Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, is one of the oldest cities in China. With more than 3100 years of history, Xi’an was the imperial capital to 13 dynastic periods, and is best known today for the Terracotta Warriors.
When one thinks of China, a couple of things come to mind: The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Terracotta Warriors… One cannot come all the way to China and not see these wondrous places. Thus, Tess (an Australian friend who lives in Zhuhai), Brigitta (one of the Zhuhai interns) and I have set out to see all of these places before we leave China. First on our list was Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Warriors.
When planning trips throughout China, a lot of planning is required, being students and wanting to get the best possible travel deals, we compared the prices of flying out of Zhuhai and Guangzhou. It is really easy to get to either of these airports, as there are Zhuhai-airport shuttle busses that leave from downtown, so there is no worry of how to get to the airport. Ctrips is a great website to use when flying around China – the deals are great and they offer an array of departure times.
Having chosen a flight from Guangzhou after work, we only arrived in Xi’an at about 2am. We had chosen a hostel inside the wall, which was recommended to us by Tess’ parents – Xiangzimen Youth Hostel – and it was a mere 60 RMB (7.60€) per person, per night, for a 3-bedroom room. We were expecting the standard hostel, but what we arrived to was nothing short of a hotel! Hidden away on a little street, we arrived at these old-style Chinese double doors, only to enter into a luxurious and truly unique space. There were Chinese trinkets everywhere; bamboo door hangings, terracotta warrior statues, beautiful vases, exotic plants – the works. Everyone spoke English, which is a plus when you arrive at 2 am, exhausted. They also have a variety of arranged trips for their guests.
On our first morning, Tess’ dad surprised us with booking a private tour of the Terracotta Warriors for us. We were to be picked up at the hotel in a large van, just for the three of us, and we were feeling very exclusive. First, we were taken to the factory where they create the real Terracotta warriors statues and souvenirs, as they use the clay that was used to make the real Terracotta warriors that is only found on that one mountain. It was special going there because we were introduced to how the warriors were made, and the fact that we were able to buy real terracotta souvenirs.
From there we were taken to see the real Terracotta Warriors. We all read about them and learn about them at school, but one cannot fathom actually seeing them in real life – the burial pit is massive, and row upon row are warriors; 8,000 of them made, each one different from the next.
Built in 210 BC (at 2200 years old) the statues were found smashed up from having had the roof cave in on them. All the statues now that are standing have been put back together. Upon finding them, all of the warriors were completely painted in bright colors, however almost immediately after being dug up from the earth, the paint flaked off.
We also got to meet the farmer that found the warriors. He spends his days signing books (and gets really angry if you try to take a photo of him).
The mountain in which the emperor is buried contains an abundance of jade and gold, and in this region the special black jade can be found. The girls each bought a beautiful black jade bangle that turns dark green in the sunlight.
When we got back to the hostel in the evening, we passed by a board which was advertising a trip to the Music and Dance Opera, a show of the Tang Dynasty music and dances. It is said that the Tang Dynasty (from 618-907) was one of the most glorious and prosperous periods. We quickly decided to join, and again were put in a private bus and taken to the Opera. What we saw was a combination of beautiful musical acts and many beautiful traditional dances.
To add to the many great things that we had discovered about our hostel, turns out it was right on the bar street as well! After the show we decided to take a walk down the lively bar street, picked a bar that looked chill and sat down to people-watch.
We had heard that a great thing to do in Xi’an is to take a bike ride on top of the city wall. Built during the Tang Dynasty, the wall encircles 13,7 km around the city center, and at 700 years old, it is the oldest and best-preserved wall in China. So, although it was 32 degrees and the sun was blazing, we decided we could not miss out on this activity. Apparently, you can only hire the bikes for 100 minutes, so you have to make it around the 13,7 km wall before then. This quickly became the highlight of our trip – we were able to get a top-view of the city around us, as well as to experience biking on China’s most preserved ancient wall. That was a really special experience.
For the remainder of our day, exhausted after the intense bike ride, we walked along the Muslim Quarters of the city. Here, there are many markets that sell interesting trinkets, from wooden masks to silks to delicious sweets. It seemed that there was food at every turn, and so we had to give in and taste some. Unlike the food in Zhuhai, which tends to be spicy, the food in Xi’an was sweet and bursting with interesting flavors. We sat down for the traditional Liang Pi Cold Noodles, Buckwheat Cold Noodles, Stewed Pork Burgers and tofu.
Before having gone to Xi’an, we were told that other than the Terracotta warriors, there was not much to see in Xi’an. Instead, we arrived and found a beautiful and ancient city, packed with exciting people and special foods.
About 7 years ago, I decided to move to Zhuhai from Guangzhou. I still remember the first time I came to Zhuhai for travelling in 2003, I told my friend I would buy a house in Zhuhai when I had money. When I planned to buy a house in 2006, the first choice that came to mind was Zhuhai. Why, you may ask？ Put it simply, the blue skies and the clouds of Zhuhai are gorgeous.
Everyone dreams of one day living by the sea, especially those who are stuck living inland. Growing up away from the coast in Mainland China, I was so awestruck and excited when I first saw the ocean because it was my childhood dream. From that point on, I knew Zhuhai fit my lifestyle perfectly.
Since last year, people have begun to complain air pollution has spread in China. I feel fortunate to live in Zhuhai, being able to consistently have clean air and blue skies. Recently in May, the Environmental Protection Department released a report on the air quality of China’s major regions and cities (ie. Beijing, Tianjin, the Yangtze River Delta, etc). The results showed that 74 cities in the study had healthy air quality only 60.1% of the year; Zhuhai’s ratio was 100%. Hardly fitting the image of a smoggy industrial city, Zhuhai bunks the smog choked Chinese city stereotype by being one of the most livable cities in the country!
Zhuhai as “a leisure city” not only has fresh air, also has lots interesting activities, such as a beach music party, the Zhuhai racing festival, the Zhuhai marathon, etc. In 2013, they have organized 2 more citywide events, the International Circus Festival and a Lovers’ tandem bike cycling race. Always having something to do, Zhuhai’s a big enough city to b interesting, but small enough to keep its beautiful environment intact.
One of my favorite weekend activities is to visit one of the many nearby islands. Just a ferry ride away, these easily-accessible islands are a perfect way to escape the city. Six year living in Zhuhai, I still can’t get enough of it!
When people think about China, the first cities that usually come to mind are, of course, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. If you know a little bit more about the country, you might think of Tibet, Canton, or even Nanjing and Xi’an. But if you have a limited knowledge and experience of China, it’s very likely that you’ve never heard of a city called Zhuhai.
Zhuhai, in the Southeastern province of Guangdong (where Guangzhou, or Canton, is also located), has a population of 1.5 million people. By Chinese standards, this can be considered a small city. So, why would a Westerner want to do an internship in Zhuhai?
To borrow the popular saying… “location, location, location”. Zhuhai is primely located in an area called the Pearl River Delta which, in geographical terms, is the area surrounding the Pearl River estuary. In economic terms, this area comprises several hugely important cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, to name a few. This region is considered an emerging megacity and is one of the main hubs of economic growth in China. Meaning: there are thousands of thriving businesses in the area and the number will only keep growing.
In 1980, Zhuhai was named a Special Economic Zone, due largely to its strategic location. This status has meant that the Chinese government is spending a great deal of resources to make Zhuhai a modern and leading city in terms of business, science, education, tourism and transportation. The amount of investment and the convenience of travel (you can walk across the border to Macau, take a 1-hour ferry to Hong Kong or the high-speed train to Guangzhou) has turned Zhuhai into a hugely attractive place for foreign capital. So, if you are a Western intern, it will not be hard to find a company that has business ties to your region of the world.
Now, we all know that an internship abroad isn’t just about the work experience. It is also about the chance to live in a place different from your own, have exciting adventures and learn about a new and exotic culture. Zhuhai is also the perfect place for this. While it is rapidly developing, it is still one of the smaller cities in the area and has not been affected by pollution, heavy traffic or crime. Here, you can relax on the beach after a long day of work and eat delicious traditional Cantonese food. If you’re homesick and longing for a bit of Western culture, you can hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for a day or a weekend.
So, as you can see, Zhuhai is arguably THE place to be when it comes to choosing an internship in China. The cherry on the cake? The Intern China family, ready to support you every step of the way and help make Zhuhai your home away from home.
My name is Till Fornoff and I just started a week ago as a Marketing and Business Development Intern at Intern China’s new branch in Western China’s bustling metropolis of Chengdu.
In 2010, after I’ve already worked and travelled for two years in Australia, I felt the urge to see something totally different and went on a three month trip through China and instantly fell in love with the country, the culture and the people. On this trip I already covered a big chunk of the megacities and cultural highlights of the east coast as well as the beautiful landscapes and colorful minority regions of China’s southwest.
Back in Germany I started to study Chinese Studies / East Asian Studies at the Free University of Berlin, so I made sure that I will go back to China sooner or later – in my case sooner… After my first year in Berlin, I realized that it makes more sense to learn Chinese in a place where you can actually use the language in daily life rather than just in a classroom. So last year August I made my way to Guangzhou to start a language course at the Sun Yat-Sen University (中山大学 – ZhongShan DaXue) and finished in January.
Since it is a fact that if you want to make it in China, you need to have connections (关系 – GuanXi) to and in the Chinese business world, my plan always involved to do an internship and get first hand experiences in the Chinese business culture. That’s why I’m more than happy that I have the chance to work in a young and fast-growing company like Intern China and help other students to have the same opportunity to get to know more about this exciting and diverse country.
Even though I’m only in Chengdu for a week now, I already feel that it was a good decision to have a change from the fast paced east coast and ‘go west’, since the overall more relaxed and laid back lifestyle here is very appealing.
I’m looking forward to welcome our first interns in Chengdu and explore with them together what the city has to offer!
Since 2012, Intern China’s Zhuhai Office started to organize regular activities with host families and interns, so that children can practice English in an interesting and fun environment, and start to understand different foreign cultures while playing games.
I also want to say: Thank You! – to all participating host families in our homestay program for supporting us.
In March, we always have such a beautiful spring in Zhuhai. It is a good time for outdoor activities, take the children to breathe the air of nature! Enjoy the sunshine, and of course, play some outdoor games! We had our first family day last Saturday. About 100 families came and everyone had a great time. (I was very tired after participating in every single game that day and slept for 15hours!;))
We started to prepare at lunch time, hung up our Intern China flag, because this was the sign where people could find us – Haibin park in Zhuhai is huge.
Before 2p.m., only some families arrived, we started to play some small games with the kids, so they wouldn’t get bored. About 2:10p.m., more and more families came and we started our first game ‘Duck Duck Goose’, then ‘Sharks and Minnows’, ‘Red light/ Green light’, water balloons, ‘Ping-pong’, ‘Tug-of-war’….
It really is spring in Zhuhai, flowers everywhere, but the most popular flowers are Kapok, Bougainvillea Spectabilis Wild and Bauhinia Flower. You can see them on every corner in Zhuhai.
Here is a street next to my home, all Kapok blossom now! Kapok is the city flower of Guangzhou. We also called it ‘cotton flower’ or ‘hero flower’! 🙂
The next one is Bougainvillea Spectabilis Wild, it is the city flower of Zhuhai.
Last weekend I decided to explore the city of Guangzhou. The city is beautiful and bustling with life – there was almost too much to do in the short amount of time I was there. I managed to visit two museums, two parks, the Canton Tower, and get some shopping done. The plan was to go clubbing in the evening, but after all that walking around and excitement, we decided it would be best to have a relaxing evening and just go to the cinema instead.
Les Misérables received quite a few Oscar nominations, so we decided that would be a safe bet to go see. What I thought would be a chill cinema trip turned into one of the biggest cultural experiences I’ve had since I arrived in China last month.
Let me start by saying, where I come from, having your phone on in the cinema is practically a sin. Just looking at your phone during the movie and casting that little light will get you mad haters in the cinema – so nobody dares do that. During this cinema experience however, the Chinese simply let their phone ring during the movie. Oh but it doesn’t end there, they also pick up the phone and start talking! I thought the first person that did it was either rude or just didn’t have a clue, but this happened six more times during the duration of the film. I was super confused.
Secondly, usually if anyone dares whisper to their friends during the film, you’ll hear people shush you from all corners of the cinema. However, even though Les Mis was not the most interesting or action packed movie, when the Chinese found it boring they would simply turn over and start talking to their friend, in full volume. Again, this happened multiple times throughout the movie. Towards the end when there was a lot of singing scenes (which really did drag on) it felt like the whole cinema just gave up on the movie and decided to make it a social event and went in full conversation.
At one point, the guy in front of me decided he’d had enough, so he whipped out his iPad and started playing on it. I have to be honest, I really didn’t find the movie very good (I prefer to the older rendition of Les Mis) but the Chinese were very verbal about their dislike for the film as well; as soon as it finished one woman yelled out “thank god!” – which I found pretty funny because I was thinking the same thing.
Apparently, this does not only happen in Chinese cinemas, but also the theatres. In olden days China, theatres used to be a social event in which you sat at a table with a group of friends; played cards, ate snacks, and occasionally brought your birds along with you (sometimes you can actually see the elder people walking around town with their caged birds). Knowing this now makes that episode make so much more sense, but at the time I had no idea what was going on!
Hola a todos! My name is Daniela (but you can call me Dani), and I’m the new Marketing and Sales intern for Intern China in Zhuhai. Some of you have met me already, but for those who haven’t, here’s a little bit about myself:
I am 28 years young and hail from Puebla, Mexico. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Masters in Marketing Communications. My favourite pastimes are reading geeky books, listening to music and watching American TV shows. I love animals and am particularly obsessed with pugs.
Aside from Mexico, I have lived in the United States, Germany and the UK; and now it’s the turn of China! I’ve never lived by the beach before so I’m very excited to have landed in sunny Zhuhai. Can’t wait to get my tan on! I have only been here a week but it feels like it’s been much longer, with all the things I’ve learned at work, great evenings with great people and great food, and a busy but awesome weekend in Guangzhou!
I look forward to the next six months, to exploring and enjoying this delightful city, to meeting and sharing great moments with all the interns, to soaking myself in Chinese culture and life, and of course, to working hard and doing the best job I can so that our interns have a fantastic Zhuhai experience and the InternChina staff will miss me terribly when I leave…
On Saturday it started- the awesome InternChina trip to Guangzhou. Meeting at 8.30 am and taking the new Zhuhai-Guangzhou High speed train. That was the plan so far.
But how boring would it be if everything would work as it should. No tickets anymore, no chance to go to Guangzhou by train before lunchtime. But instead of getting nervous we just decided to have a little breakfast and take the bus. Buying tickets for that is just a lot more relaxing and easy. Just go to a bus, with some people standing in front of it (there was nothing like ‘Guangzhou’ written on it), go into the bus, wait half of the way and give a little money to a guy that is walking around then to collect it. Easy.
About two hours later we arrived in Guangdong’s capital. Sunshine, good mood, great start to a great weekend.
After checking in into our hotel, right in front of the river we enjoyed the traditional Guangzhou food like wu liu jia dan (fried egg and onions in sweet sour sauce).
We crossed the river with one of the ferries and went to one of the biggest fish markets in Guangdong. After visiting the Cheng Clan Academy we all went to Beijing Lu to do some shopping, to have some awesome Thai food and just to enjoy all the lights and the city life.
Like most of the great days in China that one ended with some beers at the Street BBQ.
Sunday: Skydrop on the Guangzhou tower! And that was definitely the best seconds of the weekend!
Eating Guangzhou noodles, seeing the famous five goats, the Guangzhou museum, Yue Xiu Shan, the oldest stadium in Guangzhou, built in 1950, going to IKEA- there’s a lot of great opportunities to spend your time in Guangzhou.
And our way back home we finally could take the new Guangzhou-Zhuhai train.