Do you know these moments in your life, when you are leaning against a railing in a harbour, looking at the waves without really looking? Smelling the salty sea scent and listening to the seagulls screeching, but you don’t listen and smell actively?
In these kind of moments, you will have a talk with yourself and ask in your head with a tremulous voice: “what the heck am I doing here?” At least it was like this in my case.
I am a 29-year-old German. I worked as a bank clerk for 6 years in Germany. And now after studying two and a half years I landed in Qingdao. How come?
Am I a romantic enthusiast that practiced traditional “fan-tai-chi”? Am I a lover of Chinese poetry? Did I watch too much Kung Fu Panda? Or do I just like to castigate myself learning all the Chinese characters?
No, is the answer to all these questions, it was a reason wedding. But as history shows this can have quite good outcome (not that I recommend this style of marriage). In my case it pumped up the numbers quite high. While I used to ask myself the “what the heck?” question in quite unromantic places, now I can do this on the breath-taking coast of Qingdao.
I am here now since February this year. So, I could witness the change in weather and environment in Qingdao. I was freezing my “lower area of the back” off due to the famous “Qingdao-wind” in winter time. In summer time “Mediterranean” heat let me sweat Niagara Falls out of my body. A big thanks to the inventors of heaters and air conditioners!
Experiences in Qingdao
Although this may sound like advertisement for Air-con, Heaters and Qingdao, it is my utmost honest view of Qingdao. I am now looking forward on all the cool things that I will see and experience here. Why am I telling you this? The reason why is, that from now on, I will try to keep you guys updated and informed about these experiences. Don’t worry, I will not share the hilarious story of how I bought a bus ticket or the tremendously fascinating day when I was doing absolutely nothing.
The goal of my articles, blogging and scribbling will be to give you interesting insights in daily life here in Qingdao. As well as providing you with interesting news and hidden highlights.
I hope that the reading will give you an image of China, maybe inspire you or at least will make you sit in front of the screen smirking.
Nothing is more daunting than the fact you are about to graduate and you have no concrete plans for the future. The questions that arise are; do I carry on with education and do a masters or do I take the plunge into real life by becoming a full time adult and start work as a graduate?? Well, that was my predicament until I came across InternChina. I applied for the marketing & business development position in the Qingdao branch and was offered the 3 months internship (yay!). Interning in China has given me the opportunity to gain great experience whilst figuring out my future plans!
On my arrival, I was picked up from the airport by one of my soon to be colleagues. She was incredibly welcoming and helped me settle in the shared apartment. What I like the most about the apartments in Qingdao is that they are graciously spacious yet have a very cosy vibe to them. My roommates are my fellow colleagues at the IC Qingdao branch, so it was great to be able to meet them outside of the ‘work’ environment. (I did find it rather humorous that each one of us were from a different European country, one Brit, one French and one German… it almost sounds like one of those bar jokes).
As I had never been to Qingdao before, my roommates took me out and introduced me to fellow individuals who are part of the InternChina programme but are interning at different companies. As we are all connected through InternChina it was very easy to get along and feel comfortable with one another. Plans for the weekend were discussed and I was thrown into the mix and was able to explore Qingdao with them all!
There are really cool cafes, bars and restaurants in China, so regardless of the city you’re in, you will always be able to find somewhere that is to your liking. The food is cheap and cheerful -some meals will cost you max 3 pounds (I can’t find the pound sign on my macbook sigh). Moreover, you can actually find food that is halal and great for vegetarians!
Honestly, I have only been here a few days and already I have some ideas on what I wish to do once I get back to the U.K. It also helps to be around people from all over the world as it is a great way to broaden your horizon and learn more. So if you’re currently unsure and undecided, I would wholeheartedly recommend an internship (especially one in China).
To start your own internship adventure in China, apply now!
After a series of delayed flights and lost luggage I’ve finally arrived in the beautiful seaside city of Qingdao!
I’m Rebecca and I study Public Relations at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. I’m from a small city in the Highlands of Scotland, but from a young age I’ve always been desperate to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world!
Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to venture as far and wide as India, Australia, Myanmar and Fiji. And every year I want to explore and learn more about other cultures. I first arrived in China in April 2014 to participate in the Study China programme. I selected Beijing Normal University as my institute of study and learned Mandarin for 3 weeks.
The time I spent in Beijing first time round and the Mandarin that I learned instilled a love for China in me and here I am, back in the country for four months, working for Intern China in Qingdao before travelling the rest of the country.
I have been in China for 3 days now, mostly exploring the easy breeziness of Qingdao. Yesterday I wandered down to the harbour where they held the 2008 Olympic Sailing competitions. It’s so beautiful down at the sea and the air is surprisingly clean compared to the rest of China! Also down at the harbour is the May 4th Square that is best recognised by the vibrant ‘May Wind’ red sculpture.
So far I’m really enjoying my time in Qingdao despite the lack of luggage and I can’t wait to begin working at InternChina. Everybody has been so friendly and helpful whilst I’ve been organising my trip: I can’t wait to link names with faces!
If you want to explore the laid back, seaside city of Qingdao whilst undertaking an internship apply here.
I am from Germany and finished school last year. Now, I am between secondary school and looking forward to going to university next year. As part of my Gap Year I chose to go to Qingdao for five months to learn Mandarin.
I landed in Qingdao after 16 hours of flight and stopover. At ten in the morning I arrived in a freezing cold Qingdao. Having not slept the whole flight because I wanted to watch all the movies I was quite tired upon my arrival. But all my fatigue quickly fell away when I saw that my host family had sent their driver in a Jaguar to pick me up and excitement set in! An hour later we got to the house I was placed in, where I have my own room with a balcony. The house is in a beautiful neighbourhood and within a two-minute walk from the beach.
I met my DiDi (little brother) later that afternoon when he came back from school and the parents in the evening when they came back from work. The family made me feel most welcome and I managed to settle in quickly. Not knowing what to expect of the food in Qingdao I was relieved when the Ayi (housekeeper) – who helps me where she is able to – served some egg-fried rice alongside a good ol’ steak with some beans. The Ayi cooks heaps of food, does my laundry, cleans my room and tries to support me wherever possible, as does the rest of the family.
The food here is dangerously spicy for people who cannot eat spicy food and understandably consists of a lot of rice and dumplings but I personally like hot food and the Chinese cuisine so I was happy. However, my stomach was not and took a few days to get used to the food. The only thing I do not enjoy quite so much is the ZaoFan (breakfast). But this problem was resolved swiftly after I told the Ayi that I would be happy to eat toast. Now, the only remnant of Western cuisine in my diet is toast with Nutella in the morning along some scrambled eggs. At this point I got to warn any prospective interns that it is not easy to come by foreign groceries here. I have yet to find Nutella and for now I make do with some surrogate chocolate cream. Also all imported food is more expensive than it would be in the country of origin.
On Monday I had to drive to school for the first time which was a piece of cake given that the public transport is really efficient. But it can be very confusing because all maps are in HanZi and most people only speak Chinglish so I would advise you to get a good description of the buses you can take and at which stop you have to get out. Furthermore, Google Maps does not work in China unless you use a VPN, so getting around the city can be a challenge. Nonetheless, I arrived at school safe after an exciting bus ride – the traffic is wild and the bus drivers are mad. My school is great, I am a single student and my teacher is very able and we get along just fine. After school I usually go to lunch with my colleagues who are great fun which makes work so much more bearable. The work atmosphere is relaxed and my tasks do not bore me, so I am perfectly happy with my placement.
The weekends are really exciting, as we always have a group activity – last week for example we went hiking in the mountains and this weekend we will go paintballing – after which we go out in the city. Also on Thursdays all interns get together and have dinner at a different restaurant every week.
Having had little prior Mandarin skills I think I can say that even the mere two weeks I have been here so far have made a huge impact on my knowledge of HanYu, so I am looking forward to the next 16 weeks, during which I am hoping to travel around China with the other interns. For Chinese New Year we are probably travelling to NanJing, the ancient capital of China.
If you also want to experience the real China and live in a hostfamily during your internship, apply now!
¡Hola a todos! Parece que llego el momento de irse, y me han dicho que escriba un blog para despedirme y contar mi experiencia pero, ¿ Cómo resumir 6 meses de tú vida en un blog? Pues no tengo ni idea, pero lo voy a intentar.
Antes de nada, he de dar las gracias a Internchina porque sin ellos no habría podido tener esta experiencia. En estos 6 meses he tenido la oportunidad de conocer a casi todo el equipo, de trabajar con todos ellos, ya que estuvo la mayoría en la oficina de Qingdao al mismo tiempo. Esa semana fue estresante por la cantidad de trabajo que había y que no cogía ni un alfiler, pero también la más divertida, y por suerte nos coincidió con Halloween. Trabajando con ellos he aprendido a moverme en campos y materias que jamás pensé que lo haría, como con el programa Photoshop, al pobre de Jack lo tenía estresado; o trabajar como Comercial con mi compañera Cecily (cosa que nunca he conseguido llevar a cabo, pero con ella todo se hizo más fácil o llevadero); o ir a reuniones con Clare donde poco a poco ella ha conseguido que fuese yo la que empezase las reuniones o trabajar con Frank, el fundador, que consiguió que dejase de hacer apuntes en mi libreta y lo pusiese todo en el programa. Pero lo que más he aprendido ha sido a lidiar con toda clase de acentos en inglés, desde el mío español, hasta con el del norte de Irlanda.
Creo que lo peor llevé al principio fue el tema de la comida. Yo esperaba que todo fuese como los restaurantes chinos europeos, con tu arroz a las tres delicias, pollo al limón, pero he de decir que ni por asomo lo vas a encontrar aquí. Es todo totalmente diferente. Muchas verduras semi-crudas, arroz para todo, nuddels de todo tipo, pero sobretodo picante, le echan picante a absolutamente todo… y lo de comer con cubiertos ve olvidándote, todo es con palillos. Pero he de decir que ahora soy aficionada a la comida de aquí y tengo mis platos preferidos como las berenjenas crujientes, el pollo con salsa dulce, las patatas que siempre siempre se pide Cecily, vayamos a donde vayamos, y el 肉夹馍. Dos logros que he conseguido en este tema son, comer comida picante aunque sigo diciendo “sin mucho picante, por favor” y comer nuddles con palillos! Que cuando los ves a ellos te parece algo sencillo, pero de eso nada, necesitas tres batallas con los fideos y los palillos, más tus camisetas manchadas de comida…consejo, si pensais pedir nuddles, no lleveis nada de color claro haha.
Llegué en pleno verano, que ní en Almería hace tanta calor, y coincidí con gente con la que me he reído muchísimo, hicieron que mi primer mes fuese más llevadero entre sus locuras y su caluroso recibimiento. Más tarde se fueron ellos y prácticamente se llevaron el verano pero con el invierno llegó más gente y nuevas experiencias.
Aquí dejo a personas que han llegado a convertirse en amigas, a gente con la que me he divertido, aprendido y con las que he crecido como persona. Pero me llevo recuerdos muy buenos, como cuando Amber intentaba enseñarme palabras en chino, o la cara de sorpresa de Yifan cuando dije que la comida estaba picante (sí, el primer día para mi lo estaba, pero a día de hoy…eso no es nada haha) o la conversación de Pirat-Parrot entre mi amigo de Manchester y mi compañera Rosey que es del Norte de Irlanda, con sus acentos y su forma de decir las palabras (que para mi casi que suenan igual pero no tienen nada que ver) o el haber conocido a gente española en la otra parte del mundo, que son muy pocos los que se atreven a venir. Pero el tiempo pasa y toca volver a casa, pero eso no quiere decir que no vaya a volver a Qingdao
Bueno ya sólo quedar decir, Gracias al equipo de Internchina por la oportunidad, gracias a la gente por sus buenos momentos, y por las que llegaron en el momento que menos lo esperaba, y por hacer que sea más llevadero las navidades fuera de casa. Hasta luego Qingdao!!!
If you’d also like to go on a 6 month journey and experience the real China, apply now!
Despite living in Qingdao for 3 months now, I hadn’t actually made it to Laoshan during that time. I’d climbed Fushan, since it is conveniently located 15 minutes from my house, however Laoshan was always a failed trip- somebody was sick, the weather was bad, we would wait until there were more interns… well all the excuses finished when Kristin visited from the Zhuhai office.
We decided late on Friday that we’d like to climb Laoshan that Sunday in an effort to tick one more thing off Kristin’s list of things to do in Qingdao. We didn’t plan the trip particularly well, as usually the interns plan a route, a meeting point and organise a guide, but despite the freezing weather we were up and on the 104 bus to Laoshan at 10 am. We had no idea where to get off the bus, or how long we should be on the bus for, but we settled in for the hour long journey with our wasabi flavoured dried peas and a rather off-putting piece of corn on the cob.
We arrived at the visitor center and got our bus tickets, where we then boarded a bus where we felt slightly out of place in our trainers and hoodies, as everyone else seemed to be dressed for a day at work in suits and high heels. We found three people at the back of the bus similarly kitted out to us (complete with hiking boots and backpacks) and so reassured that we were on the right bus after all, we allowed ourselves to be excited again- especially as the weather had decided to change to sunny and warm despite being the middle of December.
20 minutes later we were at Laoshan, and were met with an amazing sea view surrounded by huge mountains… beside a KFC. Not what we were expecting! But when the KFC is surrounded by trees, a temple, the ocean and a mountain range that stretches farther than the eye can see, you soon forget it is even there. We didn’t have a planned route, so we aimlessly made our way past trees branded with QR codes and took in the scenery, which suited us just fine. There was no pressure to follow a route or stick to a plan, so we were free to explore the mountains as we wished and we took our time climbing the steps we decided to follow.
We made our way to a flat, empty expanse of space with only a lone cyclist and his camera for company. While the view was amazing, we didn’t want to stay there all day, so after some poor attempts to translate a sign, we realised we had come the completely wrong direction and made our way back the way we came. We followed more stairs cut into the mountain, which led us to this breathtaking view…
We decided to walk up the mountain loosely in the direction of the cable car, and after witnessing some unique snacks for sale and attempting to explore a river, we found the tea fields. We met one man very eager to tell us all about the tea fields, and understandably so because they were beautiful! I realised how high up we must have been at this point, as the tea on Laoshan is only grown after a certain altitude to stop the plans being damaged by insects. We also stumbled across a dog guarding a temple. We went into the temple and stayed there for a while before heading back down the mountain. The next scenic site we saw was a bridge filled with love locks, and a huge waterfall, which was simply beautiful.
We continued with our aimless wandering past the huge lake and waterfall, and eventually ended up in the car park we needed to get the bus home from. I had been told our last bus home was at 4 pm, and since we didn’t want to pay for an hour long taxi ride back to Qingdao we decided to rush back to make the last bus.
Despite our poor planning and “see how it goes” attitude, we got to explore a lot of Laoshan. There is simply too much to see in one, two or three trips, but we saw beautiful views, amazing structures and the unique touches the modern world has added to this ancient mountain.
If you want to explore Laoshan for yourself, apply now!
So you’ve just arrived in Qingdao, you’re here for two days… where to begin? In a city with 8 million people there’s no shortage of places to eat, sleep or entertain yourself so let’s take a look at what you could get up to in just 48 hours!
Kiwi Cafe is popular for a taste of Western cooking- the chef Danny cooks every dish himself and it shows in the quality of the food. For a quick breakfast or a lazy morning, this is definitely the place to go for some eggs, bacon and pancakes to start your day off- it’s also the perfect place to go if you spent the night before in one of Qingdao’s many bars!
Address: No 127 ZhangZhou 2nd Road
If you are feeling energetic, a great way to start your morning in Qingdao is with a hike up the mountain, FuShan. If you are particularly eager, you could ensure you are at the top in time for sunrise… you can see the entire city so it’s worth missing a few hours of sleep! It will take you a few hours to reach the top but there are so many paths and trails to follow that you could easily spend your entire day here.
Address: 190 Chongqing Bei Lu 地址：青岛市崂山区重庆北路190
If you want to eat good, inexpensive Chinese food consider visiting the underground food court on Xin Pu Lu. With an atmosphere reminiscent of a mall food court it is busy and you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can have dumplings, kebabs, noodles, soup… if you can think of it, this food court has it! It’s important to remember that you don’t pay by cash- at the entrance, you give whatever amount of money you want and top up a card which is used to pay inside. 30RMBis more than enough to buy your lunch and you’ll get change back at the end!
Address: Xin Pu Lu 新浦路
After lunch, you can get the bus to Jimo Lu Market. Otherwise known as Qingdao’s ‘fake market’, this indoor market is a bewildering maze of clothing, electronics, jewellery and souvenirs. Just like any other market, there are bargains to be found if you take your time and try to haggle- if you aren’t successful, the experience is still fun! The market sprawls over several floors, so take your time to explore everywhere.
Address: 45 Liaochang Lu, Shibei District, Qingdao
Dinner & Drinks:
While in Qingdao you should visit Mei Da Er at least once. Our interns have affectionately nicknamed this restaurant the Magic Eggplant, for reasons that will become clear once you arrive. You can order seafood, pork, beef, rice… but you have to order the eggplant! If you want to go off menu, you can visit the seafood market behind the restaurant and buy your favourite seafood then ask the restaurant staff to cook it for you. They are more than happy to do so, and it lets you create your perfect dinner!
Address: Mei Da Er (美达尔) Dayao 3rd Rd 大尧三路
If you want to experience some of Qingdao’s history, the Old Observatory Youth Hostel will be perfect for you- this observatory was the first in China! Originally built in 1904 and converted in 2010, the observatory gives you some of the best views of the Old Town areas in the city. With some of the rooms costing as little as 30RMB per night it’s great value for the chance to stay in a piece of China’s history. So if you want a relaxed evening you can sit on the rooftop bar, Sunset Cafe, with a Tsingtao beer and watch the sunset over the beautiful historic views.
Address: No 21 Guanxiang Er Road
So yesterday morning you had a Western breakfast, today will have to be Chinese! If you don’t feel like sitting down to breakfast, you can grab a quick one from a street vendor- including the delicious jian bing (煎饼) which can be found anywhere in the city.
If you feel like moving at a slower pace in the morning, you could take a walk along the many beaches in Qingdao. If you begin at the popular Beach #2 and walk towards the Old Town, you can spend a few hours getting to know this area of the city and see the most famous landmarks, including Zhanqiao Pier (the inspiration for the Tsingtao Beer logo!) You can continue walking right into Old Town and spend the morning exploring the German architecture and historical buildings here.
Pichai Yuan is one of Qingdao’s worst kept secrets- the alleys are filled with traditional Chinese charm and amazing fresh food. The street is packed with stalls and restaurants offering Qingdao’s famous seafood and for the more adventurous, some insects and scorpions! Grab yourself something delicious and sit down to enjoy the fast paced atmosphere of this Old Town treasure.
Address: Zhongshan Lu
Visiting the TV Tower is the perfect way get a bird’s eye view of the city. The tower itself has an Olympic museum, as well as a revolving restaurant. If you don’t think you can manage the climb up TaiPing hill there is the option to take a cable car up, so you can sit back and enjoy the view! The tower is close to ZhongShan Park, and ZhanShan temple so there’s no shortage of things to see.
Address: 1 TaiPingShan Road 青岛电视塔, 太平山路1号
If you have spent the day in Old Town, you should stay for dinner. Visiting Si Fang Lu will mean you can buy the freshest sea food in Qingdao- it’s right beside the port! When you’ve walked around the stalls and decided what you want, take your goods to any of the many restaurants lining the street displaying “加工” and ask them to cook it for you.
Address: Si Fang Lu (四方路)
Drinks and Party:
A trip to Qingdao wouldn’t be complete without a stop to the famous Beer Museum. Located in Old Town, next to the Beer Street, you can learn about the history of Tsingtao, how it’s made and even taste the different varieties.
Address: 青岛啤酒博物馆, 登州路56号
Another place to stay in the Old Town area of Qingdao is the Kaiyue Youth Hostel. This hostel is a converted church, so it’s another piece of Qingdao’s history! They have a bar and areas for socialising with other guests.
Address: 31 Jining Rd青岛凯越国际青年旅馆
The nightlife in Qingdao varies from the relaxing atmosphere of ssLPG and Rocky Bar to clubs like Muse and Pub33. No matter where you decide to go, you’ll meet friendly locals and expats alike. Many of the bars have snooker tables and table football, so there’s more to do than sit and drink your Tsingtao. For the more outgoing among you there is also KTV. One KTV venue even has themed rooms, so you can sing your heart out surrounded by Hello Kitty!
If you want to experience everything about Qingdao for yourself, then apply now!
Si, ya he hecho mi primer viaje por Asia, y la verdad que en este viaje hemos tenido de todo.
Hemos pasado por todas las fases posibles, desde ilusión, porque lo organizábamos mi compañera y yo, estrés porque salían imprevistos por todos sitios y queríamos que todo fuese perfecto, felicidad porque nos gusto a todos el viaje, y cansancio porque para algunos de nuestros compañeros la vuelta fue eterna.
Como ya he dicho, este viaje al haberlo organizado nosotras, he experimentado las tres fases de un viaje: pre-viaje, viaje y post viaje, pero si tuviera que calificarlo en una sola palabra sería, imprevisto. En todas las etapas hemos tenido alguno. El mayor de todos…los vuelos. Y el ser aún una novata en las aerolíneas chinas esta provocando que tenga a mi compañera Amber loquita perdida.
La verdad es que me llevé una grata sorpresa con Shanghai, porque pensé que ya no quedaría mucho de las antiguas casa chinas, esas que vemos en las películas o en los libros de historia, pero no. A pesar de ser una ciudad enorme, y una de las más visitadas…sigue manteniendo su raíz y lo mejor de todo es que tanto las casas antiguas como modernas conviven y se combinan entre sí, junto con su barrio Francés.
Uno de mis sitios favoritos fue el puente “The Bund” con unas vistas preciosas y prácticamente cantamos bajo la lluvia y nos quedaron unas fotos muy bonitas. El otro sitio que me gustó mucho fue el Bazar de los jardines Yuyuan, dentro de sus galerías estaba la casa del té y para quienes adoramos las tiendas de souvenires, es el paraíso, y más si sabes regatear precios. Y una de las nuevas experiencias adquiridas ha sido encontrar un taxi y coger un vuelo a su hora. Allí que estábamos nosotros, 16 europeos con ganas de conocer la noche en Shanghai e intentado encontrar un taxista disponible junto a “The Bund” haha ¡Sólo se nos ocurre a nosotros! Pero creo que parte de mis compañeros aprendieron a llevar las situaciones con más filosofía después de que le cancelaran el vuelo. Pero no perdieron la sonrisa porque se hicieron fotos con niños bajo el agua.
Tras este viaje, baidu maps app se ha convertido en mi guía, siempre que no quiera reírse de mí y me mande en dirección contraria. Y he aprendido que cuando vas a coger un avión en China, tienes que llevarte un libro para leer durante las horas de retraso o tomártelo con mucha filosofía.
Aquí puedes encontrar más experiencias.