Before your stay

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Before your stay

What to Expect on your First Day in China?

Arriving in a new country, especially if you don’t speak the language, can be very daunting. However, here at InternChina we strive to make sure you settle in and have as easy a first day in China as possible.

Airport Pickup

We will have asked for your flight details far in advance to make sure we know when you’re arriving. This also means that on the day if there are any alterations to your flight times we can check. This means we can make sure we are at the airport ready for your arrival.

Air China Arrivals

When you’ve passed through all the relevant checks and collected your bags you can expect to see one of our team. They will be holding a sign with your name on in the arrivals lounge. From here you will take a taxi to your apartment with our staff member.

Meeting your flatmates/homestay

After arriving at your accommodation you will be introduced to your new flatmates or homestay family. This is usually the start of a blossoming friendship, they’ll be able to guide you through your first few days and help you settle in.

Usually in a homestay you’ll be greeted with open arms, expect a welcome drink, usually tea, and some snacks!

Police Registration

After dropping your things off at your accommodation our staff member will take you to the nearest police station to register your arrival in China. Whilst this may seem a bit strange it is essential that this is done!

Police Station in China

This should take 10-20 minutes and is quite an experience seeing the inner workings of a Chinese police station.

Getting your SIM card

Following your police registration our staff member will take you too sort out a SIM card so you can stay connected whilst here in China. This usually involves going to the nearest phone shop to get a new SIM card. Usually this comes with a pre allocated amount of Data, Minutes and Texts so you can be sure to keep in contact with everyone back home and here in China.

Mobile Phone Store

What comes next?

From here you will find out about your orientation and company drop off. Your orientation will usually take place on a Monday morning letting you know a bit more about China and what to expect during your stay.

This will be followed by lunch out with the InternChina Branch Team (somewhere delicious!) who will all be dying to ask loads of questions and answer any questions you may have.

Introduction to your Company

After lunch we will travel with you to your company. To be introduced and taken to the office by a member of the InternChina staff. This usually involves a slightly more formal introduction. Getting to know a bit of what tasks you’ll be getting up to. Introduction to the other members of staff in the office. Then its time to start your internship!

Further Information

You will also be added to all relevant WeChat groups for making friends and finding out about events organised by the IC team. This could include an event on the weekend of your arrival or an upcoming Thursday dinner!

After sorting your SIM card and police registration you will be able to explore! Whether this is getting to know your flatmates by going out for a meal together, getting to know your host family, or exploring by yourself. With your SIM card and police registration sorted you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ve got all you need!

Sound like something you’d like to experience? Sign up now for a life changing internship!

Before your stay, How-to Guides

InternChina and TransferWise

Every now and again in the InternChina office, I will look up from my screen and say to anyone who will listen: “This is the best website ever created!”. The team know that I’m talking about TransferWise again! Since discovering TransferWise about 5 years ago, it has saved countless time and a significant amount of money for our organisation and our participants.
Here’s a video introduction which explains how it works:

[youtube id=”MLKKzRvOsLQ” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Compared to making a bank transfer, the process is so much quicker. Typically, all you need is the recipients’ name, email address and IBAN or account number. The fees are clearly displayed, and you can compare these with bank fees before making each transfer. I never even bother comparing any more because the saving compared with any bank has always been so huge for me.

As a British business whose programmes take place in Asia, we send a lot of money to China and Vietnam in order to pay for the cost of delivering those programmes. We use TransferWise for this process which saves us time and money.

For our participants, they can send money to or from their home country whilst in Asia, as well as making deposit payments to us if they’re based outside of the UK. To use TransferWise, you can use your credit or debit card to make payment, or transfer funds from your bank.

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.

Before your stay, How-to Guides, Travel

Getting Ready for China: Setting up Your WeChat Account

Ever wondered how to use the famous WeChat? Here’s a handy guide to turn you from no to pro.

A Little Introduction

WeChat is the biggest social media platform in China, with over 963 million monthly users. It is primarily an instant messaging app however there are many more features than just instant messaging. WeChat or Wēi Xìn is the bread and butter of daily life in China and an essential part of your stay. You’ll need it to speak to friends, contact colleagues and even buy your coffee with it!

Image of the WeChat logo on a PC screen

Getting Started with WeChat

It’s actually really easy to set up a WeChat account. The process is very similar to Whatsapp, in that you need to download the WeChat app from the app store (iTunes, Google Play etc.) and create an account using your phone number.

Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to set up WeChat on your phone:

  1. Download the app.
  2. Once downloaded, open the app and click “sign up”
  3. Type your number into the field and click sign up, be sure to choose the right area code, e.g UK, USA etc.
  4. WeChat will send a verification code to the chosen number: go into messages, find the verification code and enter it into the “Code” field.
  5. Once confirmed, type in your name and finish creating your account.
  6. After this you’re good to go!

 

 Opening your Keyboard

To start a text chat, open your keyboard just like in WhatsApp or SMS. Tap the space beside the speaker icon and your keyboard becomes accessible!

 Adding Friends

Now that your account is ready to go it’s time to start making friends. Adding people on WeChat is quick and easy, so it’s great for networking or if you’re on the go.

You can add friends a few ways. The first is to search for their username or phone number, and the second is to scan their personalised QR code.

Adding Contacts by Username & Phone Number

  1. Click the ” + ” icon at the top right hand of your home screen.
  2. Click the space beside the search icon which says “WeChat ID/ Phone.”
  3. Type the username/ phone number into the space saying “WeChat ID/ Phone.”
  4. When you type in the username, click on the green search button that appears.
  5. Their contact card will appear on your screen. Click “Add”
  6. You’re now connected!

Adding Contacts with a QR Code 

  1. Click the + icon at the top right hand of your home screen.
  2. Select “Add Contacts” then “Scan QR Code”
  3. Ask your friend to show you their “Profile QR code”.
  4. Point your phone camera at the code to scan it.
  5. Their contact card will appear on your screen. Click “Add”
  6. Congrats! You’ve just added your first contact!

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Lettings Others Add You 

Others can add you by your username, the phone number associated with your account or by scanning your personalised QR code.

To access your personal QR code, go to the “Me” page in WeChat, click on either your profile picture or the QR code beside your username, and open your QR code!

Making a Group Chat

To make a group chat in WeChat, simply go to the ” + ” symbol in the top right of your screen, and then select the “Group Chat” option. Then, add your contacts!

 

Following Official Accounts

Groups are a big part of how people communicate via WeChat and we regularly use them to post updates about IC activities. To keep up to date with weekly dinners, trips and the latest news be sure to follow the official InternChina subscription accounts and join the group chats.

You can join the subscription accounts the same way you add contacts- simply choose “Official Accounts” in the menu, and then search for the account you want to follow! You can type in “IC” and this will bring up all the InternChina city accounts.

How to Communicate

In WeChat, you can text, send voice messages, make phone calls and make video calls (similar to Skype.)

Sending a Voice Message

To send a voice message, click on the speaker icon beside your keyboard. Then, press the “hold to talk” button, and continue holding this until you are finished speaking. Then simply release and your message is sent! To cancel a message, just drag and release your finger.

Video Calling

You will most likely use a WeChat video call for your interview with your host company, so it’s important you know how to make one!

  1. Open the right conversation- either an existing chat with the contact, or open a new chat by finding the contact in your contacts list.
  2. Open the chat menu by pressing the ” + ” button at the bottom of your conversation screen.
  3. Select the option for a video call.
  4. You’re ready to go!

The same method applies to starting a voice call.

 

Once you have your WeChat set up you are ready to start life in China! Check out our video on how to use WeChat to sign up to IC activities and follow our official account.

 

 

Before your stay, Learn about China, Travel

Vaccines for China: What You Need to Know

So you’re getting ready for your internship in China, and checking everything off on your to-do list. Aside from all the usual important stuff you need for going abroad- your passport, visa, medicine, clothes… you need to think about what vaccines you might need for China.
This is something you need to consider before starting your adventure in China, and while vaccines aren’t necessary, you definitely need to speak to your doctor to see what they recommend.

A list of travel vaccinations

It is recommended that you speak to your General Practitioner at least 6 to 8 weeks before your scheduled flight to discuss any health risks or vaccinations.

It is not necessary to be vaccinated before your arrival in China, however there are some recommended vaccinations for your stay in China: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Tetanus-Diphtheria and Measles if you do not already have them.

Vaccines for travelling on top of a world map

Ask Yourself

  • What’s the risk of me contracting a vaccine- preventable disease?
  • How long am I going for?
  • What will I be doing?
  • Can I be protected without a vaccine?

What Countries Say

For more information about vaccines, please check the CDC’s website, or read some information here about travelling safely and healthily in China.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to China soon!

Zhuhai's July trip tp Hezhou

 

Before your stay, China Business Blogs, Discover Chinese culture, Internship Experience, Understanding Business in China

6 reasons why you should do a summer internship

You’ve finally handed in that last piece of coursework, those end of term exams are fast approaching (if not already in full swing), and despite promising yourself for the whole year that you’d never do it, you’ve actually waited outside the university library at 7am for the doors to open so you can get the good seat. I’ve been there.
The light at the end of the tunnel might seem as far away as it’ll ever be right now, but before long, it’s all over and you’re left with three months of freedom, a headful of ambition but there’s a good chance you’re still asking yourself the question: What am I going to do with my summer, and how am I going to make it worthwhile? Join your parents for that walking tour of the Pennines? Finally sit down and read all that George Orwell and Emily Bronte that you’ve been meaning to read for the last two years? An internship abroad? (hint hint – it’s the last one!)

So here they are: the six killer reasons why a summer internship abroad is a great way to combine travel with training for the professional world! In short – a solid investment in your future and a fantastic opportunity to make lasting memories!

1 – Gain hands-on experience in the workplace

Joining a company as an intern is a great way to learn how businesses and organisations work in the real world, and not just on paper. This is especially the case for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, where you get the chance to see first-hand how businesses grow and transition into larger and more mature entreprises. Far from fetching the coffee and making photocopies, interns play a vital role in keeping the cogs of a business turning and if they excel in their position, can have a real impact on the direction of their host company!

summer internship office colleagues laptop coffee

2 – Immerse yourself in another culture

More so than if you were simply passing through as a traveller, interns in a country like China have the time to truly immerse themselves in the local culture and learn about what it means to be a citizen of another society. Because you’ll be working alongside them and sharing your day-to-day life with them, you will learn to eat, drink, work and play like a local. There’s no better way to smash your stereotypes about a country than to go there in person and share a hearty cup of baijiu with your coworkers who have lived there their whole lives!

china calligraphy culture immersion summer internship

3 – Prepare yourself for a truly globalised world

Interning in a country like China can prepare you in so many ways for the world of the future – you will gain vital work experience, learn how business is conducted in a country that is rapidly becoming the main trade partner of every other country in the world, learn to adapt to quickly changing working environments and function as part of an international team. Moreover, the skills you acquire during your experience interning abroad will make you stand out among your peers and will boost your future employability to no end!

qingdao skyline summer internship

qingdao skyline summer internship

4 – Help to define your career path

You may find that undertaking a summer internship helps you to discover that hidden specialism you never realised you loved! The flexibility of many internships means that you get a chance to try out the various different areas of specialism in one field of work. For example, you could well find that social media marketing really isn’t your jam, but at the same time you discover that you secretly had a burning passion for events management that you would never have known of unless you tried it out during your internship! You will also make countless contacts in your field of internship that could later prove to be a lucrative entry-point into the career path of your dreams!

student holding camera in China summer internship skills photography

5 – Learn a new language

It might seem like an intimidating (or nearly impossible!) feat to accomplish in one short summer, but an internship abroad is completely packed with chances for you to learn the basics of the language of your host country! Aside from the option to attend language classes, your coworkers will no doubt be more than happy to teach you some useful phrases to help you get by (or at least the more useful insults), and the value of being able to communicate to colleagues and business partners in their mother tongue cannot be overstated enough!

learn chinese characters at summer internship

6 – Come back with some great stories

Last, and certainly not least, completing a summer internship in a country such as China can be a challenging, bewildering, bemusing, enriching and mind-boggling experience all at the same time! You will be interning alongside people from all around the globe with different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives on the world, which makes for a pretty unique summer. You may have to tackle culture shock head-on, but you will no doubt board your plane home with a suitcase full to the brim with lasting memories, heartfelt friendships, and maybe even a cuddly panda keyring stuffed in the bottom.

summer internship activities trips photos memories

To start your summer internship adventure in one of four great cities, apply now!

 

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 = 8.53 RMB
1 EURO = 7.44 RMB
1 USD = 6.89 RMB
**Exchange rates as of 21/03/2017

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!


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

low budget estimate table chart for life in china food transportation


Medium Budget
for those who go to the gym, eat more western food or spend more in other ways:

medium budget estimatetable chart for life in china food transportation


High Budget
for those who aren’t afraid to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or foreign imports:

high budget estimate table chart for life in china food transportation

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.

Before your stay

InternChina payment options


 

With InternChina being a student focused organisation, when any of our self-funded applicants confirm their place on our programme, InternChina offers flexible payment options to make this part of the process as easy possible.

OPTION 1

All participants will have the option to pay their programme fee in full within 30 days of confirming their place on the programme by signing their unique booking form.

OPTION 2

The alternative option will be for our participants to make the smaller payment of 20% of their programme fee, within 30 days of confirming their place on the programme and the final 80% at least 30 days before they arrive in China.

This allows our participants to confirm their place on the programme as early as possible to ensure they can book the cheapest possible flights and look forward to an awesome experience, in some of the most amazing cities China has to offer!

 

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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.

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Before your stay, Comparisons, Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, How-to Guides, InternChina News, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Travel

Summerschool Trips Part 1

Goodbye Deutschland, Folge 1: Shanghai
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Juli 2016, 17:15 Uhr, Frankfurt: Jetzt heißt es erst einmal tschüss Deutschland – und ni hao China! Gemeinsam, teilweise noch im Halbschlaf, erreichten wir 10 Stunden später den Flughafen in Shanghai. Für Jetlag oder Schlaf war keine Zeit – nachdem wir unser Gepäck im Hotel abgeladen hatten, ging es direkt los zum Pearl Tower. Von hier aus hat man eine super Aussicht über die gesamte Stadt – aber auch auf ziemlich viel Smog. Schon am ersten Tag stellten wir fest, dass unsere Gruppe ein sehr beliebtes Fotomotiv der chinesischen Touristen war. Während der Großteil von uns anfangs noch etwas bescheiden mit der Aufmerksamkeit unserer chinesischen Fans umging, hatten andere wiederum viel Freude daran, näheren Kontakt zu den Groupies herzustellen.

Die zweite Erkenntnisse des ersten Tages: es ist verdammt heiß in China! Falls ihr also vorhabt im Sommer nach China zu kommen, braucht ihr wirklich keine lange Hose. „Aber was, wenn es abends abkühlt?“ Es kühlt nicht ab. Niemals. Zwar haben zwei Mutige unter uns am ersten Tag noch versucht, eine lange Hose zu tragen, nach zwei Minuten bei gefühlten 40° wurden die dann allerdings ganz schnell in die letzte Ecke des Kleiderschranks verbannt.

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Unsere Wegbegleiter für die nächsten 2 Wochen (liebe Grüße an dieser Stelle an Amber, Jack und Dave) brachten ein abwechslungsreiches Programm für uns mit. Dabei war der Kulturschock in Shanghai gar nicht so groß wie erwartet. Abgesehen von ziemlich vielen Chinesen ist die Stadt (zumindest auf den ersten Blick) gar nicht so „typisch chinesisch“, wie man es sich vielleicht vorstellt. Es gibt viele Hochhäuser, die Innenstadt ist sehr modernund beherbergt eine Shopping Mall nach der anderen. Besonders die Nanjing Road ließ das Herz des ein oder anderen Shopaholics höher schlagen. Perfekt zur „Abkühlung“ nach einem langen, anstrengenden Shopping Tag ist übrigens die Captain’s Bar. Hier hat man von einer gemütlichen Dachterrasse eine unschlagbare Aussicht auf den Bund (Adresse: 37 Fuzhou Lu, in der Nähe der Sichuan Zhong Lu). Neben Shoppingcentern und Hochhäusern gibt es aber auch in Shanghai und Umgebung Orte und Sehenswürdigkeiten, die etwas mehr von China und der alten Tradition preisgeben.

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Unter anderem Zhou Zhuang: Liebevoll auch als das kleine Venedig Chinas bezeichnet. Die Wasserstadt ist nur gute zwei Stunden von Shanghai entfernt. Einen Tagesausflug ist der Ort auf jeden Fall wert, hier gibt es viele kunsthandwerkliche Stände, Häuser, Tempel und sogar ein kleines Theater.. und viele Mücken, das Mückenspray ist ein guter, wenn nicht sogar dein bester Freund und Begleiter in China!

Für Kunstliebhaber und Bummler aus Leidenschaft ist Tianzifang der perfekte place to be. In den labyrinthartigen Gassen gibt es Boutiquen, Bars, Restaurants, Kunstgalerien und Souvenirs überall. Wer jetzt auch noch gerne verhandelt, sollte am besten sofort einen Flug nach Shanghai buchen und sich auf den Weg zur Taikang Road Lane 210 ((平原坊) 泰康路274弄) machen!

Schneller als erwartet war unsere erste Woche in Shanghai dann auch schon vorbei und es ging weiter nach Beijing. Was wir dort erlebt haben, erfahrt ihr in der nächsten Folge von Goodbye Deutschland..