Since the first day I arrived in Chengdu I have loved every moment. From my first ride on an ofo to my last. From sweating through my first hotpot to a little brow mop at my last. Chengdu has shown me a completely new way of life, laid back, relaxed, slow paced. When you think of China you think of the crazy hustle and bustle of giant cities. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Chengdu despite being the biggest city I’ve ever been to is also the most relaxed.
My initial fears of relentless spice and unbearable huajiao, have ended in me wondering if I’ll ever find a comparable flavour back home. The range of delicious food that can be found here in Chengdu will be one of the things I miss the most.
Alongside getting to know this fantastic city I have also made some fantastic friends! The InternChina family welcomed me with open arms. The office environment is nothing but great fun on a daily basis with great team spirit. As well, all the interns I’ve met in my 3 months have been fantastic in both helping me get to know the city and sharing great stories and experiences together.
My internship has allowed me to pass on the great experience I had previously on my internship in 2015 with the interns I’ve met here in Chengdu. Organising great activities and some extracurricular events have helped me form truly great friendships.
The skills I’ve learnt during my internship are so varied and extensive there is no doubt that I will be able to use them later on in life. From the daily tasks I’ve completed to meetings and marketing, I’ve gained a wide range of transferable skills.
InternChina has given me a platform from which I can only excel. This has truly been an unforgettable experience that I’m sure I will tell stories about for the rest of my life!
What an unforgettable life-changing experience? Apply now!
At age seventeen, I was awarded a one-year scholarship to study in Tianjin, a two-tier city around 100km from Beijing. Five years later and here I am, my fourth time in China, and interning in a brand new city, Qingdao.
Tianjin was an amazing place to live and is where my true appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture developed. After my Tianjin experience, how could I turn down another opportunity to live in another fast-developing tier two city? Even though they are more than 500 km apart, I have already noticed some similarities between the two cities.
Tianjin and Qingdao, throughout history and up until now, are very important treaty ports. This meant that in the past they were very desirable to foreign powers. The cities are unique as there still remain numerous European-style buildings, such as churches and villas, which stand as legacies from the time of foreign concessions during the Qing dynasty. A direct contrast to the new modern buildings found in every Chinese city, they are an absolute must see when visiting either city!
In true Chinese style, food culture is huge in Qingdao and Tianjin. Due to proximity to the sea, the seafood in both cities is particularly fresh and delicious. A must try Qingdao dish is spicy clams (蛤蜊), which are pronounced as géli in standard Putonghua but in local Qingdao Hua are pronounced gála. Although Tianjin is known for its seafood, Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子) and “Cat can’t smell” dumplings (猫不闻饺子) are also some well-known delicious dishes.
Before I arrived in Qingdao, I was under the impression that Qingdao locals would have a southern accent. I realised very quickly that this was not the case as the accent is just as northern sounding as it is in Tianjin, with plenty of er’s(儿)! Tianjin was the perfect environment to not only learn Pǔtōnghuà, but also the local dialect (天津话). The locals were always enthusiastic and patient with me as I bumbled my way through sentences in my early days of learning Chinese. The locals also became especially excited whenever I tried out some Tianjin Hua. For example, instead of saying hen(很 )for very, locals will say bèr(倍儿). Qingdao also has its own dialect (青岛话). For instance. here they pronounce hē（喝）, meaning to drink, as hā. So, it’s dōuhāshui!
As much as Tianjin will always be my home in China, Qingdao is rapidly becoming my Chinese home away from home! I can’t wait to see what else Qingdao has to offer!
Tempted by the two-tier city life? Join us! We have branches in four fantastic tier two cities!
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.
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.
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.
After looking around the monastery and the antiques market we headed back towards the temple grounds in search of some 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!
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.
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!
Written by Claire Sadler
From the most isolated city in the world to one of the largest cities in China
Coming from the remote city of Perth, Australia I thought interning in Chengdu would be the perfect opportunity to experience a different lifestyle.
Although when I first arrived, the difference between my coastal life and bustling Chengdu definitely gave me culture shock, this soon subsided with the excitement of being exposed to such an amazing place.
I have only been here for a month but in that time I have already made enough friends to freeload on almost every continent, eaten my weight in Sichuan cuisine and explored many parts of this beautiful city!
In an attempt to explore as much as possible during my stay, I have seen so much of what Chengdu has to offer. Some of the highlights have been the infamous pandas, Dongmen Bridge, the Leshan Giant Buddha and People’s Park.
One funny experience of my trip though was how excited the locals at Sanxingdui Museum were when they saw Dominique and I. A crowd of at least 20 people asked for pictures because they had never seen a foreigner there before! All I could think about was how they would have shown everyone the pictures of us.
During my stay in Chengdu I’m situated in Gaoshengqiao, known for the Tibetan culture. It is crazy how even doing day to day tasks I am exposed to this culture, as I even see monks shopping in Walmart!
In terms of my placement I am completing a marketing internship with Inspiration Tech. It has been an amazing opportunity to learn new marketing skills, specifically how to effectively promote a product and create advertisements. I have also gotten the opportunity to write articles and conduct interviews, which has boosted my experience in journalism.
The whole trip has been eye opening, inspiring and rewarding in so many ways. Interning in Chengdu was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget!
Do you want to experience Chengdu for yourself? Then apply now!
As you may know, in China food is one of the most important things! Indeed, sharing a meal is a social opportunity that is loved across China. However, reading a Chinese menu can seem intimidating.
At InternChina we love food too – check out this blog in order to know more about how we help you to explore Chinese cuisine. If you have never tried Chinese food before, don’t worry, you’ll definitely experience this soon enough!
And fear not, this article is here to hopefully help you understand a Chinese menu, so you can order yourself and impress your Chinese colleagues and friends!
The Chinese language may appear to be the most difficult language in the world at first, as we are not used to the Chinese characters. But don’t be intimidated! This ancient language is following a certain logic – as soon as you understand the logic, you’ll be able to read a Chinese menu without a doubt!
To avoid giving you a long history lesson, let’s just say that originally all Chinese characters were created using pictures, and were developed into the calligraphic style that we see today through several different steps.
History of Chinese Characters
Let me show you the evolution of the Chinese character for “horse” – if you don’t want to order this kind of dish, just look for it in a Chinese menu!
Now that you can understand how the Chinese characters work, just use your imagination and it will be way easier to read a menu! Let me show you some examples of the main ingredients you’ll find in a Chinese menu.
Meat on the Menu
These are basically the most common kinds of meat you’ll find on a menu in China. While horse meat isn’t that popular, in some places donkey meat is! Therefore, for donkey meat dishes you will have the character for horse, and one other symbol that looks similar to the tall ears of the donkey! So a donkey is a horse with tall ears, easy to remember- right? Can you find two more very similar characters? When you understand that the Chinese language is logic, it seems less and less hard, right?
After most of those characters in a Chinese menu you’ll see “肉-rou” that means “meat”.
Vegetables on the Menu
Obviously, the Chinese language can’t always be explained by pictures, but you can still see the logic behind the characters.
Let’s look at “potato” as an example. “Tu” means “earth“, and “dou” means “bean“. A potato is a bean that comes from the earth – easy!
Another interesting story can be found with “tomato.” Tomatoes weren’t originally found in China, they were imported. So in the Chinese name for tomato we have: “Xi” meaning “West“, “Hong” meaning “Red“, and “Shi” meaning “Persimmons“. Can you guess why? Because a tomato looks like a “red-persimmon imported from the West”! Clever, right?
“Bai” means “white” and “Cai” means vegetable, so the white vegetable is also know as the delicious Chinese cabbage! The easiest way to remember a Chinese character is to make a story from the shape of the character, or ask your Chinese friends to explain the character to you!
These are the main characters you’ll see in the dishes, so you’ll see if you are going to eat soup or some noodles.
Just one thing to remember about rice, restaurants commonly use “米饭” or just “饭” – character FAN– for rice. And a funny tip about “egg”- “dan” means egg, but in Chinese you’ll always call it a “Chicken egg”.
For the soup “tang” can you see the three dots on the left hand-side ? Looks like drops of water, right? Exactly! That’s the way of describing an object or dish with water inside, so now you all know that there is water in the soup now!
Our Favourite Dishes
Now that we’ve showed you the main characters you’ll see in a Chinese menu, let’s give you some more tips and the names of our favourite dishes!
These might take some more imagination to remember, as it won’t be as easy as the characters for various animals which were very close to the actual picture of the animal. However, these cards will be super useful while reading a Chinese menu. And, you can also show them in the restaurants if you can’t find them on the Chinese menu!
Don’t hesitate to choose those dishes if you see them on a Chinese menu, they’re delicious!
You can find the two first ones in every Halal restaurant, also known in Chinese as “Lanzhou Lamian, “and you can recognise these restaurants by the characters on the outside door: ‘兰州拉面‘. And the other dishes are found in any typical Chinese restaurant!
- XiHongshi Chao Jidan: Egg and tomato with rice.
- Jidan Chao Dao Xiao Mian: Fried egg, vegetables and cut noodles (this might be little spicy in some places!)
- Feng Wei Qie Zi : Fried aubergines.
- Tang Cu li Ji: Sweet and sour pork.
- Gan bian Da tou Cai : “Big head vegetable!” This will be some delicious Chinese cabbage and spicy sauce.
- Gong Bao Ji Ding : Chicken, peanuts and veggies, with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Please Don’t Forget!
Here some tips, that may save you one day – who knows!
- If a character has 月 on the left-hand side it is likely to be some sort of guts/intestines/belly/insides, i.e. run in the opposite direction!
- Are you a vegetarian or vegan? Then always avoid meals with this character “肉“, as this is “rou“, which means “meat.”
- Allergic to peanuts? This is the character you need to avoid : “花生“, pronounced “huasheng.”
- If you can’t eat spicy food, avoid this red one! “La” “辣” means spicy.
There is different kind of spicy food that our interns in Chengdu will be pleased to try! When you see those characters : 麻辣 be ready to experience some tingling and numbing sensation.
Don’t hesitate to ask our staff members on place to help you out with the pronunciation, or if you need any help ordering your food!
Did this help to convince you that living in China isn’t that difficult? Well then, you just need to apply now!
Comme vous le savez surement, en Chine la nourriture c’est sacré! En effet, partager un repas entre amis ou collègues est une des activités favorites partout en Chine. Cependant, pour nous étrangers, lire une carte dans un restaurant reste très intimidant.
Chez InternChina ,on adore la nourriture – lisez ce blog si vous voulez comprendre comment nous allons vous aider à découvrir la cuisine chinoise. Si vous n’avez jamais gouté la nourriture chinoise avant de venir, ne vous en faites pas, cette expérience sera l’occasion rêvée!
N’ayez crainte, cet article est là pour vous aider à déchiffrer une carte , afin de commander par vous même et d’impressionner vos collègues et amis chinois!
La langue chinoise semble être la plus difficile dans le monde à première vue, en effet nous n’avions jamais utilisé de caractères pour écrire! Mais n’ayez pas peur! Cette très ancienne langue à été crée selon une certaine logique. Une fois que vous aurez compris cette logique il sera bien plus simple de déchiffrer une carte au restaurant!
Je vais vous épargner une longue leçon d’histoire, disons simplement qu’à l’origine tous les caractères chinois ont été crées à partir de dessins, qui après plusieurs étapes sont devenus les caractères que l’on connait aujourd’hui.
L’évolution des caractères chinois
Laissez moi vous montrer l’évolution des caractères chinois avec par exemple le mot Cheval. Cela pourra vous être utile au restaurant si vous ne voulez pas commander cela!
Vous voyez comment ça marche ? Avec un peu d’imagination il vous sera facile de lire une carte au restaurant. Je vais maintenant vous présenter les caractères principaux que vous retrouverez dans toutes les cartes dans les restaurants en Chine.
Viande à la carte
Voici les principales sortes de viandes que vous trouverez en Chine sur une carte. Même si la viande de cheval est très impopulaire en Chine, l’âne en revanche est très en vogue! Pour reconnaître le caractère de l’âne, souvenez vous de celui du cheval, et ajoutez y une partie qui pourrait ressemble à de grandes oreilles. Après tout, un âne ressemble à un cheval avec de longues oreilles non? Pouvez-vous voir des similitudes dans deux autres caractères ? C’est exactement ce dont je parlais quand je parlais de logique, une fois que vous l’avez comprise c’est plus simple non?
N’oubliez pas, après ces différents caractères vous trouverez “肉-rou” qui signifie “viande”.
Légumes à la carte
Effectivement, la langue chinoise ne peut pas toujours être expliquée selon des dessins. On ne vous a pas menti le chinois c’est compliqué, mais toujours très logique! Je vais vous expliquer:
Regardons le caractère pour “pomme de terre” par exemple. . “Tu” signifie “terre“, et “dou” signifie “graine“. Une pomme de terre est bien une graine qui pousse dans la terre – facile non ?
Une autre histoire intéressante dans le mot chinois pour “tomate.” Si vous ne le saviez pas les tomates ont été importés en Chine il y a longtemps. Donc quand il a fallu trouver un mot pour tomate on a utilisé :”Xi” pour “Ouest“, “Hong” pour “Rouge“, et “Shi” pour “Kakis“. Pouvez-vous deviner pourquoi? Car une tomate ressemble à un “kaki rouge importé de l’ouest en Chine”. Super logique non ?
“Bai” signifie “white” et “Cai” signifie vegetable, donc le délicieux chou chinoix n’est autre que le légume blanc. Le meilleur moyen de se souvenir d’un caractère chinois et d’essayer d’inventer une histoire selon sa forme comme moyen mémo-technique. Ou demandez à vos amis chinois de vous en expliquer le sens!
Principaux ingrédients à la carte
Envie de manger du riz ou des pâtes aujourd’hui? Voici donc les principaux caractères présent à la carte en Chine.
Une chose à savoir pour le riz en Chine, sur la carte on utilisera plutôt le caractère “米饭” ou simplement “饭” – FAN– pour parler d’un plat avec du riz. Et pour les œufs, si “dan” signifie en lui même œuf, en chinois on appellera toujours cela “un œuf de poule”.
Pour les soupes “tang” vous voyez la partie à gauche avec trois points ? Cela ressemble à des gouttes d’eau non? Exactement! Ces trois traits sont utilisés dans tous les caractères représentant quelque chose contenant de l’eau. L’eau étant un des éléments principaux dans la soupe ou bouillon, c’est là encore très logique.
Nos plats préférés à la carte
Maintenant que vous êtes devenus un expert en nourriture chinoise, voici nos recommandations à la carte en Chine.
Là encore, usez de votre imagination pour vous souvenir des noms entiers, mais reconnaître la majorité des ingrédients vous aidera à savoir ce que vous commandez. N’hésitez pas à imprimer ces images afin de les montrer au serveur si vous avez peur de ne pas vous en souvenir! Même si vous ne reconnaissez pas ces plats sur la carte, cela ne coûte rien d’essayer, ce sont des plats typiques qui n’ont même pas besoin de figurer sur une carte au restaurant.
Un conseil, testez les tous, ce sont des plats absolument délicieux!
Les deux premiers sont nos plats préférés que l’on trouve dans tous les restaurants Halal, aussi connu sous le nom de “Lanzhou Lamian“. Afin de trouver ces restaurants – ils sont à chaque coin de rue – essayer de trouver ces caractères sur la devanture : ‘兰州拉面‘. Pour les autres plats, partout ailleurs vous devriez pouvoir les commander!
- XiHongshi Chao Jidan: Morceaux d’omelette et tomates avec du riz
- Jidan Chao Dao Xiao Mian: Morceaux d’omelette, légumes et des pâtes coupées (attention parfois la sauce est piquante).
- Feng Wei Qie Zi : Aubergines frites
- Tang Cu li Ji: Porc frit sauce aigre douce
- Gan bian Da Tou Cai : “Le légume qui ressemble à une grosse tête!”Ce drôle de nom décrit un délicieux plat de chou chinois épicé.
- Gong Bao Ji Ding : Poulet, légumes et cacahuètes, à la sauce sucrée ou épicée selon les restaurants.
Important – à retenir!
Voici quelques conseils à retenir, ils pourraient vous sauver la vie un jour – qui sait!
- Si le caractère à ceci 月 à gauche, cela sera certainement les intestins, foie ou autres abats. Suivez mon conseil fuyez – sauf si vous êtes fan!
- Végétarien ou végétaliens? Evitez donc ce caractère “肉“, car “rou“, signifie “viande.”
- Allergie aux cacahuètes ou arachides? Évitez ce caractère : “花生“, que l’on prononce “huasheng.”
- Pas fan des plats épicés, alors fuyez celui ci : “La” “辣” , et tout ce qui est très rouge sur les photos dans la carte!
Il existe cependant différentes sortes de plats épicés et nos futures stagiaires de Chengdu auront l’occasion de vous en dire plus! Si vous voyez ces caractères : 麻辣 – prononcés Mala – soyez prêts à expérimenter une sensation très étrange en bouche… Vous ne sentirez surement plus vos lèvres et votre langue pour un moment! Ne vous en faites pas, cela reviendra vite !
N’hésitez pas à demander à notre équipe sur place de vous aider avec la prononciation, ou si vous avez besoin d’aide pour commander!
Cet article vous a-t-il convaincu de venir vivre une expérience hors du commun en Chine? N’attendez plus et postulez!
by Nick Goldstein
Two Week PMSA Language and Culture Programme
I’m not a very good writer, but when asked to write a piece on my first two weeks in Zhuhai as part of the PMSA Programme I volunteered. Not only because I want to get better, but because coming here under InternChina’s culture and internship program taught me the value of doing things you are scared of. That’s why I ended up here writing about InternChina’s program, having already wasted the first 60 words.
The first two weeks were packed! My personal highlights were tea making, calligraphy and Tai Chi classes. Although lots of fun, I also learned a lot. Much like learning about the history of your country helps you understand it today, learning about the details of Chinese culture helped me understand the big picture (it’s a really big picture!)
During this time, we visited two companies operating in the free trade zone. In the same way as our cultural activities, learning about the companies taught me not only about the company itself, its processes and operations, but also the way western firms interact with Chinese. I saw two models, although on the surface very similar, in practice very different, and I felt the difference. If I were to set up an operation in China, I know what I would do differently.
Part of the program was two weeks of intensive language classes. 3 hours a day in a room with other kiwis trying to learn Chinese was invaluable, and although my Chinese is not comprehensive, it is enough to make a contribution to the language gap. In China, at least where I am, the effort is more appreciated than required.
The third part of the program was the homestay experience. Make no mistake this was an experience, living with my own family was difficult enough, someone else’s is downright terrifying. Despite this, however, the most valuable aspect of the course was the homestay. Visiting companies and learning about culture is useful, but you only learn so much by teaching. Living in a homestay opened me up to the culture, exposing me to the intricacies.
Examples of what I have learnt are 1. That, at least in my family, no matter how loud your child’s friend is screaming, you don’t tell them off and 2. People really don’t like it when you wear shoes in the house, like REALLY don’t like it!
What I’ve Learnt
Jokes aside, I learned about the details of the culture, and I have made friends that I will take back to New Zealand. Reflecting on the past fortnight I think the most valuable thing I have learnt are soft skills. Cultural appreciation, empathy, an understanding of the Chinese approach, and an ability to work in Chinese culture, as well as, I believe, an improved ability to work with any culture. I think the friends, contacts and memories I have made are all important. Overwhelmingly, however, participating in this program has been mostly beneficial to my appreciation of different cultures, expanding my mindset.
It’s Sunday in Qingdao and the winter months are here, which means only one thing, coffee shops!
Take your book, your laptop, your friends with you and head to the old town where Huangxian Lu lies filled with many niche cafes, museums, crafts and micro breweries.
As an avid supporter (some may say dependent) of the caffeinated drink, I have made it my duty to try a new coffee shop every Sunday.
By Chinese standards this street is ‘hipster’, many young Chinese will dress up for the occasion and ultimately a photo shoot in the colourfully decorated street. Take some time to browse the little shops dotted in between the cafés which sell bits of art décor as well as (you guessed it) old vinyls!
Below are just a few cafes I have stumbled upon, but go and explore yourself and discover your own favourite spot!
The Cat Café.
Address: 48 Daxue Rd
Yes, there are cats! And lots of them too! The coffee and chocolate cake are not bad either. Very cosy set-up with many feline friends to cuddle up too. A great place to go if you’re missing your pet back at home!
The Giraffe Café.
Address: On the Corner of Huangxian Lu/Daxue Lu
The giraffe-patterned pole outside gives it it’s status and has been the subject of many Instagram Posts. Very sweet décor inside, clean and the coffee is good!
The Witch Café.
Next to the Giraffe coffee lies a café filled with lamps, European-style paintings and old-fashioned furniture. The 4 small rooms, 2 up, 2 down decorated with pumpkins and Halloween references, gives the café a charismatic vibe. With free wifi and friendly staff, it is a great place to sit down and work.
The Old Cinema Café.
Address: 14 Huangxian Lu
A little bit bigger than the other cafes which makes it great for social study groups. Otherwise, just take a coffee and enjoy watching the silent films.
There are more than coffee shops around!
The Residence of Lao She.
Address: 12 Huangxian Lu
Lao She, a famous author lived on this street where he wrote some of China’s most famous literature, such as Camel Xiangzi. His house has been opened as a quaint museum and I would recommend having a look (It’s free ;))! The residents of Qingdao are very proud!
YOWO – The Leather Shop.
Address: 35 Huangxian Lu
This is a very cute workshop, where you can learn how to work with leather and make homemade gifts for yourself or family. Really interesting experience especially if you are one for design and crafts.
Strong Ale Works – Brewery.
Address: 12 Daxue Lu
This micro brewery is friendly, cozy, has a lovely ambiance, and most of all, beers are, though not exactly cheap by Chinese standards, amazing! A beer-lover’s must-see!