you have no concrete plans for the future. The questions that arise are; do I carry on with education and do a masters or do I take the plunge into real life by becoming a full time adult and start work as a graduate?? Well, that was my predicament until I came across InternChina. I applied for the marketing & business development position in the Qingdao branch and was offered the 3 months internship (yay!). Interning in China has given me the opportunity to gain great experience whilst figuring out my future plans!
On my arrival, I was picked up from the airport by one of my soon to be colleagues. She was incredibly welcoming and helped me settle in the shared apartment. What I like the most about the apartments in Qingdao is that they are graciously spacious yet have a very cosy vibe to them. My roommates are my fellow colleagues at the IC Qingdao branch, so it was great to be able to meet them outside of the ‘work’ environment. (I did find it rather humorous that each one of us were from a different European country, one Brit, one French and one German… it almost sounds like one of those bar jokes).
As I had never been to Qingdao before, my roommates took me out and introduced me to fellow individuals who are part of the InternChina programme but are interning at different companies. As we are all connected through InternChina it was very easy to get along and feel comfortable with one another. Plans for the weekend were discussed and I was thrown into the mix and was able to explore Qingdao with them all!
There are really cool cafes, bars and restaurants in China, so regardless of the city you’re in, you will always be able to find somewhere that is to your liking. The food is cheap and cheerful -some meals will cost you max 3 pounds (I can’t find the pound sign on my macbook sigh). Moreover, you can actually find food that is halal and great for vegetarians!
Honestly, I have only been here a few days and already I have some ideas on what I wish to do once I get back to the U.K. It also helps to be around people from all over the world as it is a great way to broaden your horizon and learn more. So if you’re currently unsure and undecided, I would wholeheartedly recommend an internship (especially one in China).
To start your own internship adventure in China, apply now!
Being from Scotland, and looking for a challenge I decided to travel to one of the most unusual areas of the world I could think of; Chengdu, China.
Having attended one of the InternChina talks held at Dundee University, I was intrigued by the description of the various locations on offer, but none stood out to me more than Chengdu. The mix between traditional Chinese living and modern surroundings seemed like the perfect combination and grabbed my attention immediately.
From there I sent off my application, went through the Skype interview process and after finishing my third year university exams, I am now an Intern in the InternChina Chengdu office for 6 weeks. Much like through the application process, arriving in China I was immediately supported and given all the help I needed. As in contrast to some of the other interns both in the office and in placements around the city I have never been to Mainland China before so I am at a slight disadvantage in this regard. However I was greeted at the airport by my manager Paul, and was put at ease straight away and the whole team has been great at helping me settle in!
Thinking of the Adventure to Come
Having been here for a few days now I am taking my time to get accustomed to the culture and way of life, (however I have been told where I can find a few home comforts if needed!)
Throughout this internship I am hoping to achieve not only a greater understanding of Chinese culture, but also a way of working life. Having spent some time in the office already, it is refreshing to be tasked with real responsibility and trust, which is unlike many of the internships back home in the U.K. Although the office is a very welcoming and a fun atmosphere, the client-dedicated focus of InternChina means there is always something to keep you busy.
I am looking forward to see what the next few weeks will bring for me, and the challenge ahead, and hopefully I’ll be able to leave Chengdu with a few stories for life!
If you think this sounds fun why not apply now!
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!
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!
Blog by Sophie Wiggins.
Doing an internship via InternChina was an easy decision. I can study a course that challenges and compliments my skills while exploring the enigma that is China. The staff was very helpful before my departure back home which made the process a lot smoother. Poor Jack Fairhead who answered question after question. He must have had enough of me and was probably relieved when I finally arrived in Qingdao!
After tackling the gruelling 13 hour flight, with about 15 hours of travel and waiting in-between, I finally arrived in Qingdao last Thursday. Within minutes of my arrival I was taken aback with how different the culture compared to the United Kingdom is. I was greeted by InternChina’s accountant Amber and taken to my apartment. Later Calum my housemate and college arrived. We were both very jetlagged during our orientation at InternChina the next day.
My first impression of the city was that it had a lot more to it than an average city. Despite being highly business orientated, there is a variety of parks and greenery here, including an odd mountain right in the middle of the city. But the thing that struck me most when I got here was how friendly the locals are. Despite not being able to speak one sentence in Mandarin, every person I meet is so eager to engage in conversation and get to know me.
Here are 7 things I have learnt after being here for a week:
- It is hot. When I say it’s hot here it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. You sweat about four hours the day, so basically whenever you are outside. It takes a while to get used to it.
- The language is difficult. I’ve had three classes and I just can’t get over the idea that if you say something in the wrong tone of voice it means something completely different! The locals often laugh at my attempts to speak to them in broken mandarin. It is a very beautiful language and definitely worth learning.
- Expect to be stopped for pictures on a regular basis (especially if your whiter than white as I am). They love foreigners over here and I get stopped every day for photos. It is quite fun actually.
- The Baidu Maps app is your best friend here. In a place where you can’t read or speak the language and only 0.78% of the population speak English, Baidu Maps is the best thing ever. An app which tells you how to get where you want to go, counts the bus stops and even shows you heavy traffic through a colour coded system. I am not sure how we would have gotten around without it.
- It is very cheap here. You can buy a big meal for as little as 1 pound. Which makes the £800 flight from the UK a little less painful.
- Expect to squat. I am not going to sugar coat, it is not pleasant sometimes but one way or another, eventually you will have to squat. Through pure luck I managed not to squat until today. It will happen. It’s inevitable. Be prepared.
- See everything you can. There is so much to do here. So far I have gone to the beach, to Fu Shan (the mountain in the middle of the city), the little Qingdao Island (the old town park), the night market and went on a few nights out at the international bars.
Why do an internship abroad?
To be completely out of your comfort zone in a way you wouldn’t think possible. To build character by seeing the history and culture, traditions and different ways of living. To enhance your employability and gain skills that make you stand out against other applicants.
I’m a British girl in Qingdao being challenged to the maximum in many ways and having the best time. – Sophie Wiggins, Design Intern
Hi, my name is Shona and I am a “qingdaoren”. I am still doing a master degree of biotechnology in Australia and having my summer vacation. But for the next two months I am an intern in InternChina’s Qingdao office.
When I first went to Australia, I was offered lots of help from my agency and host family. In the first few months, it was difficult, especially for the language, as English is not my mother tongue. My agency and homestay family members helped me with almost everything, from visa to housing and eating. With their help, I got used to the life there fast.
Before coming back, I decided to find an internship in Qingdao in these winter months. When I was searching for job vacancies, InternChina caught my attention. I am interested in this field and this is kind of a chance for me to return the favor. In this way, I can assist the interns to settle down in a new city, just in the same way as others helped me.
I applied for the position hoping to become a member of the team. Through the communication with Yifan, Leo and Jack, I thought this is the team that I was looking for. And after joining the team, I was impressed by their kindness and enthusiasm. They offered every single detail for the interns, from the SIM card for cell phone to the bus line traveling from their home to the host company.
I believe I can learn a lot from them and I am looking forward to having a great time and internship experience here.
Do you want to experience China with Shona and the rest of the InternChina Team? Then apply now!
If you live in the northern hemisphere, summer is up and running now, temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and images of beaches and tan people in bathing suits flood the advertising spaces everywhere. If you are a student, school is probably over for the semester or you are wrapping up exams and project deadlines.
It’s likely that you’ve already made plans for the summer (after all, you’ve been thinking about it since spring break was over). But if you still don’t know what you’re going to do for the next three months – or if you like to plan so far ahead that you’re already thinking about next summer – let me tell you why an internship in China is the best thing you can do with your summer.
You might be thinking: “Working? During my summer holiday? Why on Earth would I want to do that?” Yes, of course, everybody’s idea of summer is chilling in the sun by day and partying with piña coladas by night. But the truth is, you will most likely go on vacation for one or two weeks, and then spend the rest of the summer playing Xbox with your friends, hanging out at the mall or running errands for your mom.
What I’m saying is: do something more meaningful with your summer! These days, in the competitive business world that we live in, work experience is highly valued and if you graduate university without any at all, chances are you will have a very hard time finding a job that satisfies your career goals and rewards all the hard work you put into your studies (check out Penelope Trunk’s great blog about the importance of doing a summer internship). Of course, you can do an internship in your home town or even try to find a summer job but, now that you’re already thinking about it, why not do an internship in China?
Having work experience in China gives a great boost to your CV. It is not only the fact that China is increasingly gaining importance in the worlds of business and industry, which will definitely help you stand out to recruiters. But they will also see that you are not afraid to take on a challenge, given that you are willing to travel halfway across the world to live and work in a country with a completely different culture and way of life. How you adapted and handled the language and cultural barriers – this will be a great topic to mention in future job interviews.
But coming to China for an internship during the summer is not only great to improve your career prospects. It is also an opportunity to learn about a new culture and have fun while doing it. Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu are great cities to do this: great weather, not as busy or expensive as Beijing or Shanghai, but still close enough that you can visit them and big enough that there are plenty of places to go to keep your evenings and weekends occupied with fun activities.
Just to mention a few examples: in Qingdao you can spend a day playing beach volleyball, sailing and jet skiing; or go climbing Laoshan Mountain if you’re a bit sportier. At night, you can sit outside drinking beer and eating street BBQ. In Zhuhai, you can go swimming in the sea or a pool, take a trip to one of the 146 islands around the city and even hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for the day, do some sightseeing and eat a delicious meal. Chengdu is a great place to go cycling for both pros and amateurs, given the fact that the landscape is mostly flat so you can go far without wearing yourself out too much. You can also have a relaxing afternoon at a tea house and of course, go see the pandas!
As you can see, doing an internship in China gives you the ultimate summer experience: working, learning and having fun! Conclusion: what are you waiting for?
Would you like to spend your summer doing an internship in China? Apply now on our website or send us an email for more information.
There it is- the review of one awesome year in Zhuhai!!!
One year with great experiences in Chinese host families:
Enjoying the hot springs in the ‘cold’ winter days in Zhuhai:
One year with great Chinese food:
An always changing, but an always awesome InternChina team:
Study China Programme:
Great trips to Gunagzhou,
and to Fujian:
And with a lot of other great things. Thanks to everybody!!!!!
All the best wishes for 2013!
If you are a British student looking to come and undertake an internship placement in China then finding funding is not as easy as in some other countries. I have been looking into how best to go about it and have come up with a few possibilities:
1) Ask your university – Some universities will provide you with financial support for your internship placement. At universities where a work placement is compulsory, the university often pays the mediation fee for you. You won’t know if you don’t ask!
2) Scholarships – There are also a few travel scholarships around, again often related to universities. The best overview of such scholarships is available here: http://www.csc.edu.cn/laihua/scholarshipen.aspx. You may have to apply, expressing how your trip will be a benefit to your future studies (you will have a very strong application if it is to carry out a work experience placement in China!). Again, these are often advertised through university channels.
3) Confucious Scholarship – Although this is a scholarship to come and study in China, it is definitely worth a look if you are a student here! Main catch is you have to have done an HSK exam, so try and do one nice and early to give you time for your application.
4) Trust funds – Look online and in your local newspaper for funds to support young locals. Although quite hard to find, they can be great if you do apply to one for some money – could help you with part of the trip.
5) Get a job! With a couple of weeks of holiday work in England, you could happily live in China for months.
Remember, once you get out to China living costs are very low. Pints are 20p instead of £2, a big dinner out is £3, a taxi is £1, a bus is 10p. Set up costs may seem quite high, but once you are here you will get on fine with very little money!