How I ended up in the “City of Ice”
As a student of Business Management and Mandarin, I had to make a choice of city in China for my year abroad. The year abroad, in my case, consists of two components: one year study and a two month internship. I decided early that I wanted to study in one city and do an internship in a different city, for different experiences.
North vs South
Originally, I was very keen on studying in a city in the southern part of China, for many reasons that include: climate, food, proximity to the sea, and much more. As a Portuguese person, I searched for a similar place to go to (and to make the cultural shock a little less noticeable!), However, it went a little different than expected (in a good way!).
I applied and was accepted for a one-year Confucius institute full scholarship in Harbin! The coldest city in China! This peculiar city in northeast China fulfilled my main criteria which was: must have majority Mandarin speakers, who speak in a standard way. My other criteria: I will study in a city where English is remotely spoken, so that I can have the best learning experience. I stuck to these two important criteria and must say, had a great experience learning Mandarin in Harbin.
How I ended up in the “City of romance”
When it came to apply for my internship, Zhuhai was already on my mind. I wanted a place different from Harbin. I wanted to feel the warmth of the sun again, and so I did for two months in the lovely city of Zhuhai. As expected these two cities are extremes in so many categories, that some may ask “Why did you go to Zhuhai/Harbin?”.
Let’s talk about some of those differences:
For those who aren’t familiar with Harbin, it’s a city located in Heilongjiang Province right at the top right corner of China, bordering Russia’s Siberia. So, one can imagine just how cold it is. Harbin’s winter lasts about 6 months reaching minimum’s of – 40 º C. Harbin is, in fact “the City of Ice”, famous for it’s ice buildings and statues and icy festivals. Moreover, it’s important to point out, Russian entrepreneurs who wanted to recreate their motherland, built the Harbin of today. So its buildings are very Russian, in the way they look, but with Chinese banners. It’s this odd combination that makes it such a peculiar city, interesting on the foreign eye.
Zhuhai is the complete opposite. The buildings are tall, and mostly dark grey and white. While it sounds depressing, it goes well with the city’s landscape. Zhuhai is relaxing on the eye, because it is a mixture of human landscape and nature. Wherever you go you’re sure to see trees, bushes, anything that screams Nature.
Beifang’s food (North China) and Nanfang’s food (South China) is completely different. Not only that, but also it varies according to the region.
Harbin’s food is delicious, flavored and mostly fried. But I couldn’t understand why most food was fried. Until a teacher explained that due to the extreme cold weather in Harbin, there was a preference for oil-based food (it will heat your body and help fight coldness). Zhuhai’s food is light, flavored and with a lot more vegetable side dishes. Both are not too spicy, so both Harbin and Zhuhai’s food are very delicious.
That was, for me, the biggest difference between the two. While in Harbin, Chinese people tend to be more amazed whenever they see a foreigner for the first time. Nevertheless they are very welcoming and overall very curious about the countries we come from. They may even ask for a picture.
Zhuhai’s people may also be amazed, but are much more relaxed when meeting foreigners. Overall, I found that a large portion of people in Zhuhai can speak basic english while no one in Harbin could. I imagine the proximity to both Macau and Hong Kong, two ex-colonies and now special administrative regions (SAR) played an important role in this.
Harbin and Zhuhai are two very different cities in so much more aspects other than the one’s I have listed. That is the fun part and makes my first time in China so special. I highly recommend visiting both north and south china and deciding which one provides for the the most enjoyable experience.
Arriving in a totally different country can be confusing more many people, both culturally and professionally. Some difficulties will be there, but after 3 months in China I can say that the first 2 weeks were the richest weeks of discovery and experience!
The difficulties encountered during this period not only allow us to develop our problem-solving skills but also make the experience even more exciting!
Before You Arrive
Of course, to avoid some problems on your arrival, it’s sensible to take some steps before your departure:
- Check the dates of your visa to buy your plane tickets. You must always return to your country at least 2 days before the end of the visa.
- Tell your bank about your departure dates and your destination so that your card does not get blocked once in China, which could be very inconvenient! In addition, do not forget to consult your bank regarding withdrawal limits and payment fees. In China you do not pay with your credit card everywhere, you often have to withdraw. Note: with a Visa card, you can’t withdraw from all bank ATMs China.
- Purchase a VPN. Without this, many Western sites will no longer be accessible and it is difficult to download a VPN in China (without access to Google & Google play!)
- Download Baidu, Baidu Maps and Baidu Translate.
- Check the weather in your chosen city to know what to pack, to avoid suffering from cold/ heat and having to buy clothes once you arrive!
- Tip! If you want to control your expenses, do not hesitate to download a currency converter on your phone.
Your First Two Weeks in China
Remember that any problems or difficulties you encounter in China will always have a solution!
I will now quote some of the “classic” difficulties that you will encounter during your first 2 weeks in China, and explain how to overcome these in a simple way!
Lost on the way to your internship?
- On your first trip to work with one of the InternChina members, take pictures of the bus stop / buildings as a landmark.
- Plan the trip on BaiduMaps. You can find a quick tutorial here!
- Contact InternChina if you are really lost or unsure about your orientation. We are here to help you!
Not sure what to do in the office? Very busy colleagues?
- Do some research on the market, the competition and make a list of the new vocabulary you encounter.
- You can then impress your colleagues and managers with your knowledge and show that you are thirsty to learn and be involved!
- Ask what is expected of you and the tasks you will need perform – the Chinese appreciate and encourage proactivity among their employees
Having problems with the language barrier?
- Explain that you are a little “rusty” in the morning (no coffee yet!).
- Ask them to clearly write their request so that you do not forget.
Do not worry, over time you will learn to understand the different accents of your colleagues!
If English isn’t your first language, are you shy because you are not confident?
- Don’t underestimate your English skills and don’t be discouraged. Your English will gradually improve over time and you will become confident very quickly!
- Remember, youu will not be the only non native-English speaker on the spot!
- Feel free to express your lack of confidence if you want to be reassured.
- Nobody will judge you, on the contrary! People are aware that it is not easy for you to start and that you need time to adapt.
Do you have trouble making yourself understood by taxi drivers?
- Take BaiduMaps (tutorial!) and ask your colleagues a few well-known places in the city.
- Add these places to your BaiduMaps favorites and learn to pronounce them in Chinese!
Believe me, this is a good workout! After 2 or 3 tries, the driver will understand you and you will be on your way to independence!
You do not know where to exchange your foreign currency for RMB?
- Simplest option: do this directly upon your arrival in China (at the airport or port). Currency exchange counters will be present.
- If not, ask one of the members of InternChina, they will know how to answer you for sure.
Some counters offer cheap exchange rates, it is sometimes better to compare before making a choice. For advice, contact our team!
Want to meet new people?
- Whether you live in an apartment or a homestay, don’t hesitate to join our dinners on Thursday evening and our activities or trips on weekends. Find out more about our services in Zhuhai here and Qingdao here.
- The other interns also want to make new friends, so don’t be shy! Add the other IC members on WeChat (Wechat tutorial) and get to know them!
- The outings between trainees are numerous, you’ll have many opportunities!
What to eat at the restaurant?
Going to a restaurant can be intimidating when the local language is unknown to us and we can not read or speak it! Fortunately, there are some useful tips:
- If the menu is written exclusively in Chinese and you can not read it, refer to the images to choose your dish.
- If you want to know what you are eating and are ready to learn some basics, here is a very useful blog on how to read a Chinese menu!
I hope these few tips will help you get a glimpse of what awaits you in China and have reassured you about your potential! With some effort, it’s quite possible to overcome any difficulties you may encounter during your first 2 weeks in China. You will come out of this experience bigger and more independent than ever! And don’t forget, our team is available 24 hours a day to answer any problem!
Ready to embark on the InternChina adventure? Click here!
As you may know, in China food is one of the most important things! Indeed, sharing a meal is a social opportunity that is loved across China. However, reading a Chinese menu can seem intimidating.
At InternChina we love food too – check out this blog in order to know more about how we help you to explore Chinese cuisine. If you have never tried Chinese food before, don’t worry, you’ll definitely experience this soon enough!
And fear not, this article is here to hopefully help you understand a Chinese menu, so you can order yourself and impress your Chinese colleagues and friends!
The Chinese language may appear to be the most difficult language in the world at first, as we are not used to the Chinese characters. But don’t be intimidated! This ancient language is following a certain logic – as soon as you understand the logic, you’ll be able to read a Chinese menu without a doubt!
To avoid giving you a long history lesson, let’s just say that originally all Chinese characters were created using pictures, and were developed into the calligraphic style that we see today through several different steps.
History of Chinese Characters
Let me show you the evolution of the Chinese character for “horse” – if you don’t want to order this kind of dish, just look for it in a Chinese menu!
Now that you can understand how the Chinese characters work, just use your imagination and it will be way easier to read a menu! Let me show you some examples of the main ingredients you’ll find in a Chinese menu.
Meat on the Menu
These are basically the most common kinds of meat you’ll find on a menu in China. While horse meat isn’t that popular, in some places donkey meat is! Therefore, for donkey meat dishes you will have the character for horse, and one other symbol that looks similar to the tall ears of the donkey! So a donkey is a horse with tall ears, easy to remember- right? Can you find two more very similar characters? When you understand that the Chinese language is logic, it seems less and less hard, right?
After most of those characters in a Chinese menu you’ll see “肉-rou” that means “meat”.
Vegetables on the Menu
Obviously, the Chinese language can’t always be explained by pictures, but you can still see the logic behind the characters.
Let’s look at “potato” as an example. “Tu” means “earth“, and “dou” means “bean“. A potato is a bean that comes from the earth – easy!
Another interesting story can be found with “tomato.” Tomatoes weren’t originally found in China, they were imported. So in the Chinese name for tomato we have: “Xi” meaning “West“, “Hong” meaning “Red“, and “Shi” meaning “Persimmons“. Can you guess why? Because a tomato looks like a “red-persimmon imported from the West”! Clever, right?
“Bai” means “white” and “Cai” means vegetable, so the white vegetable is also know as the delicious Chinese cabbage! The easiest way to remember a Chinese character is to make a story from the shape of the character, or ask your Chinese friends to explain the character to you!
These are the main characters you’ll see in the dishes, so you’ll see if you are going to eat soup or some noodles.
Just one thing to remember about rice, restaurants commonly use “米饭” or just “饭” – character FAN– for rice. And a funny tip about “egg”- “dan” means egg, but in Chinese you’ll always call it a “Chicken egg”.
For the soup “tang” can you see the three dots on the left hand-side ? Looks like drops of water, right? Exactly! That’s the way of describing an object or dish with water inside, so now you all know that there is water in the soup now!
Our Favourite Dishes
Now that we’ve showed you the main characters you’ll see in a Chinese menu, let’s give you some more tips and the names of our favourite dishes!
These might take some more imagination to remember, as it won’t be as easy as the characters for various animals which were very close to the actual picture of the animal. However, these cards will be super useful while reading a Chinese menu. And, you can also show them in the restaurants if you can’t find them on the Chinese menu!
Don’t hesitate to choose those dishes if you see them on a Chinese menu, they’re delicious!
You can find the two first ones in every Halal restaurant, also known in Chinese as “Lanzhou Lamian, “and you can recognise these restaurants by the characters on the outside door: ‘兰州拉面‘. And the other dishes are found in any typical Chinese restaurant!
- XiHongshi Chao Jidan: Egg and tomato with rice.
- Jidan Chao Dao Xiao Mian: Fried egg, vegetables and cut noodles (this might be little spicy in some places!)
- Feng Wei Qie Zi : Fried aubergines.
- Tang Cu li Ji: Sweet and sour pork.
- Gan bian Da tou Cai : “Big head vegetable!” This will be some delicious Chinese cabbage and spicy sauce.
- Gong Bao Ji Ding : Chicken, peanuts and veggies, with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Please Don’t Forget!
Here some tips, that may save you one day – who knows!
- If a character has 月 on the left-hand side it is likely to be some sort of guts/intestines/belly/insides, i.e. run in the opposite direction!
- Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Then always avoid meals with this character “肉“, as this is “rou“, which means “meat.”
- Allergic to peanuts? This is the character you need to avoid : “花生“, pronounced “huasheng.”
- If you can’t eat spicy food, avoid this red one! “La” “辣” means spicy.
There is different kind of spicy food that our interns in Chengdu will be pleased to try! When you see those characters : 麻辣 be ready to experience some tingling and numbing sensation.
Don’t hesitate to ask our staff members on place to help you out with the pronunciation, or if you need any help ordering your food!
Did this help to convince you that living in China isn’t that difficult? Well then, you just need to apply now!
As you may know, in China you’ll need a VPN to use your favourite apps via Google. And most of the time the traditional Google Maps isn’t really accurate in China, so it’s better to be able to use Chinese map applications. No worries, when you arrive in China our team on place will give you an orientation and help you discover Baidu Maps. However this application is all in Chinese, so we thought this tutorial would be helpful in case you don’t remember all the information we give you on your first day in China!
Our team will help you download the app, and set up your account when you’ll arrive, so I won’t talk about those steps!
Don’t forget : when you want to use Baidu Maps, turn off you VPN – it will be faster!
Want to know how to save a location as a favourite in Baidu? Follow those steps:
- Type the location name or address. For example, the LPG Bar in Qingdao is “Laofeijiuba”
- Click on the location and it will appear on the map
- To save it for later, just press the star on the left bottom corner – you did it !
How to Find Your Favourite Places
- Click on your profile
- Click on the Star to access your favourites
- To rename it, long press on the location
- Then choose “重命名”
- Use a name that you’ll easily remember, like LPG
- Click on “确定” to save it! Easy right?
Bus and Subway Maps
Want to know the bus or metro route, and the timetable? You just need to use Baidu Maps!
- For subway line: enter the line number + “haoxian”
- For bus line: enter bus number + “lu”
- Choose the 1st choice, or one that looks correct
- Now you can see the entire route, and timetable in both directions
- Click here to find out where is the nearest bus station
- Click here to go there by foot without getting lost!
- 1st stop is indicated by the green pointer, and the last one by the red one.
Let’s say, today is Thursday, and you signed in to join us! Unfortunately you can’t use the location we gave you on our group chat. No worries, we will always give you the location, and the address so you can either follow the location, or search for it on Baidu yourself!
Let’s say tonight we are going to Magic Eggplant in Qingdao: 大尧三路26号 (Dayaosanlu 26hao)
- Copy the adress here
- To see the route, click on the blue button
- Taxi route will appear firstly, you can see how much it might cost you if you chose this option, here 10 RMB
- Click here to chose the public transportation way, and chose the first route for example ( to know more go the bonus pictures)
- How to go there? Follow the foot
- When is the bus coming? It’s one stop away on this case
- Ok we arrived at the bus stop, let’s go to the restaurant – follow the blue foot again!
For those who can’t read or speak Chinese, here is some more information on how to be a pro at Baidu Maps!
- Left part : How many stops in total / Right part : How long will the journey take
- Are you walking somewhere? First you can see how long it will take you, and how far the place is
- To pick the more suitable route, look at the duration, and kilometers to see what’s more convenient. Usually, 1st option is faster, but might have to walk more
I guess you’re now ready to come to China, so why not apply now!
InternChina – More than just an internship!
But what does this really mean in Qingdao? It means weekly dinners, activities and 24/7 support!
I’ve been an office intern for about 3 months now, so I hope I can explain this for you!
During your programme, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to do an internship in China, but that’s not the only think you’ll experience during your time in Qingdao! The InternChina team will organise lots of dinners and activities for you. This is so we can get to know you better, make you feel comfortable in this new country, and give you a chance to meet amazing people! And if you love travelling, there are plenty of great destinations we can help you visit that aren’t too far from Qingdao!
As a Qingdao office intern, I have the opportunity to organise the dinners and trips for our participants. I’ll tell you more about it, so you’ll have an idea of the amazing things you may get the chance to do, and you can discover more about Qingdao.
If you have anything you want to do around Qingdao, just let a member of InternChina know and we can try our best to organise this for you!
Every week we organise one of our famous “Thursday Dinners.”
This is a social event, to share a group meal, discover new Asian cuisine and talk about our week! We understand that you are students, so don’t worry- we try to make these dinners affordable! Usually, we try to avoid expensive restaurants, but they are always tasty. We usually stick to a budget of 50RMB per person, and sometimes this is even less.
How do we organise these dinners? Usually we make a post on our official Qingdao InternChina WeChat account, or we post in our IC Qingdao group chat.
We’ll give you some more details about the restaurant, the cuisine, the food, the time and the location of the dinner. If you’re interested in coming along, then simply join the dinner group by scanning the QR code we’ll provide! This helps us know how many people want to come along, so we can book a table. During the summer, we can have more than 30 people for dinner!
But it’s our job to organise this- all you need to do is scan the QR code and join! How easy is that?
After a week of working hard during your internship, we’re sure you’ll look forward to exploring Qingdao at the weekend! There is so much to do and discover in Qingdao, and we understand that you want to get out there, so we organise lots of activities and trips for you!
We try to organise a new activity every weekend, and just like the dinners, we try to make sure these activities are all affordable so you can take part in as much as you can.
What can Qingdao offer you? There are lots of fun tourist activities,such as the Tsingtao Beer Museum, the TV Tower, the zoo, the aquarium, the Huadong Vineyard. However, we also want to make sure you see the natural beauty in Qingdao! Outdoor activities such as hiking Fushan or Laoshan with our guide Green Tea, bouldering, archery, go karting are always popular, especially during the summer.
We also want you to learn about the Chinese culture while you are here, so we organise cultural activities such as calligraphy classes, Chinese cooking lessons, tea ceremonies, or even Kung Fu lessons!
There are different things to do during different seasons, so you may also get to attend the German Christmas Market, or some opening ceremonies!
You will definitely never be bored, with plenty of activities available for you to explore the city, have fun, and network!
We also try to organise some weekend trips for you to discover other cities in China.
Recently, we organised a weekend trip to Beijing- after all, it would be a shame to come to China and not visit the Great Wall! In the past we have also organised trips to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Qufu… the possibilities are endless!
For any weekend trips we organise, we will provide you with a detailed schedule so you can make the most of your time in each city! We will also let you know how much each trip will cost, and this will include your transport, accommodation and activities for the weekend. It will cost more than a regular Saturday Event, but it is definitely worth going and exploring more of China!
The InternChina team offer you 24/7 support while you are on place, and we are also here for you before and after your time in China!
When you arrive, we will pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your accommodation, whether is an apartment or a homestay. We’ll also give you an orientation to help you understand Chinese culture, and give you some advice about living in Qingdao.
You will receive a welcome pack, which includes a SIM card, travel card, map of the city, and address card and some InternChina goodies!
We are here for you whenever you need us!
Moreover, our team on place is also always here to support you! When you arrive we will give you an orientation, in order to make you understand Chinese culture, and give you lots of advice! If you feel sick, we will come with you to the hospital! If you have any other issues, we are here to help if we can!
InternChina’s Favourite Places
When you are new to Qingdao, and don’t know where to go or what to see, we’re here to tell you where to go! Below is a list of my favourite places- you can even impress your colleagues with your Qingdao knowledge and invite them along!
Magic Eggplant – or the best Chinese restaurant ever! 美达尔大尧三路店 – Dayao San Road
ChunChuan Iron Plate – best Korean restaurant! 青岛市崂山区苗岭路 瑞纳花园内 Miao Ling Road
Huadong Winery – a beautiful vineyard, where you can visit the museum,the caves and try some wine at the end! 南龙口崂山Nanlong Kou, Lao Shan
ZhongShan Park – an amazing park where you can easily walk around for hours! The zoo is right next to it if you want to see a panda! 市南区文登路28号 Wen Deng Road
I hope these details and pictures convinced you that InternChina has so much more than just an internship to offer you! You’ll never feel alone, and this experience will be unforgettable!
The easiest way to join us is to apply now!
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
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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Qingdao is a prosperous port city bordering the Yellow Sea on the East Coast of China, renowned for its beaches, beer and BBQ. We’ve put together a summary of the city for those of you who are thinking of coming here in the near future. Given that the population is somewhere near 9 million (!), the city manages to retain a relaxed atmosphere as the population is quite spread out. Qingdao’s status as the 7th biggest shipping port in the world brings in plenty of businesses and opens up many internship opportunities here. And the local dialect (青岛话) is not so different from standard Mandarin, making this a great place to learn Chinese. Here’s a rundown of what you should know and why you’re making the right choice to choose Qingdao! The city has been through a tumultuous history, here’s a quick breakdown for you: 1891 – The Qing Government start developing and fortifying the ‘Jiao’ao Area (胶州湾)’ as Qingdao was then known. No longer a sleepy fishing village Qingdao is on its way to becoming a city. 1897 – The Germans colonise the city calling it the “Kiautschou Bay Concession” and build many of the buildings you can still see in Old Town today. Until the outbreak of WWI. 1914 – The ‘Siege of Tsingtao’ starts the Japanese occupation of Qingdao during the war. 1919 – The post-war Versailles Peace Treaty grants Japan control of Qingdao, sparking outrage in China and leading to the May Fourth Movement (五四青年节活动). The famous red statue in Qingdao’s May Fourth Square (五四广场) commemorates this movement. 1949 – After being passed between Chinese and Japanese control, Chairman Mao Zedong and the Red Army firmly reclaim Qingdao. 1984 – Implementation of the “open door” policy encourages foreign trade to Qingdao and it quickly develops into the port city you see today. So, in other words the city has been influenced from all directions and fought over for many years, but don’t worry it’s still managed to retain its essential spirit! There is traditional Chinese culture and charm to be found even while the city is modernising and expanding at a rapid rate. Qingdao is pretty much bang in between Beijing and Shanghai on a map, but it couldn’t have a more different feel from either of those cities. From the winding, hilly streets of Old Town, to the bustling market life of Taidong (台东), on to the international hub of the Central Business District, then on east to the newly built avenues and glass skyscrapers of Laoshan District, Qingdao has a pretty unique feel. The “red tiles, green trees, blue sky and blue sea” of the Old Town and Badaguan (八大关) area are a legacy from the German era. Fun fact: The German Governor who actually built them was actually fired by the Kaiser for spending outrageous amounts building his personal residence. Nearby, Laoshan mountain range (崂山) that curves around the east of the city is credited as one of the birthplaces of the religion Taoism. It is home to hundreds of hidden paths, temples and waterfalls. There’s also a smaller mountain in the heart of the city, Mount Fu (浮山), which boasts wonderful views of the city, opportunities for bouldering and abseiling as well as multiple tunnels and bunkers that beg to be explored. The Qingdaonese love nothing better that to treat their friends and family to barbecue skewers, local seafood and a jug of Tsingtao Beer. Especially during the summer months after a day on the beach. Be prepared to shout out “gānbēi” (干杯) and down your glass at least once for every person around the table.
Getting In and Out
Qingdao Liuting International Airport was named the 16th busiest airport in China in 2015, with an insane 18,202,085 passengers passing through that year. The Port of Qingdao is the one of the top 10 busiest ports in the world, handling millions of tons of cargo every year.
There are direct international flights to nearby Korea and Japan (less than 3 hours away!) as well as airlines that heard to Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Vancouver and San Francisco. Not to mention regular domestic flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou that make Qingdao extremely accessible. The InternChina staff will pick you up from Qingdao Liuting Airport which is about 30KM from the city centre.
Fast trains from Beijing (4 ½ hours) and Shanghai (7 hours), as well as night trains to many other parts of China offer plenty of travel opportunities within China too. Most trains leave from the old station located in the Old Town but newly built Qingdao North Station also runs a few passenger trains every day.
It is even possible to catch the boat to nearby Incheon, Korea or even Japan if you a fan of sea travel. N.B. Please do not attempt leaving China during your programme unless you have a multiple entry visa for China, otherwise you will not be allowed back in!
Public transport in the heart of Qingdao consists mainly of buses and taxis. There are 260 bus routes in the city that cost about 1 or 2 yuan a journey, and 4 taxi companies that will set you back about 9 to 20 yuan a ride (depending on the distance). Remember to look out for the red light to catch an available taxis, and avoid the yellowy green light that means that taxi has already been booked. The Qingdao Metro is also on its way to being ready for public use! Line 3 already has 6 working stops in the north of the city and a section of Line 2 should be open in 2017. Soon to be followed by other lines in the coming years. The four seasons of Qingdao are comparatively mild where China is concerned, with no extreme weather conditions, but strong winds often blow in from the sea especially late at night. It hardly ever rains but you do occasionally find clouds of sea fog drifting in to engulf the skyscrapers. Top temperatures are usually hover around a glorious 25°C (77°F) in July and August (ideal beach weather) and dip to an average -2°C (28°F) in winter. For more details about the climate in Qingdao, see here. Qingdao is best known for an array of seafood specialities and Shandong ‘JiaoDong’ style of cooking, also known as ‘LuCai’ (鲁菜) – characterised by its light aroma and fresh taste. People are often glad to hear that the food in Qingdao isn’t incredibly spicy but is still wonderfully flavourful. Some of the most famous dishes in Qingdao include sautéed clams, caramelised sweet potato, fish dumplings, special ‘fengwei’ aubergine, mysterious sea cucumbers and all kinds of seafood. The city is also well known for its amazing street barbeque. If seafood isn’t your favourite thing to eat, there are plenty of other options. Halal noodle dishes and sumptuous vegetable options can also be found, along with plenty of places to try cuisine from all over China including amazing DongBei, Xi’an, Sichuan and Yunnan restaurants. And of course, there is an abundance of foreign restaurants too, including Japanese and Korean food influenced by Qingdao’s proximity to South Korea. As for what to drink while you’re in Qingdao, there is Laoshan’s famous green tea grown just outside the city, and if you are interested in something stronger, Qingdao is the home of Tsingtao beer. Not only can you buy several varieties freshly distilled in the city by the bottle, but in some places you can even get your beer in a plastic bag! There are many reasons people fall in love with Qingdao, in fact it’s frequently been voted one of China’s top-most livable cities. A big part is the clement weather and fresh air, many people escape the piercing heat of China’s inter-cities to the cooler shores of Qingdao in summer. Shandong people also have a reputation for being extremely friendly and welcoming, which is an obvious bonus when visiting any city! Qingdao is also strategically important as an industrial centre, seaport and naval base. The city now has several manufacturing centres and development zones to the north in ChengYang district and west in HuangDao district. All of which makes it an exciting place to do an internship, in an atmosphere of constant development, growth and competition among both huge international companies and small local businesses. If you still aren’t sold, here’s what some of our interns have to say about Qingdao… “Qingdao seemed like a decent size but not too big like Shanghai, so I thought it looked like a nice in-between size city to visit. There are also lots of places to go to in the city centre, as well as loads of beaches which makes it popular for tourists.” – Olivia, UK “Qingdao has a long beautiful beach where you can walk in the summer but it’s also beautiful in winter. There’s also lots of rocks along the beach which are easy to walk on or climb on, and the view is awesome! But the main thing is that you have to go out in Qingdao, you have to get in touch with friendly people, see and visit lots of great restaurants, bars and clubs and lots of other places which you’ll soon love.” – Sarah, UK “Qingdao has loads of really friendly people- not only IC and the locals but the expat community as well.” – Balti, Germany “Qingdao is easy to get around, and my internship is close and easy to get to by bus.” – Tom, UK “Qingdao isn’t one of the biggest cities in China, and for your first time doing an internship here I think that’s better. There is a mix of large and small companies here with plenty of interesting work – and they are always interested in having an intern.” –Timon, Germany “Sea, mountains and great people, Qingdao has it all!” – Zuzana, Czechia Check out Qingdao for yourself!