大家好！ Hello everyone, my name is Subin and I am from South Korea. I’ve begun my internship at the fabulous InternChina Chengdu office and I would like to share my story with you!
Having an ambitious and brave mom, I had to travel with her around the world, experience the cultural differences and learn different languages since I was a kid. I left my home country when I was 10.
Among the countries I have visited, China was the country I missed the most. The fantastic landscape, the delicious food and beautiful memories I had with my local friends brought me back to China.
The China in my memory and the China that I am living in now
I was pleasantly surprised by the changes in China: it has developed so fast in the few years I’ve been away! The life here has become so much easier with applications like Wechat and Zhifubao (Mobile Payment App). But the food is still extremely delicious and the local people are as welcoming as before.
Taobao is the best invention ever. We can buy everything on this application at the most unbelievable prices. If you come to China, try to not get addicted to it, because I already am!
The decision to come back to China was a turning point for me: from the timid daughter who followed and listened to her mom to the grown-up who makes decision by her own and is responsible for them. Therefore, nowadays my life is full of adventures and I love it!
My name is Zachary Black and I am from York in the North of England. Although I pride myself on being Yorkshire born and bred, I have been very fortunate to travel a lot. Having frequently visited South-East Asia as a child, it is safe to say that I have always had an affinity with this part of the world.
My passion for Asian culture led me to my study of Mandarin at Newcastle University along with Spanish, Catalan and Business. As part of my BA at Newcastle, our year abroad was spent at a partner university in China in order to improve our language skills. This proved to be a life-changing 12 months for myself and has in fact led me to being here at InternChina today. Living in Shanghai ignited my passion for the way of life in China and was the driving force behind me studying mandarin for a further year after completing my BA.
After returning home in the summer of 2017, I found myself itching to get back to the middle kingdom and was fortunate enough to secure this fantastic opportunity with InternChina which is only just beginning. Although Chengdu is completely different to Shanghai, there have been a few elements that have pleasantly surprised me – Not just the Pandas !. For example, there is an unparalleled emphasis on the slow-paced rhythm of life here with people just seemingly going with the flow and taking a more ‘laid-back’ approach to life. This is definitely a welcomed release from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, and even the UK sometimes.
My First Impressions
I have been overwhelmed by how friendly people have been here which has helped me settle in my short time here. One further aspect of life here so far which I am enjoying is the food, Chengdu has definitely justified being selected as a global gastronomic site by UNESCO. The juxtaposition of 火锅-‘hotpot’ and 串儿 – ‘anything possible on a stick’ is complimented wonderfully by an array of western restaurants for that occasional change of cusine .
My time in Chengdu has already pushed me out of my comfort zone, yet I am more than committed to welcoming the InternChina participants here to China. I feel lucky to be experiencing life in a fantastic part of the world whilst further improving my mandarin. I can’t wait to see what the next few months hold, so all that is left to say is “加油”－Let’s go !
Interested in Changing your life ? – Apply now !
Bai Jiu is the drink of choice for many Chinese. Usually, consumed with dinner to a round of « GanBei! » So what better way to celebrate St Patrick’s day than by getting to know a little more about the history of this treasured Chinese beverage.
Arriving at the museum we were instantly impressed by the seemingly ancient doors which opened up onto a large dark space. It was here we met our tour guide, Tony, who would impart all his knowledge onto us. The history, culture and production process were all meticulously explained to us making for a fantastic tour.
Inside the first room was a model village representing the area of the city where the factory/museum is located. From looking at the model village, you could gain a greater understanding of how life would’ve been in Chengdu over 500 years ago by seeing the factory standing in its historic surroundings, unlike the metropolis which surrounds it today.
After a brief introduction to the history and Shui Jing Fang in Chengdu, we were taken into a next building. Through the doors, we could smell the pungent aroma of fermenting grains. It was in this next building where we saw the fermentation pits, each pit 3m long by 2m wide and 2m deep. This fermentation process lasts for 3 months with the temperature monitored to ensure the process has been completed before the grains are unearthed.
The tour continued as we were then shown the process of condensing the vapour from the grains. This technique has been unchanged for hundreds of years, similar to the whole process used at Shui Jing Fang. The different stages of the condensing period result in different alcohol concentration and therefore flavours.
It is the job of the master blender to make sure all the bottles of Shui Jing Fang taste the same. This highly coveted job is passed from generation to generation and a list of all the master blenders can be found in the museum. Shui Jing Fang is currently in their eighth generation of blenders, now training their ninth.
It was at this point we were then taken to the tasting room. Greeted by a lady in a medical lab coat and 2 little tasting glasses. We were told one had been aged and another hadn’t. Both glasses were over 70% alcohol purity and it was immediately clear that the aged baijiu had a more fragrant flowery flavour whilst the unaged baijiu was nothing but a deep burn.
All in all, we had a fantastic day out. Learning the process of how to make Baijiu as well as learning some history and culture.
Inspired to experience Chinese culture for yourself? Apply Now!
This weekend in Chengdu we went to the Giant Panda Base.
After “warm tips” to go as early as possible before the big crowds we arrived at 8:30 am. Upon entering the Giant Panda Base you’re immediately struck by the serenity and beauty. The whole area contains 16 different enclosures all containing pandas. The largest number of panda’s in captivity can be seen here with over 113 panda’s being born at the base since it opened in 1998.
When we first saw a panda in the base we were amazed, they are truly special creatures. The first panda we saw was sat in his dinner – literally surrounded by bamboo. We watched him for a long time slowly eating his way through the mountain of food that surrounded him.
Everywhere we turned we could see pandas. Some climbing to the tops of tall trees, others laying back relaxing. The pandas seemed to be enjoying themselves snapping off bamboo and some even playing with each other.
We then headed to see the red panda’s, whilst not as famous as the giant panda’s, their little red cousins are still adorably cute. The red pandas were much more active running around climbing trees and playing.
After seeing the animals and exploring the park we headed to the Museum for some more facts on pandas. Learning that the base has improved the survival rate of twins from 50% to 100% as in the wild mothers discard the weaker of twins, there is also a 50% chance of a panda having twins so this has helped to greatly increase the population.
All in all, we had a fantastic time. Seeing the panda’s was definitely on everyone’s to do list whilst here in Chengdu and it did not disappoint.
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’m Martin, a new Marketing intern at the InternChina Qingdao office. It’s my second time in China – I love this country ! I am also quite interested in fashion and the concept of counterfeits.
Before I came to China, I knew that China was infamous for its counterfeit items. In many countries and even in France, where I come from, the local authorities are working hard to reduce the amount of available counterfeit items. But the first time I came to China in 2016 in Nanjing, I was impressed how easy is it to find fake things and how it is displayed shamelessly by market seller on streets or in mall, or by people. Sometimes there can be some great high-quality fakes, sometimes there can be some really terrible fakes. Look at these Abibas and New-Barlun branded shoes ! Or this Abiboss sweatshirt (a great mix between Hugo Boss and Abibas brand) and this CEANHL bag, interesting Anagram.
Where can I find fake branded things?
You can find these fakes everywhere ! You can find them on the internet on sites like Taobao, in souvenir shops, and also in big markets. In these places, you need to bargain. While you can find these markets all over China, I will talk about the ones I know in Shanghai, where you can meet so many foreigners eager to find cheap fakes. In Shanghai, so many French visitors come to the market that some sellers have even learnt how to say the prices in French ! The starting price can be as much as five times higher than the true value of the item.
What products can be counterfeit?
Well-known and luxury brands are often imitated – you can find a lot of fake Louis Vuitton and Chanel products. You can also find fake tech, including cheap Beats by Dre and even fake smartphones ! There have been copies of the Apple iPhone called Goophone on the market. Even worse, in 2011, a string of fake Apple stores were found across China. In the same vein, in Qingdao, i’ve seen a lots of fake branded shops, in a mall that seemed normal, like a lot of copy of Polo brand. Or a Enzo shop. (Just one K and its ok)
Shan Zhai (山寨)
This trend of counterfeit products is not just a few sellers in markets. It can be considered a serious business model here in Chins. Due to a mix of history, culture and a pragmatic economy, business based on fake and pirated products has its own name in Chinese : shanzhai. The Shan Zhai model works thanks to more than 60% of Chinese people living in rural areas that are imitating the consumption trend in urban areas. This model has allowed some companies to break into a new market. For example, we can talk about Tencent’s QQ instant messaging service which is a carbon copy of the Israeli messaging service ICQ. Now, QQ is one of the most popular instant messaging services in China, and floated on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2004. Indeed, it is for some companies a way to start with nothing by pushing down the cost of R&D and then implement new features to existing products to better fit the local needs and expectations. Some people defend the Shan Zhai model, saying it brings economic and social benefits by providing customer more choice at lower price. Foreign companies complain about the lack of strict rules concerning property rights in China, and trying to push Chinese governments to strengthen their control over counterfeit.
If you are interested to visit fake markets and experience China, don’t hesitate: https://internchina.com/apply/
Living in China is all about trying various Chinese dishes from different parts of country, exploring new tastes and coming back to places where the food is outstanding. But sometimes we miss Western food, whether it is food from our own country or from another. Thanks to a large number of foreigners in most of China’s major cities, we can enjoy Western cuisine from different countries in many restaurants. Today, I want to introduce you some of the best (based on foreigners’ taste buds) Western restaurants in Dalian. Let’s start!
Brooklyn Bar and Restaurant 布鲁克林西餐厅 (Bùlǔkè lín xī cāntīng)
This place consists of everything what is called “Western food”. The menu combines modern creative and traditional authentic American food in a Brooklyn – styled restaurant. There, you can taste fresh home-made bread, sauces and sausages. Western atmosphere is maintained by the American owner – Wayne and English-speaking staff.
184 Bulao Jie Xigang District, Wanda Huafu 2nd floor, north of Huanghe Road, Dalian
Indian Hut 印度人家餐厅 (Yìn duó rénjiā cāntīng)
Indian Hut with authentic Indian food prepared by an Indian chief. In this restaurant you can feel like in India not only by the food but also because of the décor. The menu has English and photos, so if you are not familiar with Indian food and the names do not tell you anything, you can choose by looking, though we “eat with our eyes”!
Kaisa Plaza B1, Tianjin Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Here we can find European food, not only from Denmark but also Italian pizza and variety of other European dishes. This is a place good for brunch as well as for dinner, and their choice of desserts is mouth watering!
111 Tian Jin Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Blue Frog 蓝蛙 (Lán wā)
Famous among Dalian Ex pats as well as Locals for its burgers and cocktails but offers much more dishes from American cuisine. The restaurant has a really tempting offer buy one – get one free on burgers and drinks on Monday afternoon and DIY drinks during happy hour.
L40445 Pavilion Shopping Centre 4F, 129-3 Zhongshan Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Al Bacio 那之吻匹萨 (Nà zhī wěn pǐ sà)
Al Bacio is the most well – known for its real Italian pizza baked in the wood stove but it also has many kinds of Italian pasta and starters. You can combine the food with an Italian wine or freshly made fruit juice. The nice thing about the restaurant is that the kitchen is separated from the dining hall by glass wall, so the customers can watch their food being prepared.
No. 1, Floor 2, Unit 1, 375 Jiefang Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Lenbach Restaurant & Bar 兰巴赫 (Lán Bāhè)
Restaurant offers German cuisine specialities in Dalian. Lenbach’s flagship dish is a traditional German sausage platter with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. To enjoy your meal to the fullest it is best to have it with a pint of German craft beer.
L4030 Pavilion Shopping Centre 4F, 129-3 Zhongshan Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Friday 星期五餐吧 (Xīngqíwǔ cān ba)
As Dalian was under Russian rule for a significant period of time in its history, there is much Russian heritage in the city. Besides many Russian accents in Dalian’s architecture, also places with Russian cuisine can be found. In Friday you can not only eat delicious Russian food but also feel the climate of Russia by the interior décor of the place.
208 Bulao Street, Xigang District, Dalian
Aux Petits Plaisirs 小乐趣 (Xiǎo lèqù)
Authentic French restaurant in Dalian with an energetic owner-chef Julien who prepares mouth watering meals as well as maintains friendly atmosphere, so the guests can feel at home. The restaurant has an interesting wine cellar to which guests can have access.
43 Zehui Road, Shahekou District, Dalian
Euro – Bake 欧倍客 (Ōu bèi kè)
Cosy cafe & bakery in the heart of Labour Park – one of Dalian’s best attractions. Great for a bit of rest after walk in this lovely park or time spent on carousels and ferry wheel (underneath which it is located). Euro – Bake is famous for its wide range of cakes, pizza and bread followed by delicious coffee.
5 Jiefang Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian (inside the Labour Park)
Want to check out Dalian’s Western restaurants? Why not Apply Now!
In Chengdu this weekend we took a short trip out the city to explore Qing Cheng Shan. This mountain has 2 different area’s. The front mountain, a more touristy location and the back mountain, for serious hikers! We headed for the back mountain!
After arriving on the train we took a short bus ride to the start of the trail for the back mountain. Upon entering the back mountain area you immediately enter Tai’an Ancient Town. This area is full of old-style buildings serving tea, meals and snacks. The contrast between the old style buildings and bright neon lights was quite a spectacle.
We then crossed a river on a very wobbly bridge and started our ascent. The climb is not for the weak with thousands upon thousands of stairs leading the way to the top of the mountain. The scenery is stunning with waterfalls and rainforest like jungle surrounding the pathway. After about 2 hours of climbing, we reached an impassable lake. Luckily there was a boat to take us across. In similar fashion to a Venetian gondola, we were punted across the water to carry on our climb.
After a further two hours of climbing, we reached the top and the White Cloud Shrine. At the shrine were Buddhist monks offering to engrave your name on a medal to commemorate your ascent. As well as many people burning incense and offerings. We spent an hour here relaxing and enjoying our lunch.
It was at this point we planned our route back down. We looked at the map and chose the red route. Little did we know that red meant treachery and difficulty. This way down was a test. Steep steps. Wobbly wooden planks. A challenge. Our descent was nervy and exhilarating.
After we reached the end of the red path we headed into a jungle-like valley with beautiful waterfalls and scenery. This area featured planked walkways hanging onto the sides of the valley. This area was truly beautiful. The constant sound of waterfalls and the overhanging shrubbery created a peaceful atmosphere.
Upon our return to Tai’an Ancient Town, we enjoyed some tea by the river and a game of cards. Before we knew it it was time to return to the hustle and bustle of Chengdu.
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On Friday 23rd February we were awarded the Department for International Trade’s “Greater China Education Links Award” for the second year running. When I posted the good news on LinkedIn, the post was pretty popular and I was so happy to see people congratulating us. I also realised that a lot of people probably didn’t realise that we entered these awards or know much about what they represent. I thought I’d do a blog to talk about the awards, explain the basis for our entry and give some much-needed thanks to the people who made it possible.
I think it’s fair to say that the North of England Greater China awards is pretty niche! It just so happens to be our niche! The awards form part of a fantastic annual event held at the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays, which celebrates the Chinese New Year and brings together organisations in the North of England who work with China. The Northern Powerhouse is rapidly increasing it’s links in Greater China and the achievements of organisations at the forefront of this trend are celebrated at the event, which comprises a welcome reception, dinner and awards ceremony.
The evening is a fantastic way to meet new people with a shared interest in China and meet up with some of our existing partners from institutions such as DIT, CBBC, Manchester China Forum and universities such as UCLan and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Our entry was based on the following key areas in which InternChina has excelled during the Year of the Rooster:
- Growth of our team, adding 6 new members in 2017
- 60% revenue increase year-on-year
- 585 participants placed in China in 2017
- Continuing to deliver programmes for the British Council
- 70% of our UK participants in 2017 came from low-income families as part of our government and university funded programmes
- In 2017 we will delivered a large-scale programme fully funded by Education New Zealand
- During 2018 we will deliver funded programmes for UK universities worth over £250,000
- Raised £2,000 for Zhuhai Autism Society and CPAZ Zhuhai charities
- Developing innovative procedures and best practice related to supporting participants with mental health difficulties
The winners of this year’s awards were:
A special award was presented to Gerry Yeung OBE DL. He received The Recognition Award, for his work in supporting commercial, educational, charitable and cultural links between the North West and China.
After a phenomenally good experience with Cathay Pacific last year, I am very grateful to Keith Harrison and his team for their generous prize again this year. The direct service from Manchester to Hong Kong is a travel geek’s dream – the timings are perfect, the plane on the route is brand new, the service is top-notch and the lounge in Hong Kong is like a 5* hotel.
Unfortunately, only myself and my wife Helen were able to enjoy the awards evening in Manchester, but the way we’re going, we might have to book a table next year and bring some more of our team along! Our awards entry was based upon the hard work and achievements our team have made in China over the past 10 years. I am so proud of our fantastic team who have helped to deliver our programmes in China and build meaningful partnerships in order to fund the experience for young people. I’ll make sure I tag everyone on LinkedIn when I share this blog, cheesy as this will sound… the award belongs to you guys!