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Chengdu Blogs

Internship in Chengdu and why you should definitely consider it!

When I first mentioned to my friends and family that I will go to China for my year abroad, their first reaction was: “China? Why China? What are you going to do there? Why not Australia or America like everyone else? Is China even safe?” I’m sure everyone in the same situation as me, went through the same experience. But the question is why is everyone’s reaction like this about China?

Shouldn’t it actually be the other way around? Considering how rapid Chinas economic growth is, it’s a land full of opportunities! After being here for five months I keep asking myself, “why don’t we have the things they have here in China? Life here is so convenient and a lot of big business ideas could be brought back to Germany.”Not to mention how attractive your CV will look with ‘Accomplished an Internship in China’ written on it. Behind these written words lays a wide range of professional skills achieved while working in China. Skills such as flexibility, strong mentality, adaptability, high stress tolerance etc. It’s definitely not easy coming to China to work – especially when you’re alone and coming from a Western country. This means that getting through the day can be difficult sometimes.However, this shows just how much self-improvement that I’ve gained since working in China, and I’ve kept a few things in mind when things haven’t worked out the way I want them to:

“Keep trying and don’t give up”

Even if things don’t work out the first time, you learn from what went wrong and you try again and succeed from the second, or even third time.

“Every day is a challenge that you will overcome and grow”

Especially when coming to China for the first time, as many things are different. However, slowly and surely you will figure out the system. Just simple things like learning how to use the metro/bus the taxi, or even ordering food for the first time. It seems hard at first but when you’ve done it, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and one day you may even be as good as the locals!

Coming to China is challenging but coming out of your comfort-zone really isn’t as hard as you think. You just need to take the first step, because after that there is only self-improvement and growth!

 

 

Besides all of this, I fell in love with Chengdu. It’s a really fun and exciting city to live in. With lovely food and endless options to spend your spare time, even after being here for five months I’m still not tired of seeing parts of the city where elements of traditional and modern China clash together.Even though Chengdu is one of the bigger cities, it doesn’t lack nature as the city tries to be a green city with numerous parks. Not to mention how affordable everything is – you could live like a King/Queen here and it’s still cheaper than in most western countries!

Chengdu Blogs, Comparisons, Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Learn about China

China and Italy : Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Ciao! My name is Ferdinando and I am one of the office interns here in Chengdu. I come from Torino, a lovely city just a short drive away from the Italian Alps. I have now been in Chengdu for almost a month, but it honestly feels like I have been here an entire lifetime! The atmosphere and energy of this laid-back metropolis have completely won me over, and I could definitely imagine myself living here one day.As the days have passed, I have found myself more and more at ease in this new environment. I’ve started asking myself a simple question: Why? Why is it so easy for me to dive into and settle in this very different and complex culture, while with so many others I have a more challenging time? After some pondering over many hot bowls of dandan noodles, I have realised that the reason for my rapid acclimatization was that Chinese culture is, in fact, not so distant from my own Italian culture after all.The obvious starting point of this comparison is food: both Italians and Chinese are passionate about their food and possess very complex and proud eating cultures. Due to its abundance of strong flavours and “exotic” ingredients (such as chicken feet and pig brains!), traditional Chinese cuisine can seem threatening to Western palates. However, after a few days of rumbling stomachs, foreigners will get to know and appreciate the incredible richness of this wonderful culinary tradition. I am a great fan of Chinese food myself, and I believe that, upon my departure, the thing I will miss the most of Chengdu will be its succulent chuanchuan houses and its authentic noodle corner-shops.Another main point of contact between our two cultures is the paramount importance we both give to family and tradition. While strolling by Chengdu’s People Park, it is possible to see old grandparents practising Taichi with their young nephews, just as my grandparents used to play football with a young me in Torino’s parks. In addition, in the numerous large family gatherings I have seen in Chengdu’s hotpot restaurants I see the reflection of my own “extended family” lunches, that could last anywhere between three to six hours. I am of the opinion that this strong sense of community and belonging, typical of both Italian and Chinese families, not only creates deeper family and friendship ties, but also enhances your sense of cultural awareness. Thus making it easier to “jump over” the cultural divide at hand.A third similarity I have observed between Italy and China, especially in regards to Chengdu, is their common relaxed, “dolce far niente” approach to life. I have surprisingly found that the concept of being on time is exceptionally similar both in Italy and China, so that my canonical five-minute lateness is not only accepted (unlike in England), but almost encouraged! Although Chengdu still is a bustling, work-oriented metropolis, somehow its citizens manage to maintain a hands-off approach to both their professional and personal lives. This makes this city the perfect spot to jumpstart an ambitious, yet stress-free career.

I believe many other cultural analogies can be found between Italy and China, but that is not the point of this post. The point is, in my opinion, more important to underline and point out the existence of such similarities – as comparison brings recognition, recognition brings acceptance, and acceptance brings friendship. In other words, the purpose of this post is to highlight that, no matter where you are from and where you go, as long as you seek similarities and avoid division, you will find it easier to “jump over” the cultural divide and feel at home anywhere around the world. Therefore, this is the main advice I can give to new interns coming to China: seek the familiar in the foreign and the foreign will look familiar.

Abigail Prendergast - InternChina 2017 Alumni
Featured Internships, Internship Experience, Job Market in China, Zhuhai Blogs

InternChina Changed My Life

Over the years, InternChina has amassed an alumni network of thousands of people. Some of our former participants have returned to the UK and secured prestigious graduate jobs. Many have taken up jobs in Asia and others have travelled the world. We love to hear about our alumni and what they are up to. So, naturally we were delighted to recently hear from Abi Prendergast, who has followed her dreams of being a writer internationally after completing an InternChina programme in 2017. Abi has told us all about her experience in Zhuhai, and how it helped her to realise an ambition that she could only once dream of.

Here is her story.I am a former University of Sussex student and completed an internship with InternChina in 2017. I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for the amazing opportunity.

Since graduating, I have set up my own business as a content writer and I am now traveling the world. I work with clients from all different fields. And I have been able to do this thanks to the company I interned with. Amazingly, they allowed me to continue working from them remotely. This helped me get the confidence to approach other companies and by the time I graduated, I already had enough clients to make writing my full time profession.

It has been nearly two years since I left for China. I still do regular work for Delta Bridges remotely, although they are no longer my sole client. I am planning on meeting them soon for dinner in South East China. I can’t wait to see them all again and do some more networking.

It has been my dream to write and to travel since I was in school, however, I never thought it would be possible. Especially not a few months after graduating. The internship has shown me what is possible and has given me the confidence to do what I love and the experience to go with it. I have networked with other companies I met during my internship and have ongoing work from other media outlets in China. So it’s all been very exciting!

So overall, I just wanted to say thank you, because InternChina has changed my life. I am forever grateful to everyone who was involved in making the experience possible for First Generation Scholars at the University of Sussex. I could never have anticipated being where I am now.

– Abi Pendergast: InternChina 2017 Alumni

Before your stay, How-to Guides

How Much to Budget for Living in China

So you want to come to China for an internship! But now you may be wondering, “How much money should I budget for daily life in China?”
The good news is, your money can go a long way in China. Many interns eat out for about 10-15 RMB per meal, and spend 60 RMB when they want to really splurge! Even drinks can be cheap, with beers and cocktails generally from 15-30 RMB. Some bars even sell Qingdao beer for as low as 5 RMB in efforts to draw in more customers. There is no sales tax in China, so the price you see is the price you pay. However, make sure to haggle down the price in market streets or small shops where haggling is accepted!

What is the RMB exchange rate?

For the current exchange rates, please see here.

1 GBP = 8.866 RMB
1 EURO = 7.615 RMB
1 USD = 6.69 RMB
1 AUD = 4.807 RMB
1 CAD = 5.08
1 NZD = 4.609
**Exchange rates as of 27/02/2019

What kind of budget in China is right for me?

There are two main factors that may determine your kind of budget:

  • Accommodation Choice – Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner as already included in the programme package.
  • Individual Lifestyle – Your budget in China will vary depending on what transportation you decide to take, personal dining preferences, nightlife, and more.

Weekly/Monthly Budget Estimates

Below, we have put together some budget estimates of your expenses in daily life during your time with InternChina. In general, many interns live on a low budget and are still able to live quite well. For those looking to spend a little more, there are also medium and high budget estimates. See which budget is right for you

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

For those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new thingsApartment:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch, average 10-20 rmb dinner, 5-10 rmb breakfast/snacks = 250-350 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – Attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) =  2200 rmb per month (Approx. 290 EUR, 250 GBP,  330 USD, 460 AUD, 430 CAD, 480 NZD )

Homestay:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch/snacks = 70-140 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 1400 rmb per month (Approx. 185 EUR, 160 GBP, 210 USD, 290 AUD, 275 CAD, 300 NZD)For those who go to the gym, eat more western food or spend more in other ways:Apartment:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/day, average 30 rmb dinner/day, 15 breakfast & snacks/day = 490 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 5000 rmb per month (Approx. 655 EUR, 565 GBP, 750 USD, 1040 AUD, 980 CAD, 1080 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/snacks = 150 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 3500 rmb per month (Approx. 460 EUR, 395 GBP, 520 USD, 730 AUD, 690 CAD, 760 NZD)For those who would like to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or foreign imports:Apartment:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch, average 60 rmb dinner, 25 breakfast/snacks = 875 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 8000 rmb per month (Approx. 1050 EUR, 900 GBP, 1200 USD, 1665 AUD, 1575 CAD, 1735 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch/snacks = 280 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 6500 rmb per month (Approx. 850 EUR, 730 GBP, 970 USD, 1350 AUD, 1280 CAD, 1410 NZD)

As you can see, you don’t need too much money in China to have a good time, while alternatively spending a bit more will make you feel like royalty. Be careful when you have a craving to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee (35 RMB) or the newest iPhone (7000 RMB), as not everything is cheaper in China. All in all, however, you should find that your monthly budget in China is significantly less than it is back at home!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

Dalian Blogs, Internship Experience, Things To Do in Dalian, Uncategorised

Western Sydney University Summer Program 2018 Testimonials

Browse our testimonials from Western Sydney University students and read about their time in Dalian – the destination, homestay experience, internship, cultural differences and support from InternChina.

Their program was funded by The New Colombo Plan.Spending five weeks in Dalian was an extraordinary and eventful experience that I probably would do all over again. Sound crazy? It definitely was – but it was an experience that was challenging in so many cool and fun ways and completely out of the norm compared to back home.

The weekly mandarin classes helped me learn key words and phrases to get me through day to day life. I also got to practice mandarin every day during my internship program.
My internship experience provided me the opportunity to immerse myself and gain an insight into the Chinese business culture through the helpful guidance of my supervisor.

The friends that I made on this trip are people I now call family and ones to last a life time.
I was able to meet with other interns who came from all different countries around the world which made my experience in Dalian so much more thrilling and exciting. We spent countless nights together enjoying the night life of the city in either restaurants, bars,
karaoke or just simply exploring the wonderful streets and markets.

One of my highlights was visiting a city called Dandong which is on the border of North Korea and is also where the Great Wall begins from East of China. That day we toured on a boat in a river which separated China on one side and North Korea on the other. We then
climbed the great wall and took some breath-taking pictures of both China and North Korea.

During the five weeks I was able to learn a new language, explore a beautiful city, make new friends, immerse myself in Chinese business, try new foods (that I will sadly miss), visit other great cities and create long lasting memories that will never be forgotten.

Thank you Dalian and InternChina for the wonderful and unforgettable experience.Unsure of what to expect prior to departure I was naturally nervous about living in a country had never anticipated visiting with a family I had never met, working in a company I knew little about. It took only a couple of days for me to realise how lucky I was and how great the coming weeks would be. My homestay family were extremely hospitable and welcoming showing genuine interest in my life back at home while sharing their own with me. Homecooked meals, ping-pong, meeting relatives and sightseeing where commonly on the agenda keeping me very busy throughout the week as I attended weekly Chinese classes and social events catered by InternChina. The role at my internship left me feeling like a travel blogger as I visited restaurants, parks and sporting events writing about them and interviewing partners to help provide a guided experience of Dalian for foreigners. I was thrown into situations which helped expand my preconceived skill set as our company hosted guided tours of new cities visiting historical landmarks informing our customers as we travelled. Because InternChina attracts students from all over the world it was great to make new friends overseas and connections that will prove useful in the future. The dining, nightlife and KTV across Dalian provided endless entertainment for me and all the friends I made along the way. Months after returning, I am still missing Dalian greatly and cannot wait to visit this beautiful city once more.Before I started my homestay, I was pretty nervous. I’ve never stayed at a homestay before, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. When Jasmine, one of the coordinators for Intern China (who ended up becoming a good friend of mine) told me that I would be staying with a mother and her eight-year-old daughter, “Jia Jia” ( 佳佳 ) I became more excited. I’m a Visual Communication student but I also work part time at an after school care, so I have experience interacting with children.

The first day I met Jennifer and her daughter, I felt nervous. Jennifer was immensely helpful and she helped me carry my luggage to her car. She then took me to a Westernised restaurant where the three of us shared some Italian food. We got to know each other over the dinner and shortly, she introduced me to my room. It was spacious and lovely. I really enjoyed my room as there was plenty of sun light always coming in and had my own desk to work at.

Jennifer was incredibly kind throughout the whole experience. Although she was busy as she is a manager at a European-Chinese company, she would always make an effort to ensure that I was comfortable and enjoyed my stay. Jennifer would often take her daughter and I out to dinner almost every night and I was able to try a variety of different cuisines, particularly “Si Chuan” dinners, which I came to like and now that I am back in Australia, I really miss it as meals were often hot and spicy. She also cooked me “congee” often, which is a traditional Chinese meal made of rice, with a texture similar to porridge. As I had an internship to go to throughout the day and several events during the evenings/nights with other interns, it was sometimes difficult to make time to properly get to know Jennifer. However, going to dinner with Jennifer a few times a week made it easier to connect with her and her daughter. There was a park where they lived. I’m still a child at heart and enjoy the park, so sometimes I would take Jia Jia there and we would play on the swings and horizontal bars.

I was also able to celebrate Jia Jia’s 9th birthday with her, her best friends and Jennifer at a Japanese restaurant at the Pavilion, known as the “柏威年” -a luxurious shopping mall. I also ended up getting really sick with a fever and flu that lasted for about a week. Jennifer took me to see a Chinese doctor two times that week, to get “cupping therapy” and acupuncture. She also gave me Chinese herbal medicine, which I felt really helped. Looking back, I actually do not mind that I became so sick because I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation of Chinese medicine. Going through the sickness also allowed me to appreciate how much time Jennifer took out of her schedule to make sure that I was okay and she never complained about it.

Overall, my experience with homestay has been extraordinary and Jennifer and her daughter always have a place in my heart. They said they were planning to come to Australia in the future and I told them I would happily show them around. I am an only child and I’m glad I was able to experience what it was like to have a little sister for a month. Jennifer stuck by me literally through sickness and health. I will never forget Jennifer and her daughter. I’ve also been taking mandarin classes and China was a country I have been wanting to go to for a while. I was able to practice my Mandarin and it has improved significantly and Jennifer was also able to practice her English too. The day before I left Dalian, we had dinner together at one of my favourite restaurants known as “The tree” at the pavilion. Going to China was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I am grateful for all the people I have met including my homestay family, the staff and the other interns from InternChina and that I was able to experience so much in a short amount of time with everyone, including my Australian friends from Western Sydney University. On top of the homestay, I really enjoyed my internship (Honestly, enjoyed is such an understatement. I absolutely loved it!) I am so grateful for my trip and I cannot wait to see more of the world.After 5 weeks in China I’ve learned a lot of things. One of these things is that it is possible to survive the streets, shops and restaurants merely by pointing at pictures and using translators. However, to enrich the experience I’d strongly recommend doing basic Chinese languages just because of how helpful and fun they have been for me. There is also a strangely comforting feeling when you can understand even just a few words of what people passing by are saying. All the Australian interns who arrived in Dalian have been lucky enough to attend language classes at the Youhou Panda Chinese Learning School. Our classes run on Mondays at 9 am for three hours, and have the same extremely friendly and laid back vibe that we Australians love. We get plenty of breaks and can ask questions whenever we want. Our first lesson was purely focused on pronunciation because of the difficulty most people find with just saying basic Chinese words in a way that people can actually understand. Over several lessons, we started to build up small vocabularies by learning the names for foods, countries and numbers among other topics. In the last few lessons we have learned how to construct basic sentences. However, the most important features of these classes are the basic phrases that can be used in real life conversations and scenarios in China. These may seem trivial but just being able to tell your cab driver where you’re from or ask them how their day is going makes the entire trip seem a little more like home. I’ve recently purchased a language book from the school and intend to keep up my learning when I get back!As apart of our internship with InternChina we were invited to attend a business forum hosted by International Entrepreneurship Corridor (IEC) Dalian. This event was designed to give an insight to the support systems are in place in China, namely Dalian, for starting up entrepreneurial businesses as well as providing some case study examples of successful entrepreneurial business models. Following this we had the opportunity to partake in a Q & A panel and network after the session finished. I should disclaimer right now that I have no interest in establishing my own business here in China or anywhere else in the world, I have other career goals in mind, however, I couldn’t help but be totally intrigued, I really wanted to understand the business framework in China compared to my home country Australia.

The first session was presented by Dr Zain Farooq, Co-Founder of IEC, he provided an insight into IEC and the opportunities it provides to foreigners wanting to establish themselves into the Chinese market. He additionally discussed opportunities and some of the challenges that are expected to be faced when entering the Chinese market. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the support that was provided by IEC and how welcoming local districts were at foreigners establishing businesses locally – although it makes sense if it means locals get employed from it.

The next two sessions were the case study examples of current expat entrepreneurs in Dalian, the first of these was by Matthias Kistler. Matthias is the Founder and Managing Director of ECTD Group which basically is a company with multiple ventures within it, such as beer imports, flooring business and consultancy. Prior to him explaining this he took us through his journey, which in my honest opinion I believe was of more value as it gave us an insight into the uphill battle that one may need to push through to be successful. I gained from this that you should never lose sight of your dream goal, regardless to the obstacles along the way, if you work hard at it you can achieve it! It was also refreshing hearing that what might seen like a devastating moment at that point of time, it will become a value lesson for future endeavours. The second case study was a presentation on a innovative newly developed app W@PP – We Are Party People – which is a social media type app connecting people to various nightlife establishments and events. This was co-delivered by Dr Zain Farooq and Freddie Kalongi, they gave us the background behind why it was developed and the timeline to get it from idea to BETA version.

Wrapping up the night was the Q & A Panel and the networking session, this is where I bloomed. My eager questions were setting the scene about the intricate details of businesses starting up and developing in Dalian China.

Such a worthy event to attend, even if it’s just to pique your interest!Before signing up to complete my internship with InternChina, I had no idea about Dalian. You could say I was pretty sheltered from the globalised development of the city and all the western companies establishing themselves in the local Dalian area. However, this changed (perhaps I’m still a little sheltered though) thanks to InternChina. On one of our activity days we were able to explore ‘behind the scenes’ one particular company Eldor Corporation.

For those who are like me, that is, naïve and uncultured in the vast world of global businesses, Eldor is an Italian company that produces ignition systems, electronic control units and systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. They originally established themselves on the market in 1972  developing transformers for TV units, however, in the mid-90s they predicted that these units would be phased out due to technology advancements, so naturally they did what any smart business would, they invested heavily into research and development, which lead to them transitioning out of TV units and into the automotive industry – apparently this is a logical transition, something to do with the coil wrapping skills (I just smiled and nodded, I don’t see the similarity of cars and TVs but hey I’m a business student).

The site tour started with a presentation on the company, giving us background knowledge of Eldor and what they stand for, plus they gave us an amazing insight to their impressive operations, seriously they are a well-oiled machine, they would be a great case study for ‘how to business right’! After this insight we had the opportunity to see upfront and personal the manufacturing plant, in action! From start to finish we were able to witness and have each stage explained to us. Personally, I have been in plant tours before but none where I was able to be so up close to see each moving part of the process.

All my preconceived judgements were totally wiped, operational processes that are in place ensure efficiency, and should there be a ‘cog’ in the production line that drags down the assembly line then it is analysed and rectified. I was equal parts impressed and moved that they depict transparency, accountability, gender equality (yes I am a feminist, I’m all about equality) and they focus on their environmental impact. Furthermore, the staff have all occupational health and safety requirements catered for and they are provided with a gym and a basketball court – legit can I work for them??

They have a 3 pillar approach dream, passion and technology and detailed company mission, vision and values which is obviously more than just for show (unlike a number of other companies, personal opinion of course). It is genuinely impressive when you see a company’s approach not only displayed as words but also through their actions. It is easy to see why they have received so many rewards and have over 50% market share in Europe and 22% globally. Did I mention in 2015 they transition to an industrial model that led to zero defects with their products – kind of reassuring when their products are going into our cars!

 

Excellence is an art won by training and habitation… We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an art but a habit.

-Aristotle- (a quote that Eldor have in the business framework)Hello from China! A few days ago, on the 25th of June five of us were lucky enough to attend a Chinese calligraphy class. We had finished a big lunch and wondered up to the very top of a beautiful thirty story building. Once we were on the 29th level we entered the school and took a set of stairs even higher to a room that overlooked Dalian’s busy streets. Our teacher proceeded to provide a background on the history and evolution of Chinese characters.   Following this, she brought out a cover for the table and laid out a large piece of paper for each of us. We were shown the correct way to hold the brush, vertically between your ring and middle fingers, while also being shown how to turn water into ink with traditional ink sticks. The next part was very fun as we were all given Chinese names.  We were taught the names of the various strokes and the importance of writing them in the correct stroke order.  Only then were we allowed to put brush to paper! I’m not very much of an artist but I’d like to think that my final attempt didn’t turn out so badly. We then learnt how to say and write I love you, which I got to take a picture of and send to my parents back home. I’m sure the other interns would agree when I say it’s an experience worth having when in Dalian.

How-to Guides

How to budget for living in Taipei

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard that InternChina have started offering yearlong internship placements in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei. You might have even started the application process already! In either case, before you set off on your adventure to this East Asian hub of culture, business and trade, it’s vital to get the answers to a few important questions: is Taipei expensive? What are my average living costs? Will I be able to afford a penthouse in Taipei 101? (Spoiler – probably not!)
The good news for you is, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you budget for living in Taipei, along with some need-to-know money saving tips.

 

taipei skyline

Getting Started

It’s important to bear in mind that Taiwan’s currency is not the same as in Mainland China, and that prices aren’t the same either. Interns can expect to eat out at an inexpensive restaurant in Taipei for around 100-120 NTD per meal, and around 200-350 NTD when they really want to splurge! Like in many capital cities, going out for drinks at a bar can be quite expensive, with a bottle of imported beer or glass of wine costing around 150-200 NTD, and cocktails generally starting at 250 NTD.

Getting confused by all these numbers? The current exchange rates for the NTD (National Taiwan Dollar) are as follows:

£1 GBP = 40 NTD

€1 EURO = 35 NTD

$ 1 CAD = 23 NTD

 

*Exchange rates as of 01/09/2018. To follow any changes, click here.

How much can I expect to spend per week/month?

Not everyone will have the same budget or spending habits. Some of you may be living on a shoestring, others more willing to spend money on home comforts, while some of you may simply find that once you land in Taipei, you just cannot resist going on weekly trips to Beitou Hot Springs or a cup of bubble tea every morning. Read on to see which budget is right for you!

Low Budget for those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new things:

Middle Budget for those who treat themselves to weekly nights out, often come on trips and perhaps buy more western foods:


High Budget for those who aren’t afraid to spend more on cocktail bars, frequent taxis and other luxury items:

Bear in mind that the figures above are all estimates, and the amount each intern spends will vary depending on their personal requirements. It might be reassuring to know, however, that medical care in Taiwan is incredibly cheap – with an ARC (Alien Resident Card), you can see a doctor or dentist for just 150 NTD!

Money Saving Tips ! 

Maybe you’re saving up for that trip to Taroko National Park, making sure you can afford the flight home, or maybe you just need to cut back after one too many trips to the spa. Whatever the case, it can be useful to know where you can draw in the expenditures and save a few extra pennies:

1. Buy a bicycle! For interns living and working in a city as flat and compact as Taipei, the value of having a bike cannot be overstated enough. When you could spend upwards of 1400 NTD per month on metro and bus rides, buying a bicycle early on (used ones can be bought for just 1000 NTD) is a solid investment that will save you loads in the long run.

2. Alternatively, if you don’t want to commit to buying your own bike, or simply don’t have the space to store it, Taipei’s YouBike rental bicycles cost just 10 NTD for every 30 minutes. With a sprawling network of bicycle parking stations spread across the city and close to all the major tourist sites and metro stops, YouBikes are a great, low-cost way to get around.

Images via YouBike and GuideToTaipei

3. Become acquainted with the 便當 biàndāng (literally ‘lunchbox’)! Don’t let its simplicity fool you, this meal of rice, four vegetables and one portion of meat or fish of your choice is served up canteen-style and is great for filling up at a reasonable price! Classic vegetable options include fried aubergine (茄子 qiézi), dried tofu (豆乾 dòugān) and egg-fried tomato (番茄炒蛋 fānqié chǎodàn), and you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of 60 to 80 NTD. For an extra discount, bring your own reusable lunchbox and the cooks typically give you another portion for free (Plus, you can earn some environmental points at the same time)!

mixed cooked vegetables in red lunchbox
Taiwan’s version of the ‘Bento Box’. Image via Formosa

Well, we hope this guide has proved useful! Taipei is a fast-paced, dynamic and multicultural city that rewards those who choose to settle down longer than the average traveller. A new culinary delight can be discovered daily on Taipei’s street corners and there are enough creative, trendy boutiques to satisfy any seasoned shopper, but with any luck, using the guidelines we’ve laid out here, you won’t go breaking the bank just yet.

To discover more about InternChina’s exciting new programme in Taipei, click here.

For more information about life in Taiwan’s bustling capital city, click here.

All You Need to Know

Taipei – Everything you need to know

Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan, it is situated in the north of the island in the so-called Taipei Basin; mountain ranges filled with hot springs surround the city. The city’s appropriate name literally means “north of Taiwan”. Central Taipei is home to nearly 2.7 million people, has an area of 271.8 sq. km and is rich in leisure and recreation, cultural arts, heritage sites, and other attractions, it enjoys a superb geographical position and world renowned transportation networks and an comfortable climate all year round.
In many ways this 300-year-old city is like a living museum. The Taoist temples buzz with the prayers of the hopeful; the wooden boards of Japanese-era mansions creak under the feet of visitors; and the pilfered treasures in the National Palace Museum date back 5000 years. Merchant villas to military barracks have been restored, reworked and now live again as a museum or a shopfront. From the heirlooms of a tea merchant to the memories of a cemetery for the victims of the White Terror, Taipei is a city that takes great pride in celebrating its history.
When you zoom in on Taipei, there are a lot of landmarks to be found. The most famous one is definitely Taipei 101, which is officially known as the Taipei International Financial Center. This skyscraper with 101 floors is one of the world’s tallest structures. It dominates the city’s skyline, rising up from between the rest of the buildings like a giant bamboo stick

Placement programme

You can choose from our wide array of placement companies based on your sector preference. InternChina will conduct a short interview with you then introduce you to prospective host companies for an internship interview. Should you be successful, InternChina will send the booking form for you to confirm your placement.
View our list of placement companies here
The companies will treat you like a full member of staff, the Taiwanese work hard and are very hospitable to foreign students. You will be immersed in the local culture and working environment for a rich learning experience. Not only will you learn about your chosen field but more importantly about how to do business in an international environment, out of your comfort zone, with InternChina supporting you all the way!

Timeframe

From September 2017 onwards, for placements of 6-12 months. Just let us know your ideal timeframe and we will approach the potential placement companies with your requirements to find the ones which can accommodate you.
InternTaiwan will assist you to get a visa which allows you to work and be paid for any duration up to 12 months. This is included in our price.

Accommodation

We will assist you in sourcing and renting a room in a shared apartment with other western professionals or local Taiwanese (your choice!) or a studio apartment all to yourself following these steps:
+ Outline your preferences for the apartment
+ We will suggest a short list of potential matches which suit your preferences and placement location (shown to you before arrival)
+ Upon arrival we will accompany you to visit the matching apartments until you have chosen one which you like
+ InternChina will help you with the contract and offer advice should there be any problems

Rent in Taipei varies between districts and duration but you should budget around £200 – £300 per month for a bedroom in a shared apartment.

Apply now to find out more about our placement programme in Taipei – https://internchina.com/placements/

Taipei has many districts all with their own unique feel: Xinyi is the modern business hub where Taipei 101 is located with lots of nice restaurants and shops, Ximending feels more like a cool Japanese shopping area with lots of people in crazy outfits, lots of bustling shops and street performers. If you venture south east you get to the more rural parts of the city, this is where the pandas are, the mountain cable cars and the tea terraces. West of the city is the more traditional part, where you can find lots of temples, museums and ancient streets to explore. And in the north you can ride the metro all the way to the beach… It really is a city with something for everyone!
Taipei has two main airports. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is the largest airport in Taiwan, serving 42.3 million passengers in 2016. It even has direct flights to mainland Europe, the UK, the US, and more. The other airport, Taipei Songshan Airport, has mainly domestic flights.
Over 3 million tourists visit Taipei every year, making it the world’s 15th most visited city. Taipei has an extensive metro system that makes it easy to get around the city. The bus system is world famous and taxis are also quite cheap.

The Tropic of Cancer runs straight through the middle of Taiwan, bringing with it tropical and subtropical weather. Taipei has a similar climate to our other destination city – Zhuhai. Taipei usually presents an average temperature of 22C (71.6F) all year round. There is no severe cold in winter, but the weather in summer is very hot with high humidity.

During winter, the island experiences continental high pressure systems from Mongolia and Siberia, and is influenced primarily by the northeastern monsoon climate. The coldest months in Taipei are from January to March with the lowest temperatures going to about 10C (50F). Sometimes, in rare cases, you can see snow on the high mountains.
In summer, the island’s weather is controlled by the marine high pressure system formed above the Pacific Ocean, with a humid, southwestern monsoon climate. The hottest months are from June to August with the highest temperature up to around 38C (100F).
Taiwan has a naturally humid climate. June to October is the typhoon season in Taiwan, with plenty of brief showers and rainfall. So don’t forget to bring your umbrella!

Taipei is already a bustling city during the day, but it’s night when the atmosphere really gets exciting. The city is famous for its mazes of street vendors that offer an enticing range of snacks and delicacies. Here’s some delicious foods you can try:

BEEF NOODLES

This staple of Taiwanese cuisine can be found almost anywhere in Taipei. The dish combines slow-cooked beef in stock drenched over handmade noodles. The soy sauce and five spices give it irresistible aroma and taste.

SHRIMPS

Arguably the most popular fish dish in Taipei, there are even restaurants around which let you fish for your own shrimps and then barbeque them for you!

BUBBLE TEA

Surely you have tried this fun drink, but did you know it is from Taiwan? Allegedly invented out of boredom by a Taiwanese vendor in 1988, this delicious drink combines the tea with sweet, chewy tapioca pudding balls.

LIU SHA FRITTER

Imagine this as a Taiwanese donut. It is a sweet, fried bun filled with silky, gold custard. A nice snack or desert that can be found in any night market.

FRIED BEEF ROLL

Comparable to a Western ‘wrap’ and yet beyond compare, this roll is made of crispy pancake filled with braised beef and vegetables, all brought together with a the slightly-sweet taste of black bean sauce.

Taipei has been a place of major importance in Taiwan as early as the Qing Dynasty, and continued to be so under Japanese rule from 1895-1945. However, it gained more prominence after 1949 when the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan near the end of the Chinese Civil War. Ever since then, Taipei has been a major city both domestically and globally as the capital of the Republic of China.

NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM

When Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the Chinese Civil War, they brought along boatloads of priceless artifacts. Now home to nearly 700,000 pieces of Chinese artifacts and artwork, Taipei’s National Palace Museum is one of the richest treasure troves of ancient Chinese culture and history in the world. The Chiang Kai Shek memorial is also a sight to behold!

TAIPEI NIGHT MARKETS

One of numerous night markets in Taipei, Shilin is the biggest and most famous. This massive cluster of food streets offers a diverse range of tasty snacks including smelly tofu, ice cream spring rolls, soup dumplings, and more. For any foodie out there, this locale is a must-eat.

BEITOU HOT SPRINGS

As Taiwan is an island formed by volcanic activity, there is an abundance of beautiful mountains and natural hot springs. Perhaps the most popular in Taipei is Beitou Hot Springs, which provides world class hot springs to relax and feel rejuvenated. If you want more of an adventure you can travel to Yangmingshan national park to see the real volcanic hot springs.

TAIPEI ZOO

Taipei zoo is world famous and has its very own Panda base. Entrance is very cheap (approx. £1) and you can see animals from all over the world including the red Pandas and the black and white Pandas.

MAOKONG MOUNTAIN

Situated next to Taipei zoo, Maokong mountain hosts a multitude of sights and attractions, including tea terraces, ancient towns, temples and beautiful tea houses. Hike up the mountain if you like or take one of the cities new glass bottomed cable cars to cruise to the top. The best part of the mountain however has got to be the stunning panoramic views of the city.

FULONG BEACH

If you ride the metro to the most northern end of the line you will find yourself at one of Taiwans many awesome beaches – Fulong.
Fulong is a long sprawling beach with a temple at one end with lots of hill top bike trails surrounding.These are just a few of the many awesome attractions in Taipei, for more information and to find out what else there is to do, stay tuned for our next blog!
Don’t forget, Taipei is only a small part of Taiwan… The island is full of exciting places to visit and things to do, all easily accessible by train!

In Taiwan, they speak a form of Mandarin that is similar to the mainland, but has a few differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. The most marked difference for those able to read and write Chinese, however, is the writing system! While the mainland has been using simplified characters for decades now, Taiwan maintains usage of traditional characters, which illustrates its strong ties to traditional Chinese culture. For the old-school sinologists out there, Taipei is the place to go!

READY TO BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT PROGRAMME IN TAIPEI? HIT THE BUTTON BELOW!

OR IF YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT OUR OTHER PLACEMENT PROGRAMME IN CHENGDU… CLICK HERE!

 

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Taipei’s Climate

The Tropic of Cancer runs straight through the middle of Taiwan bringing with it tropical and subtropical weather. Taipei has a similar climate to our other destination city – Zhuhai. Taipei usually presents an average temperature of 22C (71.6F) all year round. There is no severe cold in winter, but the weather in summer is very hot with high humidity.
During winter, the island experiences continental high pressure systems from Mongolia and Siberia, and is influenced primarily by the northeastern monsoon climate. The coldest months in Taipei are from January to March with the lowest temperature to about 10C (50F). Sometimes, in rare cases, you can see snow on the high mountains.
In summer, the island’s weather is controlled by the marine high pressure system formed above the Pacific Ocean, with a humid, southwestern monsoon climate. The hottest months are from June to August with the highest temperature up to around 38C (100F).

Taiwan has a naturally humid climate. June to October is the typhoon season in Taiwan, with plenty of brief showers and rainfall. So don’t forget to bring your umbrella!

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