– By Charlie Smith and Adelle Offerman
Arrival in Qingdao
We knew we were coming to China four our internship in the middle of winter… And we knew to bring our warmest of clothes… But there’s not much you can do to prepare a group of Australians for the sub-zero temperatures when they step off a plane in Qingdao!
The Qingdao winter breeze was living up to its name, our fingers were beyond numb, and it wasn’t long before we invested in some gloves.
Despite the temperatures, it was a very warm welcome in the city we would call home for the next five weeks.
We were so lucky to have a lot of help from our friends at InternChina. Without any Chinese language skills, we would have been pretty lost – we wouldn’t have known what to eat, how to order or even how to get around!
They passed on a lot of essential local knowledge – like to look for a red light when hailing a taxi, and the fact you can’t really trust the green man when crossing the road. Some other things we learnt the hard way like most public toilets don’t have toilet paper – safe to say, we now always BYO!
The Internship at REDSTAR
We feel we got really lucky with our internship placement at REDSTAR – a Qingdao-based magazine for expats and visitors to the area. We get to see some of the best spots in the city to write reviews and create content for the magazine. So far, we have had the chance to write articles for the upcoming issue learning about Chinese culture and in particular the upcoming Spring Festival.
Our supervisor has not just been there to oversee our writing, but has also been an incredible tour guide to some of the best local lunch spots, including fried dumplings, Chinese savoury pancakes, and lamb soup. We are so grateful to have had him!
Traditional Hot Pot experience !
One thing we weren’t so sure about was the traditional Hot Pot, which we agreed to try for work. Luckily, we weren’t told what the “delicacies” were until after we had tried it… pig’s esophagus, goose intestines and cow penis were just a few. It was a memorable experience to say the least and we would it is a must try when in Qingdao… We are told you can have less scary delicacies when at the hot pot, which we are looking forward to trying at our next InternChina Thursday dinner (a great way to meet up with other interns and the InternChina team every week).
Conclusion of this experience…
Our work has been busy but has been so diverse that it hasn’t felt like work, and our weekends have been even better with the InternChina sightseeing trips.
So far we have snapped the views, walked the pier and enjoyed the coffee street in the Old City, and hiked the incredibly beautiful Fushan Mountain in the heart of the city.
Qingdao is a city that is growing so quickly, and our first two weeks have gone by so quickly too! We looking forward to telling you about the rest of our internship and adventure in Qingdao!
Nothing is more daunting than the fact you are about to graduate and you have no concrete plans for the future. The questions that arise are; do I carry on with education and do a masters or do I take the plunge into real life by becoming a full time adult and start work as a graduate?? Well, that was my predicament until I came across InternChina. I applied for the marketing & business development position in the Qingdao branch and was offered the 3 months internship (yay!). Interning in China has given me the opportunity to gain great experience whilst figuring out my future plans!
On my arrival, I was picked up from the airport by one of my soon to be colleagues. She was incredibly welcoming and helped me settle in the shared apartment. What I like the most about the apartments in Qingdao is that they are graciously spacious yet have a very cosy vibe to them. My roommates are my fellow colleagues at the IC Qingdao branch, so it was great to be able to meet them outside of the ‘work’ environment. (I did find it rather humorous that each one of us were from a different European country, one Brit, one French and one German… it almost sounds like one of those bar jokes).
As I had never been to Qingdao before, my roommates took me out and introduced me to fellow individuals who are part of the InternChina programme but are interning at different companies. As we are all connected through InternChina it was very easy to get along and feel comfortable with one another. Plans for the weekend were discussed and I was thrown into the mix and was able to explore Qingdao with them all!
There are really cool cafes, bars and restaurants in China, so regardless of the city you’re in, you will always be able to find somewhere that is to your liking. The food is cheap and cheerful -some meals will cost you max 3 pounds (I can’t find the pound sign on my macbook sigh). Moreover, you can actually find food that is halal and great for vegetarians!
Honestly, I have only been here a few days and already I have some ideas on what I wish to do once I get back to the U.K. It also helps to be around people from all over the world as it is a great way to broaden your horizon and learn more. So if you’re currently unsure and undecided, I would wholeheartedly recommend an internship (especially one in China).
To start your own internship adventure in China, apply now!
Being from Scotland, and looking for a challenge I decided to travel to one of the most unusual areas of the world I could think of; Chengdu, China.
Having attended one of the InternChina talks held at Dundee University, I was intrigued by the description of the various locations on offer, but none stood out to me more than Chengdu. The mix between traditional Chinese living and modern surroundings seemed like the perfect combination and grabbed my attention immediately.
From there I sent off my application, went through the Skype interview process and after finishing my third year university exams, I am now an Intern in the InternChina Chengdu office for 6 weeks. Much like through the application process, arriving in China I was immediately supported and given all the help I needed. As in contrast to some of the other interns both in the office and in placements around the city I have never been to Mainland China before so I am at a slight disadvantage in this regard. However I was greeted at the airport by my manager Paul, and was put at ease straight away and the whole team has been great at helping me settle in!
Thinking of the Adventure to Come
Having been here for a few days now I am taking my time to get accustomed to the culture and way of life, (however I have been told where I can find a few home comforts if needed!)
Throughout this internship I am hoping to achieve not only a greater understanding of Chinese culture, but also a way of working life. Having spent some time in the office already, it is refreshing to be tasked with real responsibility and trust, which is unlike many of the internships back home in the U.K. Although the office is a very welcoming and a fun atmosphere, the client-dedicated focus of InternChina means there is always something to keep you busy.
I am looking forward to see what the next few weeks will bring for me, and the challenge ahead, and hopefully I’ll be able to leave Chengdu with a few stories for life!
If you think this sounds fun why not apply now!
Last Friday, MMU hosted a lunchtime reception the ‘celebrate small business, entrepreneurialism and enterprise’. The event was attended by the The Rt. Hon. Chuka Umunna MP and The Rt. Hon. Ed Miliband MP
Ed Miliband is a prominent figure in UK politics as he’s the current Leader of the Opposition and head of The Labour Party. It was great to briefly talk with him, he’s someone who truly believes in the importance of companies like InternChina, and the benefit they bring to everyone who takes up the opportunities that we have to offer.
Also speaking at the event was Chuka Umunna, the UK’s Shadow Business Secretary who echoed Ed Miliband’s comments, adding that Manchester is an ideal city to operate a business from, as it’s now the fastest growing city in the UK outside of London.
I never thought I’d meet someone like Ed Miliband – it’s not usual I’m lucky enough to get invited to such an event! It goes to show that taking up an internship can be rewarding in unexpected ways.
It also comes at a time when the Labour party has announced that their election manifesto will include commitment to reduce student tuition fees. Without stating my own political views, as a student, I think that’s pretty good news!
If you want to be part of the InternChina story – why not Apply Now!
If you follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, you’ll probably have been aware of an event InternChina was a part of last week called ‘Experience Asia 2014’. InternChina helped organise it in conjunction with the University of Manchester by working closely with our connections at the university.
We managed to attract several prominent organisations from across the UK that were able to offer students opportunities to travel, work, intern and study in Asia – it’s always great to meet people working in a similar field to you!
The number of enthusiastic students that came to talk to us at the InternChina stand was brilliant. It’s great to see so many young people intent on travelling to China to gain invaluable experiences.
Suffice to say, the event flew by, and many of the hundreds of students that attended, left with exiting new plans to go to Asia this year! Don’t worry too much if you were unable to be a part of the event, it’s not too late to apply for an internship with us this summer. We also have funding opportunities available so be sure to take a look!
We’re hoping to attend future Experience Asia events and look forward to the next one with keen anticipation.
Do you want to join those going to China this summer in Qingdao, Zhuhai or Chengdu? Join in the adventure here!
If you live in the northern hemisphere, summer is up and running now, temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and images of beaches and tan people in bathing suits flood the advertising spaces everywhere. If you are a student, school is probably over for the semester or you are wrapping up exams and project deadlines.
It’s likely that you’ve already made plans for the summer (after all, you’ve been thinking about it since spring break was over). But if you still don’t know what you’re going to do for the next three months – or if you like to plan so far ahead that you’re already thinking about next summer – let me tell you why an internship in China is the best thing you can do with your summer.
You might be thinking: “Working? During my summer holiday? Why on Earth would I want to do that?” Yes, of course, everybody’s idea of summer is chilling in the sun by day and partying with piña coladas by night. But the truth is, you will most likely go on vacation for one or two weeks, and then spend the rest of the summer playing Xbox with your friends, hanging out at the mall or running errands for your mom.
What I’m saying is: do something more meaningful with your summer! These days, in the competitive business world that we live in, work experience is highly valued and if you graduate university without any at all, chances are you will have a very hard time finding a job that satisfies your career goals and rewards all the hard work you put into your studies (check out Penelope Trunk’s great blog about the importance of doing a summer internship). Of course, you can do an internship in your home town or even try to find a summer job but, now that you’re already thinking about it, why not do an internship in China?
Having work experience in China gives a great boost to your CV. It is not only the fact that China is increasingly gaining importance in the worlds of business and industry, which will definitely help you stand out to recruiters. But they will also see that you are not afraid to take on a challenge, given that you are willing to travel halfway across the world to live and work in a country with a completely different culture and way of life. How you adapted and handled the language and cultural barriers – this will be a great topic to mention in future job interviews.
But coming to China for an internship during the summer is not only great to improve your career prospects. It is also an opportunity to learn about a new culture and have fun while doing it. Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu are great cities to do this: great weather, not as busy or expensive as Beijing or Shanghai, but still close enough that you can visit them and big enough that there are plenty of places to go to keep your evenings and weekends occupied with fun activities.
Just to mention a few examples: in Qingdao you can spend a day playing beach volleyball, sailing and jet skiing; or go climbing Laoshan Mountain if you’re a bit sportier. At night, you can sit outside drinking beer and eating street BBQ. In Zhuhai, you can go swimming in the sea or a pool, take a trip to one of the 146 islands around the city and even hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for the day, do some sightseeing and eat a delicious meal. Chengdu is a great place to go cycling for both pros and amateurs, given the fact that the landscape is mostly flat so you can go far without wearing yourself out too much. You can also have a relaxing afternoon at a tea house and of course, go see the pandas!
As you can see, doing an internship in China gives you the ultimate summer experience: working, learning and having fun! Conclusion: what are you waiting for?
Would you like to spend your summer doing an internship in China? Apply now on our website or send us an email for more information.
欢迎光临青岛 – Welcome to Qingdao!
When I told my friends and family in Germany about going to China, their reactions were pretty much all the same: “OMG, why do you want to go there?”. Just a few were actually interested in why I was coming and what I expect from the trip to China. I really want to experience as much as possible to show my friends that it is a great and very diverse country!
My interest for China started at University. At Uni, it is necessary to receive some credits that do not have anything to do with your basic studies, to give you an opportunity to improve your skills in other fields. In my first semester I started taking Chinese out of curiosity and the fact that it gives twice as many points as all the other languages. It was just fun going every week, learning some words which sounded completely new to everything you’ve heard before. I mean have you ever heard someone speaking Chinese? It’s just crazy to listen to!
I finished University in April 2013, majoring in English, French and Economics. Luckily my Masters does not start until October, therefore I had the chance to fill that time with whatever I wanted. I love traveling and getting to know new cultures. In 2006, I spent my first year abroad as a High School student in the United States. This experience opened up the world to me. I met people from all over the globe which gave me an inside view to how diverse and especially how interesting other cultures can be. Once gone abroad you will never settle again. I pretty much counted the days until my next journey. After my school graduation I spent two months in a French host family as an Au-Pair. Sadly in two months you do not really have the possibility to experience a country as much as I thought. During my studies I had the chance to go back to France, so I spent another two semesters abroad.
So there I was in December, pretty much done with my studies and with the urge to go traveling again. I wanted to see something completely different! Something I haven’t experienced before… I thought “hey, you took some Chinese already, you should go to China”. No sooner said than done. I found advertisements for Intern China online and applied for an internship. Luckily they accepted me and now I’m here. Small town girl in an eight-million-inhabitant city! I’ve been here for five days and I’m loving it. Of course I still don’t understand a lot, but the food is awesome, the people are very nice (of any nationality) and my welcome was just so friendly that I’m sure I’m going to have a great time in Qingdao!
After my visit to Jiuzhai Gou National Park a couple of weeks ago, I took the train directly to Chongqing and traveled for about 3.5 hours. The high-speed train takes only 2 hours, but since April 4 is “Tomb Sweeping Day”, many people travel around and I was not able to buy a high speed train ticket.
Chongqing is a large and flourishing mountain city. I stayed for three nights at the home of a friend I met online. She took me for a lot of great local food and gave me a great introduction to the city in only two days.
The first day, after she took me for some local spicy sweet-potato noodles, I took the metro to Ciqikou Old Town. The tea houses in Ciqikou are very famous in Chongqing so I really wanted to experience the tea lifestyle there. I also found that they have many local snacks and some very special street food. Ciqikou is the best place to try local food and buy gifts for friends.
The second day, I went to meet another friend at the touristic center of Chongqing, Jiefangbei. They have lots of shopping malls around and a very famous food street. After a quick lunch with my friend, I went back to my host’s home. That afternoon, her American flatmate drove me around the city on his motorbike and we even went to the peak of Chongqing.
After such a beautiful day, the fun continued: I went to a BBQ party with my friends, at a house located inside a university campus on the peak of the mountain. This is the best place for a night view of the city. I enjoyed the beautiful night view, drank some Shancheng beer and had some great BBQ. I felt like I didn’t want to leave Chongqing!
I have been to many places in China, but I can honestly say Chongqing is one of my favorite cities. I like the street life, always lively, I never saw an empty street. I also like the friendly people, the great food, the relaxing tea culture and the traditional and internationally mixed city. I hope I can go back soon!