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Environmental Conservation in Chengdu
Chengdu Blogs, Discover Chinese culture, Food, Learn about China, Understanding Chinese culture

Environmental Conservation in Chengdu

My previous blog outlined some of the environmental challenges that China faces, the aspects in which it is becoming more sustainable and what you can do during your internship to make a difference. In this blog, I am turning to the companies that InternChina work with and what they are doing to help the environment and community in and around Chengdu. I spoke to three companies that offer internships with InternChina in Chengdu: Chengdu Urban Rivers Association, Swild and Dragon Yunhe. They outlined their aims, how environmental protection has improved in China in recent years, challenges to their work and what the future holds for them.

Chengdu Urban Rivers Association (CURA) 成都城市河流研究会

CURA is an NGO focussed on river conservation and sustainable development, specifically tackling the problem of water pollution in and around Chengdu. Since their establishment in 2003, their main focus has been on long-term projects in two villages, Anlong Village in Pidu District and Lingshi Village in Tangyuan Town which are located near streams and rivers that are the main source of drinking water for Chengdu.

CURA aims to build safe areas near rivers to reduce water pollution and develop facilities to help villagers reduce pollution in their daily life, including building toilets and pipes which separate waste. They organise workshops and training for villagers about eco-agriculture and the harms of using pesticides and chemical fertilisers, as well as garbage classification and how to discard of toxic waste. They also hold activities in urban areas to highlight the problems of water pollution, the importance of eco-products and living in a sustainable way.

An education session hosted by CURA with the local community  (credit: CURA)

Improvements

Both the villages that CURA work with have developed a better understanding of eco-agriculture and one villager who adopted eco-agricultural methods now has over 85 customers that he delivers to twice a week. Villagers have also started to organise activities to clean garbage from nearby rivers and streams. CURA’s work has had knock-on effects: people from Yongan Village have seen the work of the neighbouring Lingshi Village and have set up a team of 30 people to help clean their local stream. Furthermore, after learning from CURA about a government policy which exchanges the deposit of toxic waste for a small financial return, villagers have started to collect and separate toxic waste from other rubbish.  This has benefitted local wildlife, soil quality and water sources, as well as resulting in a more beautiful natural environment due to the reduction of visible garbage.

Challenges

One of the main challenges for CURA is sourcing funding. As CURA is a NGO, it is unable to raise money itself and, therefore, has to rely on donations and partnerships with organisations. Foundations are the main source of funding for many NGOs but CURA has found that it is often difficult to align the goals of CURA with foundations’ own missions. While some foundations are keen to focus on cleaning urban rivers, there are fewer who are willing to concentrate on the sources of drinking water.  Due to CURA’s nature as a small organisation, it lacks a strong mandate to force action on a wider scale and struggles to get its agenda adopted by larger organisations and the government.

A litter-picking activity with a school  (credit: CURA)Future

CURA want to use the knowledge gained from their experience in Anlong and Lingshi villages to make proposals more quickly for other villages in the future. They aim to develop a model which can be extended throughout Sichuan and sell it to organisations to implement. The revenue will be used to fund further research and investment into the problem of water pollution and solutions, and improve their marketing strategy.

Mingming is hopeful about progress in terms of the environment in China as more NGOs and individuals are trying to push environmental laws and changes.

Swild (西南山地)

Swild uses photographs, videos, articles and documentaries as a means to educate about biodiversity within southwest China which they promote through their wide social media following on both Western and Chinese channels. Their aim is to show people the beauty of nature and by doing so encourage people to conserve and protect the environment. Their photography and documentaries show footage of a vast variety of animals, birds, plants and land types, as well as rare wild species and protected areas within Southwest China. They also cooperate with other conservation organisations within China to promote sustainability.

A leopard in the wild captured by a Swild photographer (credit: Swild)

Improvements

Since Swild registered as a company in 2015, they have noticed more and more people paying attention to environmental issues within China, including those with no previous interest in, or knowledge of, the environment attending their events. There have been more events held in Chengdu to raise awareness about environmental conservation and protection, such as a recent talk from primatologist Dr Jane Goodall and a ‘zero-waste’ event organised by Roots and Shoots which included a clothes swap, documentary screening and information about reducing individual’s ecological footprint.

Shuting and Yu Dengli think that the most effective recent change in China has been the introduction of recycling classifications which was piloted in Shanghai and has spread across China, including to Chengdu. They believe that the use of government sanctions can make environmental protection more effective; this is gradually being rolled out for those who don’t recycle or recycle incorrectly.

Challenges

Swild noted three main challenges to the environment that they experience while documenting wildlife: pollution, waste and a loss of natural habitats due to population and urban expansion. Shuting and Yu Dengli think that to make environmental conservation more effective in China, further education is needed in all sectors of society.

Future

Swild are continuing to expand their resources that document the natural environments and wildlife in southwest China, including into more remote areas. At the beginning of 2020, they are launching two new documentaries, Kula Riwo Life and The Secret World of Wanglang.

Some of the resources Swild produces

Dragon Yunhe 登龍雲和

Dragon Yunhe is a social enterprise that promotes community and environmental sustainability through a business model approach. It focuses on the environment in remote areas, especially in conservation areas where ecosystems are fragile.

Their initial project in 2015 was establishing the Yunhe Centre located in Ganze Tibetan Autonomous Region. Since then, Dragon Yunhe has adopted a multifaceted approach to building an eco-tourist model in the village which involves: developing local industry; community training about eco-agricultural skills and techniques, food safety and local crafts; and establishing education programs about local culture, traditions and nature. It also runs community projects and outdoor expeditions for domestic and international partners, especially schools and universities.

Improvements

The Yunhe Centre has provided a livelihood for many people who live nearby and has given the local community the resources to find a solution to the problems that rural areas face and to manage natural resources themselves. In addition, Dragon Yunhe has collaborated with specialists to develop cultural and environmental education programs which over 500 participants have taken part in.

Within China more generally, Xiaomei has seen improvements in the conservation of national parks as authorities are acknowledging and taking the responsibility to improve environmental protection within these areas.

Challenges

Xiaomei believes that the current understanding of eco-tourism within China is one of the biggest challenges to increasing the scale of eco-tourism nationally. In China, eco-tourism is often understood as under-developed areas which lack services and so Dragon Yunhe is promoted in China as an educational tourism or responsible tourism company. She believes that, for the eco-tourism industry to develop, people need to understand the core principles behind eco-tourism. The difficulty of gaining sufficient funds for rural communities also inhibits the development of this type of project on a wider scale.

Future

The Yunhe centre has been rented for 30 years with the hope that within this timeframe the centre will be 100% self-financed and self-run by local people. Many rural areas face, or will soon face, a situation where there is nobody to look after natural resources because of depopulation due to urban migration and overdevelopment. Dragon Yunhe believe that working with the local community to find a sustainable livelihood for them is the key to the protection of these rural environments.

Dragon Yunhe plan to develop a model for eco-tourism based on their experience at the Yunhe Centre. Their aim is to gather more resources so that they can link different stakeholders including the private sector and decision makers and encourage this model to be implemented by investors and the government on a larger-scale. They also plan to continue to educate about the importance of responsible tourism.

An intern at the Yunhe Centre (credit: Dragon Yunhe)

CURA, Swild and Dragon Yunhe are three of the many organisations in Chengdu taking positive steps to tackle environmental problems and support local communities. For many environmental organisations, continuing and expanding their work in the future relies on the availability of funding which is restricted by China’s NGO laws.

A huge thank you to Mingming from CURA, Shuting and Yu Dengli from Swild and Xiaomei from Dragon Yunhe for taking the time to talk to me and sharing their experiences.

Climate Crisis in China
Chengdu Blogs, Discover Chinese culture, Food, Learn about China, Understanding Chinese culture

Addressing the climate crisis in China

The current lack of environmentally friendly practices is one of the aspects that I find most frustrating about living in China. A lot of Chinese life is about convenience from Alipay to takeaway but, unfortunately, this often comes at the cost of the environment. Living in China it is all too easy to abandon the more sustainable life habits that you are well versed to back at home because they are not the norm and often require more effort. Yet, one of the simplest ways to be environmentally friendly in China is to persevere and continue your habits from home. This blog outlines some of the challenges China still faces in regards to the environment, aspects in which it is improving and ways in which you can make a positive impact along with some useful vocabulary!

Shopping 购物

The demand for shopping is huge in China as is evident by the huge number of shopping streets and malls in China selling everything from discounted fakes to Louis Vuitton. China also has a massive online retail market of 855 million digital consumers with online sales expected to reach $1.5 trillion in value in 2019.[1]

You won’t last very long in China without hearing about Alibaba’s Taobao 淘宝, an online retail market selling pretty much everything you could imagine, similar to a combination of eBay and Amazon. On Taobao, an order of multiple items will normally come in individual deliveries because the products are sourced from different sellers across China, producing huge amounts of unnecessary packaging.

Shopping and discount festivals have also become more popular among retailers in recent years, such as Singles’ Day (November 11), a day of discounts launched by Alibaba in 2009 which regularly surpasses the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined; Alibaba made 268.4 billion RMB (£29.4 billion) in 24 hours in 2019.[2]

Environmental organisations claim that China’s online retail industry used 9.4 million tonnes of packaging materials in 2018 with estimates that over 250,000 tonnes were produced from Singles’ Day sales alone.[3] As of 2017, Chinese people threw away around 26 million tons of clothing annually, with less than 1% of it being reused.[4] While some retailers are taking some small steps to encourage recycling or use more recyclable materials, it seems that more substantial changes will rely on environmental regulation of the industry.

What you can do?

Try to reduce your consumption, especially of products with extensive packaging, and recycle items wherever possible. When buying presents for your family and friends back home, consider what kind of souvenirs you are buying and opt for locally produced and more ethical options. For example, Blue Sheep in Chengdu is a social enterprise which sells locally made craft items and the profits are used to help economically disadvantaged people, particularly those affected by disease, disability or poverty.

Charity shops are non-existent in China and second-hand clothes shops are extremely rare due to a cultural stigma attached to second-hand items in China. However, expats are constantly moving in and out of all major Chinese cities and so expat groups on WeChat and Facebook are a good place to find and pass on used clothes, furniture, utensils and food. You can also talk with interns who are moving out before you or staying longer than you to see if you can transfer items between yourselves.

The WeChat account Fei Ma Yi 飞蚂蚁 (WeChat ID: feimayi90) also accepts all clothes, shoes and bags regardless of the condition they are in. You just need to enter your details, choose an approximate weight of items that you are donating and arrange a time for them to collect it from your apartment. They will sort the items and send the better quality ones to charity and the rest to be recycled.

Takeaway 外卖

Takeaway in China is very cheap and there is a vast range of options on websites such as Eleme 饿了么 and Meituan 美团外卖 . The Chinese takeaway market has expanded massively in recent years and a survey from the National Business Daily shows that 23% of respondents order takeaway daily.[5] However, the growth in takeout is amounting to huge environmental damage: it is estimated that China’s takeaway industry in 2017 produced 1.6 millions tons of packaging waste which included 1.2 million tons of plastic containers, 175,000 tons of disposable chopsticks, 164,000 tons of plastic bags and 44,000 tons of plastic spoons.[6] Delivery containers and utensils are generally not recycled because people don’t wash them out adequately and the materials used in them take over 30 years to disintegrate if they are discarded in landfill sites.

What you can do?

While everyone has those days where they return from work and don’t want to leave the house again, try and avoid getting regular takeaways. The reality in China is that you’re never more than two minutes walk from a restaurant, so why not just go out to eat and save the waste of containers, plastic bags and single-use chopsticks? If you do decide to order takeaway, you can choose the option not to receive disposable tableware (不要餐具 bù yào cān jù) or write it in special requests.

Recycling 回收

There are huge environmental problems resulting from the management of China’s plastic waste: it is often sent to poorly managed landfills or discarded in the open which can lead to it entering the sea. As a result, a quarter of all plastic waste that is discarded in the open is done in China, causing it be the home of the world’s first, third and fourth most polluted rivers.[7]

A new recycling system was launched in Shanghai in July 2019 which has now spread to major cities and is gradually being introduced throughout China. Bins in public areas have divisions between regular waste and recycling, with more categories for domestic waste. As recycling is fairly new, many locals are still unfamiliar with how to recycle but education campaigns have been launched and the government is introducing fines for individuals and businesses who don’t recycle.

Newly introduced recycling bins

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/277391/number-of-online-buyers-in-china/ (accessed 24/12/2019)

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/10/tech/singles-day-sales-alibaba/index.html (accessed 24/12/2019)

[3] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3037168/waste-chinas-e-commerce-deliveries-could-quadruple-413-million 23/12 (accessed 23/12/2019)

[4] https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1000777/why-china-is-bursting-at-the-seams-with-discarded-clothes (accessed 30/12/2019)

[5] http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1165893.shtml (accessed 23/12/2019)

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/technology/china-food-delivery-trash.html (accessed 23/12/2019)

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/technology/china-food-delivery-trash.html (accessed 23/12/2019)What you can do?

Recycling systems vary throughout China so this advice is based on my experience of living in Chengdu. Bins for your apartment are normally located on the ground floor of your apartment block and are generally divided into regular waste, recyclable waste, food waste and hazardous waste. The best method is to create a system within your apartment for recycling so it is easier to take it down to the relevant bin. You should tie up bags of waste, especially food waste, so that if the rubbish does get mixed during collection, food will not contaminate the recycling and can be separated at a later stage. Try and also avoid using extensive single use plastic: where you can, avoid taking plastic bags and using single-use tableware; and invest in tote bags, tupperware, metal straws, metal chopsticks and reusable cups. You may experience confusion when you say that you don’t need a plastic bag/ straw etc or if you offer your own but be insistent and use the phrases below to help you.

Useful vocab

Recycle – Huíshōu 回收

Recyclable waste – Kě huí shōu wù 可回收物

Food waste – Cān chú lèsè 餐厨垃圾

Harmful waste – Yǒu hài lè sè 有害垃圾

Plastic – Sù liào塑料

I don’t want a plastic bag – Wǒ bùyào dàizi我不要袋子

I don’t want a straw – Wǒ bùyào xīguǎn 我不要吸管

I don’t want chopsticks – Wǒ bùyào kuàizi 我不要筷子

Pollution 污染

China is notorious for its pollution, such as photos of Beijing’s famous sites hardly visible through the smog. However, the Chinese government has taken moves to reduce pollution which are leading to results – particle pollution fell by an average of 30% in the 62 Chinese cities investigated by the World Health Organization between 2013 and 2016 with Beijing no longer being included in the world’s 200 most polluted cities.[1] The Chinese government has introduced ambitious targets to reduce pollution levels; reduced the use of steel and coal-fired electricity for production replacing them with cleaner alternatives; banned agricultural burning; and introduced regulation for higher quality diesel for vehicles. This action has largely been a result of public pressure and concern about the health effects of pollution, and has led to the government putting more of an emphasis on trying to balance its rapid economic development with environmental concerns.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/14/pollutionwatch-china-shows-how-political-will-can-take-on-air-pollution (accessed 26/12/2019)Xi’an on a polluted day

 

Many cities have also reduced the number of cars in the city centre by placing restrictions on which days cars can enter the city based on what number their number plates ends in; however wealthy families have combatted this by buying multiples cars with different number plates. China is also leading the way in electric transportation and Shenzhen introduced an all-electric public transport system in 2018 to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

That’s not to say that pollution is no longer a problem in China; it still reaches above World Health Organization recommended levels in many Chinese cities, especially during winter, and has also worsened in some rural areas and towns.

What you can do?

Pollution levels in Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu generally remain below the Air Quality Indicator (AQI) level of 150, which is classified as unhealthy, but stay aware of pollution levels by using AQI tracking apps, such as Air Matters, or WeChat mini programs, such as 空气质量指数查询. If the AQI does reach an unhealthy level, listen to local advice and take particular caution if you have health problems, such as asthma. Face masks are also widely available at convenience shops and department stores throughout China.

Where you can, avoid getting a taxi or Didi as one person – you can ride share using the 拼车 function on the Didi app. Cycling is a great way to get around in Chinese cities because share bikes can be found everywhere and dropped off anywhere. Cycling is not only the best option for the environment but is also often quicker than taking a Didi due to traffic jams, especially at rush hour. Share bikes are also extremely cheap and Hellobikes can be used through an Alipay account for around 12 RMB (£1.30) for a month with unlimited use.

Taking trains is the most environmentally friendly way to travel in China and it is a great way to see parts of China you would not usually visit! You can choose high speed trains (高铁 gāotiě) or regular trains which are mainly sleeper trains and can often take 1-2 days. Due to the huge distances in China, taking a plane is often the most convenient way to travel if you have limited time but the lack of budget airlines means that internal flights can be expensive.

Food 食物

As income levels have increased in China so has consumption of meat and seafood. If Chinese consumers’ demand for meat grows as predicted, then China will produce an additional gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the current amount produced by the aviation industry globally.[1] China also has insufficient land for food production to keep up with the growing population and consumption and so fertilizer has been used to increase crop yields but this has caused extensive environmental damage, such as soil degradation, air pollution and water contamination.

Food waste is a serious issue in China, especially in restaurants, because in Chinese culture it is the norm to order excess food to show generosity and respect to your guests. Estimates suggest that 17-18 million tonnes of food were wasted in China in 2015, an amount which could feed 30 to 50 million people for a year.[2] However, less of the animal is wasted compared to Western countries as nearly all parts are eaten, from gizzards to brains to chicken feet.

What you can do?

The easiest way to combat the problem of food waste in China is simply to order less and bring a Tupperware with you to takeaway leftovers when you’re eating at a restaurant.

Vegetarianism has not become a mainstream diet as it has in the West and less than 2% of China’s population is vegetarian (predominantly Buddhists).[3] This means that vegetarianism and veganism are not always fully understood in China and you may sometimes find that a plate of vegetables comes with a meat garnish or that it is cooked using fish oil. However, most restaurants have vegetarian options and large Chinese cities have an increasing number of specialist vegetarian/ vegan restaurants as well as Western restaurants catering to differing dietary requirements. Buddhist temples often have a vegetarian restaurant or buffet attached. While being vegan is by no means impossible, it is slightly more tricky if you are wanting to take part in shared meals with Chinese friends or colleagues. The InternChina WeChat accounts list vegetarian restaurants in each of the cities we offer programmes.

Useful vocab

I am vegetarian Wǒ shì sùshí zhě – 我是素食者

I don’t eat any meat and fish – Wǒ bù chī suǒyǒu de ròu hé yú 我不吃所有的肉和鱼

I don’t eat any dairy products – Wǒ bù chī niúnǎi zhìpǐn我不吃牛奶制品

I want to takeaway leftovers – Wǒ yào dǎbāo 我要打包

Large amounts of food waste is common after Chinese celebratory meals

 

[1] https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/will-chinas-growing-appetite-for-meat-undermind-its-efforts-to-fight-climate-change-180969789/ (accessed 30/12/2019)

[2] https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201803/27/WS5ab9a0c4a3105cdcf65147d8.html (accessed 30/12/2019)

[3] https://www.economist.com/china/2019/10/17/the-planet-needs-china-to-curb-its-appetite-for-meat (accessed 30/12/2019)

While China certainly has not been struck by the Greta Thunberg and youth climate strike movement, and it doesn’t look to anytime soon, there are some gradual steps being taken to protect and conserve the environment. The rolling out of a recycling system last year was a massive step in the right direction but the impact will depend on how seriously it is implemented across China and on the accompanying education campaign. One of the main issues in China currently is a lack of education on how severe the global climate crisis is, rather than an unwillingness to conserve and recycle resources. So, during your stay in China, make sure you stay alert to how you can be environmentally friendly and talk to your colleagues/ friends/ homestay families about the environment and encourage them to change their habits!

Articles en français, Avant le depart, Zhuhai Blogs

Plus Qu’un Simple Stage – Ce que l’on propose à Zhuhai !

Vous connaissez tous notre slogan, mais qu’est-ce que cela signifie réellement et implique pour vous? Dîners hebdomadaires, activités et support 24h / 24 et 7j / 7 font partie de la réponse!

Je suis stagiaire chez InternChina depuis bientôt 2 mois, donc je vais clarifier les choses pour vous !

Vous aurez l’occasion de découvrir la Chine et son environnement des affaires pendant votre programme ici. Mais vous pourrez aussi expérimenter de nombreuses choses propres à Zhuhai. Notre équipe InternChina organise chaque semaine des dîners et des activités pour votre bien-être et votre divertissement! En outre, cela nous permet de mieux vous connaître et de connaître vos préférences. Cela nous permettra de rendre votre séjour dans ce nouveau pays aussi confortable que possible. Ce sera aussi pour vous une opportunité de rencontrer des gens adorables venus du monde entier! Si vous souhaitez voyager, nous avons beaucoup de destinations incroyables proches de Zhuhai que nous pouvons vous aider à visiter.

Organiser des dîners, des activités et des voyages pour nos participants fait partie de mon travail en tant que stagiaire pour InternChina à Zhuhai.

Lisez ce blog et vous saurez ce que vous pourrez attendre de notre équipe, ce que vous pourrez faire et explorer dans la ville. À la fin, vous vous sentirez comme un local de Zhuhai!

Bien sûr, si vous avez des suggestions d’activités ou de voyages autour de Zhuhai, faites-en part à quelqu’un de notre équipe! Nous ferons de notre mieux pour répondre à vos souhaits!

Chaque semaine, nous organisons l’un de nos fameux “dîners du jeudi”.

C’est un événement social, pour partager un repas de groupe, découvrir la cuisine asiatique et parler de notre semaine! Nous comprenons que vous êtes étudiants, alors ne vous inquiétez pas, nous essayons de rendre ces dîners abordables! Nous nous en tenons généralement à un budget de 50RMB par personne, voir parfois encore moins.

Comment organisons-nous ces dîners? Habituellement, nous créons un post sur notre compte officiel Zhuhai InternChina WeChat, ou nous publions un post dans notre chat de groupe IC Zhuhai.

Nous vous donnerons plus de détails sur le restaurant, la cuisine, la nourriture, l’heure et l’emplacement du dîner. Si vous êtes intéressés pour venir, alors rejoignez simplement le groupe de dîner en scannant le code QR fourni! Cela nous aide à savoir combien de personnes sont attendus, ce qui facilite les réservations au restaurant ! Pendant l’été, il arrive que plus de 30 personnes rejoignent le dîner !

En somme, tout ce que vous avez à faire est de scanner le code QR et de nous rejoindre! Ça ne pourrait pas être plus facile!

Après une semaine de travail intense pendant votre stage, nous savons que vous aurez tout à fait envie de profiter d’activités et de voyages amusants pendant le week-end. Avec toutes les possibilités qu’offre la ville, vous ne vous ennuierez jamais à Zhuhai. IC organise également beaucoup d’activités et de voyages autour de Zhuhai, car nous savons que l’exploration de la Chine et de sa culture est un must.

Nous essayons d’organiser une nouvelle activité tous les week-ends. Comme pour les dîners, nous essayons de nous assurer que ces activités soient toutes abordables afin que vous puissiez y participer autant que vous le pouvez.

Qu’est-ce que Zhuhai a à offrir? Il y a beaucoup d’activités touristiques amusantes, telles que la route des amoureux, la statue de la Fischer Girl, la plage de Jida, l’aquarium Chimelong, l’opéra, le marché souterrain de Gongbei et les nombreux temples. Nous voulons également vous permettre de voir la beauté naturelle de Zhuhai! Les activités de plein air telles que l’exploration des îles de Zhuhai, la randonnée, les cascade, le tir à l’arc, le paint-ball sont toujours des activités populaires, surtout pendant l’été.

Il est important que vous apprivoisiez la culture chinoise pendant votre stage. C’est pourquoi nous organisons donc des activités culturelles telles que de la calligraphie, des cours de cuisine chinoise, des cérémonies de thé, ou même des leçons de Tai Chi!

Selon les saisons, vous pourrez également assister au festival Cixi en août ou à des cérémonies d’ouverture!

Vous ne vous ennuierez jamais avec les nombreuses activités disponibles pour explorer la ville, vous amuser et réseauter!

Nous essayons également d’organiser des week-ends à la découverte d’autres villes chinoises.

Récemment, nous avons organisé un voyage d’un week-end à Tangkou, village classé parmi les sites du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO! Par le passé, nous avons également organisé des voyages à Pékin, Hezhou, Shanghai et Yangshuo … les possibilités sont infinies!

Pour tout voyage de week-end que nous organisons, nous vous fournirons un calendrier détaillé afin que vous puissiez profiter au maximum de votre temps dans chaque ville! Nous vous indiquerons également le coût de chaque voyage, comprenant le transport, l’hébergement et les activités pour la fin de semaine. Le coût sera plus élevé que pour une activité simple, mais l’exploration et la découverte d’autres lieux en Chine en vaut largement le coût.

Notre équipe IC vous offre leur support 24h/24, 7 j/7. Nous sommes présents à chaque étape de votre séjour en Chine, avant, pendant et après!

Dès votre arrivée, nous viendrons vous chercher à l’aéroport ou au port et nous vous conduirons à votre logement (appartement ou famille d’accueil). Nous vous fournirons également une orientation pour vous aider à comprendre la culture chinoise et vous donner quelques conseils sur la vie à Zhuhai.

Votre kit de bienvenue vous attendra! Il comprend une carte SIM, une carte de voyage, une carte de la ville, une carte d’adresse et quelques goodies InternChina! Tout ce dont vous avez besoin pour vos débuts en Chine.

Chaque fois que vous aurez besoin de nous, n’hésitez pas à nous le faire savoir, nous serons heureux de vous aider!

Notre équipe sur place est également toujours là pour vous soutenir! Nous aurons toujours beaucoup de conseils et d’informations à partager avec vous. De plus, si vous vous sentez malade, nous vous accompagnerons à l’hôpital! Si vous avez d’autres problèmes, nous sommes là pour vous aider si nous le pouvons!

Quand vous débarquez à Zhuhai, et que vous ne savez pas où aller ou quoi explorer, nous sommes là pour vous proposer des lieux où aller! Voici une liste de nos lieux préférés! Vous pourrez ainsi impressionner vos collègues, les inviter et étaler vos connaissances sur Zhuhai !

  • HuoGongDian 殿 工 殿 – Tentez la nourriture du Hunan du nord de la Chine! Le Hong Shao Rou (红烧肉) est censé être le plat préféré du président Mao. Cet endroit est un must pour les grands dîners, la nourriture est excellente. Adresse: 珠海 市 香洲 区 石 花 西路 62 号 (近 白莲 洞 公园) ou descendez du bus à 伙 工 殿 大厦 (huo gong dian da sha).
  • The London Lounge – Bar très populaire parmi les expatriés. Leurs employés chinois et occidentaux sont toujours prêts à faire une blague. De plus, les sessions Open-Mic le 2e jeudi du mois valent le détour! Lieu: Côte Est, Jida
  • FBB Fresh Burger Bar – Un bar et restaurant allemand situé à Jida. Ici vous pouvez obtenir de nombreux plats et boissons occidentaux (surtout allemands)! Il y a une large gamme de bières allemandes disponibles! Descendez du bus à 水湾头” “Shuǐ wān tóu” ou dites-le au chauffeur de taxi!
  • GongBei Underground Market – Pour tous les accros du shopping, il y a un marché souterrain à Gongbei où vous pouvez obtenir tous vos vêtements de créateurs de marque à des prix étrangement bon marché. On y trouve aussi  des enseignes occidentales (H & M, Vera Moda, Only , etc.) dans les centres commerciaux.

J’espère que ces détails et ces photos vous ont convaincu qu’InternChina propose bien plus qu’un simple stage! Vous ne vous sentirez jamais seul, et cette expérience restera inoubliable! Le moyen le plus simple de nous rejoindre est de postuler dès maintenant!

WechatIMG55
Internship Experience

A visit to Mao Xian with my Host Company

By Rosa Spence

On the 28th March, myself and four other representatives from the NGO I am interning with, CDNGO06,  organised and accompanied farmers from Yunqiao village on an overnight visit to Mao Xian. A district 5 hours north-west of Chengdu and only 40km away from Wuchuan (the place where the earthquake hit in 2008!).

The aim of this visit was to introduce the local farmers from Yunqiao to local Sichuanese Pepper farmers in Mao Xian. These farmers have previously worked closely with WWF to increase sustainable farming of Sichuan pepper. As a result of this collaboration, their Sichuan pepper crops have become organically certified. The farming community has become a co-operative, having received support from Sichuan Rural Credit Union – an initiative established by the People’s Bank of China to provide credit to rural areas in China.

This, in turn, has led to better access to national and global markets. The NGO hopes that the farmers from Yunqiao will be able to learn and adapt some of the techniques, used by Mao Xian farmers, and apply them to their Luo Bo crops (the main crop of Yunqiao) with the aim of increasing quality and production rates.

Maoxin1 Maoxin4

We left the sleeping city of Chengdu at six o’clock in the morning and traveled in a minibus to Yunqiao village. Two hours north of the City, to pick up the farmers who were coming with us. As we drove for another three hours from Yunqiao to Mao Xian, I was not prepared for the scenery that I was about to witness.

The concrete jungle of Chengdu disappeared and the skyline was replaced with towering mountains, so tall that the peaks were dusted in snow. The cloudiness of Chengdu’s city sphere also dissipated and we basked in bright sunshine and crystal clear blue sky. I think it’s the first time that I have seen cloudless skies and unobstructed sun since I arrived!

Maoxin5

Maoxin3

Arrival at Mao Xian

On arrival at Mao Xian, the farmers and NGO Staff were taken on a tour and shown how the pepper was produced. The first station was the warehouse, where the pepper granules were stored; next, we were taken to the building where the raw pepper granules were ground down into refined powder and packaged to be sold in the national market. They weren’t kidding when they said it had a kick to it, I tasted a single granule and my tongue went numb for the next 20 minutes!

This farming co-operative has won numerous awards for their work, all of which were displayed proudly on the wall in the meeting room. The meeting between the two communities lasted for over 2 hours, with the NGO workers and the farmers from Yunqiao taking notes about how the Mao Xian farmers’ model worked. My role as the NGO’s photographer was to document the event. The host farming community were really accommodating, with tea being provided throughout and the meeting came to a close in good spirits and a formal photograph was taken.

Maoxin6

Maoxin Meeting

After the formalities were completed, there was a chance to explore Mao Xian. We were taken to see some beautiful blossom trees, their delicate petals floating in the warm breeze. I got told that these trees and most of the surrounding area had been rebuilt after the area was flattened by the 2008 earthquake. The experience was also very culturally enriching, as the next day we were given the opportunity to observe a Qiang ceremony –an ethnic minority group, with a population of approximately 200,000, located in North Western Sichuan Province.

The ceremony was enchanting, consisting of singing, chanting, dancing, drumming and role play. We were then given a guided tour around an ethnographic museum, where we were told about Qiang history and also got to observe people going about their daily routines – these people still live very traditional lifestyles, making their own clothes and tools. We were fortunate enough to witness two Qiang men forging an iron blade, using two hammers and an anvil, the precision of the technique was mesmerising – clearly, a skill which has been refined over generations!

Maoxin7

Maoxin2

It has been a fantastic experience, I feel very fortunate to be so included in the work that the NGO is doing for local communities, they are truly committed to helping to create change at a local scale.

Inspired by Rosa’s Experience? Apply Now!

China Intern
Chengdu Blogs, Cultural

Touchdown Chengdu !

Chengdu Diaries

My name is Zachary Black and I am from York in the North of England. Although I pride myself on being Yorkshire born and bred, I have been very fortunate to travel a lot. Having frequently visited  South-East Asia as a child, it is safe to say that I have always had an affinity with this part of the world.

Scaling the Great Wall at Badaling (八达岭长城)

My passion for Asian culture led me to my study of Mandarin at Newcastle University along with Spanish, Catalan and Business. As part of my BA at Newcastle, our year abroad was spent at a partner university in China in order to improve our language skills. This proved to be a life-changing 12 months for myself and has in fact led me to being here at InternChina today. Living in Shanghai ignited my passion for the way of life in China and was the driving force behind me studying mandarin for a further year  after completing my BA.

After returning home in the summer of 2017, I found myself itching to get back to the middle kingdom and was fortunate enough to secure this fantastic opportunity with InternChina which is only just beginning. Although Chengdu is completely different to Shanghai, there have been a few elements that have pleasantly surprised me – Not just the Pandas !. For example, there is an unparalleled emphasis on the slow-paced rhythm of life here with people just seemingly going with the flow and taking a more ‘laid-back’ approach to life. This is definitely a welcomed release from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, and even the UK sometimes.

My First Impressions

I have been overwhelmed by how friendly people have been here which has helped me settle  in my short time here. One further aspect of life here so far which I am enjoying is the food, Chengdu has definitely justified being selected as a global gastronomic site by UNESCO.  The juxtaposition of 火锅-‘hotpot’ and 串儿 – ‘anything possible on a stick’ is complimented wonderfully by an array of western restaurants for that occasional change of cusine .

My time in Chengdu has already pushed me out of my comfort zone, yet I am more than committed to  welcoming the InternChina participants here to China. I feel lucky to be experiencing life in a fantastic part of the world whilst further improving my mandarin. I can’t wait to see what the next few months hold, so all that is left to say is “加油”-Let’s go !

 

 

 

 

Interested in Changing your life ? – Apply now !

 

Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai Nightlife

KTV in China

What is KTV?

KTV/卡拉OK (KalaOK) is a staple of Chinese nightlife. Your Chinese friends and work colleagues may invite you out to what is basically a nightclub to Karaoke. You’ll pay for a room usually for at least a few hours and then you get to sing, drink and dance the night away!

My first KTV

I first went to KTV almost 4 years ago. I had just arrived in Nanjing and was still getting used to the culture shock of living in China, when before I knew what was happening a bunch of us were heading out to a KTV. The experience was intense, it started off with our two Chinese friends each singing a Chinese pop ballad extremely well, which would make most people feel nervous.

Luckily for me this was also my first time trying 白酒 (baijiu) – Chinese rice wine, which took the edge off!  Soon we were all mumbling along to the pop songs we knew most of the words to and by the end we were singing full belt to Queen. We left at 5 am, after close to 6 hours of singing. It was one of my fondest memories of my first time in China and since then has become one of my favourite pastimes.

A night out at KTV in Nanjing
A night out at KTV in Nanjing

Some people’s Marmite

Love it or hate it KTV, can certainly make or break friendships. Often the first-time can be nerve-racking, and whether you need some liquid courage or just the support of friends, it’s important that everyone feels relaxed and not judged, as at the end of the day 90% of people don’t have golden pipes! You’ll probably discover who is accepting of other people’s music taste and who presses the skip button when they don’t like something. Most importantly you’re not auditioning for The Voice, so the emphasis is on fun!

What to expect

There is a plethora of choice when it comes to KTV. Sometimes it will be a palatial structure full of mirrors and disco lights, or sometimes it is just a simple affair with a cosier feel. Based on how much you are willing to pay you can book a small room or a huge auditorium with a balcony. You pay for the room, so the more of you there are, the cheaper it will be!

They may provide you with drinks and even food for free. There may be instruments such as tambourines and maracas in the room and even a bar and toilet. KTVs will have Western songs, however the choice may vary from just famous pop songs all the way through to a vast collection of classics!

KTVs in Zhuhai

Usually it is helpful to get a Chinese friend to help you book a KTV in advance, so that you don’t get there and find it is fully booked!

Below is a list of some of the best KTVs to visit in Zhuhai:

  • GTWO 量贩KTV

九州大道西富华里9栋二楼GTWO KT

  • 音乐匣子(Yinyuexiazi)- Music Box

海滨南路7号

  • 星歌会量贩式KTV

石榴岗路3号凯荣都国际大酒店3-4楼(近地铁赤岗站)

  • Ktime量版式KTV

珠海市香洲区拱北迎滨南路摩尔广场二楼

 

Whether you give a heart rending rendition of your favourite ballad or scream into a microphone as you attempt to make up for your lack of pitch, either way it’s going to be a laugh!

Chengdu Blogs, Chengdu InternChina events, Eating Out in Chengdu

Weekend Trip to Wenshu Monastery

Wenshu Monastery

This weekend in Chengdu our interns took a visit to the famous Wenshu Monastery. Upon arrival, the beauty of the buildings stunned us. From the towering peace pagoda to the stunning halls, the architecture amazed us all.

Wenshu Gardens

Upon entering the monastery, you notice its layout in the traditional Chinese style. Wenshu is made of 5 south facing halls in a row leading up to the stunning main hall at the far end from the entrance. In classic Chinese style there was maintenance underway including this man precariously perched atop scaffolding on wheels using a jet wash to clean the beams.

Maintenance worker at Wenshu Temple

Having toured the grounds of the monastery we headed outside to an antiques market. Here we found old communist memorabilia, including the famous little red book,  and Mao-ist propaganda amongst other treasures. One vendor was sat outside his shop playing his guitar as his dog kept an eye on the passers by.

Antiques Vendor and his watch dog

After looking around the monastery and the antiques market we headed back towards the temple grounds in search of some food.

The Food

The surrounding area to the monastery is home to some of the most famous food in Sichuan. Not ones to miss the opportunity to eat, we jumped in the line of a famous restaurant. The restaurant was packed full with no space to sit. Upon ordering our TianShuiMian (this restaurants famous dish) we managed to find a spot to sit and dug into to this amazing delicacy. Our interns loved the sweet and spicy contrast to these amazing hand made noodles!

TianShuiMian

After sampling this delight we wanted more and headed to another famous spot near the metro station. As is the case with all well-known eateries in China, this place also had a queue out the front. This time we were queuing for Guo Kui. The menu offered Beef, Pork, Pig’s Snout, Pigs Ear, Noodles and other delights to fill this delightful pastry pocket. I personally chose the pig’s snout, which didn’t disappoint.

GuoKui in Chengdu

Having filled our stomachs with great food and our eyes with fantastic scenery we all headed off. On the way back we stopped by Tianfu Square, right in the middle of the city to snap some pictures and take in our surroundings. All in all a great day out!

Interested in visiting Wenshu Monastery and trying some Sichuan cuisine? Apply now!

All You Need to Know

First two weeks as an intern in China – difficulties and solutions!

Introduction

Arriving in a totally different country can be confusing more many people, both culturally and professionally. Some difficulties will be there, but after 3 months in China I can say that the first 2 weeks were the richest weeks of discovery and experience!

The difficulties encountered during this period not only allow us to develop our problem-solving skills but also make the experience even more exciting!

Before You Arrive

Of course, to avoid some problems on your arrival, it’s sensible to take some steps before your departure:

  • Check the dates of your visa to buy your plane tickets. You must always return to your country at least 2 days before the end of the visa.
  • Tell your bank about your departure dates and your destination so that your card does not get blocked once in China, which could be very inconvenient! In addition, do not forget to consult your bank regarding withdrawal limits and payment fees. In China you do not pay with your credit card everywhere, you often have to withdraw. Note: with a Visa card, you can’t withdraw from all bank ATMs China.
  • Purchase a VPN. Without this, many Western sites will no longer be accessible and it is difficult to download a VPN in China (without access to Google & Google play!)
  • Download Baidu, Baidu Maps and Baidu Translate.
  • Check the weather in your chosen city to know what to pack, to avoid suffering from cold/ heat and having to buy clothes once you arrive!
  • Tip! If you want to control your expenses, do not hesitate to download a currency converter on your phone.

Your First Two Weeks in China

Remember that any problems or difficulties you encounter in China will always have a solution!

I will now quote some of the “classic” difficulties that you will encounter during your first 2 weeks in China, and explain how to overcome these in a simple way!

InternChina- Navigation sur BaiduMaps
Baidu Maps

Lost on the way to your internship?

  1. On your first trip to work with one of the InternChina members, take pictures of the bus stop / buildings as a landmark.
  2. Plan the trip on BaiduMaps. You can find a quick tutorial here!
  3. Contact InternChina if you are really lost or unsure about your orientation. We are here to help you!

Not sure what to do in the office? Very busy colleagues?

  1. Do some research on the market, the competition and make a list of the new vocabulary you encounter.

    Chinese Colleagues
    Chinese Colleagues
  2. You can then impress your colleagues and managers with your knowledge and show that you are thirsty to learn and be involved!
  3. Ask what is expected of you and the tasks you will need perform – the Chinese appreciate and encourage proactivity among their employees

Having problems with the language barrier?

  1. Explain that you are a little “rusty” in the morning (no coffee yet!).
  2. Ask them to clearly write their request so that you do not forget.

Do not worry, over time you will learn to understand the different accents of your colleagues!

If English isn’t your first language, are you shy because you are not confident?

  1. Don’t underestimate your English skills and don’t be discouraged. Your English will gradually improve over time and you will become confident very quickly!
  2. Remember, youu will not be the only non native-English speaker on the spot!
  3. Feel free to express your lack of confidence if you want to be reassured.
  4. Nobody will judge you, on the contrary! People are aware that it is not easy for you to start and that you need time to adapt.

Do you have trouble making yourself understood by taxi drivers?

  1. Take BaiduMaps (tutorial!) and ask your colleagues a few well-known places in the city.
  2. Add these places to your BaiduMaps favorites and learn to pronounce them in Chinese!

Believe me, this is a good workout! After 2 or 3 tries, the driver will understand you and you will be on your way to independence!

InternChina - Taxi en Chine
Taxis in China

 

You do not know where to exchange your foreign currency for RMB?

  1. Simplest option: do this directly upon your arrival in China (at the airport or port). Currency exchange counters will be present.
  2. If not, ask one of the members of InternChina, they will know how to answer you for sure.

Some counters offer cheap exchange rates, it is sometimes better to compare before making a choice. For advice, contact our team!

InternChina - Change de devises
Currency exchange counter

 

Want to meet new people?

  1. Whether you live in an apartment or a homestay, don’t hesitate to join our dinners on Thursday evening and our activities or trips on weekends. Find out more about our services in Zhuhai here and Qingdao here.
  2. The other interns also want to make new friends, so don’t be shy! Add the other IC members on WeChat (Wechat tutorial) and get to know them!
  3. The outings between trainees are numerous, you’ll have many opportunities!

What to eat at the restaurant?

Going to a restaurant can be intimidating when the local language is unknown to us and we can not read or speak it! Fortunately, there are some useful tips:

  1. If the menu is written exclusively in Chinese and you can not read it, refer to the images to choose your dish.
  2. If you want to know what you are eating and are ready to learn some basics, here is a very useful blog on how to read a Chinese menu!

Conclusion

I hope these few tips will help you get a glimpse of what awaits you in China and have reassured you about your potential! With some effort, it’s quite possible to overcome any difficulties you may encounter during your first 2 weeks in China. You will come out of this experience bigger and more independent than ever! And don’t forget, our team is available 24 hours a day to answer any problem!

Ready to embark on the InternChina adventure? Click here!