It’s been three years since my first visit to Shanghai. So I thought it was about time to revisit the city. Back in 2012 it was just for a few days to do some sightseeing in the city with my family. This time it will be for my two month internship in China.
I left Australia on Christmas night and arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 5am on the 26th of December. I made my own way to the accommodation by train and luckily was able to check in to my room early. I slept until I was awoken by a knock on the door, my roommate to be for the next two months, Robin from South Korea! We immediately bonded over some Kpop tunes (2ne1 – I’m the best– it’s super catchy!) and what was soon to be discovered, a shared love for desserts. A roommate who brings home macaroons most days? She’s a keeper!
In China, the official currency is called (人民币) ren min bi (literally, “the people’s money”), and the (元) yuan, is the basic unit of ren min bi. You’ll typically see the 元Chinese character in stores or on signs to refer to the cost, but when you pay, people typically call the (元) yuan (块) kuai. So basically, 1 yuan = 1 kuai. To further break it down, 1 (元) yuan is equivalent to 10 (角) jiao or (毛) mao. To simplify: one unit, several names. It can even be abbreviated in several ways: RMB and ¥. Otherwise, the system is fairly simple.
Beijing is beautiful all year round, but its temperature across the four seasons usually covers a wide range from 40 °C to -20 °C! Typically, the nicest and most comfortable seasons are spring and autumn. Unfortunately, those are the shortest seasons, and only last around one month. For those seasons, a casual dress shirt and some slacks would be ideal for your internship in Beijing. For the winter, expect a long, cold, and dry four months and really bundle up from November to March. The cold air really is biting, and if you’re from a tropical climate, you might even find the weather there inhospitable. On the other hand, Beijing in the summer is scorching, with copious amounts of rainfall. Also, since it’s tourist season, the extra hundreds of thousands of people spreading their own body heat around the city doesn’t exactly help. Just make sure you bring several bottles of water, light clothing, and a big hat that provides shade. Investing in a parasol might even be a good idea. As long as you’re dressed properly for the temperature, you’re sure to enjoy your time interning in Beijing.
My Hong Kong internship is technically my first ever fulltime working experience, so you can imagine my nerves, my excitement, and my anticipations. When I arrived at the office on my first day, it felt like I was unwrapping the biggest gift that I had ever received in my life.
The Fast East is booming now and if you’re lucky enough to be able to travel and get an internship in China, you’ll need to know a few things before starting in the professional world! One of the main things to keep in mind is to be aware of cultural differences, especially if you come from a place with different ideals. Here are some helpful tips – both specific and general – to get you acquainted with China’s business culture in no time as an intern in China:
Despite being part of the European Union, the UK hasn’t adopted the euro. Instead, Londoners use pounds. Currency in London is fairly simple – 100 pence per pound (or pound sterling). However, if you want to sound like a local, instead of pence, you could say “pee,” and instead of pounds, you could say “quid.” Also, a five-pound note is called a “fiver” while a ten-pound note is called a “tenner.” Congratulations – you’re now well versed in London’s currency talk.
London, like all other fantastic, bustling cities has three main methods of transportation: taxi, the Tube (its metro system), and those famous double decker buses. At first, navigating London may be a bit scary and imposing, but in a short span of time, you’re bound to get familiar with the city and how to get to your internship in London.