During Chinese New Year I moved from Qingdao to Chengdu and took with me: my cat Paula (big thanks to my colleagues who helped me through all the paperwork to take her on an airplane!) and my Chinese colleague Leo (also well-known as MacGyver amongst the InternChina community!).
Both arrived safely and helped me to feel like at home from the first day on. Our mission is to set up a new office for InternChina and to welcome as many students from all over the world as soon as possible. Chengdu is a fascinating city and offers plenty of opportunities for career seekers or those who just want to get a first idea of this enormously growing country and their economy. Also for those, who are culturally interested in China, Chengdu has a lot to offer: Daoist and Buddhist temples in and around Chengdu, religious mountains and multiple Chinese ethnicities living in the city make the exploration of Chengdu a big adventure.
Even though the last weeks were busy with finding a good office location and settling down, I tried to stroll around the city and discover places for you which might be interesting when you come to Chengdu the first time in your life.
So, I started my tour with strolling around in Jing Li Ancient Street. This is a place where you can find traditional Chinese architecture blending in with the modern world of consumption. A fascinating place where you can buy Chinese souvenirs for your friends and family at home or try different exotic Chinese snacks. Right next to this street, there is the more than 300 years old Wu Hou Temple, which is a huge area including a bonsai tree garden and the perfect place to escape the bustling city life. Entrance fee is 60 RMB, but worth to pay, if you like to hang out in a peaceful place and discover the beauty of Zen gardens. Not far from the temple you can find the Tibetan streets, where you can see typical restaurants and shops for all religious equipment (like incense sticks, incense vessels and holders as well as praying pillows) can be found. People are friendly here and speak English, so you can easily purchase some Buddhist goods or clothes.
After my tour through Wuhou district, I felt really hungry and as I love to cook at home, I wanted to try another supermarket than Carrefour to buy groceries. So, I went to Raffles City, which is a very new Shopping Center in Chengdu (see picture), where you can easily get lost within all the shops and even in the supermarket, which turned out to be a labyrinth. However, they offer very good fresh meat and fresh sea fish, which usually is not possible in a city so far away from the sea. Also, one of the 36 Starbucks in Chengdu can be found here, so if you are thirsty for a good coffee in Chengdu, there is always a place to go.
Finally, I also tried a few Western and Chinese restaurants in Chengdu and I easily can say you can get food from all over the world here: I already had potato salad as my grandma used to make it, original Spanish Tapas along with a cheesecake cream dessert, Tex-Mex and Indian food, as well as fried goose from Hongkong, steamed shrimps dumplings (Cantonese) and of course all different kinds of hotpots!
As you can see, Chengdu is a city which is easy to explore and of course, if you come here for an internship you could discover the city with our InternChina team together!
China’s climate is extremely diverse depending on the geographical location. Generally, the North is dry and very cold in winter and warm and humid in summer, the South is mild and humid in winter, hot and very humid in summer. The winter in West China is milder than in the North but temperatures can still drop down to zero, the summers are extremely hot. Of course, the climate also depends on altitude and the distance to the sea, so best is to take a closer look at the city you want to go to.
Now, if you take a look at our office locations we chose them not only because of the beautiful cities but also for geographical reasons. We want to offer nice places all year around, so for winter we would definitely recommend Zhuhai (South) as it is very mild in winters, some even say you could compare it to European spring. On some days the temperature can drop down to about 15°C and in South China you can’t find any heatings, however if you are sensitive to getting cold you always can use the air-condition to warm yourself up. Zhuhai winters are very short and there is no real spring, it more or less changes really quickly to summer temperatures.
Chengdu (West) would be the second choice for winters as the temperature is comparatively warm, however locals say that it is still pretty humid, which makes the temperature affecting you a little bit more. Chengdu winters are not very long, so in March/April you already can go out in T-shirts again.
If you are not coincidentally a Sibirian, Qingdao (North) would not be the first choice for winters, as it is getting really cold (and windy!). However, it is the right place for almost daily sunshine and usually it does not rain or snow. In Qingdao you can find a central heating system, so at least at work you don’t need to wear your long underwear during winters. 😉 Qingdao’s winters are longer than European ones, it often is around 0°C in March, only in April they have a very short spring and in May it is beach-time again.
If you want to come to China in summer, I would definitely recommend Qingdao as a first choice. The temperature is higher than in some european countries (like Germany, the UK or Scandinavia), however the fresh sea breeze keeps you stay refreshed and the beautiful beaches help you cooling down and relaxing by swimming or doing sports on weekends. In Qingdao we organize beach-volleyball every Sunday, where you also can meet other foreign and Chinese locals.
If you are a relaxed person who can take it easy, you are definitely recommended to come to Chengdu – people here are said to be really laid-back due to the extremely hot weather in summer. Beautiful parks and tea-houses invite for relaxing and you can find a lot of strategies from locals to cope with the heat. I personally find it relaxing to visit the panda research base when it is too hot as they have a really thick bamboo forest, which can offer some shade to cool down.
If you like islands and the sea, your place is Zhuhai. However, you should consider that in summer it is extremely humid in Zhuhai and often affected by rain and typhoons. However, you also can go the beach here, swimming and bathing, meeting friends and having beach-parties as rain periods are just very short (but heavy). The air in Zhuhai is very fresh and clean in general and a summer rain surely helps to keep it clean.
To summarize, China is all year around a fascinating place to visit and we always help you to make the best out of your stay. However, if you are sensitive to weather or a certain climate, it can help to take a look beforehand, which place would be the best for you.
Which city is the best for you? If you are coming to China the first time, you probably want to see as much as possible. However, your resources (time and money) might be limited as a student. Nevertheless, we think you can get the most out of your stay if you choose the right place for you. As you might have never been to China before, we want to give you an idea of what different locations are alike. We are going to have a new blog series for you comparing different aspects of our office locations Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai. Today’s blog is on “People”. More blogs will be coming on Climate, Nightlife, Food and Trips. Enjoy reading and contact our team in case of any questions!
China has a population of about 1.3 billion people of which the majority is Han Chinese (more than 90% of the population). However, China is still a multi-ethnic country and home to numerous minorities such as Manchu, Hui, Zhuang and Miao, just to name a few. In the west of China (Tibet and Xinjiang) minorities are still outnumbering Han people, even though the overall number of ethnic minorities is diminishing in China.
China is a huge country with a big population, therefore of course you will always find stereotypical Chinese. But you will find more and more ways to identify if a Chinese is from the North, South, West or East by their body size and shape, accent, food preferences, sense of humour and general temper.
Like in any country also Chinese have their stereotypes about each other. People in the North (e.g. Qingdao) are said to be tall and slim, love meat and sea-food, salty dishes and like drinking beer or baijiu a lot. Their language is the closest to the Chinese which is spoken in the capital, however each city still has its own accent. People in the North are a little bit rough (maybe because they need to resist cold winters?) and when you talk to factory owners they will tell you that people in the North prefer to enjoy their personal lives and work less than southerners. Northerners can get very loud and expressive as well. Most of the people living in the North are Han Chinese, however in Qingdao you also can find a lot of South Koreans and Chinese people belonging to the Korean minority. As South Korea is not far, a lot of Koreans built up their business in and around Qingdao (mainly jewelry and textile/fashion). Unless you speak some Korean however, you would not recognize the difference between Koreans and Chinese as a foreigner.
Southern Chinese (e.g. Zhuhai) are somehow the opposite of Northerners, they are pretty small (even the taxis are smaller!) and calmer than Northerners. Their food is much sweater and contains a lot more cold dishes (probably due to the big heat in summer) than Northern Chinese dishes. Southern Chinese really enjoy celebrating traditional Chinese festivals like the Dragon Boat Festival as well. Southerners are said to be very warm-hearted people. Their drinking culture is less aggressive than the Northern one – however if you go out to a business dinner with Chinese it does not make a difference whether you are in the North or in the South, you should bring a Chinese colleague along who is able to handle the hard liquor.
Chengdu is located in the West of China and said to be the gate to Tibet. Generally spoken, the further you go to the West of China, the more ethnic minorities will live there. In Chengdu you can find a population of roughly 40.000 Tibetans for example which settled down in Chengdu. Chengdu is home of the National University for Ethnic Minorities, where students from all over China learn about their own cultural traditions and roots (dances, instruments, literature etc.). This turns the city of Chengdu into a vivid and colourful place, where a variety of cultures is living peacefully side by side. People from Sichuan, the province which Chengdu is the capital of, are said to be extremely laid-back and relaxed, they enjoy their lives playing MaJiang and visiting tea-houses. Chengdu is also called a hot-pot city not only due to its traditionally spicy food, but also because it is said to be home of the most beautiful women in China. Men in Chengdu would describe their women as dominant and determining, they are strong leaders and know exactly what they want – in private and business life. People in Chengdu are very polite and friendly and open to strangers and foreigners.
In General, I always experienced Chinese people as open and friendly as long as you treat them with respect. So, for whatever city you decide to go – as long as you treat people with an open mind and a positive attitude, Chinese people will always return to you much more than you would expect.
We hope, that our little introduction about the Chinese people was an enjoyable read! If you want to know more about the Chinese cities we are having our offices in, you can contact our team directly!
By the way, are you following us on Twitter already? It is a very easy way to stay in touch with us and get informed about the latest internship positions.
If you’ve still not decided about where to go, you can do our Intern China City Test!
Every day we are getting plenty of enquiries – by students from all over the world. I really enjoy replying to these requests; it belongs to one of my tasks as an office manager. Our mission is to find the best solution for every student who is interested in a first work-experience in China. However, sometimes, of course, some requests are pushing the boundaries.
Today, I would like to talk about how your availability is influencing the quality of your experience.
Timeframe: First of all, we of course offer internship experiences for only one month. However, we would always recommend you to plan at least 6 weeks for your stay – this is the minimum to get a real working experience here. The first two weeks you will spend with getting rid of your jetlag and adaptation to the Chinese food. The third week you will get your first real tasks and the fourth week you already have to spend most of the time to say good-bye to all the friends you made and to buy souvenirs for your family and friends back home. So, before you even could start, you are already gone.
That’s why we would recommend you to at least plan 6 weeks of time for an internship experience.
If you want to combine your internship with a language class, we would at least recommend 2 months of time, as otherwise you will probably not even get one task in your company as no-one wants to think about how to “keep you busy” for 4 weeks half-day internship. Our aim is to offer the best possible program for you, so please think carefully what you want to get out of your stay. We want you to profit as much as possible!
Availability: However, sometimes you might not have more time than 4 weeks and you still want to come! This is totally ok for us; we always can arrange classes and an internship for you. You only should consider, that first of all not all companies will be available then – and secondly it might be that the time will pass so quickly, that you will thoroughly regret to leave China after 4 weeks. 😉
China is an amazingly big country and there is plenty to see and experience, to taste and smell, to do and to buy. We would always advise you to plan better more than too little time for your internship and studies. It is always an adventure to learn more about the Chinese culture, better you take some time for adaptation and to experience the real life instead of being a tourist. 🙂
If you are interested in an internship or you want to combine your internship with studying Chinese, please contact our office managers Jack (Qingdao, firstname.lastname@example.org), Philippe (Zhuhai, Philippe.email@example.com) or me (Chengdu, firstname.lastname@example.org) directly!
We are pleased to assist you with your application!
InternChina is wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Hope you all celebrated well!
Christmas is over and even though you might have thought you already got all gifts, there is one more waiting for you: We are offering a one-time 800RMB discount to all bookings for Chengdu which are confirmed before 30th April 2013!*
*Please see our website for details: http://www.internchina.com/en/terms!
In February 2013 we will open our new office in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, China. Not only is it one of the fastest growing cities in the world, but it is also China in a nutshell.
Here you can find hundreds of Chinese minorities, Han-Chinese and foreigners from all over the world peacefully living together. Chengdu is famous for its spicy hot-pot but being the host for the world-biggest research base for Pandas, too. A mix of different cultural influences, the laid-back lifestyle of the locals and the enormous pace of growth make Chengdu a fascinating city!
Not only the city itself but also its beautiful surrounding make Chengdu a wonderful place to explore: Mountains and rivers, Buddhistic sites and temples, Nature reservation parks and the Tibetan Plateau not far are teasing everyone who wants to escape the busy metropolis.
Last Tuesday my colleague Leo and me went on a first exploration trip to Chengdu in order to meet partner companies, host-families and to search for suitable office locations and a language school partner. The positive response that we received was overwhelming and just confirmed our decision: InternChina goes West!
The first interns in Chengdu can start beginning of March 2013, we can receive applications from now on. First internship positions and information about Chengdu can be found on our website www.internchina.com. Keep your eyes open, we are planning to offer a discount for those who book early for Chengdu.
To give you a first impression about Chengdu, please see the pictures below!
Hey there, it’s Jamie again and this time I want to blog about some exciting news for InternChina. As you will see from the recent blog posts, we are very happy to welcome Jack to our team as the future Qingdao office manager! We have also just welcomed Amber Sun to our Qingdao team as our new accountant. Their profiles will be added to our Team Page soon. These 2 new recruits represent 2 other big changes for our company. Firstly as many of you already know, our CFO and InternChina co-founder Duan Yifan is now almost 9 months pregnant and will be leaving us for a few months to have her baby! We’re all really excited! Good luck Yifan!
The second big change for our company is that our current Qingdao office manager Jenny will be setting off from Qingdao to CHENGDU early next year to set up the 3rd InternChina office. We’re all really looking forward to having a 3rd exciting destination to offer.
The next big news is that InternChina will be opening a marketing office in the UK next year. On my way back to the UK I am taking some time off to see some other parts of China, Nepal and India. Keep up to date with my travels on Facebook and on my blog: www.jamiebettles.com. Yes, I went there, I made a website with my name as the URL, it just felt right…
After visiting Xi’an, the next stop on my travels was the city where we will open our third China office next year: CHENGDU. Chengdu is an awesome city with a unique feel to it. It’s a big city which is developing fast, but has maintained a very relaxed, easy-going feel to it, with a huge Tea House culture and friendly Sichuanese people.
One interesting thing we observed in Chengdu was that parents were posting ‘personals’ ads in the park for their single offspring with the aim of finding a husband or wife for them! This is something that has to be seen to be believed, but in China there is a real culture of working hard and having no time to find a suitable ‘date’. Often if a child is single for too long, the parents try to intervene!
Overall I would say that Chengdu deserves it’s place in China’s Top 10 most ‘liveable’ cities alongside Qingdao and Zhuhai (Chengdu actually finished above Qingdao and Zhuhai last time they conducted a poll in 2010!). The most obvious attractions in Chengdu are the Giant Panda’s, which are incredible, and the famous spicy Sichuan food. The panda centre is way better than I expected. The pandas have a lot of space and great environment to live in and visitors can get almost within touching distance of the pandas. The pandas themselves love to eat and lie around napping, and are very cute! Chengdu also has a unique cultural feel as it’s close to Emei Shan, one of China’s 5 holy mountains and also has a tibetan district, as the city is so close to the border with tibet. Chengdu has plenty to offer and is close to some of China’s most beautiful countryside, so we are looking forward to offering internships, Chinese study and homestay programs there from 2013!