Shanghai

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Chengdu Blogs, Cultural, Dalian Blogs, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Travel, Weekend Trips, Zhuhai Blogs

Adventures in Shanghai Disneyland

Last weekend I decided to treat myself to a little weekend trip away. I hadn’t been out of Zhuhai in a while and when a fellow intern asked if I would be interested in checking out the new Shanghai Disneyland with her, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Before I knew it, we had arrived in Shanghai and were as giddy as little children on the night before Christmas as we tried to get some sleep before going to the park the next day. The next morning we got up bright and early to catch the subway and make the journey out to Disneyland. The park just opened this past summer and they extended the subway line to extend all the way to the park, so it is really convenient to get there by public transportation. By the time we arrived at the Disney subway station the cars were absolutely packed and we started to get worried that we were going to spend the whole day packed into the park like sardines. But once we made it out of the subway and through the entrance to the park, the crowd started to disperse. We had finally made it to the “happiest place on Earth!”

Shanghai Disneyland Castle

Our first destination was the souvenir shop so that we could pick our some very important accessories – our Mickey Mouse ears for the day. The shop had a huge selection of different ears, and we probably tried on more than ten pairs each until we finally found the ones we wanted. So with our ears all set, we were ready to go hit the rides.

Chinese Mickey Ears

Ever since the park opened over the summer, there had been a lot of hype over the TRON Lightcycle Power Run – the new rollercoaster that made its debut at the park over the summer, and we made that our first destination. The line was still manageable at that time, and before we knew it we had mounted our TRON Lightcycles and shot off into the sky. When we got off, we both had grins as big as the Cheshire Cat on our faces, and agreed this was the best rollercoaster we had ever been on. So for anyone who is into rollercoasters, this one is not to be missed.

TRON Rollercoaster

We continued to make our way through the park, doing all the things one does in Disneyland. We got a picture with Mickey Mouse, ate corndogs and Mickey Mouse pretzels, watched little girls getting their princess makeovers and ended up riding almost every ride in the park. Another highlight was the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride. They added some elements from the new movies and updated the graphics along the whole ride. We had so much fun on that ride that when we got off we saw that the line was really short, we hopped right back in the line and rode it again.

The day ended with the classic Disney light show and firework display, and before we knew it we were on our way back to our hostel with very tired feet, but smiles on our faces. We had just enough energy to grab some street barbecue by our hostel before jumping into bed and getting some hard-earned rest.

Overall we had a really amazing time at Shanghai Disneyland. The park is so big that the crowds are pretty well dispersed, and with a combination of fast track tickets and single rider lines we rarely had to wait very long to get on any rides. All of the classic Disney elements are there, with some Chinese flair thrown in so everyone who goes is sure to have a good time. I would definitely recommend a trip out to Shanghai Disneyland to all Disney fans out there who want to check out the newest park the franchise has to offer.

Park Ticket
Before your stay, Chengdu Blogs, Summer School

Caught in between classical and modern China

你们 好!
My name is Joshua Wenn, I am a recent graduate from the Culture and Economics of China program at Hamburg University. I arrived at Chengdu a few days ago and am looking forward to a three month internship at InternChina.

I have been to Chengdu for a summer-school program organised by my university once before and can definitely say that it was a life changing experience. Before coming to Chengdu I went on a vacation to Shanghai with some friends. When we arrived I was overwhelmed by the beautiful skyline of Shanghai. Even though I visited my mother’s hometown Manila (Philippines) quite a few times, I have to say that this was something really special. Wanting to learn more about the Chinese culture not shown by the media I was surprised at how much Shanghai had already adapted to western culture, which made me even more curious for Chengdu.

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After an adventurous 30 hour train ride with neither a place to sit nor a bed to sleep we finally arrived in Chengdu. But hey, we were in China, experiences like that is why I came here in the first place and wow this city was worth the ride. It was exactly what I hoped for and even more. Compared to Shanghai it was a more traditional China which I had always hoped to see. I thought it was the perfect middle ground between a bustling Chinese metropolis with so many things to explore and not too much of a culture shock  for somebody who is in China for the very first time.

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During my one month stay in Chengdu Sichuan Normal Universty, I had the opportunity to visit and see a lot of different places in and around Chengdu like the world famous Panda Base, Leshan buddha, Sichuan opera and Qingcheng mountain.

I could not have imagined a better first visit and am flattered that I now have the opportunity to explore this city even further. I am looking forward to gaining the most out of this internship!

chinese-tile

Uncategorised

Shanghai oder Chengdu?

Wenn es um chinesische Städte geht, sind Shanghai oder Beijing womöglich für die meisten Ausländer am prominentesten. Doch wie sieht es eigentlich mit den sogenannten ,,second-tier” Städten in China aus? Im Zuge der Urbanisierung in den kommenden Jahren rücken immer mehr Städte in den Fokus, deren Namen viele noch nie gehört haben, wie beispielsweise Chengdu, Qingdao, Zhuhai oder Dalian.
 

InternChina - Shanghai vs. Chengdu

InternChina – Shanghai vs. Chengdu

Ich war bereits in den ,,first-tier’’ Städten Beijing und Shanghai, aber auch in Tianjin und lebe nun seit fast zwei Monaten in Chengdu. Wer das ,,reale’’ China erleben will, sollte nach meinen Erfahrungen in den ,,second-tier’’ Städten in China leben. Weshalb? Dies werdet Ihr in diesem Blogpost erfahren und ich werde hierbei meinen Fokus auf Shanghai und Chengdu setzen und einen Vergleich ziehen.

Chengdu

Den meisten ist Chengdu nur für eine Tatsache bekannt: In Chengdu gibt es die berühmteste Panda-Aufzuchtstation, in welcher die großen Pandas Zuhause sind. Doch was hat Chengdu eigentlich noch zu bieten? Fange ich erst einmal mit der Lage der Stadt an: Bereits die Lage Chengdus im Südwesten von China macht die Stadt unheimlich attraktiv, denn sie liegt in einer der fünfgrößten Provinzen der Nation und bildet somit die Reisescheune Chinas. Von hier aus kann man zum Beispiel nach Tibet reisen und in der Umgebung liegen der Heilige Berg Emei Shan und der riesige Buddha von Leshan. Die Provinz Sichuan ist vielseitig und die Landschaft ist atemberaubend, aber auch die Stadt als solches hat vieles zu bieten. Chengdu empfing mich als eine moderne Metropole mit rund 14 Millionen Einwohner, modernster Hochhäuser und ich war erstaunt über die Sauberkeit der Straßen, die eher unaufdringlichen Händler und freundlichen Menschen. Für eine Millionenmetropole eine unglaublich gelassene Stadt! Es gibt viele buddhistische und taoistische Tempel…und zwischendrin überall große Parks mit ihren alten Teehäusern. Dort treffen sich die Menschen täglich, um Tee zu trinken, Majiang zu spielen oder einfach um sich zu unterhalten. Und während die Tage in Chengdu gern etwas geschmächlicher vergehen, können die Nächte hingegen umso lebhafter ausfallen: Durch den Zuzug vieler Menschen hat sich in Chengdu eine junge Partyszene etabliert, in der sowohl chinesische, als auch ausländische Bars und Clubs zahlreiche Möglichkeiten bieten, die Nachtszene Chengdus zu erleben.

 

InternChina - JiuZhaiGou Nationalpark

InternChina – JiuZhaiGou Nationalpark in Sichuan

Shanghai

In Shanghai hingegen empfand ich den Bund, die berühmte Uferpromenade mit Blick auf die futuristische Skyline, wirklich beeindruckend –  vor allem bei Nacht! Doch ich misste dort die traditionellen Aspekte, die Chengdu zu bieten hat. Noch vor einigen Jahrhunderten war Shanghai noch ein kleines Fischerdorf. Heute ist Shanghai bekannt als Wirtschafts- und Finanzzentrum Chinas, das sich in nur 20 Jahren rasant entwickelte. Zwar ist Shanghai in chinesischer Hand, doch das macht sie wahrscheinlich internationaler und moderner als andere Städte in China und lässt womöglich deshalb nicht ganz so viel Raum für das ,,traditionelle China’’. Mit eigenen Augen konnte ich vor zwei Jahren erleben wie sehr sich die Globalisierung in Shanghai bemerkbar breit machte: Die Starbucks, KFC- sowie Pizza Hut-Dichte ist hoch und man sieht eher weniger von den kleinen und billigen, aber authentischen Essgeschäften. Pudong mag für viele zwar faszinieren, aber sie bleibt für mich unpersönlich und ein wenig stressig: Allein durch die Straßen zu gehen kann durchaus anstrengend sein und man ist umgeben von Wolkenkratzern und sieht nur ein kleines Stück Himmel…Zudem hat Shanghai die meisten westlichen Ausländer aller Städte in China und hierher zieht es ebenso viele ausgebildete Menschen, die einen Job suchen – was das Networking in China auch ein wenig schwieriger macht. Andererseits ist Shanghai insgesamt eine spannende und pulsierende Stadt – man entdeckt immer etwas Neues auf den eher westlich geprägten Straßen.

Dies war meine kurze Gegenüberstellung der beiden Städte Shanghai und Chengdu. Meiner Meinung nach ist Chengdu genau die richtige Mischung nicht nur für eine kurze China-Reise, sondern auch um das ,,wahre” China zu erleben. Nichtsdestotrotz ist dieser Vergleich natürlich nur subjektiv gesehen und basiert lediglich nur auf meinen Erfahrungen. Man darf hierbei nicht vergessen, dass ich meinen Urlaub nur zwei Wochen in Shanghai verbrachte – in Chengdu habe ich hingegen seit 2 Monaten eine geregelte Tagesroutine. Wer also eher den westlicheren Lebensstil bevorzugt, wird wohlmöglich in der Megametropole Shanghai gut aufgehoben sein und sie mag für den einen oder anderen ihren eigenen Reiz haben. Jede Stadt ihre Vor- und Nachteile. Doch für das Verständnis der chinesischen Kultur und Lebensweise bevorzuge ich definitiv die ,,second-tier” Städte wie Chengdu.

 

Wenn Du auch das ,,wahre” China in einer unserer Städte erleben möchtest, dann bewirb Dich hier!

 

Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Understanding Business in China, Zhuhai Blogs

China: más allá que un destino turístico

¿Se han preguntado porque China se ha convertido  no solo en un destino turístico pero también en un país donde puedes empezar tu carrera profesional?
China no es indiferente para nadie y parece que de un momento a otro se puso de moda. China es un país increíble y rápidamente cambiante. Sus costumbres y hábitos perduran, no obstante el país no para de crecer y modernizarse en todos los aspectos, se está transformando a pasos agigantados y está sorprendiendo al mundo entero. El mejor ejemplo de esto es Shanghai, ya que es una ciudad que ha logrado mantener  el balance perfecto de la China tradicional y la China moderna. Ésto, solo comprueba lo cerca y lo lejos que puede estar China del mundo occidental.

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Hoy en día, el impactante crecimiento de China se ha destacado, convirtiéndose en uno de los mercados emergentes responsable de casi una cuarta parte del crecimiento mundial. Algunos otros países como Brasil, India y Rusia, también han llamado mucho la atención debido a su gran desarrollo, sin embargo, ninguno es comparable con el desenvolvimiento de China. El modelo de crecimiento de la economía China se basa en la exportación, la industria y la inversión; y recientemente los servicios y el consumo doméstico también han jugado un papel importante, dentro de un constante aumento en el nivel de vida de la población.

Chinese one-hundred yuan banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. China's yuan fell for a fourth day after the central bank set the currency's reference rate at a five-week low amid concern budget deficits in advanced nations will hurt the global economy. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg
InternChina- One-hundred yuan banknotes

Y ¿qué decir de su idioma oficial?  El Chino mandarín es el idioma más hablado del mundo en cuanto a la cantidad de hablantes nativos. Además, el Chino mandarín juega un papel muy importante en la comunicación de negocios en Asia; el Chino se ha convertido en el idioma extranjero más popular en países como Japón, Tailandia, Laos, Vietnam, Filipinas, Corea, entre otros. Si logras dominar el Chino mandarín, no solo serás capaz de comenzar una carrera profesional exitosa en China al comunicarte con locales, sino también te servirá para comunicarte con otros asiáticos que han aprendido Chino como lengua extranjera.

¿Te imaginas poder hablar el idioma del país que se ha convertido en uno de los principales jugadores en la economía mundial? Hablar Chino mandarín no solo te diferenciará del resto, sino que al mismo tiempo te proveerá con un futuro lleno de únicas oportunidades que te ayudará a desorrallar tus habilidades, crear nuevas experiencias y sobretodo ampliará tus horizontes.

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InternChina- Chinese characters

China es un país que destaca debido a su cultura milenaria. La mayoría de las tradiciones Chinas se han logrado mantener desde la antigüedad, ya que éstas han sido transmitidas de generación en generación. Es importante considerar que para poder llegar a comprender a un cien por ciento  a  la cultura china, es necesario tener un buen dominio del Chino mandarín. Así como cualquier otro idioma,  el Chino contiene muchas frases que reflejan la cultura del país, así como sus valores, ideales y tradiciones.

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¿Quieres tener un mejor futuro y salir de tu zona de confort? ¿Te interesa saber lo que China tiene para ti? Aplica aquí

Leaving Blog, Qingdao Blogs

Zàijiàn Qingdao!

So the time has sadly come to say goodbye to Qingdao and InternChina. I came to China only intending to stay for two months, then two turned into six, and now eight months later I am (somewhat reluctantly) going home.
I was incredibly lucky during my time in China. Not only did I get to live in Qingdao, a beautiful city on the East Coast, but I got to experience working in Chengdu in the West for 2 weeks as well. I got to work with an amazing international team of people, and made friends from all over the world in every city I visited.

I think I managed to squeeze in a lot of travelling during my 8 months here. I managed to successfully navigate my way to Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Suzhou, getting to experience not one, but two, Walls in the process- the original Great and the lesser known Fake in Luodai.

Exploring Qingdao would have been enough even if I hadn’t decided to travel about the place. I would happily spend every weekend exploring the Laoshan mountain ranges and probably not do the same route twice- even if I got bored of Laoshan, there was always Fushan with its German bunkers and tunnels. Old Town provided plenty of history with the Tsingtao Beer Museum and the historical houses, while Taidong Night Market and Jimo Lu fake market provided entertainment with an IC scavenger hunt (which may I add, my team won). Calligraphy classes, go karting, roller disco, ice skating and visits to tea houses all made sure my weekends here were never boring.

My time in Chengdu let me tick off a bucket list item of seeing the Panda Base, as well as getting to pick tea and cycle around Pujiang on a tandem bike (add that to the list of things I didn’t expect to do here). I also visited the “fake” wall of China in Luodai, and tried some of the best food I’ve ever had… the thought of chuan chuan alone might be enough to bring me back!

Street barbeque until 5 am in Qingdao, my beloved lanzhou lao mian, deep fried aubergine, biang biang mian, crispy sweet and sour pork, tudousi and rojiamo… I am definitely going to miss the food here. I don’t think I’m ever going to be happy with Western “Chinese” food again, and I’m certainly not going to find somewhere to buy a bag of beer in Belfast!

The other interns definitely made my time here a lot more enjoyable- without their collective enthusiasm it would have been much more difficult to motivate myself to do all of these amazing things. It isn’t much fun climbing a mountain or travelling alone compared to doing it with a mixed group of five or six other equally clueless people. We got lost in Shanghai, avoided the scorpions on a stick in Beijing, ate street barbeque in Chengdu at 6am, hiked across two provinces along the Hui Hang Ancient Trail and turned the steps at the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum in Nanjing into a slide. Countless selfies with the locals, bus rides perched on makeshift seats and several amazing nights in bars and hostels across the country meant I was able to create amazing memories with people I’d maybe only known for a few days or weeks!

If you want to see the real China, all while gaining that coveted international work experience then I can think of no better way than through InternChina. Gaining essential life skills, an amazing internship and the confidence to go anywhere in the world- why wouldn’t you want to come here!

If you want to experience everything I did and more, apply now!

qingdao experience

Cultural, Qingdao InternChina Events, Weekend Trips

Chinese New Year Travels: Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai

As you are probably aware last week was Chinese New Year, which meant a week off for all of us in China- and as amazing as Qingdao is we decided it was time to explore somewhere else in China. Which is how 5 interns ended up at Qingdao airport at 5.30 in the morning for the first stop in a week long trip to Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai. We were planning to spend 3 days in Nanjing (the most recent of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals in Jiangsu Province), 1 day in Suzhou (home of the world famous Humble Administrator’s Garden) and 3 days in Shanghai (need I say more?) Despite being warned about travelling during the busy Chinese New Year period we were prepared- after all, crowds are an everyday part of Chinese life!

Nanjing

Landing in Nanjing we were immediately greeted with sunshine and warmth, a welcome break from the recent minus temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in Qingdao. We were lucky enough to book a hostel in the middle of the beautifully busy Fuzimiao area, and despite our early start we were eager to see what Nanjing had to offer us. Sunday was spent exploring the Confucius Temple area, the Pedestrian Street, the Wende Bridge and the QinHuai River, along with trying a lot of the local food on offer. That night we were lucky enough to be treated to a New Year’s Eve dinner provided by the hostel staff, which was a great way to try a lot of traditional Nanjing dishes.

Monday morning we set off bright and early (after eating a ridiculous amount of fried dumplings for breakfast) to visit the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum and Nanjing’s Purple Mountains. After an interesting ride on what looked like a plus size golf cart to the Mausoleum, we were delayed by an eager group of Chinese tourists who wanted photographs with all of us- however their daughter was less eager, and cried every time her mother brought her near us.

The Mausoleum is an imposing, beautiful building based on top of 392 steps and through two grand entrance ways. Dr. Sun is interred there, and he is considered by many to be the “Father of Modern China”- he was involved in fighting against the Qing government, ending the monarchy after the 1911 revolution and helping to found the Republic of China. The scenic area surrounding the Mausoleum also leads to the Ming Xiaoling Tomb of the founder of the Ming Dynasty.

On Tuesday morning we visited the Nanjing Massacre Museum. This was definitely the most sombre point of our entire trip, as you are greeted with statues commemorating those who died, along with a very graphic account of what happened throughout the museum. However it was an interesting visit and definitely a must see for all of us. To lighten the mood after the museum, we spent the afternoon at XuanWu Lake (Xuánwǔhú 玄武湖) and the City Wall.

InternChina - XuanWu Lake
InternChina – XuanWu Lake

Suzhou

Wednesday morning was another early start for us to arrive in Suzhou by 11 am. We immediately sought out a late breakfast in the form of amazing jian bing (jiānbing 煎餅) and headed towards Shantang Canal to take one of the canal boats towards Tiger Hill. The canal boat was a relaxing break from all the activity of the past few days, and we soon arrived at the insanely busy Tiger Hill and Yunyan Pagoda (known as “The Leaning Tower of China”). We decided against visiting the Pagoda as we only had a few hours until we caught our train to Shanghai, so we visited the Humble Administrator’s Gardens (Zhou Zheng Yuan) instead.

The gardens as they are today were started in around 1510 by the poet Wang Xiancheng, and was changed and updated up until 1949 when the Chinese government bought the gardens and opened them to the public. It was obvious why the gardens have been granted World Heritage Site status, as they are amazingly beautiful and absolutely huge- every turn leads you to a pond, pagoda, tea house, bridge or collection of bonsai trees. Unfortunately we couldn’t spend long here, but it was still worth the visit.

Shanghai

Our train to Shanghai only took 20 minutes on Wednesday evening, however we still arrived quite late (mainly due to me holding everyone up in the train station after being issued a broken metro card). After finding our hostel tucked away into a side street we intended to go to bed early and catch up on sleep after the last few days however the bars of Shanghai proved too tempting for some of the interns.

We also visited Pudong to get an alternate view of the buildings you can see from the Bund, however the cloudy skies helped us decide against going inside the Shanghai World Financial Center, which at 492m tall gives one of the best views of the city on clear days. We then made our way across the river to the Bund after walking the Lujiazui Pedestrian Bridge (a huge circular walkway set above the traffic).

On Friday we visited People’s Park, a beautiful area filled with people playing mah-jong, cards and also the “Shanghai Marriage Market”. This was definitely something to see, as crowds of parents and grandparents lined the entrance to the park advertising their children to potential marriage partners. Despite the crowds surrounding the marriage market, the park wasn’t as busy as we expected it to be, and was definitely a lot quieter than the Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou. We spent a lot of the afternoon here exploring, and the park has a nice change of pace to the business of Shanghai’s streets.

On Saturday morning we visited the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square, which showcases a history of Chinese art (including pottery, jade, calligraphy and a history of the Buddha’s evolution in art). We also visited one of the fake markets near the Science and Technology Museum.

InternChina - People's Square
InternChina – People’s Square

Despite all the warnings we received about travelling during Chinese New Year, and how we would regret visiting these places during such a busy time, we only had positive experiences with all the transport we took- except for a minor 20 minute delay for our flight from Shanghai to Qingdao. Two flights, two trains, a few buses and a lot of metro journeys later, my first trip out of Qingdao was an exciting one! The crowds didn’t affect our experience at all, and we saw some of the most beautiful places in China during one of the most interesting times of the year.

 

If you want to experience a trip like this for yourself, apply now!

Before your stay, Cultural, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Travel, Understanding Chinese culture, Weekend Trips, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai InternChina Events

Goodbye, Zhuhai

Hi all, this is my last blog post with InternChina. My time in Zhuhai has come to an end, for now. It’s been a great experience, and one that’s taught me a lot.
My last few weeks in China have been fun and busy. I went to Danxia Mountain, in Shaoguan, on a weekend trip with InternChina. The mountain is well-known for it’s ‘male rock’ – so called for obvious reasons.

InternChina - Clearly, we all have a mature sense of humour
InternChina – Clearly, we all have a mature sense of humour

The Shaoguan area has some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. Pictures just don’t do it justice, but here’s one anyway:

InternChina - The most amazing view
InternChina – The most amazing view

Before heading back to the UK, I went on a business trip to Shanghai for a few days, which was cool. Shanghai is a massive metropolis. The cold and wet weather more closely resembled my natural habitat than the subtropical climate of Zhuhai.

InternChina - Wet weather in Shanghai
InternChina – Wet weather in Shanghai

I’ll be sad to leave, but I’ve made great memories here. I am grateful to the British Council for awarding me a place on their Generation UK scheme. Coming to China has been a life-changing experience. I would also like to thank my boss, colleagues, and everyone on the InternChina team for their support and hard work. I’ll miss my new friends, but I’ll be sure to stay in touch.

My internship experience has made me realise that China is not a whole world away – it’s more similar than I thought. At the same time, it has also given me a greater appreciation of the differences between our cultures.

My biggest obstacle before coming here was believing that China was too different and too distant, therefore I kept putting it off. However, with these things in mind and seeing this country for myself, I look forward to coming back to China in the future.

InternChina - See you soon China!
InternChina – See you soon China!

For your chance to  fall in love with China and experience an internship of a lifetime apply here!

Zhuhai Steps
InternChina – Zhuhai
Comparisons, Travel

A Tale of Three Cities

Type ‘China’ into any search engine and a bewildering mishmash of skyscrapers, shopping centres and super-sized monuments flood the screen. From photos, at a casual glance, one city can look quite similar to another. But in a country that spans 9,600,000KM² and what should be 5 different time zones, there’s a wider variety of cultural differences than first meets the eye. So what sort of local culture can you expect to encounter doing an internship in Qingdao, Chengdu or Zhuhai?
Lucky for me, I’ve had the opportunity to visit or live in all three cities now. From my internship in the central western metropolis of Chengdu, to living and working in Qingdao out on a peninsula on the east coast of China, and finally visiting Zhuhai for business in the far south coast bordering Macau. I’m starting to develop a real sense of the local flavours in terms of food, culture and general attitudes to life. Let me see if I can summarise it for you:

InternChina – Sauteed Clams

InternChina – Hot Pot

The Food (in my opinion the best way to get a feel for any Chinese city)
Far east Qingdao meal times are all about, yes you’ve guessed it, the famous local brew Tsingtao Beer. Whether the Qingdaonese are eating out in the late evening at the street BBQ round the corner or cooking at home, there’s a jug of Tsingtao on the table. Interns here over the summer months often see people winding their way home with a few plastics bags full of beer swinging from the handle bars of their E-bike or scooter. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a plateful of sautéed clams or BBQ chicken wings.

Out west in Chengdu is renowned for its tongue numbing SPICE. Moving here most interns learn to develop and iron lining to the inner stomach pretty quickly, but the flavours make it absolutely worth it. The locals don’t just leave the restaurants to the visitors either, the Sichuanese love a regular family night out. They can spend hours around a pot of Ganguo (Dry Pot) or Huoguo (Hot Pot) chatting noisily, chilling and drinking copious amounts of beer to quell the numbing thirst.

Down south in Zhuhai the flavours are much more delicate but just as mouthwatering. Meals here usually start off with the careful observed tradition of rinsing your cups, bowls with the hot water provided. It quickly becomes a habit that you miss when visiting other cities. The best thing about Zhuhai though is the breakfasts! Arrays of Dim sum (variety of small stacks mostly consisting of steamed shrimp and meat dumplings) accompanied by a warm bowl of rice porridge that sets you up nicely for the day to come.

InternChina – Chinese Chess

InternChina – Playing Mahjong

The Elderly
I always think the elderly are of the best indicators of local culture. China’s ageing population are noticeable wherever you go. The Chinese love spending most of their morning practising Taiqi and their days with their grand kids, but all three InternChina cities have their fair share of elderly Chinese Chess (Xiang Qi) players and card sharks too.

In Qingdao you’re more likely to find these groups in the peaceful parts of Old Town, congregated under the shade of big trees planted in the German colonial period. With the grand-kids running around them the scene looks pretty idyllic but I’m fairly sure at least some games of Baohuang (Protect the Emperor!) and Gouji (High Level) end badly for at least some of the players involved! Both are local card games invented in Shandong province.

Over in Chengdu it’s the tea houses that draw in the Sichuanese senior citizens. A fellow intern once told me of a disastrous time they bet against the grandmother of her host family in a game of Mahjong. Trust me, they won’t go easy on you, the only way is to learn their tactics the hard way! It might be hard on your self-esteem but it’s not a bad way to practice your local Sichuanese accent outside of the language classroom.

Down in Zhuhai, it’s a fair bet that they take no prisoners either when betting on card games like Tuolaji (Tractor) and Doudizhu (Fight the Landlord). With such close proximity to the world’s largest gambling centre Macau just over the border, it’s no wonder the gambling spirit has permeated Zhuhai’s local population too. At any rate, when their not at the cards you’re likely to find most of Zhuhai’s pensioners wandering along Jida Beach and Lover’s Walk.

InternChina – Qingdao Facekini

InternChina – Chengdu shopping

The Stereotypes
People from Shandong Province where Qingdao is based are renowned for having a hospitable nature. However there’s also a strict and disciplined streak in there. Qingdao-ren get things done! That’s why Qingdao’s port is one of the busiest in the world. Weekends are often spent fishing from the shoals or relaxing in a tent on the beach make up for the bustle of the city centre.

Chengdu people can have a bit of a spicy temperament, just like their food. But in day to day life the locals are extremely easy-going. They like to take things slow which is a direct contrast to the booming development of the city growing up around them. For the younger generation, resident foreigners and visiting students though, Chengdu is fast becoming a party capital for China.

Zhuhai-ren is also incredibly laid back. They also have a reputation for pragmatism, a pinch of ambition but also a warm dose of hospitality. The truth is that very few Zhuhai people are originally from Zhuhai, due to its location bang in the middle of Hongkong, Macau, Shenzhen and Guangzhou it’s attracted people from all over the country as well as many a foreign face. This also makes Zhuhai a hot-spot for big corporations from Hong kong breaking into the Chinese mainland market.

InternChina - Zhuhai Lover's Road
InternChina – Zhuhai Lover’s Road

The first cities that usually come to mind for people in search of a competitive work environment, where you can learn new skills in China are usually Beijing or Shanghai. But if you’re really up for a new encounter, and a chance to get immersed in a different culture whilst discovering what makes China’s economy tick, then find out more about some of the internships on offer in Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai. Apply now!

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