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Dalian Blogs

Dalian Welcomes Anna

Hello! My name is Anna, and I am from Poland. Last week I started my internship with the InternChina Dalian office, as part of the Bookings and Marketing Team.

About Me

I am currently in my third year of Business Management and Chinese at University of Central Lancashire. This year is my year abroad, so I decided to spend it half on studying, half on getting work experience.

My first semester was a Chinese language course at Beijing International Studies University. It was my second time in China, and my second time at BISU! Last year I visited that university for a two weeks long summer language course, and I liked it so much I chose BISU again!

For the work experience part in China, I chose to do my internship with InternChina. As I wanted to put the theory I have learned during my two years of studying into practice, and this internship covers all subjects of my studies, it was the perfect choice!

InternChina - At the Great Wall
InternChina – At the Great Wall

Dalian vs. Beijing

When I was sure that I want to do my internship with InternChina, I found it difficult to decide on which office I should choose!

I chose Dalian because of its location – at the peninsula with a lot of beaches, places for hiking and greenery, and because of its history. Dalian is definitely a very beautiful city with many cultures mixed up, which can be seen in the architecture and food.

Because of Russian and Japanese occupations, Dalian has many buildings and public places in the style of those countries. Beijing is much more homogeneous in style, thus it has more developed areas with new Western-style buildings along with suburban areas with old, grey and boring blocks.

Food in Dalian is very influenced by Korean, Japanese and Russian cuisine. I really love that variety. But the main cooking style is Shandong cuisine, with the influence of North-Eastern Chinese cuisine. This means there is a huge choice of seafood from casual fish and prawns to more sophisticated (at least for Westerners!) dishes like sea cucumber or sea urchins.

What I really like in Dalian is that it is a much less busy and crowded city than Beijing. On the streets there are much fewer people and cars, and the queues in shops are shorter.

Differences in Beijing and Dalian

One big difference between Beijing and Dalian is the subway link. I am used to travelling everywhere by Beijing subway as it is the most convenient and foreigner-friendly means of transport. On the train, you can see a board with stations in Chinese characters and Pinyin, and which station the train is approaching as well as hearing the announcement in both Chinese and English.

The Dalian subway is not that well-developed, and my apartment is not located near any metro station. But do I have a bus stop very close to my house with busses leaving every couple of minutes. The announcements are all in Chinese, so I have an opportunity to perfect my Chinese listening skills!

I have already fallen in love with the winter scenery of Dalian, with snow and all the colourful lights on buildings at night. However, I am really looking forward to warm days to explore Dalian’s most beautiful places and learn more about culture and history of that city!

If you want to be a part of the InternChina story, why not apply now!

Sport Blogs

Chinese Basketball Association

This weekend our interns got the chance to attend a basketball game here in Chengdu, and experience the CBA firsthand! The Sichuan Blue Whales took on the Tianjin Gold Lions in what ended up a close fought game. In the end, the local Sichuan Blue Whales emerged victorious.
sichuan basketball

In China, basketball is some what of a religion with hundreds of thousands of fans rushing to any event that an NBA star will attend. This hasn’t gone unnoticed in the US, with teams including multiple stops in China during their pre-season schedule.

About the CBA

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) comprises of 20 teams from all over mainland China. From Xinjiang in the far North West, to Shenzhen in the South East. Each team is allowed a maximum of 2 non-Asian players in their squad, unless they finished in the bottom 5 the previous season, in which case they are allowed a third.

To add further confusion to the rules regarding non- Asian players, teams are only allowed to play non- Asian players for a total of 6 quarters, and only one non- Asian player at a time in the 4th quarter. This means that if a player checks in at all in a quarter that counts as 1 quarter of playing time. Whilst these rules can get confusing, it means that the Chinese players are not crowded out of the league!

sichuan basketball

Foreign Stars

Some notable players in the CBA at the minute include BYU sensation and super hot shooter Jimmer Fredette who plays for the Shanghai Sharks. Former Milwaukee Bucks point guard, Brandon Jennings who plays for Shanxi. Argentinian big man, Luis Scola who also plays for Shanxi. Stephon Marbury who has become somewhat of a star here in China, playing for Beijing Ducks. Marbury has even received the keys to the city in Beijing and is the only foreigner to hold a green card.

Stephon Marbury

There is no shortage of talent here in China! When looking at the contracts these players have signed its clear to see why. The minimum salary for a rookie in the NBA is $582,180 and in the CBA is $815,615. Therefore, it may be a sensible choice for lower pick draft players to make the leap to China to work on their craft.

CBA Tip Off

The CBA is growing in popularity here in China. Games tend to attract crowds of 5,000 fans with much more attending the 7 game finals series. Furthermore all games are streamed live online on Tencent attracting a national audience on a nightly basis. Overall the influx of foreign talent alongside the developing national talent makes for a great spectacle. If you get the chance whilst in China be sure to take in a game!

Inspired to come to China? Apply for one of our fantastic internships now!

How-to Guides

Adding an International Bank Card to WeChat Wallet

I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account, however for many of you it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us Wai Guo Ren can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!

A Step By Step Guide

Step 1

Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.

WeChat Wallet Step 1

Step 2

Select “Cards” from the top menu.

WeChat Wallet Step 2

Step 3

This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”

WeChat Wallet Step 3

Step 4

With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.

WeChat Wallet Step 4

Step 5

After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)

WeChat Wallet Step 5

Step 6

You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.

WeChat Wallet Step 6

If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!

After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!

In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

Be sure to follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Uncategorised

Yin Yang Music Festival, dancing on the great wall

Yin Yang electronic music festival

Dancing people in front and behind the DJ on the wall
Dancing right on top of the wall thanks to this DJ-desk which was the smallest of the 3 stages but by far the best of the festival in my opinion.

Yin Yang electronic music festival

I am sure you have all seen a festival after movie. While you watch them, shivers are going down your spine. You see these beautiful girls with hot pants, glitter in the face and sunglasses in nighttime. Topless six-pack guys dancing, everything filmed in slow motion. All along with crazy costumes lights and colors with fancy background and stages. Picture it like the open-air version of “Cirque du Soleil”.

People obviously enjoying their time and life. And while you watch this, picture yourself sitting alone on your couch or in the hallway of the university. Suddenly think of how your life sucks because you were not there…this applies to every of these after movies. Be it an electro-, pop-, or metal-festival (of course the colors and background may vary).

Surprise and excitement

If you know this feeling you maybe understand the excitement me and my fellow student went through. We were watching the after movie of last years “yin-yang” festival on the great wall in China. It was all there, face-glitter-girls dancing, sunglasses-guy topless dancing, everyone smiling and being happy and some cool Chinese dude smoking a cigarette, all in slow motion. All accompanied by a powerful beat that seemed to be made only for this video.

 

One of the patios with the camping tents so rounded by small cabins. On the pathway a game of the famous “flunky-ball” is being prepared.

As China is known for its amazing electronic music festivals (this was ironic) we were surprised. But on the spot, we decided to attend this years “yin-yang” festival. After showing the after movie to several other fellow students, many of them joined the quest and the fellowship of “yin-yang” festival. We rent a bus including a driver to get to the location near Beijing approx. 700 km away from Qingdao.

 

The yin-yang sign in the middle of the main stage
The place in front of the main stage. A yin-yang sign in the middle

The journey and arrival

The 8-hour drive was exhausting but forgotten once we were greeted by pounding music. The weather was good and warm and it looked all as it did in the video. Beautiful landscape, round red doors and Grey brick walls classical Chinese roofs and the great wall meandering across the valley. A lot of western people were there but also a bunch of Chinese. We had a hard time to find a free space in one of the many patios to set up our tents. After setting up our “accommodation” we went to the main stage for the opening act. I was looking forward to the crowd of people, slow motion dancing, girls in fancy dresses and sunglasses accompanied by the typical festival guy with baseball hat and tank top. The reality was not at all alike. It was a little disappointing. It seemed not to be that cool, the people were just standing around holding themselves tight on their drinks. But later the evening the better it got and by nighttime everyone was in the “slow-motion mood”. Lights colors a laser show on the castle wall of the great wall all together with us in the middle. And suddenly it changed to be like these after movies.

People in front of the wall and a laceshow dancing
People enjoying the music in the nighttime and front of the wall on the main stage

The festival

When you are in the festival mode you stop caring too much about certain things like sleep, accommodation, weather and hygiene. But you will also have instant comradeship with all the fellow visitors and play “flunkyball” with strangers. As always on festivals, it started raining. But let me tell you the feeling of dancing on the great wall, let me forget even the rain. On the second day it rained like in a shower. After minutes, we were wet to the bone, but all carried on dancing. The girl with glitter and hot pants, the guy with sunglasses, his tiny backpack and tank top and the whole crowd continued until all were dry again. Only from the heat of their bodies. You get the feeling of belonging together for these three days of a festival, sharing the same spirit.

Amazingly all of it in China. I cannot stress enough to you how it was a once in a lifetime experience dancing on the wall in front of this ancient Chinese background. A background that would have been a suitable one for movies like “The house of flying daggers” or “Red Cliff”. After all, and once again China showed its vast number of different facets. And left me back with loads of new impressions.

Near the end of the festival, the wall slowly emptied
After two days of festival a portrait of a cannon and me on the great wall

Leaving

On the last day I walked out the entrance past a couple of older Chinese, guards in security uniforms, they were sitting and smoking, like a link in to the past, observing the visitors leaving. The valley would soon sink back into quietness and peace, until next year when electronic music will peal once again from the valleys hillsides like drums did once. In the after movie a crowd in slow motion with good weather and lighting will convey the feeling of festivals. While we were driving back to Qingdao in nighttime, exhausted from the festival full with memories. I could not help thinking that soon somewhere someone will be sitting and watching a magical after-movie.

 

Learn about China, Travel, Weekend Trips

The Great Wall: From Badaling to Zhuangdaokou

Hey travel addicts! Let me show you the Great wall as you would have never have imagined it!
You might think you know quite a lot about China, but this massive country has plenty of secrets. If you’ve already been, you’ve probably visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, and the Bund in Shanghai. I bet you’ve seen the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, the lovely pandas in Chengdu, and the “Avatar Mountains” in Zhangjiajie…

If you have managed to see all these things, it seems like you might be half Chinese now- congratulations! But what if I told you there is way more to China than these popular tourist spots? The Great Wall of China is probably one of the most famous tourist spots in the world, but I’m sure you’ve not seen all yet!

The Great Wall: Tourist Destination

If you’re in Beijing, well of course you should go to the Great Wall, otherwise you’ll never be a brave man – 不到长城非好汉, as the Chinese proverb said.

For a first experience in China, Badaling 八达岭 and Mutianyu 慕田峪 are nice spots of the Wall, and are very well renovated- this therefore means they are the most visited parts of the Great wall, so don’t expect to be the only tourist there!

Quiet Spot

But if like me you’re not really into tourist traps, and crowded places, let me show you another piece of the Great Wall called HuangHuacheng 黄花城. This is the only lakeside piece of the Great Wall, and some parts of it are not renovated, which means there is the perfect balance of tranquility and adventure- you definitely should try it!

Athletic Spot

If you feel ready for a hike, I have another piece of the Great Wall for you! Zhuangdaokou is one of the unrestored sections of the Great wall in Beijing, and you should definitely visit here if you feel like an adventure. Don’t be scared if you see some signs which won’t allow you to climb there, they are most likely like the “no smoking” signs all over China … not really significant.

Unknown Spot

Did you know that the Great Wall isn’t the same everywhere in China? For example, in Inner Mongolia the Great wall is totally different, and it’s of course way harder to imagine how they could defend their country with this kind of wall, made of soil and sand. In every hostel in Hohhot you can book a tour to see those amazing landscapes, and since Inner Mongolia isn’t that far from Beijing, you definitely should go and take a look there!

Do you feel like exploring the Great Wall of China? Then you should apply now!

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.

 

Comparisons, Cultural, Qingdao Blogs

A British, Afghan intern in China.

A little insight into my life in China…

forbidden city in Beijing
Forbidden City vibes- InternChina

Coming to intern in China was never a daunting prospect for me as I had previously visited China a few times, so it felt almost natural to come back and complete a 3 months’ internship. The only obstacle was trying to persuade my parents to let me travel all the way to Asia on my own again but this time for 3 months rather than a 2-week holiday.

Qingdao
First month interning in Qingdao-InternChina
forbidden city
The doors at the Forbidden city were worthy of taking a selfie against- InternChina

Coming from an Asian background (Afghanistan specifically), one would think it wouldn’t be a huge deal for my parents to accept my decision in wanting to intern in another Asian country. However, knowing I would be living in a city I have never visited before genuinely worried them. I suppose what made them feel comfortable in knowing I was going to be safe was that I would have InternChina to rely on in case I felt in any way unhappy or unsafe. But being in Qingdao, the most dangerous thing I’ve come across these past three months has been trying not to cry whilst eating spicy food. Whereas, if this was London, by 11PM I would question and wonder if I should go home yet so I do not face any dangers that we, women, are constantly told to watch out for. I have had the privilege of travelling to many countries and nowhere makes me feel more safe and protected the way China does.

resort
Infinity pool at a resort in Qingdao- InternChina
great wall of china
Just hanging out on the Great Wall, what did you do on Saturday? -InternChina

Culturally, China is not so different from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. We all have a big tea drinking culture. We enjoy sharing our food. We consider family to be our main priority. But most importantly respect and kindness to be shown to visitors. Chinese culture is so rich and pure that it has allowed me to feel at home so far away from home. I would wholeheartedly recommend interning in China, as you learn about a culture first hand and experience a way of living life very differently to your own.

Italian dinner at our apartment
Italian dinner at our apartment- InternChina

 

When it comes to the business aspects of China, the culture is very different to the Western and Central Asian way of life. Only that in China, networking is incredibly important and making connections with whomever you can is the norm. Also, their work hours are somewhat longer but more laid back, as they take their time to complete a task rather than work to a deadline.

cafe in Qingdao
Business hours in a cool cafe? Always fun -InternChina

Being an intern in InternChina has been interesting as I have been given many different responsibilities which would be deemed too high for an intern in the U.K. We are treated more as colleagues than interns which I think is great, not only for our self confidence but knowing we have the ability to perform as well as an employee. It also helps open doors to our futures because being given tasks we would not normally complete allows us to challenge and stimulate our time. Here’s our intern Joe giving us 6 reasons on why we should intern in China (although I could give you many more reasons as to why you should intern here)!

Red Thingy
Lunchtime at work- InternChina

My final words; yolo, come and experience China.

(check out the IC Instagram and you will understand why people consider China  to be travel goals)

Qingdao branch peeps
With my Qingdao IC team – InternChina

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Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

First days exploring Qingdao

Nǐ hǎo!
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.

 

InternChina- Great Wall
InternChina- Great Wall

 

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.

 

InternChina- Qingdao Harbour
InternChina- Qingdao Harbour

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!

 

InternChina- MayWInd
InternChina- MayWind

 

If you want to explore the laid back, seaside city of Qingdao whilst undertaking an internship apply here.

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