Thursday 28 March 2013

Spending a day in Macau (澳门)

Living in Zhuhai makes it very easy to travel to places like Macau (澳门), Hong Kong (香港) and Guangzhou(广州). For instance, going to Macau is very simple as we only need to cross the border in Gongbei, Zhuhai. This step takes almost 2 - 3 hours as in weekends there is a massive crowd of people traveling around.

Once in Macau, you can easily tell the difference from mainland China as there are more western people, some people speak English and there are many foreign restaurants. Macau is well-known for its gambling establishments as there are many casinos around the place. Possibly one of the best casinos in the world, Grand Lisboa, is also located in Macau, and it is really a treasure for our eyes once you get in you will not be able to get out. Incredible monuments, lighting and of course gambling games.

Apart from this, there are many historical places to encounter like the Taipei village and the restaurants which offer great portuguese cuisine. The city has a very curious mixture of Chinese and Portuguese culture which impossible to see anywhere else in the world.

Macau also has a very modern part in the city centre near the casinos where there are great views at night time when the lights of the skyline go on. The Tower of Macau stands right in the city centre where we can go over 300m high to have an impressive view of the scenery which is amazing. There are many activities to enjoy like one of the best bungy jumps in the world.

To go to Macau for the day, it is relatively easy to plan as we could tour around the important areas in the morning and see how lucky we are in the casinos in the evening.

Friday 22 March 2013

Learning Chinese whilst Interning in China

One of the most valuable experiences we can get whilst interning in a Chinese company for a long-term period  is the possibility to practice and learn a completely new language. Many people simply enjoy studying foreign languages but when they think about Chinese, they say it is impossible.

I have been living in China for more than 8 months and to be very honest when I first landed in Guangzhou I thought where I am, I can´t understand anyone and it is a completely different culture. However, now after spending this amount of time in China I can say that attending lessons in the country of the native language is completely different to learning it in your local country as here we interact we with the native people. This is very important when it comes to practicing the language as in European countries I am sure that there are many schools that offer the possibilities to learn Chinese language with native Chinese teachers. However, when we leave the school there is almost nobody to practice and interact with.

Also, this is the stage where we are learning different skills that are business related and developing our CV. As we all know international businesses prefer to hire people who speak more than one language. This is because China is and will be an important business and economic partner of the US and the world.

To add, learning Chinese can actually improve your mental power by learning how to arrange thoughts into a different perspective and pattern. If employers see our language capabilities, this will always prove our spoken and written skills.

Did you know that there are more people speaking Chinese than English? Chinese is the language that is most spoken in the world and is considered to be the language of the future.

I strongly recommend you that if you are spending time in China working or interning take the opportunity to learn Chinese, it will really help you out when you travel around the country as well as it will look incredibly great in your CV which will enhance your job prospect.

Chinese is difficult, this a true fact; BUT: Impossible is Nothing!!!

Monday 18 March 2013

Spending a Saturday and Sunday in Dongguan (东莞) and Shenzhen (深圳)

Some of the main issues with traveling around from Guangdong to different cities around China is the distance and time. The most popular and common cities in China are dispersed around the countries. However, in Guangdong we have many places to visit and explore.

This weekend I decided to visit Dongguan and Shenzhen at the same time. Dongguan, which is located in between Guangzhou and Hong Kong, is one of the major economic engines in Guangdong Province. To be very honest is not a great place to stay for a long time but it is exciting to discover some aspects of one of the most fastest developing cities in China.

The city centre itself is very modern with great skylines and has one of the most important theatres in China: Dongguan Yulan Theatre. Most of the international and important exhibitions in China take place within this establishment.

On Saturday morning I got the bus from Zhuhai to Dongguan which takes almost 2 hours. I spent a couple of hours in this city and then around 4 pm headed to Shenzhen in another bus which took 1 hour. Very simple procedures to get the bus and efficient to travel around Guangdong.

Once in Shenzhen, life is much faster and busy as it is more developed than Dongguan. The views at night from the skylines were are really treasure for my eyes. To add, at night I met many foreigners in a massive club. It is surprising the amount of European people in this city which is very developed.

This trip was something different to what I do in Zhuhai and helps me experience how other cities around roll.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Renewing our Chinese Visa in Hong Kong

Most interns that stay in China may need to renew their visas at some point of their stay.  If you get a 1 entry visa and want to visit a trade show, then you need to apply for a new visa to get back to work.  This is really a simple procedure which will be explained below:

The most important thing we need to do first is call the agency before we leave China to check if our nationality can be able to get a visa in Hong Kong. When we give them a call we should also ask them if we can get our passport back in the same day and the price for the visa. We should also ensure that we have at least 1 blank page free in our passport. To add, we should also take one recent passport-sized photo that we will need when we fill in the renewal visa application form.

You can renew visas with Chinese Embassys around the world and with various agencies like China Travel Services.   Another option is to use agents like Forever Bright Trading Ltd, located in the New Mandarin Plaza. This is a China Visa General Agency.

The easiest way to get here from the airport / borders / ferry piers is using the MTR and getting off at TSIM SHA TSUI Station. The New Mandarin Plaza is around 10 minutes walking distance.  Once we are in the Mandarin Plaza, we should head to Tower B and get the lift to the 9th Floor. Next step is head to the Room Nº 916 - 917.

The agency will asks to fill in some application forms with details like name, passport nº, date of birth, chinese address, etc...This only takes 5 - 10 minutes.  Normally, if we finish our application by 9 am we could pick up our passport around 1pm. If we decide to go later and get everything done by 1pm we could pick up our passport at 6pm.

If we are interning for 1 year, I would strictly recommend everyone to get 6 months and multiple entries visa as it enables us to go outside China as many times we would like to.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

A weekend in Xiamen (厦门)

Xiamen is a city located at the southeast coast of China and is one of the most popular attractions in the province of Fujian. The name of "Xiamen" refers to the Gate of China.

Firstly, in order to get to Xiamen, I had to go there by coach which took almost 10 hours. Therefore, the best approach we could always take in trips like this is getting the coach at night time to sleep the whole night.

Xiamen actually has one of the most busiest harbor ports in China where international commerce takes place. 

It is a typical littoral city with abundant tourist attractions such as islands, mountains, temples and parks, etc., providing you with a full sightseeing schedule. The well-known Gulangyu Island, South Putuo Temple and other tourist areas like Jimei, Hulishan Battery, Wanshiyan, etc. are highly recommended. A sea tourist line is also available for you to enjoy the amazing scenery of many beautiful small islands around.

In the evening, I had the opportunity to walk along one of the most historical streets in Fujian, where there was people were selling crazy seafood like the one below:

One of the greatest activities in the schedule in my visit to Xiamen was a trip to the university of Xiamen, which was really amusing as well entertaining. I had the opportunity to play a basketball game with one of the local students which was really fun and an experience that I will never forget as it was the first time I played basketball in China.

Xiamen is a mixture of Hong Kong and Zhuhai together as a city and possibly one of the cleanest & peaceful cities I have ever been to. Without any doubts, Xiamen really attract me since the first day I spent there.

Monday 11 March 2013

A day in Guangzhou(广州)

Guangzhou is the capital of the province of Guangdong and it is considered to be one of the fastest developing cities in China and probably in the whole world.

Guangzhou is famous for its wholesale markets. It serves as a product distribution center for southern China, and attracts business people from all over the world. The city has hundreds of wholesale markets and the suppliers in these markets sell their goods in large and small quantities, and usually with fast delivery. No other city in China has as many and diversified wholesale markets as Guangzhou. This is what makes it very special and unique.

In addition, Guangdong is the only province in China where we will only find people that speak Cantonese. Therefore, Guangzhou is considered to be the capital of Canton. In Guangzhou, we can also find the tallest structure in China which is the Canton Tower. This is possibly one of the most famous and greatest attractions in this city as the views are just spectacular from the tower. The tower is almost 600 metres high.

Also, within the Canton tower there are several activities that are really thrilling and unbelievable. The most exciting one in my opinion is the sky drop which is relatively limited in time but incredibly great to experience. 

The tower is located around the Pearl River which has amazing views of buildings and offices in the area. One of the best activities is to get a cruise at night time and contemplate the superb views of the lights on buildings.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Views of Zhuhai

In Zhuhai there are a couple of peak sites where you can observe and contemplate the brilliant scenery around the city and its main districts like Ji Da(吉大) and Xiangzhou (香洲). To do this, we have to climb the mountain Shi jing shan (石景山) which takes like 1 hour approximately.

Once in peak of this mountain, the views are just exceptional. I would personally recommend taking this trip in a sunny day to be able to see everything properly and without any obstacles. We can see the views in the picture below.

When it comes to going down the mountain, there is 2 options: we could walk down the mountain or go down in a roller coaster which takes 2 minutes approximately, which is really thrilling and fun times to enjoy with friends.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Islands around Zhuhai

One of the great things of living in Zhuhai is that there is almost 140 islands around it, which enables us to go for weekend trips and enjoy of the lovely beaches. One of the most popular islands is 野狸岛 which has amazing views to the city of Zhuhai.

These day trips that are worth spending with new people met during our internship as it is always fun times and involve a lot of social activities.

One of the best trips and memories I have of Zhuhai was when we spent a weekend in the 上川岛. The beach was just incredible as there were many activities to do like play football and volleyball with some random chinese people. Also, the fact that the climate was hot made us enjoy even more our weekend.

At night time we enjoyed having BBQ food and playing drinking social games where everyone was involved. We also camped in the beach over the night which was great fun.

Around Zhuhai there is many things to do in a daily basis, but one of the greatest things is visiting islands and staying over for the weekend in a crowd. There is many new people to meet and loads of activities to enjoy.

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