Hey everyone! It´s me again, Daniel. Just now I am at the end of my 5th week and I want to tell you what happened in the past five weeks in three (!) different cities with the InternChina team and the group of students from my university.
One year ago my university just started a partnership with InternChina. InternChina provides a special program called “Summer School“, including trips and activities in the two biggest Cities in China, Shanghai and Beijing. This is a perfect opportunity not only to learn something about a complete different culture but also to spend an interesting trip during my summer vacation with great people.
Shanghai, the first city we visited for one week, was a great start for a first experience with Chinese culture. I never travelled outside Europe, so I had no chance to get an impression of a big city with over 23 million inhabitants before. I always complain about Germany’s biggest city and capital, Berlin, and the terrible connection between some places. Although Shanghai is much bigger you can easily reach different places and be on time. Furthermore, Shanghai seems to me as a role model city for many other big cities in China. Impressive Skyscrapers, multicultural and modern and a city which never sleeps (You can do activities 24/7!). And you should not miss the unbelievable view from the Shanghai World Financial Center. It is the tallest building in China and the third tallest in the world!
We stayed in Beijing for the second week. It is just a bit smaller than Shanghai but not less impressive. As a very traditional and at the same time modern city there are many old buildings worth seeing from ancient dynasties I could never remind. My personal highlights in and around Beijing were the trip to the Great Wall (impressive!) and the Summer Palace close to the city centre. Nice residence for a lonely emperor!
After all of us adapted to Chinese food and kind of living in China, we finally arrived in Qingdao at the end of the second week. I am living with a very nice host family close to the centre of the city and I have enjoyed a great time so far. We then visited the language school for the next two weeks. Hence, we got used to more words than “Nihao“ and “Ganbei“. in the following, our programme was also very diverse as we did so many interesting activities like visiting a tea house (including live ceremony), enjoyed Kung Fu lessons, made a trip to the Tsingtao Beer Museum – including tasting 😉 – and lots of other stuff. So we never got bored!
Internship in Qingdao
As time is running, my four weeks internship at the InternChina office started this week. I am very excited and I’m looking forward to it. Luckily, I have great guys working in the office who help me whenever it’s necessary. We spend our time together after work and do activities like mountain climbing, rafting, playing soccer, paintball or just have dinner with all InternChina people.
All in all, I would recommend this experience to everyone. I am just four weeks here and already got a great impression of the Chinese culture, met so many people and friends and had a great time on weekends.
Qingdao is home to about 8 million people and especially now during summer time you can see how the city becomes more and more crowded. A lot of tourists come to see Qingdao and enjoy the beaches and the sights. Come and check out some more interesting spots in Qingdao:
Zhanshan temple is a Buddhist temple located on ZhiQuan Road. This is also right next to the Taiping Mountain where you can find a range of ancient Buddhist scriptures as well as small statues. Especially during summer it is great to just go there to picnic and enjoy the day. The temple was built in 1945 and is China’s youngest temple constructed within the Tiantai sect of Buddhism.
This is the main city park. Inside there is an amusement park, nature garden, carnival and petting Zoo and a botanical garden. The best time to go is Springtime to see the Cherry blossoms open on the nature trail. Also going during the week will help you avoid the crowds!
This temple was built in the Ming Dynasty (about 1467 AD). You can just go there and visit the temple without any entrance fees. It is quite nice with a stage in the front and bell & drum towers on both sides of the temple.
Tsingtao Brewery was established in the late 1890s, and it is recognized as China’s premier beer, which explains why it is so famous all over the globe. The original brewery building is a beer museum today, so you can visit the museum, get a beer for free and learn about the history of the delicious Tsingtao beer.
Right next to the small island Xiao Qingdao you will find a formal naval base, which was built in 1989. It is home to former US and Soviet vessels, a Chinese Huafeng missile boat and various small crafts, vehicles and tanks. It is the especially interesting that it is the only military museum that features the complete development of the Chinese naval establishment.
Sights in Qingdao
Qingdao is a coastal city located in the Shandong Province and home to round about 8 million residents. The name Qingdao has a specific meaning, where “Qing” means lush or green “dao” means island.
Qingdao is a great place to live because you always have something to do there! Here are some top sights in Qingdao which I want to tell you about now:
May 4th Square
May 4th square, a large public square, is located in Qingdao’s central business district, right next to the coast. It was named after a nationwide protest movement which started in Qingdao and it is recognized by the huge red sculpture on the square which represents the “May Wind” in Qingdao.
The Catholic Church
Due to Qingdao’s history there is a huge German influence in the old town part of Qingdao. In this part of the city you can also find the Catholic Church which is located on De Xian Road. It was built and completed by a German architect in 1934. Because it was partly destroyed during the Cultural Revolution it was rebuilt in 1982. On the weekends there are still services and a lot of Chinese people take their wedding pictures in front.
Marina City is a large shopping center where you can find a lot of Western brands but also some Chinese ones. Walking outside the mall you can enjoy the view of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre and walk along the peer to check out windsurfers and sailing boats that go along the coast.
Zhanqiao Pier was built in 1891. The Huilan Pavilion lies at the end of a 400m pier at Qingdao Bay and is the symbol for the Tsingtao beer.
Xiao Qingdao Island
Xiao Qingdao is a tiny freckle of land south of Zhanqiao Pier. On the little island there is a small German lighthouse which was built in 1900. It is especially beautiful at night, walking along the Qingdao Bay with the look on the light house.
This past Sunday InternChina organised a trip to the famous Laoshan mountain (崂山), located close to the city of Qingdao.
We met with many of the interns at 7.30 AM in the centre of Qingdao and we took a bus for about one hour to arrive at the mountain.
The weather was really nice, blue sky with no clouds. We arrived at the first part of the mountain to visit some old temples, we could smell the incense sticks and see monks that are still living there. From the top of the mount, the view on the yellow sea was amazing.
The Lao mountain is an important place for the Taoist religion and according to an old legend, many Chinese emperors came here to try to meet the immortals. The Laoshan is also famous in Qingdao because of its pure water springs. Originally this water was used to brew the Tsingtao beer and today you can find bottles of water from the mountain in every shop of the city. The water quality is assured by a protected and delimited zone, in order to avoid any kind of pollution that could contaminate the source.
We spent the second part of the day “climbing” another part of the mountain on a cable car, which was quite funny to see in China and without snow, because for some of us, it’s the kind of thing you’re used to have when you’re going skiing during winter.
After arriving at the top, we spent half an hour enjoying the view and chilling before we had to go back down because the bus was waiting for us to go back to the city.
my name is Philipp, I am 25 and from Germany. It is now my second week at InternChina and I could already write a book about my experiences here in the beautiful coastal town Qingdao !
The team of InternChina is really great, working here is fun and I had a lot of responsibility from the first day on. The connection between all the interns here in Qingdao, placed by InternChina, is perfect. We have a lot of things going on, like having fun at Bars and Clubs, visit the most exciting places or go out together for lunch or dinner.
To describe a part of the cultural experience the best, I would like to give an example of my evening yesterday:
I decided to live with a host family (a great thing to deepen your cultural insight of China) and accompanied my host mother to a revival of her old class from school. After a lot of “Ganbei” with Tsingtao beer and delicious food (served in China mostly on a “turn around” table), I was invited to a friendly family and was suddenly confronted with the question, if I would like to marry their daughter ! So some sort of an “arranged marriage” ! Her parents told me that she is very clever and hardworking and I could marry well. They took me around in the house so I could see for myself that they have expensive furniture and stuff. If I could imagine a marriage?! I was so surprised as I had never ever expected this and said (big surprise)that unfortunately I can´t imagine that. Even so, she was beside me all the time and looked after me very well. That was a pretty dazzling experience, but that makes life interesting, right ?
The “Laowais” (foreign people) are definitively a highlight for the people here in China, as most of them don´t have the chance to travel and go abroad as we do in Europe for example. I got used to the fact, that people stare at us western people quite indiscreetly, but this is not meant in a bad way as they are just curious.
So there are still a lot of experiences to be had and I look forward to my time in China, as I see this as a really awesome modern adventure.