homestay

Tag Archive
Chengdu
Chengdu Blogs, Discover Chinese culture, Food, Internship Experience

First impressions of family life in Chengdu

First Impressions

At the time of writing this blog, I have been in Chengdu for just five days. This is my third day as an intern in the InternChina office but I am already getting into the swing of life here. Having spent my year abroad as part of my degree studying at a university in Taiwan, I was eager to get a taste of living and working in mainland China. Chengdu appealed to me as it is a more manageable size and less international than the huge metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai, but still with lots to explore within the city and surrounding areas!

I chose to start my time in Chengdu staying in a homestay with a family and their seven-year-old son. While living in Taiwan and briefly travelling in China certainly broadened my understanding of certain aspects of Chinese culture and life, I had not developed an insight into Chinese family and home life. My family have been extremely hospitable and gone out of their way to help me get accustomed to life in Chengdu. Even in this short time, I have got an insight into their daily routine, met their family and colleagues, and tried a huge variety of delicious home-cooked meals. In Taiwan, I found that it was easy to learn what you liked on the menu and then stick with what you knew to avoid translating the menu every time. However staying with a family has led me to try new dishes, fruits and vegetables almost every meal, including foods that I would not usually have ordered myself, such as 美蛙鱼头火锅 (frog and fish head hotpot)!

 

Chengdu

 

Difference and Similarities to the UK

Whilst there are many similarities between family life in the UK and China, there are also some striking differences, most noticeably the pressure on young children to study. However, what particularly surprised me on my arrival, is that my family also have an 18-month-old son who is being raised by his grandparents almost 3000km away from Chengdu until he is old enough to attend kindergarten. While I had read about the phenomenon of parents living in urban areas sending their children back to their hometown to be raised by other family members, I had not grasped how common this was among Chinese families.  Only seeing your parents once or twice during your first few years of life seems almost incomprehensible to me, and 3000km away from my hometown of London would mean crossing multiple countries ending up in Turkey, for example. However, the pressures of Chinese working life and the lack of affordable childcare options in urban areas, mean that this is a necessity for millions of Chinese parents who have to instead make do with video calling their child.

 

 

Communicating in Chengdu

Although I have been studying Mandarin for over four years, the language barrier with my family can still be a challenge. While I generally understand what is being said on a one-to-one basis, group conversations at mealtimes are definitely more difficult, especially with my host dad often switching into Sichuan dialect! However, I am definitely becoming more confident to say to the family when I don’t understand, and, with the help of Pleco (a Chinese dictionary app), I am learning lots of new words and phrases so, as is said in Chinese, 慢慢来 (it will come slowly)!

 

Chengdu
Before your stay, How-to Guides

How Much to Budget for Living in China

So you want to come to China for an internship! But now you may be wondering, “How much money should I budget for daily life in China?”
The good news is, your money can go a long way in China. Many interns eat out for about 10-15 RMB per meal, and spend 60 RMB when they want to really splurge! Even drinks can be cheap, with beers and cocktails generally from 15-30 RMB. Some bars even sell Qingdao beer for as low as 5 RMB in efforts to draw in more customers. There is no sales tax in China, so the price you see is the price you pay. However, make sure to haggle down the price in market streets or small shops where haggling is accepted!

What is the RMB exchange rate?

For the current exchange rates, please see here.

1 GBP = 8.866 RMB
1 EURO = 7.615 RMB
1 USD = 6.69 RMB
1 AUD = 4.807 RMB
1 CAD = 5.08
1 NZD = 4.609
**Exchange rates as of 27/02/2019

What kind of budget in China is right for me?

There are two main factors that may determine your kind of budget:

  • Accommodation Choice – Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner as already included in the programme package.
  • Individual Lifestyle – Your budget in China will vary depending on what transportation you decide to take, personal dining preferences, nightlife, and more.

Weekly/Monthly Budget Estimates

Below, we have put together some budget estimates of your expenses in daily life during your time with InternChina. In general, many interns live on a low budget and are still able to live quite well. For those looking to spend a little more, there are also medium and high budget estimates. See which budget is right for you

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

For those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new thingsApartment:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch, average 10-20 rmb dinner, 5-10 rmb breakfast/snacks = 250-350 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – Attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) =  2200 rmb per month (Approx. 290 EUR, 250 GBP,  330 USD, 460 AUD, 430 CAD, 480 NZD )

Homestay:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch/snacks = 70-140 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 1400 rmb per month (Approx. 185 EUR, 160 GBP, 210 USD, 290 AUD, 275 CAD, 300 NZD)For those who go to the gym, eat more western food or spend more in other ways:Apartment:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/day, average 30 rmb dinner/day, 15 breakfast & snacks/day = 490 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 5000 rmb per month (Approx. 655 EUR, 565 GBP, 750 USD, 1040 AUD, 980 CAD, 1080 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/snacks = 150 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 3500 rmb per month (Approx. 460 EUR, 395 GBP, 520 USD, 730 AUD, 690 CAD, 760 NZD)For those who would like to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or foreign imports:Apartment:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch, average 60 rmb dinner, 25 breakfast/snacks = 875 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 8000 rmb per month (Approx. 1050 EUR, 900 GBP, 1200 USD, 1665 AUD, 1575 CAD, 1735 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch/snacks = 280 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 6500 rmb per month (Approx. 850 EUR, 730 GBP, 970 USD, 1350 AUD, 1280 CAD, 1410 NZD)

As you can see, you don’t need too much money in China to have a good time, while alternatively spending a bit more will make you feel like royalty. Be careful when you have a craving to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee (35 RMB) or the newest iPhone (7000 RMB), as not everything is cheaper in China. All in all, however, you should find that your monthly budget in China is significantly less than it is back at home!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

InternChina Homestay Qingdao
Articles en français, Avant le depart

Séjour en famille d’accueil – attentes et conseils

Qu’est-ce que les familles d’accueil chinoises attendent normalement de leurs invités? Devrais-je apporter un cadeau pour ma famille d’accueil? Y a-t-il des normes culturelles que je dois connaître? Vous avez probablement un million de questions avant votre séjour en famille d’accueil. C’est tout à fait normal! Tout cela fait partie du processus de découverte et de la magie de vivre dans une famille d’accueil en Chine. 

Face à une culture complètement différente, il y a pleins de choses assez inattendues qui peuvent vous surprendre. Notre premier conseil avant de vous rendre en Chine est de vous renseigner et de tout savoir sur le concept de face. Cela vous sera très utile pour vous adapter et développer votre réseau en Chine.

Nous avons donc rédigé ce blog afin de vous donner quelques conseils pour vous aider à vous préparer à la vie en famille d’accueil en Chine!Un des aspects les plus intéressants de la culture chinoise est leur respect, leur amour et leur attention, qui peuvent être véhiculés par le simple fait de partager un repas. Pour être polis la tradition veut qu’on serve les invités en remplissant leurs assiettes autant que possible. Sachez que cela vous arrivera sûrement, que vous le demandiez ou non !Les familles d’accueil sont à notre avis la meilleure façon de pouvoir goûter à une grande variété de plats locaux. Vous constaterez peut-être que vos hôtes vous offrent constamment des fruits, des en-cas comme des graines de tournesol ou même parfois des friandises spéciales comme du chocolat. Cela peut être un peu trop parfois!

  • Ayez l’esprit ouvert pour essayer des nouvelles choses – dites oui autant que vous le pouvez, élargissez vos horizons pour ne pas passer à côté de quelque chose de délicieux même si l’aspect peut vous faire peur! (Essayez les insectes ou les pattes de poulet par exemple)
  • N’ayez pas peur de dire non quand cela devient trop oppressant – connaissez vos propres limites, mais soyez préparé, il est possible qu’ils continuent à vous proposé même après avoir dit non.
  • Soyez raisonnables avec les friandises qu’on vous offre – certaines coûtent extrêmement cher et en abusez pourrait être mal perçu.
  • Méfiez-vous de l’alcool appelé Baijiu – lors de fêtes ou de grands dîners de famille des jeux avec cet alcool pourront avoir lieu, et la soirée pourrait vite dégénérer. A consommer avec modération!

Les familles chinoises ont tendance à être très attentives sur la quantité d’eau utilisée à la maison. Ainsi, de longs bains chauds ou de longues douches quotidiennes risquent de ne pas  forcément être appréciés. Votre famille pourrait même être légèrement surprise de la fréquence à laquelle vous vous douchez. N’hésitez pas à en parler avec eux. Plus vous discutez de vos habitudes de vie, plus il est facile d’éviter les malentendus et comprendre les différences éventuelles.


N’oublions pas que l’eau est le produit le plus précieux du monde!
En Chine, le ragoût de poulet contient le poulet en entier; la tête, le bec, les pieds … et tout se mange, on ne gaspille pas !”Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme” A. Lavoisier

Cette idée revient sans cesse dans l’alimentation et dans d’autres domaines de la vie, avec les serviettes de bain et autres articles ménagers par exemple. Bien que peut-être pas quand il s’agit d’emballages en plastique – on ne va pas trop en demander non plus ! Soyez seulement conscient de cela et essayez d’observer comment la famille utilise les choses et essayez d’en faire de même.

Discutez de vos observations avec la famille! Vous êtes tous les deux là pour découvrir ces différences culturelles. Il est toujours intéressant de découvrir des habitudes de vie qui sont dues à la culture de votre pays, à votre famille ou simplement à vos préférences personnelles. Nous vivons dans un monde étrange et merveilleux à la fois après tout!Le style de vie moderne dans la plupart des villes chinoises est très actif. Les enfants sont l’épicentre absolu de la famille. Tout tourne autour de leurs horaires. La routine des parents est de déposer les enfants à l’école, les récupérer et les emmener au cours de badminton, à des cours d’anglais supplémentaires, à des clubs de lego, à des championnats d’échecs ou de gymnastique ou encore à des cours particuliers pour réussir leurs examens.

Ajustez votre rythme de vie à celui de la famille peut parfois être un défi. Plus vous communiquerez avec la famille à propos de votre emploi du temps, de vos heures de stage … plus l’expérience sera agréable. Vous communiquerez généralement avec votre famille d’accueil via WeChat, qui dispose même d’une fonction de traduction si les conversations deviennent complexes. N’hésitez pas à leur poser des questions avant votre arrivée !

  • Essayez de passer du temps avec votre famille le soir et les week-ends, surtout s’il y a des enfants!
  • Demandez leur des conseils sur les meilleurs endroits pour faire du shopping, faire de la randonnée, faire de l’escalade ou jouer au football – la famille voudra vous faire découvrir sa ville et pourra vous faire visiter les environs.
  • Soyez patient et flexible – rappelez-vous à quel point la famille s’adapte pour vous intégrer à sa routine quotidienne !

Les sorties en boite de nuit et votre folie nocturne habituelle pourraient ne pas être aussi compatibles avec votre nouvelle vie de famille ici en Chine. Réfléchissez y avant de vous engagez et décidez de ce qui est le plus important pour vous. Les familles d’accueil peuvent être extrêmement attentionnées en Chine et elles ont tendance à s’inquiéter si leurs invités restent dehors tard le soir.


N’oubliez pas que c’est une courte période de votre vie et que vous n’avez peut-être qu’une seule occasion de faire quelque chose d’aussi inhabituel!
Les petits cadeaux de vos villes d’origine sont bien entendu très appréciés! Des chocolats, des biscuits, des autocollants, des torchons, des écharpes, des images, etc. Juste un petit quelque chose pour montrer votre reconnaissance suffira amplement! 


En Chine, les gens donnent et reçoivent toujours des cadeaux. Il est également assez courant que des cadeaux soient mis de côté pour être ouverts plus tard en privé. Alors ne soyez pas surpris si le cadeau disparaît sans avoir été ouvert, c’est malpoli d’ouvrir un cadeau devant la personne qui nous l’offre ! 
PS : essayez de donner votre cadeau avec les deux mains, c’est un très grand signe de respect !C’est à vous de découvrir cela par vous même durant votre séjour ! Cela fait parti de l’expérience ! Pour avoir un aperçu amusant, nous vous recommandons cependant de regarder la chaine YouTube Mamahuhu’s ! 

 

Ce blog vous a plu et vous voulez participer à l’un de nos séjours en famille d’accueil ? Ecrivez-nous !

Internchina-All-representatives
Charity, InternChina News, Uncategorised, Zhuhai Blogs

CTC and CPAZ hold charity event in Pingsha

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.

CPAZ

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.

Come Together Community's WeChat QR Code

Want to experience charity events like these yourself? APPLY NOW!

Calum-with-his-homestay-family
Chinese Festivals, Cultural, Homestay Experience

Chinese New Year Homestay Experience

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.

Dali Lake

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…

Yunnan CNY Meal

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!

Calum's Homestay Family in Dali

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!

Card Tricks

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.

Countryside outside of Chengdu

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!)

CNY Eve!

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.

Countryside Family Dinner Time

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.

One of the Lads

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!

Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Learn about China, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs

PMSA New Zealand – Zhuhai Cultural Programme

by Nick Goldstein  

Two Week PMSA Language and Culture Programme

PMSA zhuahi

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.

Language Classes

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.

Homestay Experience

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!

homestay

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.

Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao Eating Out Guide, Things To Do in Qingdao

Tips and Tricks for Qingdao Street Food

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.

Jian Bing being prepared by a street food vendor 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.

Ro jia mo is prepared for me
Propably the best “ro jie mo” in Qingdao

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.

Street food stalls behind Qingdao University
Normal group of street food stalls (not crowded)

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!

BBQ grilled over charcoal
Different examples of street BBQ

 

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!

 

Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

Alfred’s New Experiences in Qingdao

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.

About Me

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?

Chinese women practicing fan tai chi

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.

Qingdao Weather

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.

Alfred standing on a boat in the Qingdao sea

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.