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Chengdu Blogs, Chengdu Business, Chengdu InternChina events, Eating Out in Chengdu

Internship Experience – Sylvia in Chengdu

Written by Sylvia Liu 
It’s been a bit over a month now since I first began my internship experience in Chengdu with InternChina, and I can easily say that this experience is definitely one that will be remembered!

The City

Having travelled to many other Chinese cities before, Chengdu is a breath of fresh air; not literally however, but rather in the sense of its pace of life.

Chengdu meanders peacefully through each day; while other cities rush and are filled with spontaneity. That’s not to say Chengdu is less developed economically, quite the contrary! Just as its numerous shopping centres, nightlife and still expanding public transport systems like to prove.

Chengdu Panda Research Panda Base

Personally I have found the pace of life charming. I have enjoyed spending my Sundays temple-seeing, sipping tea at monasteries, and nibbling on sunflower seeds while listening to the indistinct chatter of Sichuanese.

Food has also held a prominent role in my time here! You will be hard pressed to find a restaurant who won’t serve at least a bowl of chilli with the famous Sichuan Peppercorns along with your meal.

Internship experience and exploring Chengdu

The old streets of Chengdu, the majority located in the inner South West of the city, are a delight to walk through. There is plenty of opportunity to snack on the delicious street food, while being surrounded by traditional architecture permeating with historical significance.

The Internship

I believe that there is knowledge that can only be learned from doing an internship in China. In particular cultural proficiency, which is always a handy skill to have even if one does not pursue a career in international business.

Some of the more interesting tasks I’ve done at the company have included researching the potential of incorporating blockchain technology with gaming, as well as game testing for current beta projects.

The employees at the company are all very inclusive, and it is interesting to gain insight into general Chinese organisational culture. The food options available at lunch are an additional highlight of the workday. The local 7-Eleven is frequented often for its lunchtime pick-and-mix boxes!

Intern activities

The People

The people I have met in Chengdu have been the best part of my internship yet. Being able to meet people from all over the world through my internship in Chengdu is something I’m grateful for. I always look forward to spending time with the other interns or going to events organised by InternChina, such as Thursday Dinner, or even weekend activities outside the city.

InternChina Chengdu Thursday dinner

I can say with no doubt that it is the people I have met here that make this trip the enjoyable experience it has been!

Interested in seeing everything that Sylvia has during her time in Chengdu? Then apply now!

Chengdu Blogs, Cultural, InternChina News

So good I had to come back!

Hi all, 大家好! My name is James and I’m currently interning in the Chengdu branch of InternChina. Having been on an internship through InternChina in Qingdao I knew I had to return to China. What better way than to work for the company that made my last experience here so enjoyable?
Having experienced the beaches, sunshine and delicious seafood on offer in Qingdao I fancied a different experience this time choosing to head to Chengdu.

ChengWho?

Dongmen Bridge

Chengdu is one of the largest cities in China with a population of over 14 million. Whilst this may seem daunting, the friendly locals and laidback lifestyle quickly distract from the vastness of this huge metropolis. The city itself is located in the west of China, in Sichuan province, far away from the much-industrialised eastern coast. This allows you access to some fantastic scenery and countryside only a short trip outside of the city. Located near the Tibetan Plateau there is easy access to skiing in the winter  and outdoor activities all year round.

Hot What?

CD - Hot Pot

The local food in Chengdu is internationally famed for its MaLa麻辣 (spicy and numbing) flavour with many dishes having this delicious spicy kick. The most famous dish being Hot Pot served in a large dish of bubbling spicy broth filled with your choice of vegetables and meats. This dish is to die for! The local delicacies don’t end there with a variety of different noodle dishes to please any palate. Including TianShuiMian 甜水面 (sweet water noodles) and DanDanMian 担担面 (peddler’s noodles) to name a few.

What to see in Chengdu?

CD - Global Century Building

With the city of Chengdu spreading far and wide there is so much to feast your eyes on. With towering mega structures like the West Pearl Tower 四川广播电视塔, at over 300m tall. Stunning architecture as seen at DongMen Bridge 东门桥, the postcard picture perfect iconic image of Chengdu. Chengdu is even home to the largest building in the world the New Century Global Centre. There is so much beauty in the structures around the city. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle there are also many parks dotted around including People’s park. Here you can join the locals and relax enjoying a cup of hot tea in one of the cities many teahouses.

Overall the city of Chengdu has an unbelievable amount to offer whether you’re coming for the food, the sights or to escape don’t hesitate.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at some of our opportunities now!

Chengdu Blogs, Things To Do in Chengdu

A Designer in Chengdu: Drink Soy Milk, Find Art and Talk to People!

Chengdu Creativity and Design Week

This weekend, I took a trip to the Chengdu Creativity and Design Week event with my housemate/new friend Claire: the receiver of silly rants about the complicated social politics of travel, and teller of funny Chinese internship-related stories.

We spent an hour or so travelling across the city, from tube stop to tube stop, line 2, changing to line 3… it really was a bit of trek! The event was held in the New International Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is very close to the New Century Building; the so called ‘biggest building in the world’. Quite a sight to see!

So what was there to see?

The event exhibited a huge range of different design work. There were various types of technology, cars, lighting, skateboards, jewellery, packaging, figure modelling, furniture- there was even an IKEA exhibit with sofas on grass and a huge wall made of cardboard boxes!) and so much more. It was also the temporary home of the Chromacon Showcase, featuring New Zealand based artists T-Wei, Allan Xia, Scott Savage, Martin Horspook and Anna Johnstone.

It was relatively quiet on the last day of the event, although they had seen a massive 2.5 million visitors. Before we arrived there were awards presentations, artistic talks and demonstrations, workshops and book-signings. Author Master Li even signed his books in his signature upside-down calligraphy style!

Chengdu_Design-Creativity-Week    

Let’s get to the real deal

Amy_Claire_Coffee

Obviously, the most important and exciting part of the event was the Nescafe coffee machine, with a SOY BEAN MILK button. If the UK is to take anything from Chinese culture and development, let it be this- this is the future! While we were there, and after a complimentary soy milk coffee, Claire and I wandered around as many stalls as we could possibly lay our eyes on, stopping every now and then to take photos and admire amazing design work. There were ornamental ceramic bowls and life size animal sculptures.

 

creativity design chengdu (Custom)

We gazed at coloured string structures and cleverly arranged wooden framed interiors, 3D fantasy figures, stalls for holiday park… The content was so diverse and exciting to see, and it spanned outwards seemingly endlessly in all directions.

 

 

That’s not all

We had the pleasure of meeting a few designers and people from companies all over China and further afield. We were shown around stalls and told stories of success. They asked about our travels and our purpose for being here in Chengdu. Of course many photos were taken of us, as they tend to do a lot with Westerners in China.

One company who were particularly interested in holding our attention and sharing their experiences with us were the guys at Meetion Tea. There were two of them with enough English to offer us samples of their tea. With enough broken Mandarin between the two of us, we enquired what was in them. They offered us blueberry flavours, red bean, banana, and some sweet tea we didn’t quite manage to decipher. They showed us their packaging (designed by another company). After silly amounts of tea he offers us a tasty pineapple cocktail which was probably a bit too alcoholic for 3 in the afternoon but hey, when in China…

Discovery of a love story

We also stumbled across a lovely couple who run Choclito, Tom and Lily. They made us feel so welcome and were genuinely interested in our story. So, I thought I’d share a bit of theirs. Choclito is a Belgian chocolate figure business running from China. Tom who owns the company, began his journey in Belgium, working in his three-generation-old family business in Belgian chocolate. He crafts every figure like a piece of art. The Belgian Royal family including the princess and the queen even visited the family factory! Lily told us about how they have learned to be cautious and seek perfection but also to be brave in pushing new ideas into the future.

pandas design creativity week

The couple first met when Tom was in China on business. They soon fell in love. After returning to Belgium, every month Tom would send Lily a box of handmade chocolates. After the 12th box, Tom decided to move to China to live with Lily and start Choclito (Choc for chocolate, Li for Lily, To for Tom). They import all the finest raw materials from Belgium. Every single chocolate is made by hand using traditional, Belgian methods and advanced techniques. Every chocolate has its own design and story. Our favourites were the pandas!

After exchanging WeChat accounts and taking a few last minute snaps, we prised ourselves away from the pineapple flavoured cocktails and beautifully crafted chocolates. Afterwards we made our way back towards the entrance to tackle the long subway ride home. Luckily, we ran into a little street-food market close to the metro station and indulged in a stick of syrup-coated dough balls each. Yum!

Bottom line?

If you’re in Chengdu, definitely make sure you take full advantage of the street food (except maybe the rabbit skulls and pig snouts)… And of course try out all the cultural opportunities available to you. Despite its laid-back appearance, Chengdu is still a big city and there is a lot going on if you throw yourself in!

Interested in doing a design internship in Chengdu? Check out a few of these!

Written by Gen Uk Participant Amy Dunstall

Chengdu Blogs, Cultural, Qingdao Blogs, Travel, Weekend Trips

From Shandong to Sichuan: A Tale of Two Cities

Nĭ hăo! Wo shì Shona and I’m the Design and Marketing intern at the Chengdu office, although my journey started further east, in Qingdao. I was lucky enough to begin my programme with IC working in the Qingdao office, which I was very happy about, as Qingdao is a beautiful city and right on the sea so there’s always a nice breeze to help with the heat.

Getting to Qingdao

What I loved most about Qingdao is that it’s a great introduction to real-life China, and as the IC offices are based in cities most tourists don’t think of, it’s an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Due to Qingdao’s history, there’s a real European feel to the city; however don’t let that fool you- the mass of markets and restaurants remind you that it still is, very much Chinese.

Settling in to China life was pretty easy for me, and while the first week was a bit of a shock- such as getting used to the commute to work (I’m still amazed how many people can fit on a bus here), the culture shock passed quickly. It’s incredibly easy to get used to the lifestyle and turn into a true Zhōngguó rén.

Life in Qingdao

I really enjoyed the lifestyle in Qingdao; there’s always something interesting happening, and despite how fast paced it seems initially, it also feels as equally laid back.

The work/life balance in Qingdao is just right and my favourite post work treat is winding down at the local BBQ spot with some Shao Kao and Tsingtao in hand- now that’s the life!

While in Qingdao I had the chance to help organise fun events each week, my first one being sailing! What better way to experience a Chinese seaside city than by boat? It was my first time running an official event, so I was a little nervous but the event ran without a hitch and everyone had a blast.

One of the best nights I’ve had in China was camping on the beach, at the foot of Mount Làoshān; the real highlight was floating around in the sea, surrounded by friends and all watching the fireworks light up the night, and moments like that are why I love China.

Beijing

The first big Summer trip was a joint excursion to Beijing with the Chengdu, Qingdao and Dalian IC offices, and being my first trip in mainland China, I was so excited to see the China I’d seen in movies growing up as a kid.

We saw iconic landmarks such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the icing on the cake, the Great Wall. It’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed as Beijing has so much to offer, but the pinnacle of our trip was visiting the Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu.

The Big Move: Swapping Cities

Three weeks into my internship I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Sichuan to help support my colleagues in the Chengdu office. I had always wanted to visit Chengdu and love to travel so when the chance arrived, I jumped at it!

Getting Ready to Board

Travelling to Chengdu was exciting; even the legendary Chinese flight delays, which gave me the opportunity to make friends with the locals using my broken Mandarin, couldn’t dampen my mood as I headed to panda city.

First Days in Chengdu

Arriving in the Sichuan capital, I was lucky to have a few days off before starting work. So what’s the first thing you HAVE to see in Chengdu? Pandas! The panda base, or Xióngmāo jīdì as its known here, is hugely popular with tourist groups so it’s important to get there bright and early.

After waking up at the crack of dawn, I jumped in a cab that took me straight from my apartment to the base for 60 kuai, which was worth it just to beat the queue.

July in Chengdu is the peak of summer and with average temperatures of 30 degrees, and with it being so hot outside the pandas were hidden away in their cool enclosures. This meant I had to fight my way through the tourist mob to catch a glimpse of the famous bear cat, but it was worth it- after all, pandas are an icon throughout the world so I couldn’t pass through Chengdu without stopping by!

What’s Next?

Life in Chengdu was a bit of a shock at first, especially the morning commute to work. Chengdu feels like a combination of the fast paced lifestyle of cities like London with bustling subways and seas of people, along with the easy going nature of the Chinese locals, sat playing Mahjong on the street at night-  a contrast if there ever was one.

Since coming to Chengdu I’ve been involved in all sorts of IC events, from the weekly Thursday dinners eating famous hot pot to the Four Sisters mountain trip in western Sichuan. When staying in Qingdao I used to think it was the city that never sleeps, however since coming to Chengdu, I’ve realised what life really is like in a busy Chinese city.

Here in the hub of China’s “Go West” policy, there’s always something to do, somewhere new to explore, and it’s the perfect mix of culture and business. I’m looking forwards to what the next two months bring here in Sichuan.

 

Chengdu Blogs, Travel

Chengdu Arrival – Five More Months in China

More of China!

As soon as I finished studying in Suzhou, Jiangsu, I knew I wasn’t ready to leave China, there was so much more that I wanted to learn and experience. Luckily, I found InternChina and the opportunity to use my new knowledge of business in China and basic Mandarin, and so, I began planning my Chengdu arrival.

My Chinese teacher and I in Suzhou
My Chinese teacher and I – 我的 汉语老师 和 我

Back to the Start

When I arrived in China in February 2017, I experienced some culture shock, although that easily went away once I started socializing more with other international students and locals. That’s what I enjoy the most about living, studying, and now working in China- being connected to the international community. Learning about a new city on your own is fun but having tips and advice from people living in the area is always an advantage. Therefore I am excited to be part of the community that InternChina developed in Chengdu over years.

What is Suzhou like?

Suzhou is smaller compared to Chengdu, but it does have the same relaxing vibe. It’s widely known for being the Venice of China as it contains beautiful water towns that still look good for their age, along with two beautiful lakes, Jinji and Dushu.

Sunset at Jinji Lake in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
My second day in China – Jinji Lake, Suzhou

I lived in the urban area called SIP, which was easy because it’s filled with universities and felt like a student city. The city centre boasts a big international atmosphere, and everywhere you go there were foreign students from all parts of the world!

My Travels

Apart from studying, I took the opportunity to travel as much and as far as I could. My first little city trip was visiting the great Buddha in Lingshan, Wuxi, and later I saw the beautiful and serene West Lake in Hangzhou. Lastly, some fun and exciting nights in Shanghai!

 

 

While traveling in China was fun, getting to travel to other Asian countries was great! First, I got to see a breath-taking view at the Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, and then I did some island hopping and hiked mount Hallasan in Jeju, South Korea. Finally,I saw the sun rise over Mount Fuji on my flight to Tokyo.

 

Chengdu Arrival

Now that I am in Chengdu and working, I don’t plan to stop travelling, and alongside InternChina, I’m going to get to know the Sichuan province very well.

Going from school to work can sometimes be difficult, but fortunately for me, the office environment has been very comfortable and fun. I’m happy to work with easy going colleagues who are professional and have strong work ethic. I am excited to introduce InternChina to other schools in the Netherlands and the Caribbean.

Tacey in the Chengdu, Sichuan, China office with a stuffed panda on her head
Updating the Chengdu team profile on the WeChat account

Interested in an internship opportunity in Chengdu? Check out the positions that Chengdu has to offer!

Chengdu Blogs, Chengdu Business, China Business Blogs, Events in Chengdu, Internship Experience, Things To Do in Chengdu, Understanding Business in China

Women of Business at The Bookworm

This week in Chengdu I had the pleasure of attending the Chengdu Women in Business workshop organized by Chengdu Expat. It is a four-series event to encourage the professional development and entrepreneurship by sharing resources and knowledge of like-minded business women in Chengdu. As a business student in my final year, I try to attend as many of these workshops as possible. Not only do you learn about other people’s stories but you build a great network.

General Manager of Chengdu Expat

These workshops provide professional assessments, books, interactive exercises with professional coaching. We went through the books self-assessment over the areas of “How you play the game, how you act, how you think and how you brand & market yourself, how you sound, how you look and lastly, how you respond”. It gave me an insight of what I am strong at and which area needs improving. The night essentially consisted of how we can stop making unconscious mistakes in business.

My group discussing “How You Respond”

One of the things that really impressed me was when the guest speaker, Raquel Ramirez, mentioned that at the age of 15 she already knew exactly what she wanted to do in life and what it required to get there. That is something that fascinates me, people that can have that drive and focus to achieve all they set out to do and more!

Though, it doesn’t come easily, as Raquel mentioned; sometimes we go through bumps in the road such as family issues, financial stability, other people’s judgement or even sadly, your own securities and low confidence. Despite all of this, the atmosphere in the room was electric, a room full of strong, similar minded women that came together to learn what it takes to succeed as a professional.

Raquel Ramirez

So, it got me thinking, what decisions have I made in the past that have helped me to where I am and where it will lead me in the not-so distant future. For sure, one of them was moving to the Netherlands to continue studying. This later gave me the opportunity to study abroad in China where I fell in love with the country and its culture. That ultimately ended with me moving to Chengdu, where I am doing my final year internship at InternChina.

What was yours? Let me know what was your turning point decision and where you are now or even heading!

Check out other pictures from last night’s event at Fun and Bike.
For information on the next workshop of Women in Business keep an eye out on Chengdu Expat.

Chengdu Blogs, Chinese Traditions, Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, How-to Guides, Learn about China

How to play Mahjong – Sichuanese style!

When you hear the word ‘Mahjong’, there’s a good chance you might be thinking of that funny little game on your computer, where the objective is to make pairs out of a big pile of mis-matched tiles covered in Chinese characters, sticks and flowers.
Sadly, this version of Mahjong, or Májiàng (麻將) as it is written in pinyin, is pretty far-removed from the game played daily by tens of millions of Chinese, which is in fact a lot more like the card game Rummy. If you’re wanting to see how authentic Majiang is played by ordinary Chinese people, however, one of the best places to go is Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, where Majiang is not just a game, it’s a way of life. The mellow pace, relaxed atmosphere and relatively simple gameplay of Majiang perfectly epitomise the Sichuanese approach to life: “Take it easy” (Mànmanlái 慢慢来). It’s no surprise, therefore, that you need only go to one of Chengdu’s famous teahouses to see an entire garden full of people of all ages sat playing Majiang, sipping on cups of green tea and chatting away life’s many troubles.

mahjong tiles on a table in front of a teacup

So what are the rules of Majiang, and what does a Majiang set even look like for that matter?

The Tiles

A set is made up of three suits:

list of values of majiang tiles black and white

 

…and there is four of every tile, like this:

four of a kind mahjong tiles black and white

…which means that you have a total of 108 tiles, three suits of tiles numbered one to nine, and four of every tile. Hopefully you’re not getting too confused by all these numbers and symbols, but just in case, here’s a quick example:

Mahjong tiles black and white

 

Getting started

Before you even touch the Majiang tiles, be sure first of all to find 3 good friends (plus yourself) and a chilled spot somewhere. Comfy chairs are also a good addition. This isn’t a game to play in the deadly silence of a library, but a subway station isn’t ideal either.

To begin playing, you must first shuffle the tiles face down on the table and each player then builds a wall 13 tiles long by two tiles high. Two players will have 14 tiles in their wall, but that’s normal. It should look something like this:

mahjong table from above four players

 

To get started, each player rolls a pair of dice, and the person with the highest roll becomes the ‘dealer’, and gets to start play. The dealer then rolls the dice again to decide from where to start ‘breaking the wall’ – i.e. dealing the tiles to each player. The total of this second roll of the dice determines which wall, as counted anti-clockwise starting with themselves. So, a total of 3 would be the wall opposite (1 – yourself, 2 – player to the right, 3 – player opposite). The lowest number of these two dice then tells you precisely where to start breaking the wall, counting in from the right. This can all sound a bit tricky, but once you’ve played a few times it will come very naturally.

The dealer then starts by taking a stack of four tiles from the starting wall, and then each player does the same in an anti-clockwise direction until everyone has 12 tiles in their hand. Then, the dealer takes two more tiles to make his hand total 14 tiles, and each other player takes one more tile, so that each of their hands total 13 tiles. The dealer then discards one tile and everyone has 13 tiles – let the game commence!

Gameplay!

Once the dealer has discarded his first tile, the game continues in an anti-clockwise direction. Each turn consists of picking up a tile from the remaining wall, adding it to your hand and discarding another tile (or, the discarded tile can be the one just taken).

The purpose of the game is to keep a poker face throughout, and end up with a hand that contains four sets of three tiles and a pair. The sets of three can be three of a kind (3-3-3) or a run (3-4-5). It could look something like this:

mahjong tiles winning hand 4 sets 1 pair

 

Now, here’s where things get interesting…

There are two special moves you can make:

Peng 碰 (pèng) – If you have two-of-a-kind in your hand, and another player at ANY point in the game discards a matching tile that would enable you to complete your set of three, proudly shout “PENG!” and before anyone has a chance to react, reach over and add the tile to your hand. You must then turn over the completed set for everyone to see and leave it visible for the rest of the game. To finish your turn, you should discard one more tile (to bring you back down to 13) and continue play from the player to your right.

hand picking up mahjong tile from table
InternChina – Henry from the IC team reaches in for a sneaky ‘peng’

The second special move, Gang 杠 (gàng) is perhaps even more fiendish! If you have a three-of-a-kind in your hand, and another player at ANY point in the game discards a tile that would enable you to make it in to a complete set of four, take a deep breath and scream an almighty “GANG!” Grab the tile, add it to your hand and proudly turn over your four-of-a-kind for everyone to see. Take a tile from the wall and discard another.

two kong mahjong tiles on green table
InternChina – Thelma from the IC team boasts an impressive ‘double gang’

It is important to note, it doesn’t matter where the vital fourth tile comes from, whether it’s a discarded tile or taken from the wall, making a set of four is always a gang and you must always turn it over and reveal it straight away. Even if the three-of-a-kind is already face-up on the table, you can convert it into a four-of-a-kind with the gang move.

Winning

When you pick up the final tile completing a winning hand, shout “HU LE!” (胡了hú le) and add the tile to your hand (or turn it over to complete a peng or gang). It’s not necessary to show all of your tiles at this point, as some of the sets may have been completed by taking tiles from the wall, and gameplay doesn’t even stop here! The rest of the players must “battle to the bloody end” (血战到底  xuè zhàn dào dǐ) until there is only one player left.

About now, some of you may be wondering, don’t people usually bet money on Majiang games? The answer is absolutely yes, but since almost every city, district and even household has its own system for scoring and gambling money, we’ll save that for another blog post.

Now you’re fully equipped and ready to go out into the streets of Sichuan and challenge your friends to a fiendishly fun game of Majiang – but be careful, if you find yourself locked in a battle to the death with some well-seasoned local players, you just might leave with a suspiciously light wallet…

To find out more about our opportunities to be an intern in Chengdu, click here.