When I decided to do an internship this year and started my research on Google, I was totally overwhelmed with the amount of offers and sites available, and all the different requirements and prerequisites. It was all too much for me.
Hence, I thought about looking to an agency to lighten my workload.
Certainly, I was as doubtful and sceptical as you probably are right now.
But I’d like to clear up some of these doubts and demonstrate why going through an agency is actually quite a positive experience.
Purposeful Placements due to many years of experience
Professional agencies will check all companies before choosing them as referees.
InternChina, for example, ensures that each company has a fluent English speaker to be available to you right from the start of your internship, as your mentor and to help you with the culture shock. This way you’ll get the most out of your internship, as there will be no language barrier.
A good agency also provides an extensive pool of companies to choose from!
This means a quick placement without any annoying research before. The agency will choose a company based on your profile and preferences, to makes sure that your internship will suit both you and the company.
Have a look at their conditions, as agencies should help you with hurdles like Visa, flight or accommodation. Especially if it’s your first time abroad, this can help take a lot of work off your hands.
You should always ask or check the following things:
– Do they have personal contacts to the companies?
– Does the agency offer customised packages if you would like to change something?
– Do they assist you in preparing the documents for application?
– When do you have to pay the fee? Before or after getting your internship position?
– And finally, and quite importantly: Where is the headquarter placed? Only if it’s in the country (or better, city) of your destination, can they provide you with help whenever you need it.
Compare some agencies and their offers, it should be free for you until you get your desired position. References could help you find out which agency fits you best. And if they offer language classes or other activities besides your internship you can be sure they (mostly) really care about you.
The preferred agency should appeal to you immediately; blogs could help you to get a first insight!
The most important thing about acquiring an internship through an agency, is not to only look at the expenses side, but to think about your time abroad, your experiences, and the security an agency will provide you!
Chinese get drunk easily
True or false?
True. Most Chinese can’t really drink a lot without getting drunk, BUT they still like to go out! So if you are (male and) going out with Chinese for dinner, they will make you drink a lot for sure! It is not very polite to refuse a drink offered by your host and Chinese love to ganbei (干杯 – dry cup). But of course you can say that you already had too much, just blame your poor foreign stomach. 😉
For women it is not that bad. Chinese girls normally don’t like to drink, because they get drunk so fast and it’s not ‘appropriate’ for them to be or get drunk.
KTV: Chinese love it!
True or false?
True. Not everybody likes karaoke singing though and going out for KTV is a serious thing in China. And it is also not true that Chinese only worship this Japanese invention and don’t do anything else in the evening. There are quite a lot of bars and clubs in Chinese towns (at least in the bigger ones) and especially young people like to go out for a drink and dance.
Chinese food: The real deal is disgusting
True or false?
False! Chinese food is amazing! There is some stuff you will not be used to eat and if you are not vegetarian like me, you will be surprised to find out that Chinese don’t value meat without bone in it, but in general the Chinese food is a lot better than the “Chinese food” you get in Europe. I also talked to a lot of people who were afraid of using chopsticks. Don’t worry, first: It’s easier than you might think, second: you can get spoons in most restaurants and third: Chinese will be happy to teach you! 😉
1) The Chinese are all poor and everything here is really cheap.
True or false?
Unfortunately not everything here is as cheap as it once was, due to the fact that the Chinese are no longer as poor as they may once have been. The economy has boomed in recent years and with it the creation of a middle-class who can be very wealthy! There are whole shopping centers full of Gucci, Dior, Ralph Lauren etc, with frighteningly high prices. You also see a fair few Ferrari’s floating around. Based on the population, China still has a large proportion of people working in agriculture and living below the poverty line. You can probably bag yourself a bargain if you get yourself to a remote village; I’ve heard of whole meals costing under 20p! Even in the cities, daily life is still very cheap compared to living in London; a pint rarely costs more than 50p.
2) The Chinese created table tennis and they are all really good at it.
True or false?
Table tennis was actually created in Britain in the 1880’s, initially played by the wealthy as an after-dinner game. It had various nicknames, such as wiff-waff and ping pong because of the sound made whilst playing. The Chinese are however really good at it, taking 6 of the 8 possible medals at London 2012 Olympics. In China, lots of people do play. It doesn’t take as much space as tennis or other sports so fits in as a suitable sport in China’s busy environment.
3) People go everywhere on bicycles.
True of false?
Much to my dismay this is no longer the case in every Chinese city. In Qingdao, there are no cycle lanes so cycling is not to be advised (it is very dangerous!). I think bikes still play a large part of life in some cities, but Qingdao is not one of them. Qingdao however, more than makes up for the lack of bicycles with cars and traffic.
4) The Chinese love foreigners.
True or False?
Thanks to our comparitively tall frames and our range of eye and hair colours, the Brits generally get quite a good reception in China. When you say you are British, the days of the Opium Wars seem to be largely forgotten, we are now just seen as “British Gentlemen” (英国绅士).The Chinese love seeing foreigners around and find our features fascinating – the big nose, wide eyes, pale skin: everything they want. If you try and speak any Chinese, even a little “Nihao” will have them falling over their feet complementing you. Make the most of the feeling while you are here because it isn’t the same back in Britain!
Hello, I’m Balthasar Liu and I’m a newly-graduated student from college of foreign languages, University-Qingdao. I am major in intercultural German study, and have spent half a year in Bayreuth, Bavaria as exchange-student, where I became a rather good cook (courtesy of studying abroad). Once I made pizza (from dough kneading to baking) for my classmates there, and two whole pizza disappeared in less than 5 minutes.I was supposed to(and of course would gladly) continue my study next year in Jena or Nurnberg, Germany, which means I have a nice and long vacation till then. But who would spend such precious time just sitting at home doing nothing meaningful? Not for me! So I decide to experience the life that normal salarymen have: working from 9am-5pm and making money for housekeeping.
My first “job” was in a marine manufacturing company doing some translating and making contact with foreign clients. It’s quite a long way from where I live to where I work, I need to wake up at 6:30 am everyday for the time spent on road was about one hour. The work was rather interesting but I couldn’t learn more other than yachts and boats. Then one of my mother’s associate recommended me going to Internchina, said it could greatly improve my communication competence. And now, here I am, in Internchina, and I must say, it feels great!!! I can find almost everything I once dreamt of from work: free and relaxed office-atmosphere, kind colleagues and considerate boss. My daily work is to help the foreign students who come to China find accommodation such as homestay family or apartment, provide necessary help if anything goes wrong and offer them internship opportunities. I study intercultural communication in university so this is the best place for me to do what I’m taught for. When I was alone in Germany I can find many cultural shocks and stereotypes locals hold for us Chinese, and I’m sure same could happen here. And it will be my job to prevent cultural shock turning into misunderstanding. Feels like a lot of responsibilities and I’m ready for it!
I’m Antoine, the new French intern in Qingdao and I arrived last week. That’s my first time in China and so far, my impressions are very good. It’s really cold right now in Qingdao but people are really warm and welcoming.
I have a lot of various and interesting tasks here like assisting Philippe with the French Universities and internship inquiries. The work atmosphere is really positive at the office and I think I will have a good time being an intern at InternChina.
See you in Qingdao!
My name is Franzi and I’m the new intern at Intern China office in Qingdao. I’ve been here for 2 weeks now, but it feels as if I’d just arrived yesterday. There are so many things do to, and to see that I’m glad to stay for 6 months so I don’t miss anything! I came here without any Chinese language skills and started taking the absolute-beginners-language classes. Our teacher tries her best to teach us the basics in a few weeks, but it’s still hard to communicate. Whenever I try, I’m not sure if the Chinese people laugh with me or at me. Nevertheless, they are so friendly and always trying to help and find a way to communicate.
Qingdao is a really beautiful city with a lot of nice spots to visit. During the last two weeks I’ve already been to the old part of Qingdao, which is definitely worth another visit. There are a lot of parks and nice streets which are completely different from the new part of Qingdao with all the high glass office-buildings.
At the weekend we’ve been to the Taidong night market, where they sell all the “really expensive brands”. We tried to bargain a lot with our very little knowledge of Chinese, but mostly the things were so cheap, you just couldn’t get them any cheaper.
I’m really looking forward to exploring Qingdao, and hopefully a lot of other places in China, much more! So far, I love China, the people are great, and the food is amazing.
Ben & Phil
Hello everyone! / 你好!
I am Michæl and I am one of the new interns at the InternChina office in Zhuhai. I just arrived here 2 nights ago. I am originally from Boston but currently live in Montréal for university. Door-to-door the voyage took me 26 hours – not too bad considering that I have essentially traversed the planet!
My host family is great and I have high hopes for what this experience can bring. While having a great degree of familiarity with many Indo-European languages, I am finding it of little utility here in China! I am slowly learning some Mandarin and hope to have functional fluency by the time I leave.
Zhuhai is a beautiful city located along the coast,bordering Macao SAR and just a 50 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong SAR, it is definitely a good place to be!
I’ve attached a photo I found on Flickr of the Gongbei district in Zhuhai.