A tale of eastern greetings, American cities and European supermarkets
On the dawn of Thursday 16 June, two twenty-year-old English boys approached the Qingdao runway offering prayers to Budda of a pleasant east-Asian sojourn. Upon landing, a welcome party greeted the aeroplane’s weary travellers and showered them with gracious souvenirs, fruits and benevolence to ensure a majestic reception. The esteemed party were surrounded by a locus amoenus: the sun’s rays chased away the retreating darkness, birds sang in an oriental voice and, in the distance, a colourful forest danced as though the breeze was conducting its favourite traditional song. The two boys exchanged a glance of widened eyes at their hospitality and were gently ushered towards a taxi.
Okay, so that’s not quite how I arrived in China, but does provide a metaphor for my excitement at the coming three months!
I’m working for InternChina for the next ten weeks as a marketing, sales and business development intern. Having experienced the British Council’s ‘Study India’ trip last July I wanted to spend this summer developing my understanding of the world economy in another Asian financial and cultural superpower. I chose Qingdao as my desired location as a second-tier city provides insight into a China that isn’t trampled on by thousands of Western-style skyscrapers or blinded by limitless occident travel guides. It may be more of a culture-shock, but the hard-learned lessons will be more numerous and valuable.
I had four free days to explore the city both independently and with other foreign interns before I started work. In my young and humble opinion, lots of parallels can be drawn with American cities. There are numerous skyscrapers, wide roads impossible to cross without our equivalent of a pelican crossing, and you can’t lift a chopstick to your mouth without being exposed to some flamboyant advertising.
However, the most bizarre experience I had was in the French supermarket, Carrefour. In the ‘market’ section, a man was responsible for a pile of live shrimp. When a shrimp attempted a getaway, the man would shout ‘lái! lái! lái!’, meaning ‘come! come! come!’, and put the untoward crustacean back on his stockpile.
Curious cultural differences aside, Qingdao is a splendid place to spend a summer internship and learn about the ‘real China’. I’m excited by the challenges the city has to offer and am looking forward to the lengthy debrief my parents will inevitably put me through when I return home to England in September.
If you want to see a man shouting at some shrimp AND have a rewarding internship at the same time, click here to apply now!
Hello, everyone!My name is Cecily, I’m new here and work as Customer Relations Assistant in the Qingdao Office. I like to communicate with people from different backgrounds, and that was the most important reason why I chose to work here ;). And because my colleagues at InternChina are all warm and friendly.
Who am I?
When I was a girl, I always listened to what my parents said. Then, as an office worker, I always followed my boss’s lead.
I used to work as an accountant in a large company for more than four years. Over time, I realized this is not what I wanted. People say that we have only one life, so we must do what our heart tells us and go for what makes us truly happy. So finally, one day I mustered up the courage to resign from my steady job. Afterwards I learned the skills of a barista in a training school, and then I went to Lijiang, and lived there for half a year. Since then I became more talkative and my mind was changed as well.
Two of my interests
1. Exploring new places and cultures:
I think that exploring new places and cultures is awesome. Plenty of places cannot be experienced through photographs; it is necessary to stand in them and feel the light and smell of the air. Just travelling around the famous places is not always enough, but living there for a while to experience the daily life as a native person is amazing. Last year I did a volunteer job on a farm in Malaysia and Thailand for a few months. To some extent, the living conditions there were simple and crude, the weather was awfully hot and humid, lots of mosquitoes. The tasks were also tough, but beyond that, we spent our time singing, playing cards, making pizza, visiting waterfalls and nature parks which was incredible. We all enjoyed the time we spent together. This experience has taught me valuable lessons that shaped who I am today.
2. Find simple pleasures:
To my mind, most people like to own things, but all that can be taken away in the end. The only thing you really own is your life experience. So I try to enjoy every single moment, the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the inspiring and the not-so-glamorous moments, and try to find simple pleasures from it.
As we know, Qingdao is a very beautiful coastal city which also was the 2008 Olympic sailing venue, and it’s known as the Switzerland of the east. The climate here is pleasant, taking a walk in the park during autumn is my favorite. My family moved here when I was 12 years old. I like to climb to a high place and admire the view, the city at night with all the lights is really beautiful! Otherwise, I enjoy trying different cuisines. Since I live here there are so many different food options, especially the Italian food is amazing! Anyway, there is still a lot that I don’t know yet, and I hope we can explore this lovely city together!
I’m Kevin, 23 years young, from Berlin, Germany and just arrived in Zhuhai, China two days ago. What am I doing in Zhuhai? That’s a really good question and there are several different reasons to answer this question. First of all, I´m doing an internship at the InternChina Office in Zhuhai. I’ve already settled in with the team composed of Morgan, Sunny, Ivan, Henry, William and George and feel like I have always been working here. I am quite an ‘all-rounder’ and will be working in Sales, Marketing as well as Business Development and I’m pretty sure, this broad view will help me a lot for my business administration studies at the HTW Berlin.
The second reason why I chose Zhuhai or rather China, is that I’m really fascinated by the Chinese culture and furthermore by the Chinese people themselves. I´m really happy to can experience this new but exciting country first hand.
Like many people, I think China is the future and will continue to develop faster and faster. Therefore the Chinese language will also be a very important language besides English in the future. For this reason I´m also trying to learn as much Chinese as possible and what better way to do that than by living in China!
During my first two days I already experienced the great Chinese world. Zhuhai isn’t just a beautiful city, it´s also right by the sea and there is a lot of greenery in the city, which gives it a really good atmosphere. Of course it is hot and a bit sticky, but I’ll get used to it like everyone does! Moreover the Chinese people are charming, friendly and helpful. The only premise is that you have to be open-minded and friendly as well. A big plus is to know the Chinese basics, because most Chinese people don´t speak English very well or don´t speak English at all. But don´t worry, you somehow always find a way to express yourself!
The Chinese food – I can’t put it in words – just, tasty. So, so tasty. Maybe it won´t be something for everyone, but I´m pretty sure most people enjoy the great Chinese food, which is also really cheap compared to western prices.
As I’m here for just two days, it´s quite hard to tell a lot about Zhuhai, the Chinese culture and people but as you can read I´am already impressed by the way China lives and thrives and therefore I can strongly recommend coming to China and especially to Zhuhai to see it yourself. What are you waiting for?
Why not come to Zhuhai to see for yourself what a modern Chinese city is like – Apply Now
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!
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.
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!
My name is Helen and I’m from the UK. I arrived a few days ago and I am looking forward to the 6 months ahead as part of the InternChina team in Chengdu.
I have actually been to Chengdu before, so it’s very familiar to me. I first came in 2011 to study Mandarin. Initially a plan of just staying one semester turned into three semesters! I decided to stay longer when my friend came to visit me after the first semester, I was her tour guide for the week and I must admit I sometimes struggled with the language barrier which made me feel as though I hadn’t learned enough! Nevertheless we still had a great time and almost freezed ourselves to death visiting Emei Mountain during the Spring Festival period.
I started to grow more attached to Chengdu the longer I stayed. The culture, the food and the lifestyle. So, why did I leave Chengdu? Simple. I had used all the money I had saved, so it was time to return home. When I saw that InternChina had opened an office in Chengdu and were looking for an intern, I just had to apply, so now I am here again having on left earlier this year!
From the very first day, I have received a very warm welcome from everyone at InternChina (including lots of welcome messages from the other two offices based in Qingdao and Zhuhai). They have already made me feel at home and as part of the team! A very special thanks to Brigitte and Paul who waited at the airport until 2am with snacks and water at hand! Surprisingly, we all still managed to get into the office for an early start the next day. 🙂
I had a spot of a trouble with my luggage, it didn’t arrive in Chengdu as it was suppose to but it finally made it’s way back to me within a couple of days. InternChina have been extremely helpful and it’s only my third day here! If you’re a new intern coming to work at InternChina or even through them, don’t worry, if you have any problems just ask someone and they will provide support for whatever your needs may be.
I will be spending Christmas here again, and it will actually be my third one away from home and I know that it will probably be like my first but with the interns in Chengdu.
Hello! My name is Kenny, I’m 21 years old, I am an administration management major and the new Customer Relations Manager in Chengdu.
Joining the Intern China team was quite a coincidence, and actually it was quite lucky! I love travelling and thus I am a member of a couch-surfing website for travellers on a budget. Coincidentally, Jamie – our British manager and a lovely guy – is also a member and posted something interesting on the website, so I decided to check it out. I visited the Intern China website and immediately realised it’s just what I was looking for. The team is very young and lovely, there are no tedious rules and everybody is an equal. I loved it, so I decided to join.
As I mentioned, I have a passion for travelling. When I was 17 years old, I decided to expand my horizon and went to Thailand. It was awesome! Thailand is a Buddhist country, and their happiness indicators are so much higher than in other countries. Personally, I think it’s all about their faith.
People in Thailand were really nice and always smiling to you. I actually lived with a local family (mum, big brother and younger sister). Their English wasn’t very good but I knew a little bit of Thai language, such as “sàwǎdìkàp” (hello), “kàokūnkàp” (thank you), and a very important one: “home nam youtinai?” (where is the toilet?).
During the day, my Thai mum taught me how to cook Thai food. She couldn’t speak English and I could not speak Thai, but it didn’t matter – we communicated with hand gestures and body language and made it work. At night the big brother came home and he always took me out with his friends. His English was wonderful and we had lots of fun playing guitar, singing Thai songs and drinking Thai vodka.
All in all, I made great memories: I learned a lot of precious things, such as how to be more independent and how to handle obstacles in my path, all of which will be very useful to take on the challenges in my new role at Intern China!
An introduction is in order: my name is Dina, and I come from beautiful Canada. I lived there with my two sisters and three stepsiblings for the first eleven years of my life, after which my parents opted to sell our house and everything we owned, pulled us out of school and moved us onto a boat in the Caribbean where we lived for the duration of two years. Although the experience was a little traumatic for the young eleven year old girl I was, those two years were definitely the building blocks of my now love and obsession of travelling.
We started at the top of the Caribbean and worked our way down, island by island, until we found ourselves in the jungles of Venezuela. We lived there for almost a year, and from there sailed back up the Caribbean islands. I guess my parents decided a new adventure was in order, because suddenly I found myself flying off to the strange and cold land of Denmark, which would be the place I would call home for the next 7 years.
The Danes love to drink, so all we pretty much do back home is party, but I’m happiest when I’m on a beach somewhere with a good book. The hotter the weather, the better. I’m really laid back and like to go with the flow, usually my friends and I just hang out, watch movies or go out to get something to eat. I usually travel a lot during my school vacations; I like to get away as often as I can. I have a lot of family in Egypt that I visit yearly, as well as a house in Florida, and then I try to convince my friends to road-trip around Europe with me whenever I can.
In Denmark I am currently doing a double BA in International Communication and Multimedia – a programme I now wish I had done more research on before I enrolled, as I love the Communications, but what I thought would be an exciting Media degree in Web Design, Graphics and Advertising soon became a realization that I would spend the next four years sorely coding and programming. The amazing thing about my programme is that come fourth semester, all students must complete an internship abroad or study abroad to pass the semester. The school offered to help us get into other European schools, of which I was accepted into the university of Milan on a Communications scholarship, but soon after realized that what they were giving us was an amazing opportunity to go abroad, try something new and crazy, and get real life experience. So I did just that – I ditched the semester in Italy and applied for an internship in the farthest away, most exotic and culturally enriching country I could think of: China.
After a gruelling 25 hours of traveling from Copenhagen to Zurich to Hong Kong, I finally arrived in beautiful Zhuhai. The first thing that hit me was the incredible heat and humidity – having straightened my hair before I left Denmark I could suddenly feel my natural curls spring back to life with that first step off the boat. As I’ve only been in China for about a day and a half, I haven’t seen much, but what I have seen thus far is a beautiful and clean city, with extremely friendly people and exciting things all around. My first day was amazing, the weather was beautiful, blue sky, sun shining, and I got to meet the Zhuhai team and was taken out for a fantastic welcome lunch at a local restaurant just down the street from the office. I was able to go home after lunch and have the rest of the day off, to which I had planned to walk around and get my bearings, however having slept for two hours the night before I went up to the apartment to leave my laptop and instead fell asleep almost instantly. From then I had the pleasure of going to dinner with ten other interns and was able to enjoy my first dinner in China with a room full of enthusiastic and interesting interns with similar life experiences. Although I’ve regularly been to other third world countries before and consider myself a seasoned traveler with all the little tricks, I still have so many things to learn here in China; how to use chopsticks without feeling like a fool, for example. I’m really excited for my future adventure in China.