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Cultural, Homestay Experience, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Travel, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai Nightlife

First Impressions of Zhuhai

My name is Alizée and I am currently doing an internship in Zhuhai through InternChina. At the end of my Bachelor’s degree, my need to explore new horizons automatically brought me to China. It was the most logical choice, being the farthest country and, by all standards, the most different. But after only a week, I already felt right at home. Here are a few of the first things I discovered about Zhuhai.

Alizee Blog PanoInternChina – View from BanZhangShan Mountain

1. Guangdong is the land of the Cantonese

Zhuhai situated in Guangdong, and being so close to Hong Kong and Macau, has quite the Cantonese influence. Along with the language (both Mandarin and Cantonese), comes delicious Cantonese food! It is the most populated province in China, Guangdong’s capital is Guangzhou. It’s hard for me to believe, coming from France where we are 66 million people in total, but Guangzhou hosts over 50 million habitants, in one city only. In comparison, 10 million people live in Paris. These proportions are hard to grasp.

2. Beware of the Karaoke!

Here, it’s called KTV (short for Karaoke TV, as you might have guessed). Basically, you gather all your friends into a private room and sing loudly together. In China, KTV is a cultural institution, suitable for all generations and social backgrounds. The name for us westerners can be quite off putting. Since it is not being broadcasted, why is it called TV ? It originated when new piracy laws from the GATT’s Uruguay round shut down it’s predecessor in 1988, MTV (MovieTV, Netflix’s ancestor). The company, not put off in the least, then simply switched it’s market to a less regulated sector; the music industry, and changed the first M to a K, with little regards for it’s meaning.

My first experience with this strange practice was during my company’s party, reuniting over 30 people from different branches, in a large pandemonium of beer and music. It was quite fascinating to watch my colleagues, usually so assiduous and solemn, turn into such party animals. The classic studious and hardworking stigma that is usually observed, was largely proven wrong during those few hours of letting loose. Unfortunately, knowing no Chinese music, I relied on a good ol’ Beatles song, and got away with it. My second experience was in the home of my host family daughter’s friend. In a smaller setting, it was indeed quite a different mood, and I got to pay greater attention to the meaning of the songs. In order to be prepared, I could advise everyone to learn one famous Chinese song; it’ll make them laugh, and make you practice your pronunciation!

 3. Menu Tasting & Furniture Shopping

 My company is on the verge of opening its new vegetarian restaurant. So for lunch, Juan (another Indonesian intern) and I taste tested the new menu. My personal favourite is the tangyuan, which is the Chinese version of the Japanese mochi, a glutinous rice cake filled with various pastes or nuts. Part of the Japanese Washoku, listed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it’s Chinese equivalent is just as delicious.

Alizee Blog 4
InternChina – The dishes Alizée tested at for the company’s new vegetarian restaurant

The following day, we went to buy furniture for the new restaurant. On the outskirts of the city lays a vast warehouse-like furniture store, specialized in traditional goods, which is actually composed of multiple little shops. From old locks, to carved doors, to tea tables and stone water fountains, it was quite a delight to the eye.

Alizee Blog 1
InternChina – The furniture hangar (left) & Wesley, Alizée’s manager, testing out a new desk

4. A Peak at the Local Life

 For anyone wishing to truly experience the local life, I can’t insist enough on how great a homestay can be. I was extremely fortunate to intrude into the life of the Kong family. They have welcomed me into their daily routine and have been continuously generous and attentive. They have already promised to come visit me in my hometown, and I really hope they do! Having come to China to experience being a fish out of water, I quickly realized that all human beings are the same, no matter how far apart they seem to be. Sure, the food is different (it’s delicious!) and the language’s structure is arduous to grasp, but in the end, it’s a small world, after all.

5. Oh, one more thing:

 Most public place doors here aren’t outward opening as they are in the west. So don’t look foolish (like I did for a week): open doors as you would in your house, inward.

If you looking to immerse yourself in Chinese culture whilst getting yourself valuable internship experience, apply here now!

 

Cultural

Chinese is more than just Mandarin

China is home to 55 recognised ethnic minority groups and 10 dialect groups.Just a 30 minute drive into the next province can make you feel as if you’ve entered a whole new world. The foods, the accents, the smells and the scenery. All very unfamiliar and different, yet all quintessentially Chinese. Here in Zhuhai, Guangdong province; this area is very distinctive and famous in China for these very reasons.

InternChina-Guangdong Province, China
InternChina- Guangdong Province map, China source

Even though China’s official language is Mandarin Chinese (普通话 pŭtōnghuà), Guangdong province has a long history of being the home of Cantonese (广东话 guǎngdōnghuà).
Living in Zhuhai so far, it certainly feels like I am at a junction where the Mandarin speaking world and the Cantonese speaking world collides. The large majority of people here can speak Mandarin Chinese, so don’t worry, you can still get yourself places and you won’t starve to death.

For the local people however, when it comes to choosing between Mandarin and Cantonese it feels as though everyone is bilingual. In the working environment Mandarin is the language of choice, but once people are out and about with their friends and family they ‘up the anti’ with a richer, louder and greater variety of tones that is characteristic of the Cantonese language.

InternChina- Chinese Characters
InternChina- Although Mandarin and Cantonese characters look the same, they are pronounced entirely differently.

In order to implement a standardised language across the country and to promote mass literacy, in 1954 the People’s Republic of China made Chinese Mandarin the official language. With an increasing number of young people choosing to concentrate on Mandarin for greater career options there is concern that Cantonese will be lost with the older generation.

Living and working here in Zhuhai, I personally hope that this is not the case. While I may not understand Cantonese it is a language that has so much history and meaning to the people of the Guangdong province. The language adds a whole new dimension and vibrancy to life in Zhuhai, so much so that I don’t think this place would be the same without it.

Apply here, to experience your own Chinese adventure!

chinese more than mandarin

Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai Nightlife

Zhuhai – Romantic, Green, Clean

Zhuhai – Romantic, Green, Clean
What most foreigners and local Chinese may have already known for a long time has finally become a reality. Zhuhai has officially been voted the most livable Chinese city. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zhuhai bested Hong Kong in the overall ranking. The ranking consisted of criteria like environmental factors, housing prices and economic competitiveness. Just watch some of these photos taken by our interns.

IMG_20150615_183328_HDR IMG_20150620_150535_HDR

It is not only the relaxed vibes you experience in Zhuhai, but also the overall slower pace of life compared to hustling and bustling cities like Guangzhou or Shanghai. The city is unbelievably green and thousands of palm trees cast their shadow over “Lover’s Road”, the beautiful coastline within the city.

Zhuhai’s coastline itself is amazing enough, while being a small city even for European standards, there are astonishingly 690 kilometers of coastline belonging to the city. While there is usually a lot of bad news about air quality in China with hazy pictures of smog in the news, Zhuhai is ranked 10th in terms of air quality in China overall. Blue skies and beautiful clouds generate aholiday feeling all year round.

If that was not enough, there are no less than 146 beautiful islands belonging to the city. Imagine that you can make a trip to a tropical paradise island every weekend if you wanted to. Most of these islands are protected by the government to keep them beautiful and green in the age of ever-growing tourism. Zhuhai itself already gives you the feeling of living in one of these tropical paradises.

IMG_20150616_191757_HDR

Zhuhai has its own flair, established as a city only in 1979, it was one of the first Special Economic  Zones after the opening of China. In this regard, Zhuhai is an incredibly young and modern city that attracts a lot of young skilled workers from all over the country.

IMG_20150614_072343_HDR IMG_20150616_192119_HDR

The proximity to Hong Kong and Macao also make the city one of the major tourist destinations in the region. People working in Hong Kong or Macao and other travelers take advantage of the convenient transportation systems and the chance to spend some free time relaxing in this lovable hidden gem.

With an annual average temperature of 22°c, you can imagine that most Zhuhai residents have never experienced snow in their life and most months of the year have a very comfortable and relaxed climate. Have a look at this little video we made for you.

Cultural, Eating out in Zhuhai, Events in Zhuhai, Internship Experience, Weekend Trips

Have a bit on the side – A weekend trip away from Zhuhai

My colleague Gianna and our Chinese intern Anna organized a trip to Guangzhou last weekend. As we are pretty close to some nice and different cities here in Zhuhai, most of our interns were happy to join our trip. Finally a huge number (all in all 27 people) confirmed to join us for mysterious Mr. X. I started a bit earlier on Saturday to Guangzhou and took the first train at 07:00 a.m.! Driving with the train rather than taking the bus is more convenient to be honest. Even if the price is compared to taking the bus for students much higher it’s still a good deal.
Anna booked us in a nice Hotel in Yuexiu district that was close to some nice sightseeing spots. The interns visited the ChenJia Ci old temple and went for a good shopping experience to the Tianhe area, whereas I have already explored our hotel-area in the morning and found a huge jewellery-market. I spent almost the whole morning to shop some for some cloth in this area. I’m more interested in the typical small Chinese clothes shops in little streets in between the living compounds or at least close to such complexes. If you buy a one-day pass for the metro (the metro system is not bad in the third largest Chinese city), it is really convenient and fun just drive to random places and find out what will appear at daylight. So I did and I got off at cultural park and walked along the river side, drunk a coconut and enjoyed the hot but nice weather.

In the evening I met the other guys at the Teppanyaki restaurant and felt immediately again under friends and in my usual social environment, even if we had a bunch of new arrivals the last couple of days and most of them I have not met before.

It was a nice relaxing evening with interesting chats and a good atmosphere.

The highlight everyone was looking forward to was Mr. X (escape room) on our schedule for Sunday morning. As we were such a big group we booked 3 rooms. The guys who were already experienced, as they have done it in Shanghai (read more here) went for Level 4 out of 5. I joined the Level one group and luckily we made it and we could escape, even if we got some more time than the 60 minutes. This is a good experience and a nice way to build teams and enjoy a good excited time. The Level 4 group could also escape and both of our teams could made it on the “wall of fame”. Just the Level 2 group could not made it in in time, but all of us had fun and enjoyed a good morning there.

Mr. X_escape room

Afterwards I went together with Anna to the biggest and famous university in Guangdong province: Sun Yat-Sen University. They have a green and big campus there and we had a good morning there. We ate in the dining hall for lunch, which Anna reminded on her time in college.

Sun Yat-Sen University
Sun Yat-Sen University

Sun Yat-Sen University

 

As I wanted to see the Art Gallery we drove from the university direct to Yuangcun and then a couple of stations from there with the bus to this alternative place with art, nice little souvenir shops and a creative audience. We both had a nice and relaxed afternoon there. I even kissed another statue man 🙂

art gallery_GZ coffeeart gallery_Redtoryart gallery

I then went to the water front village area, a bit far from down town. I suddenly felt like in another city. Moreover I felt like in a green area far from such a big Chinese town.

water front village

I have once again acquired valuable insights in Chinese cities and saw new beautiful places.

I am happy to share my experience and my travel routes with all of you guys and hope you also take this awesome chance to explore Chinese cities.  Apply now!

Eating out in Zhuhai, Events in Zhuhai, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel, Zhuhai Blogs

Zhuhai Style

Last month I was lucky enough to visit our office in Zhuhai and also enjoy the Chinese host family experience with Sunny Sui, our customer relations manager in Zhuhai.

InternChina - Life in Zhuhai
InternChina – Life in Zhuhai

From the moment I stepped off the plane I was greeted by the Guangdong – ‘let’s get down to business’ attitude. As I stepped on board the airport bus I was immediately drawn into an interrogation by half of the bus – now my Chinese is okay – but when I am being bombarded by a bus full of Tiger Mama’s (mothers who have ridiculously high standards for the Children’s future and are extremely committed to ensuring their future success) and a grandfather with a quick mind and a head full of questions I started to crack under the pressure.

– Where are you from?
– What’s your name?
– Who do you work for?
– How much money do you make?
– How big is your apartment?
– Do you like Chinese girls?
– Can my son work in your office? (Guangdong specific)

Now these questions are quite normal in China and my answers to these questions are well rehearsed. It was when they saw the wine (a gift) in my bag – a big discussion started about the quality and after a good 10 minutes of discussing, it passed their approval. This is the type of discussion that I used to think was unbelievably rude but now I know it is part of the colourful Chinese life – where things considered impolite to discuss in the West are fair game in China. I really love moments like this in China as it reminds me of the time when I was first in China, my eyes were opened to a completely different way of interacting and thinking. This is key to making China interesting and at times is still bizarre even after 2 years.

InternChina -Zhuhai Palm Trees
InternChina -Zhuhai Palm Trees

Anecdotes aside, Zhuhai is lovely – I highly recommend it for anyone visiting China and indeed for an internship. The feeling of being beside the sea and surrounded by Palm Trees is certainly something I would not get sick of! I also enjoyed getting a seat on the bus (this is very rare in Chengdu) I also liked, despite its smaller population, how Zhuhai business moves fast and the meetings I attended were straight to the point and there is a desire to “get things done”. In Chengdu the business culture is much slower and meetings can last hours rather than minutes and it is also impolite to talk too much business at the first meeting. Since I can talk for Britain this is no problem, but I also liked the straight-talking Guangdong way of doing things.

I also loved my homestay experience with Sunny, every evening after work we could pop into the wet (seafood) market and buy a wide variety of fish and seafood straight off the boat! Sunny is a great cook and the food was delicious – I really enjoyed the fact she introduced me to her friends and I got a real great insight to her way of life in Zhuhai – which involves lots of Cycling and outside activities!

InternChina -Dinner at Sunny’s
InternChina -Dinner at Sunny’s

It was also great to spend time with all the team in Zhuhai – find great places for lunch and enjoy a weekend trip and a few beers with the Zhuhai interns. It was really interesting to see how their life in China differs from the interns I have welcomed to Chengdu!

InternChina - Weekend Trip
InternChina – Weekend Trip

I would like to thank the whole Zhuhai team for looking after me whilst I was in Zhuhai. So many memories including: sweet pork / crab hot pot / hangover Trekking / Getting lost on a mountain / friendly shop assistants / best breakfast in China / weird “hot springs” / crazy tour guides / new friends / learning / sharing of ideas.

So Zhuhai or Chengdu? Well, you could choose both? Zhuhai has weather and natural scenery which is unrivalled in China as well as being close to many of the larger cities. Chengdu on the other hand offers the chance to experience one of the fastest growing cities in China, and one which is both laid back whilst at the same time speeding towards being one of the most important cities in China.

Apply now for an internship in Qingdao, Zhuhai, Chengdu or maybe you would like to do two internships in two of the cities and experience the different lifestyles of both.

Events in Zhuhai, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel

An Exciting Hike

Hey there,
Wow, another week just passed by. Time flies! Unbelievable! I finally found my routine in the office and work is becoming more fun but I still learn more and more new things. On Friday for example we visited some companies. First time for me, wearing business clothes and having fun while being serious. Having put the first fear aside it was exciting to enter this unknown territory. Guess we all grow up after all.

Last weekend we went on a trip to Xinfeng about which Jenny told you in her latest blog. It was an interesting weekend, during which I got the chance to get to know the other interns that went with us a little better and also learned a little more about myself. I feel like it has been a week where I have learned more about myself. I will not tell you too much about the detailed program as Jenny will do that in her blog on Thursday – so don’t miss that one. 😉 But I still want to tell you about some things I experienced.

Starting with Friday evening on which we went to a restaurant near our apartment: As so often, the menu was written in Chinese and I just asked the waiter which of the dishes does not have meat in them. He pointed at some and I chose blindly one of them. What I got were noodles in a peanut sauce. They were delicious! So, I had them again yesterday.

InternChina – Noodles with peanut sauce

The next morning we started our trip to Xinfeng. First stop was Sakura Valley where all the cherry trees were in bloom and then we headed to the hot springs to recover from the day.

InternChina - Exploring Sakura Valley with two of the interns
InternChina – Exploring Sakura Valley with two of the interns

Sunday morning I began with my favorite Chinese breakfast: 肠粉 (cháng fěn). It is made of rice flour, egg, salad and some soy-like sauce. I love it!

InternChina - My favorite breakfast: Changfen
InternChina – My favorite breakfast: Changfen

Then we headed towards the mountain which we wanted to climb. On the way there we already passed many tree covered green mountains. The one we went to had its peak covered in clouds. After we got off the bus and took some group pictures with some random Chinese people we started our hike.

The nature was breathtaking beautiful – all green and small rivers making their way around huge rocks. From everywhere you heard waterfalls rushing down the mountain and had an awesome view over other mountains and the landscape around them.

InternChina - beautiful nature during the hike
InternChina – beautiful nature during the hike
InternChina - Cloudy mountain
InternChina – Cloudy mountain

This scenery made me and my co-hikers hungry for more so we decided to go for the peak. We noticed that 1,400 meters is pretty high for a mountain that does not have any steps to help us climb it. On our way we met three other crazy people who had the peak as their goal.

As it became more slippery and steeper the higher we got, we had to use roots and trees as a help – surprisingly no one tripped. When the mist from the clouds got so thick that we could not see into the distance, we started expecting the peak to show up around every corner but we were let down every time. Just when we thought we were the last ones on that climb we met a group of Chinese women who then told us it was one more hour to reach the top. As we were all totally exhausted and it was time to get back to the bus we gave up on the peak and made our way downhill. This was partly more difficult than the way up. But with some helping hands of another Chinese hiking group we finally made it to the stairs. From there it was just an easy walk back down to the bus.

InternChina - Exhausted but happy
InternChina – Exhausted but happy

This trip was a really awesome experience. It had everything from fascinating nature at the foot of the mountain to a thrilling hike in the upper part.

On the drive back to Zhuhai everybody was sleeping on the bus because we were so tired.

It was a really nice weekend.

Until next time!

See you and 再见,

Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜

Apply now for an intership and join us in the activities organised by us!

Cultural, Travel, Weekend Trips

Guangdong, Shaoguan, Xinfeng: Sakura season – happiness for life, never give up

Hey guys,
It’s Jenny again.

A trip is planned for the weekend.  Some people asked me what can be expected from the excursion site of Xinfeng (新丰县) county. Xinfeng county is under the administration of Shaoguan city. First of all I looked up on Google maps how long it would take us to get there. From the InternChina office direct to Xinfeng it’s less than four hours. As we only travel by a coach, that’s how long it would take.

 

InternChina - ZHU - Shaoguan
InternChina – ZHU – Shaoguan

I did some research on the geography of Xinfeng, so that we’ll be well prepared when we get there:  Xinfeng county has an area of about 2.016 km². Shaoguan – to which Xinfeng belongs – is a city in the north of Guangdong province (of which Zhuhai is also part of). Shaoguan is bordering by two other provinces (Hunan to the Northwest and Jiangxi to the Northeast).

Once we arrive in Xinfeng we will have the chance to try many of different dishes, such as the particularly famous tofu, basil ducks, chicken rice and river fish.

“After dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile!”  We will continue our journey after a good lunch and with full stomachs. One hour later we expect to arrive at the Sakura Valley, where we expect to be able to appreciate the beauty of falling Sakura blossoms.

internChina - Cherry Valley
InternChina – Cherry Valley

As we will be mostly in the countryside, we can have a relaxing evening in Xinfeng while watching the night scene or enjoying hot springs in the jungle mountains.

After a hopefully long and restful night we will have a good, filling breakfast, to arm us for the next hours. We want to hike from the hotel to the foot of the mountain.

We will see a beautiful mountain formation in the so called Tiaojishan Nature Reserve. The highest peak is 1438.8 meters. I’m sure those rock formations will leave us breathless for a few seconds! Once we reached the viewpoint, we will walk to the camp. On the way there we will pass the ‘red earth zone’ along  the stream.

After going through the jungles and stone zones, we will reach the second highest peak of the Cloud Bun Mountain.

InternChina - peak : 1438.8 meters
InternChina – peak : 1438.8 meters

During the whole hiking tour we will be able to listen to different kinds of birds, smell the fragrance of the flowers and enjoy the fresh air.

To sum up, I expect this to be a very relaxing trip for everyone – a chance to unwind, feel at one with nature, and to recharge ourselves!

By the way, for those of you who will join us and who already learnt some Chinese, there will be several Chinese people with which you can chat about culture, tips and tricks.

InternChina - hiking the mountains in Xinfeng
InternChina – hiking the mountains in Xinfeng

Looking forward to the weekend and I will let you all know, if my expectations have been fulfilled.

Also want to have the chance to see such beautiful scenery and take part in our adventures? Combine your travels with an internship in Qingdao, Zhuhai or Chengdu!

 

Cultural, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel

The new one – New intern at the InternChina office in Zhuhai

Hey everybody,
Gianna writing. I am the new intern at the InternChina office in Zhuhai. I am studying Marketing in the Netherlands and now I will be doing a 6-months internship here.

So my first week in Zhuhai is almost over. I just arrived five days ago and already met so many beautiful people and made some interesting experiences.

Entering Guangdong in the afternoon on Sunday, work was already waiting for me on Monday morning. It all started with an introduction to the team and also the city, which got me even more excited. My co-workers are really nice and I am looking forward to working with them and the city has so many places I would like to explore. It has almost everything: hills, beaches, spas, great shopping areas, sports clubs, islands, barbeque and fruits on every corner, a pulsing nightlife… and don’t forget about the nice weather!

InternChina – View from my new work place

Coming to China was a big decision of mine but I believe that it was one of my best.

Even though the weather has been a little crazy these days: one day it was rainy and cold, the other day it was warm and so foggy that I was scared one of those monsters from the movie ‘The Fog’ will come creeping around the next corner.

On Tuesday I went to the so called ‘underground market’. One shop after the other. They have everything! Every girl’s heart should beat faster by the sight of it.

Because it got a little late that night there were no more buses. But never mind. Another good thing about Zhuhai/China is that taking a cab is cheap. It is even cheaper than taking a bus in Europe inside the city.

Wednesday was Spa day for Jenny (another intern at the office) and me. After work we went to a massage and wellness center where we decided to try out cupping. You may have read about it here – we got the fire cupping. Our program consisted of shower, steam sauna, dry sauna, snacks, drinks (water and tea), massage and finally the cupping. We were even offered a toothbrush, toothpaste and pyjamas. How awesome is that? Whoever told me it doesn’t hurt: you lied! It is like cuddling with a huge octopus who doesn’t want to let go of you. But: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, right? What do you think did the whole thing costs? I am going to tell you: 115RMB (14€)! Unbelievable! Getting up the next day was like waking up after a day of heavy sports. I am curious about what will happen with me and my back in the next few days.

InternChina – Experiencing cupping/octopus-cuddling
InternChina – Experiencing cupping/octopus-cuddling

But next to all those activities one also has to mention the Chinese food. I am a total food-lover. I always want to try out whatever I can. Even though I don’t eat meat there is still more than enough to find. I hope I can try all of it before I leave in August. Then my time here will be over. I already get a little sad when thinking of that. But I will let future-Gianna deal with that. For now, I just want to make the most out of this great opportunity and experience Zhuhai, Guangdong, maybe a little more of the rest of China.

I will keep you up-to-date. To see more of me than just my back, check my next blog! 😉

Until then see you and 再见。

Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜

Apply now for an internship and join me in exploring China!