On May 8th 2018 more than 30 representatives from CPAZ, CTC & InternChina visited the Pingsha Experimental Primary School to distribute funds raised at the Come Together Charity Music Festival 2017 and provide care packs to a total of 50 disadvantaged students.
The bursary money totalled 82,500 RMB, meaning over 1500 RMB was raised for each child in need!
This is CPAZ’s 12th year in a row working with families to support the education of those in need in Pingsha, and the 5th year that the CTC – Come Together Charity Music Festival has raised money for CPAZ’s mission. The day started when representatives of CTC and CPAZ distributed a total of 82,500 RMB to 50 local children in need.
The bursary for each child was 1,500 RMB, along with a care package which including a backpack and school supplies. Afterwards, representatives split into groups to visit some of the families who receive the bursary.
Come Together Community
Come Together Community (CTC) is made up of a collection of like-minded fellows who care about the community, helping out, and making a difference. The founders of CTC have collectively lived in Zhuhai and China for over 40 years, and consider Zhuhai home.
InternChina is a proud sponsor of CTC, and also one of the official organisers of CTC’s annual charity music festival each year, Come Together. The aim of the NGO is to help people in Zhuhai by uniting the expat and local communities to fundraise for charitable causes and local philanthropies.
Come Together Music Festival
In November 2017, the 6th annual Come Together Charity Music Festival was held. It was an extremely successful event, with a total of 900+ people attending and raising a total of 255,000 RMB. The event has volunteers, bands and sponsor work alongside food and beverage vendors, the schools, the venue and more local groups to raise money for local children in need.
As CTC firmly believes transparency is of utmost importance, you can view all the income and expenses of the Come Together Music Festival 2017 here to see how they got the total amount of 255,000 RMB.
The Charity Promotion Association of Zhuhai (CPAZ) is a registered CSO (Civil Society Organisation) in China. They work to promote social activism and public welfare with the aim of providing compassionate assistance to vulnerable sectors of society. They operate a range of projects with the aim of helping financially destitute, disadvantaged people and particularly young students living as orphans or with single parents.
Want to experience charity events like these yourself? APPLY NOW!
Over the Chinese New Year period, our interns enjoyed an authentic homestay experience. Calum and Alejandra both left the city to experience a traditional Chinese New Year with their respective homestay families.
Calum’s Homestay CNY Experience in Dali
First off, I must thank my host-family for bringing me along with them for their New Year’s trip to Dali, their generosity regularly astounds me! I struggle to imagine ways they could give me a better experience here in China. Dali sits on the banks of the Erhai Lake, surrounded by mountains. Just a short flight of a little over an hour brought us out of Chengdu, and under the blue skies and sun of Yunnan Province.
Our hotel had a very homely feel, with relatively bare corridors leading to beautifully furnished rooms. The owners were an amiable family of husband, wife, and daughter. Much of the furnishing had been done by the husband, himself a keen carpenter. Each piece of the garden and the house had its own individuality. While there was no clear theme to any of it, somehow, they all came together perfectly to make us feel at home. Meals were all homemade, and I must be honest, I think Yunnan edges out Sichuan for cuisine…
The relatively small size of the business meant that often the hotel owners could accompany us on outings, guiding us through the local countryside. Experiencing Dali’s Old Town was something special. Buildings were an eclectic mix of efficient concrete structure designed to keep cool in the summer. Beautiful traditional Chinese architecture, all gilded with generous amounts of neon. This gave it an almost Vegas-like feel at times, while just two dozen metres back from the main road sat simple farming buildings. Industrious locals all trying to find something unique with which to set themselves apart and earn their living was a pleasure to see. There are some absolute gems hidden away in those streets for those willing to seek them out!
The whole trip was just the right length to shake up my Chengdu routine. Every day discovering a little more of the fountain of different cultures that is China. Perhaps in the future, I will be able to bring my family to see the area and meet the hotel family. Although I could go on for hours about how excellently they treat all their guests, I can tell without a doubt that the pleasure is all theirs!
Alejandra’s Countryside Homestay Experience
Chinese New Year with my host family was quite an experience. It started with a visit to Leshan, my host mum’s hometown. I visited a cousin whom I had met previously and who is kind of a genius with Chinese medicine (yes, I have had quite a few sessions of hot cupping and acupuncture). I went orange picking in Leshan and had an amazing lunch after. Everything is so fresh in the countryside! After lunch, I learnt how to fly cards. First time lucky I managed to fly a card just right and slice through an Aloe Vera plant. The cousin was denting tea cans with every card he flew- I need a lot more practice!
After Leshan, we head off to Guang’an, about 4 hours away from Chengdu, where my host family’s father is from. As a foreigner, you become the town’s talk in a very good way. People want to come say hi and meet you. I spent my evening playing cards, running around racing with the children and playing badminton. Once you are that far away from the city air is so fresh you’re going to want to be out walking all the time.
However, the next day the Winter Olympics were on and we were all a little tired so we decided to spend the day just chilling, except the host grand parents- they never never stop! They are farmers and their cooking is incredible, with everything they cooked grown and picked from their garden. They are so strong, healthy and always very hospitable and smiley. I offered to help but they said guests were not allowed to help. I managed to quickly pick up the plates once or twice after dinner when they weren’t looking (I call that an achievement!)
New Year’s Eve was also spent at home. I thought we’d go out to town and look at lanterns and fireworks but in the countryside, the New Year’s Eve is spent at home with all the family gathered. No disappointment there at all. We had a great time at dinner then… Fireworks concert just before midnight until 6 am. Everyone in the neighbourhood takes turns and fires amazing rounds of fireworks.
After and during the fireworks, we all went upstairs and watched the New Year’s gala on the TV. I understood half of the comedy sketches, but it was good fun watching everyone laugh. There also some dancing, singing and acrobatic performances that were all YUP! ASIAN LEVEL! INSANELY PRECISE. We then called it a night for an early wake-up call.
Chinese New Year!
I had no idea what it would be like but the amount of people that Guang’an had made it look more like a big city than a town. Turns out it is good luck to spend the entire New Year’s day outside your home. I spent the whole day with my host father playing cards and just having a good laugh and banter with his old school friends. I became one of the lads for the day. The town looked like a mix between a children’s fair and a tea house full of Mahjong and card adult players. Then towards night time it was Baijiu and dinner time. Let’s just say I had a really good night’s sleep after such a long day.
Finally, the trip to the countryside made me realise how different traditions are but also how immensely hospitable Chinese people are. The family welcomed me with open arms and were always asking twice if I was okay. Even when you insist you are alright, they always want to make sure you are more than alright and this just shows how giving and kind their character is.
Want to experience a traditional Chinese New Year yourself? Apply Now!
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.
While eating street food here, you might think that eating the street food in China is a bad idea and say, “Never will I eat that!” However, I can tell you that soon you’ll be saying “Daily!”
Spit it Out, This Isn’t Food!
At least that is what the small Western voice in your head is saying, annoying you while you are chewing on things that you never would have dreamed of eating before coming to China.
Sadly, you won’t see me eating a scorpion on a stick. If I dared to eat that, I would be grinning in the camera saying “yes, I am a badass!”
I also don’t want to tell you about what you should or shouldn’t try, but I will give advice to help prepare you for the wonders of Chinese street food- especially in Qingdao.
One of the best “pancakes” (jiānbǐng) in Qingdao in process
First Things First
If you want a nice tidy kitchen, then you better stay at home where you will not have to look at messy street food stalls- but you also will miss some of the best food out there. I had my first encounter with street food on the street right behind the University.
Variety of Food
The difference between Chinese and Western street food, that I have seen, is obviously the variety and amount of food offered.
On one stand you will find a type of pancake, “jiānbǐng” (煎饼), which can be filled with vegetables, crispy wonton or meat.
The always grinning guy from the other stand will give you some spicy chicken meat in a tasty sauce on potatoes, and with an even broader grin he will ask if you want an egg with it.
You will also find the so called Chinese hamburger, or “rou jia mo” (肉夹馍), so called because they both have meat and bread! You will find a guy using a scraper, normally used for plaster, to create flatbread. You will see another guy, with his mouth covered by a mask, mixing the cold ingredients you choose by yourself, such as peanuts, noodles, peppers, ginger, salad, tofu, seaweed and so on, in a bowl, and he will then give you your food directly in a plastic bag.
You will have the agile couple trying to break a record in preparing your meal as fast as possible. Him, hammering around like a lunatic on his iron hot plate, her, throwing the ingredients for fried noodles directly in front of his constantly moving spatula. You will find a competing couple selling chicken kebab with rice. Their arms and hands, heads, legs, knees and toes will be covered, to prevent them getting brown skin from the sun, while you will stand there, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, sweating.
But If you are hungry after a long day of travelling or sightseeing, no need to worry. Qingdao can help you out with BBQ on the streets, so search for what you want, sit down and wait for your meal to be prepared over charcoal fire.
Long story short, it is crazy the variety you have with street food, and you can go every day and eat something different. And the best thing is, as far as I got to know, it is the same everywhere! The people and ingredients may vary but the system is the same.
One of the best things to add, street food is there for you night and day!
What Street Food to Eat
So, what should you pay attention to?
First, you should apply one rule to all the food you eat, if you eat it and it tastes bad or unusual in a way, then follow your inner voice- spit it out! This may sound hard but believe me, if you don’t want to know what “la duzi” is, follow this advice! You wouldn’t eat bad food at home, so don’t do it in China.
Don’t hesitate to push your way to the front- “active-queuing” is a very popular sport in China! Be prepared to stand your ground and be firm, or you may lose your spot to an old lady who took advantage of the space you left.
When you find yourself standing in front of a vendor, you’ll be asked, “What? How much? Spicy?” You will have a hard time answering in English, but if you have an index-finger attached to your arm you will get what you want with pointing. Nodding and shaking your head is also optional!
Last but not least, for your own health follow some simple rules; go to the stalls that have people queuing up, and to those who are there every day. You can be sure their food is good!
Do you know these moments in your life, when you are leaning against a railing in a harbour, looking at the waves without really looking? Smelling the salty sea scent and listening to the seagulls screeching, but you don’t listen and smell actively?
In these kind of moments, you will have a talk with yourself and ask in your head with a tremulous voice: “what the heck am I doing here?” At least it was like this in my case.
I am a 29-year-old German. I worked as a bank clerk for 6 years in Germany. And now after studying two and a half years I landed in Qingdao. How come?
Am I a romantic enthusiast that practiced traditional “fan-tai-chi”? Am I a lover of Chinese poetry? Did I watch too much Kung Fu Panda? Or do I just like to castigate myself learning all the Chinese characters?
No, is the answer to all these questions, it was a reason wedding. But as history shows this can have quite good outcome (not that I recommend this style of marriage). In my case it pumped up the numbers quite high. While I used to ask myself the “what the heck?” question in quite unromantic places, now I can do this on the breath-taking coast of Qingdao.
I am here now since February this year. So, I could witness the change in weather and environment in Qingdao. I was freezing my “lower area of the back” off due to the famous “Qingdao-wind” in winter time. In summer time “Mediterranean” heat let me sweat Niagara Falls out of my body. A big thanks to the inventors of heaters and air conditioners!
Experiences in Qingdao
Although this may sound like advertisement for Air-con, Heaters and Qingdao, it is my utmost honest view of Qingdao. I am now looking forward on all the cool things that I will see and experience here. Why am I telling you this? The reason why is, that from now on, I will try to keep you guys updated and informed about these experiences. Don’t worry, I will not share the hilarious story of how I bought a bus ticket or the tremendously fascinating day when I was doing absolutely nothing.
The goal of my articles, blogging and scribbling will be to give you interesting insights in daily life here in Qingdao. As well as providing you with interesting news and hidden highlights.
I hope that the reading will give you an image of China, maybe inspire you or at least will make you sit in front of the screen smirking.
When I arrived in January, I wrote my first blog in French. It may have been easier to write my farewells in my mother tongue but I’m happily taking the risk to use my English skills to reach most of you.
The more I’m growing up, the more I find time hard to capture. I still remember the first day I entered the office, my first impressions, my first time using Mandarin or the first noodles I tasted, but I would have never imagined that I will be sitting here, trying to do a recap of the past 6 months I lived.
6 months is a long time but still, it passed in a blink of an eye. I have seen a lot of people leave, and now my turn has come!
To cut a long story short, my experience can be split with the seasons: Winter and Summer.
Winter in Chengdu was cold, with only a few interns in the city: a small group with big hearts, we all quickly became friends, fighting the coldness of the streets by getting to know each other in the warm and smoky bars of Chengdu. When they left, winter left with them, and was replaced by a fiery Spring/Summer, along with more than 50 interns. Now we are fighting the heat and humidity, and because there are so many people, it’s harder to develop true bounds, even though their hearts are as big.
Spending 6 months working for InternChina was a professional experience far more than enriching: I’ve learned how to adapt to so many different situations that I feel I’m able to move mountains if I want to. We like to call our company a family, and it is! Even though I haven’t met most of my colleagues (spread in China or in Europe), we’re all connected and we can all count on each other.
I was lucky enough to have such an amazing team in Chengdu (Paul, Cassie, Lucy, Tamara, Henry, Joe, Miya and Rainie), a hard-working team always happy to go beyond what is expected of them. I have learned a lot from their undying energy.
InternChina offers to every participant an incredible social network, composed of very different individuals who would probably have never known each other, even if some are from the same countries. A great cultural melting-pot of open-minded people trying to learn as much as they can from Chinese culture.
I have struggled myself, I’m still struggling when I try to use the little mandarin I know, and most of the time my mind is blown away by the contrasts of this country. I love how China can be such a huge mess that works so well. I love how I got to know my Chinese friends and other foreign friends better and how I could learn from their perspective, their vision. I love how I improved myself by getting so much from other people, and give back as much as I could.
I needed to go to China by hook or by crook to see with my own eyes how this great country is moving forward, I’m happy to say that I found more than what I was looking for.
It is still hard to believe that my time here is over, but there is no place for sadness or sorrow, as I’m moving forward with great memories and a lot of stories to tell and to remember. InternChina gave me the push I needed to feel more confident with my own strength: ‘move forward’, ‘get out of your comfort zone’, ‘challenge yourself’!
I truly hope it would be the same for you.
Start your adventure, apply now!
My name is Ingo, I am a student from Germany majoring in Business Administration & Engineering. Since mid-February I have been working as an intern at a British company in Qingdao. The company provides solutions for environmental protection using their purge and pressurization units to prevent dust, corrosives and other non-hazardous gases from contaminating electrical equipment installed in enclosures close to process applications. My task is to elaborate new functions in the enterprise resource planning system, elaborate and installing a shop-floor information system and support the factory supervisor. I am well integrated in the team and I am glad to have the chance to do an internship in Qingdao and in this company.
For the duration of my stay in China I am living at a homestay family. It is a small Chinese family with a little child. The home of the family is in Shuan Shan area near a big mall and well connected to public transport. The latter is very important for me due to my daily commute to work. I get breakfast and dinner at the family. The breakfast is most of the time a Chinese kind of porridge, boiled eggs and fried bread. For dinner, I am mostly at the parents of my guest mother. There I get all varieties of Chinese food – her father is an excellent cook. Occasionally, my homestay family invites me to meet their friends or to go on a trip. Also, my guest family speaks very good English – to the detriment that my Chinese knowledge is still stagnating on a low level.
Qingdao is regarded as a holiday paradise. The city is located directly by the sea and has several beaches. Near the city, the Lao Shan Mountain is located, from which– depending on weather – a wide view over the whole region is possible.
I do not regret my decision to do an internship in China and I am looking forward to my four remaining months in Qingdao!
By Sven von Hollen (CDBS63 Marketing & IT Internship + Homestay)
Es ist schwer eine genaue Vorstellung von China zu haben, ohne vorher dort gewesen zu sein. Bei einer so vielfältigen Lebensweise ist es für mich selbst nach 6 Monaten in diesem Land noch schwer, passende Worte zu finden. Trotzdem werde ich mein Bestes geben, dir einen kleinen Einblick zu geben.
Ich kann meinen China-Aufenthalt nur als mein bisher größtes Abenteuer beschreiben, neben neuen Erinnerungen habe ich vor allem starke Veränderungen durchlebt, sowohl beruflich als auch persönlich. Natürlich bringt das Leben in einer 16 Millionen Einwohner Metropole auch seine negativen Seiten mit sich. Gerade im Winter kann der Smog erdrückend sein und auch die vielen Menschen und Autos sind für mich als Dorfkind stark gewöhnungsbedürftig gewesen. Mal abgesehen davon, dass ich kaum scharfes Essen ertrage, in einer Region, die für seine Chilis bekannt ist. Aber damit hören die negativen Punkte auch schon auf. Die Faszination China kann beginnen.
Sobald man die Großstadt verlassen hat, ist die Natur hier herrlich. Vor allem Richtung Tibet und der Provinz Yunnan gibt es eine Vielzahl an wundervollen Orten. Ich kann besonders Lugu See und Jiu Zhai Gou empfehlen. Nach der Anreise gibt es dort Ausblicke, die man nicht mehr vergessen möchte. Kleiner Tipp am Rande: Vermeidet die Urlaubszeiten in China, die Menge an Menschen zu den Stoßzeiten ist erdrückend und verdirbt einen Großteil der Tour.
Es ist jedoch nicht die Natur, die China für mich so einzigartig gemacht hat. Es sind die Menschen und die Geschichten, die hinter diesen stecken. Beginnend mit meiner ersten Entscheidung, eine Hostfamilie statt eines normalen Apartments zu wählen. Denn wer wirklich an dem Land interessiert ist, sollte sich mit lokalen Personen umgeben. Teil einer neuen Familie zu sein ist etwas ganz Besonderes. Man lernt traditionelle Hausmannskost kennen, nimmt am Leben der chinesische Familien teil, unternimmt spannende Ausflüge oder entspannt zusammen auf dem Sofa. Ich hatte das Glück das chinesische Neujahr mit meiner Hostfamilie zu verbringen. Chengdu zu verlassen und bei den Eltern in einer kleinen Stadt zu leben. Um ein besseres Bild zu vermitteln, stell dir vor, du feierst eine Woche lang Weihnachten und Neujahr zusammen, ein Fest der Freude und Familie. Neben viel Feuerwerk, KTV und Spaziergängen durch die Stadt ist es vor allem das Zusammenkommen der gesamten Familie, was das Fest so besonders macht. Man zollt den Vorfahren Respekt, geht zusammen in den Tempel, spielt Mahjong und genießt die zahlreichen Mahlzeiten.
Es ist aber nicht nur die Familie, mit der ich besondere Momente teilen durfte. Es gibt unzählige andere Erlebnisse mit neu gefundenen Freunden. Ob Stadttour, Sehenswürdigkeiten aufsuchen, lokale Geburtstage feiern, KTV, Events, Clubabende, ein gemütlicher Abend in einer der zahlreichen Bars oder sogar eine lokale Hochzeit, von traditionellen Einblicken bis hin zu langen Nächten wie man sie im Westen kennt, war alles dabei. Es gibt eigentlich immer etwas zu unternehmen wenn man Lust hat. Die häufigen internationalen Events waren für mich die wichtigsten Orte, um neue Freunde in allen möglichen Bereichen zu finden. Auf Kulturfestivals eher in entspannter Umgebung, auf dem Startup Weekend Chengdu bei perfekter Mischung aus Spaß und Produktivität im Businessbereich. Die neu gewonnenen Freunde haben mir einen sehr persönlichen Einblick in Ihre Kultur verschafft.
Und das ist auch der beste Tipp, den ich geben kann. Traue dich, neue Menschen kennenzulernen, ein einfaches „Ja“ zu aufkommenden Gelegenheiten (vor allem wenn man sich nicht sicher ist, ob es gut wird) hat mir meine besten Erlebnisse beschert. Dieses kleine Wort kann dir das Tor zu einer völlig neuen Welt eröffnen. Treff neue Leute, unternehme etwas mit ihnen, nutze jede Gelegenheit auf neue Erfahrungen und verstecke dich nicht immer zwischen anderen Ausländern.