China, the country blessed with long coastlines and vast colorful landscapes has outpaced the world in the arts and sciences for many centuries, despite major famines and foreign occupations in the past. With a long list of tourist attractions like The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, and Terracotta Warriors, China is definitely on every traveler's bucket list. As the world’s leader in industrial outputs, mining, and textile, China has become a top destination for interns who want to gain international training, work experience in the one of the world’s largest economies, and meaningful travel abroad.
China is home to gorgeous canyons, steep mountains, desolate deserts, and crystal clear lakes. One-third of the nation’s land area is made up of mountains, with Mount Everest separating China from nearby Nepal. Thousands of rivers surround China including the Yangtze River, the world’s third largest river.
There are more people in China, with a population of more than a billion, than in any other country on Earth. China is not short of wildlife either, there are more than 3800 species of fish and hundreds of amphibians and reptiles in China’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Hundreds of other plant and animal species reside in China’s more than a thousand diverse nature reserves.
Due to China’s location, it is a great choice for those who wish to intern in a country with opportunities to visit neighboring countries at a minimal cost. The cheapest countries to get to are Hong Kong and Macau, although a good chunk of spending money is required. Travel to Pakistan is also possible via the Karakoram Highway to Kashgar in Xinjiang Province. Other neighboring countries include Tibet, Vietnam, and Russia, all distinctly different from one another and from China.
China’s weather varies from tropical to subarctic because of the nation’s size, with five temperature zones spread across many miles. The winters are cold yet typically dry, and summers are hot but mostly rainy, therefore monsoons are common during the summer months.
China gets hot in the summer and very cold during winter. Heating systems can be unreliable sometimes so winter jackets and boots is a must if you're traveling during winter season. If visiting China during summer time, do not forget to bring the usual sun essentials.
For tall guys and gals; bring enough shoes for all possible occasions because you'll have a hard time finding shoes that will fit you. China sizes are quite a bit smaller in comparison to the U.S. and Europe. Don’t forget other clothing in your size too, unless you plan on having it privately tailored.
Food is an integral part of every travel experience. Considered one of the best cuisines in the world, Chinese dishes represent China’s magnificent culture impeccably. Chinese food integrates color, taste, shape, and fineness harmoniously , which has led it to be one of the most popular cuisines around the world. Usual staple foods are rice and wheat. Steamed bread, noodles, deep-fried dough sticks, steamed stuffed buns or dumplings, and cakes with special flavors are all delightful treats in China. The best of Chinese cuisine is not just available in fancy restaurants but also in ordinary eateries that are much cheaper. Most very appetizing local snacks are sold at roadside eateries, night markets, and street restaurants.
Table manners and courtesy among diners is an important aspect of the Chinese cultural tradition. For interns living with local families, you should not start eating until the host says a couple of words for greetings, otherwise it will cause displeasure and appear as disrespectful to your homestay family. Always remember to give the best or the biggest share of food to the senior members of the family. Also, the use of chopsticks has been a part of Chinese food culture for centuries so there are a few things to remember when using the chopsticks to avoid misunderstanding or being laughed at. Never use chopsticks to point at others, it is regarded as an accusatory gesture. It is also impolite to suck the end of the chopsticks, Chinese people will think that you lack family education. Also, don’t insert it vertically into bowls or dishes, locals do this only when they burn incense as a sacrifice for the dead.
Putonghua is China’s official dialect, known most commonly worldwide as Mandarin. Cantonese is also spoken frequently in China by most locals. For the most part Mandarin is spoken in the most northern parts of China and western China, although in Hong Kong, southern China, and many surrounding nations Cantonese is more frequently spoken.
China’s official currency is rén mín bì or RMB, meaning “the people’s currency”; it is often referred to as Yuan, or Kuai. The RMB currency features China’s founder Chairman Mao Zedong on the front and famous attractions on the back.
China was a long standing communist state, but in recent years it is gradually moving towards a more capitalist style society and economy. There is no official religion in China; more than 50 percent of the country’s population claims to be Atheist, meaning they are not affiliated with any religion whatsoever.
China has quite a number of traditional festivals. The most celebrated festival in the country is the Chinese New Year celebration, a 15-day celebration every mid-January until early February. Iconically, the new year is celebrated with fireworks and dragon dances around cities across the country. Another festival that is widely celebrated in China is the celebration of Confucius, the Philosopher. Believers come together and pilgrim to Shandong province, the philosopher’s birthplace to celebrate his life.
A wide variety of internship opportunities are available in China, in almost every industry. China is one of Asia’s largest Advertising markets, along with Japan, making Marketing and Advertising internships very popular and beneficial. The consumer market is very competitive and interns will have an intensive training that will help them land corporate jobs and bigger salaries in their future careers. Of course any type of business or economics internship is ideal in China, considering its ever-growing place in the global market.
Hospitality and Tourism internships are popular in China too. Where else can you learn the perfect etiquette for food and customer relations? These types of internships can even lead to placements in 5-star hotels and other high class establishments giving interns the opportunity to mingle with different kinds of people from around the world with high standards of service.
Interns are usually housed in shared apartments, group living arrangements, or homestays. Most interns choose a homestay accommodation because they get to experience the ways of the locals firsthand with a few extra benefits, like learning bits of the country’s language and tasting the best of home-cooked dishes.