The recent InternChina team get-together in Chengdu gave me the perfect opportunity to spend some time in our new office, see how our presence in Chengdu is developing and get to know the city even better. Our office is perfectly located in the southern business district, which means close access to partner companies, easy access for new arrivals and a convenient daily commute on foot for our staff and office interns in Chengdu. The office itself is spread over 2 floors, is very light and open-plan, which makes daily communication really easy. The building in which our office is located is split between residential and commercial spaces, so it has a familiar, homely feel, which suits our ethos. It is also right next to a metro station, so accessing other areas of the city is easy. Here’s a picture of our team in the new office:
Partner Language School
During the week in Chengdu I also visited our partner language school in Chengdu, which is a short walk from our office, in leafy, quiet residential surroundings. The staff at the school are friendly, the facilities are excellent and the location is very conducive to learning the wonderful language of Chinese! Here’s a photo of me with the school’s managers:
Host Companies, Homestay families and apartments
Our team in Chengdu has been pretty busy since arriving in Chengdu in February. We visited the city several times before Chinese New Year to begin establishing new internship opportunities and meeting potential host families, so we had a bit of a head start. This has enabled us to have around 30 internships and over 30 host families in Chengdu already!
What Chengdu has to offer
Relaxed life / Speedy development
Chengdu strikes a perfect balance of fast-paced development and relaxed day-to-day life. The tea house culture means parks are always full of locals and visitors playing Mah Jong, cards, practicing Tai Qi and generally relaxing with a brew. This lies alongside areas of break-neck development such as Century City, where the skyline is dotted with new highrise glass buildings and cranes in the process of building even more. Chengdu is establishing several direct flight routes to Europe and there are an increasing number of internationally recognised exhibitions at the enormous exhibition centre, which all point to the rapid rise in Chengdu’s profile as one of the most promising second tier cities in China. Here’s an example of Chengdu’s more relaxed pursuits getting your ears cleaned whilst chilling with a tea in the park (Sunny and Till are the recipients!):
We all had some pretty spicy hotpot and tested our stomachs against the notoriously spicy and delicious Sichuan cuisine. Chengdu also has lots of restaurants offering cuisine from all over China, which is lucky for our Chengdu Office Manager Jenny, who isn’t a fan of the local spice-levels! One of my favourite parts of Chengdu is the Tibetan district, where you can browse and buy lots of colourful Tibetan trinkets and material and walk alongside Tibetan monks (see picture below!), which is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience! Chengdu also has 2 massive universities and a huge student population, so it’s fair to say that Chengdu is a very student-friendly city.
Intern China recently opened its third office in the city of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. The Intern China team is now spread out between Qingdao, Zhuhai, Chengdu and England. But this past weekend, the management teams from Qingdao, Zhuhai and England converged onto Chengdu to celebrate the opening of the new office, take care of business and experience some of the city’s highlights.
First, Yours Truly and the Zhuhai Team were flabbergasted at the stunning amount of taxis waiting to whisk of us out from the airport into the city. A sea of green taxis with welcoming red lights reading “空车“ or “empty car”.
While waiting for the Qingdao team to arrive, the Zhuhai, Chengdu and England teams went out to catch up over a meal. Running into long time friend of Intern China- Rudi!
Saturday with all offices fully represented, a morning full of face-to-face about business talk (and Peter’s Tex-Mex) was put aside and Intern China hit the streets of Chengdu.
Renmin Gong Yuan (人民公园 People’s Park) in the heart of Chengdu was the place to be. One of the most famous places in Chengdu to watch people and drink tea, families were out in full force to take advantage of the lovely weather. There was candy, pineapple on a stick and ear cleaners. The IC team put local ear cleaners to the test. For 20 kuai, could they really clear the wax and help you hear better? Chengdu Intern Till tested. While Leo and Zhuhai Office Manager Phil remained skeptical.
Sichuan province is famous for its spicy food and Saturday night, the team was taken to a classic hot pot restaurant. In addition to testing everyone’s tolerance for 辣椒 – spice, everyone was tested in proper business dinner etiquette. The main points of the evening included: identifying the most senior person at the table, proper gestures of respect and how to make a toast.
Chengdu is home to the Giant Panda Research Base and one simply cannot go to Chengdu without stocking up on panda gear. Panda-themed souvenir shops are everywhere. While the IC team failed to see the giant pandas in person, IC General Manager Jamie did his best to lessen our disappointment.
As much fun as we had, all good things must come to an end. Come Monday, with a renewed sense of camaraderie and a slew of wonderful group photos, the teams returned to offices from whence they came. GM Jamie lingered to support the Chengdu team before heading over to Qindao.
Chengdu is a dynamic city – some people say it is the fastest growing city in the world! Skyscrapers and shopping centers are being built up quickly everywhere in the city. However, there are still some peaceful places left, where you can rest your stressed soul.
One of them I visited last weekend: Qingyang Temple – the place where Laozi is to be said that he spoke the Tao Te King (also: Dao De Jing 道德经) to one of his disciples, which is one of the main books (besides the famous I Ching/Yi Jing 易经) of Daoism.
If you are a little familiar with Chinese culture, you might know, that Daoism is a deep-rooted concept in Chinese history and Chinese daily life. Even if you haven’t heard of Daoism yet, you might have seen the black and white yin yang symbol before, or have heard about Taiji, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or feng shui.
As these concepts are becoming more popular in the West now as well, a lot of people are living a part of the Chinese culture in their daily lifes already. Now, where is this all originating from?
Chengdu is the center of the West of modern China. However, in ancient times it was part of a kingdom during the Warring State Period. There was a wise man (some say he is more a mystical figure, but it seems like there is prove that he actually lived): called Laozi (老子). He was said to have lived at the same time as Confucius (or Kongzi 孔子), who is well-known in the East and West for his quotes about state-philosophy and the relationship of family members. Laotse was a follower of the way of Dao and formulated the 81 core principles of Daoism. The book has inspired hundreds and thousands of commentators and has been translated and interpreted in many languages. In honour to the place where he was said to have read these principles to one of his disciples, a temple was built. Today, it is called Qingyang Gong (The Green Goat Temple 青羊宫).
The temple has been built during the Chunqiu Period and has been revived under the Tang Dynasty. Parts of the temple have been renovated during the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century. It has been one of the few Daoist temples which was allowed by the Chinese government to open its doors again in the 1980’ies.
Today, it is a centre of peace and relaxation. A teahouse on one side forms a place for socialization of local people, whereas within one of the yards you can watch young disciples training Wushu and older disciples training Taiji. Everywhere you can see Daoist nuns and monks, who stroll around in the park and help keeping the incense stick holders clean.
In several places, you can find references to the Daoist astrology, namely the 12 animal zodiac signs (mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse. Goat, monkey, chicken, dog, pig): May it be engravings on the floor or little sculptures on stone walls. Also look out for the big yin-yang symbol which is engraved in the stone floor in one of the yards. The symbol looks simple, but is highly complex, therefore I just want to give a brief summary: The yin is represented by the black part which is carrying the white seed, the yang energy, and the other way around. Yin energy is often anticipated with the female, the moon and the earth, whereas yang energy is often anticipated with the male, the sun and the heaven. In combination and interaction they are creating life or also called the ‘Qi’. Qi is everything which moves, wherever is movement, there’s life. Where ever movement stops, there’s no life anymore. The ideal balance of yin and yang always creates life.
Many people I know, say, that if you have seen one Chinese temple, you know them all.
I have to refuse since I know Qingyang Gong. Buddhist temples in China, that might be, often end up as tourist attractions selling lots of souvenirs, snacks and drinks. I even found a Starbucks once in a temple area. Buddhism in China has sold itself out, maybe. I am glad to say, that if you are looking for a true place for spiritualism, you can come to Chengdu and visit Qingyang temple. Pay the 10 RMB entrance fee, get some incense sticks to send prayers to your ancestors, family and friends and enjoy a happy and relaxed day by get your yin and yang in balance!
There are more aspects than Chinese modern business culture, that you are interested in? Our team in Chengdu is happily arranging visits to temples or organizes other cultural activities to help you understanding the Chinese culture better.
Apply now for an internship and become part of the Intern China experience!
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, email@example.com), Philippe (Zhuhai, Philippe.firstname.lastname@example.org) or me (Chengdu, email@example.com) 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!