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Backpacking in the South of China

I arrived in Beijing last night after an eight day long backpacking trip across Yunnan and into Sichuan. Traveling alone in China was interesting and enjoyable for a variety of reasons, one being that even though I set out alone, I often found company along the way.

I flew into Kunming and got in quite late, but rose early the next morning to catch a bus to the Stone Forest, about  2 hours away.

{The pictures without captions can be clicked on to reveal more pictures} 

 

Sunny days and rainy days don't actually look that different in China.

That very afternoon I took a 4 hour bus to Dali, on which I met a fellow university student who was heading back from his first year in Beijing. We conversed in broken versions of each other's languages though his English skills far outmatched my Chinese ones. I treated myself that night and stayed in the only non-hostel of my entire trip. 

I awoke to a beautiful morning overlooking Ancient Dali.

I rented a bike and headed out to explore the lakeside region where I was greeted with beautiful pastoral scenery and lakeside life.  

After spending my beautiful sunny day in Dali I slept in an Australian-run hostel where I met and conversed with a variety of characters. Two brothers from the U.S. who had quit their jobs to travel for a year, one Brazilian visiting his working girlfriend, a Swedish military man named Ludvig who spoke Farsi and a young Chinese American who is coming to Wharton for his MBA and I all gathered to share anecdotes from our travels. 

The next day I caught another bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge where I planned to hike for two days. I arrived at three in the afternoon and began my trek. 

 

Impeccable signage on the trail.

The first half I hiked in complete solitude which really allowed for my out of shape struggles to be hidden from the public eye. I reached the Tea Horse Guest House at about seven o'clock where I took a shower and settled down with two equally exhausted french families who had been travelling together. Then my new roommates arrived, an American/British couple and a young Polish student. 

The next day we woke early to eat breakfast and get on the trail. 

We made it down the mountain by midday and then American/British couple and I took a bus to Lijiang while our Polish friend continued on to Shangri-la. At Lijiang we stopped for some soup and baozi and, trying to get away from the pouring rain, hopped on a bus to get to a hostel. 

The hostel, which almost didn't have a room for me, helped me book two trains, one backwards, and one forwards, in order to get to Chengdu. We took showers, rejoined to play some games of pool, which I graciously let them win, and decided on a time to split a taxi to the train station.

My first train took me to a small town named Guangtong where I wandered for a few hours before my pack started weighing too heavily on my shoulders. 

 

Guangtong exemplified a small town where tourists have no reason to go.

They did have an excessive amount of mushrooms though.

At 9 at night I got a hard sleeper to Chengdu which proved to be quite a nice experience. I woke up at about 8 AM from an undisturbed night of sleep to the television near my cot and sunlight coming in through the window. After washing up and eating some breakfast I had packed I watched a Chinese romantic comedy followed by a period piece about female warriors who decide to fight after one of their men doesn't return from war. 

Hard sleeper compartments.

In Chengdu I checked into my hostel to lighten my backpack and ran into a student at Oxford who invited me to join him for a late lunch and walk around the city. We visited a Buddhist Temple, and a lively square where among various karaoke singers and badminton games a catwalk/dance performance had developed.

These women rocked it better than any runway models I've ever seen and I used to watch America's next top model.

After a dinner of hotpot Nicko (The English student) and I met two students from the local Sichuan University who showed us a very cute and historical shopping street before we ended the night with some ice cream layered with fruit. 

The next day I headed out alone to trek to a Panda reservation about two hours away from the city. The area was more rainforest-y than a cool mountain climb but the scenery was beautiful. 

The gorge was carved out by a lazily running river.

After the two hour hike I reached the spread out home of some sloth-like Panda bears whom I found doing what they do best, sleeping and eating. 

After my panda viewing I returned to Chengdu for the night. The next morning I waited out the rain and took a walk along the Chengdu river before I caught the Airport Express Bus and returned to home sweet home Beijing. 

- Percia Verlin

A relaxing walk to finish off my trip.

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Great Wall Camping Trip

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So two weeks ago we went camping on the Great Wall. We just, you know, slept on top of the world's longest wall in one of the towers. No big deal. (Yes, I know you are jealous.)

We went to this part of the Great Wall in the Jiankou area known as the Wild Wall, in that it is kept in its original condition, unlike Badaling, the section that most sensible tourists choose to visit.

We booked a van to get to the Xizhazi Village, where we could hike up to the top of the Wall. The driver was a little grumpy when he’s told he was to spend the night in his van, so we found him a nice little family inn. We also had lunch there.

The hike took us about two hours. It was a nice sunny day, but most of the time we walked in shades, so the sun was not too unbearable. Everyone was nevertheless drenched in sweat when we reached the top (no regrets).

We started a fire and cooked foil dinner. I’ve never had so many kabobs in one go.

Each of us brought yoga mats and blankets, and set up our sleeping place inside a tower. The corridors were small and we had to squeeze ourselves a bit, which turned out to be a good thing because the night was colder than I expected. It also rained, but mercifully stopped in an hour or so, to save us from a night in puddles.

Anyway, I slept pretty well, cuddling up with my roommates. Everyone woke up earlier than usual in the morning. Some of us went on small adventures, exploring routes and towers nearby.

Hiking down took much less effort, although we had to be careful with our steps. The van was in perfect silence on the way back with everybody sound asleep. I do welcome more of this satisfied exhaustion.

- Kaixin Bao

 

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Rats in the Walls

More than excited

More than excited

Can you tell us about any projects or work experience that you have  gained in your internship?

Before I get into my intern experience let me explain what I am actually involved in.  I work under a company YMBY interactive, and also with employees who produce content for digitally design applications (iOS/Android-such as Audi and the Olympic Committee). More specifically, I am working on an interactive platform conference/competition that calls for a design for change; named “Interactive Beijing.” This year – as an official partner of Beijing Design Week- we hope to inform, inspire and incubate. To put a long story short, we are essentially a TEDx talk, with a general topic of Beijing’s air pollution. We implement unique speakers and specialists, hold mentorship camps, and eventually the competition; all in 2 days.  The incentive is we provide a grand prize of 100,000 RMB  + (seed money to finalists) the winner/ of our product/idea competition. When it is all said and done, we plan to accelerate and be their preferred incubator. We want to nourish their startup/prototype with supportive investors and our integrated skilled dev team. Least year there was over 300 participants, and 60 competitive entries. This year we plan to double this.

Are you learning new skills or knowledge at your China internship?

At my internship, I have acquired new skills and built upon many of my own. Being in China has grown my interpersonal skills immensely. Being a project intern, I get to work closely with the director, with marketing, design,  PR, and many other factors of . I work on presentations and present them. I helped private design companies create graphics on Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Dipped my toes in the water of mobile application. I developed press kits, official banners/posters. Talked with Chinese media/print. I worked down the spectrum of the entire project from heading event management to handling sticky refreshments, from presenting to Dutch embassies to picking up smelly trash after a party. I’ve made activity guides, handled countless spreadsheets, researched enough case studies for a lifetime, managed official social media pages, communicated to our partners and attended more meetings that I can keep count of. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to network and the power it truly holds. I learned that China is all about relationships. I’ve learned to keep hungry for new information/wisdom. I’ve learned that professionals are more than happy to give advice. I’ve learned that confidence comes with passion.  All in all, what I’ve gained in China is something very special. Its like jumping into a pool of complete foreignness and being expected to swim. There will be struggle, but if you survive you will be stronger.

And it hasn’t even been a month.

What is the strangest thing you have encountered so far?

Saw a woman holding her dog’s hand across the street, duck tongue dried snacks, and hearing rats scurrying in my apartment walls.

Is there any advice you would give to future interns, before they come to China?

LEARN MANDARIN, NOW.

Please describe a typical week in Beijing 

M-F WORK/NETWORK

S-SU ADVENTURE.

- Jonathan Wong

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Its been a long two weeks…

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Its been a long two weeks…

I’ve been wanting to get blogging, but never got around to it.

Now that I feel, “settled-in” theres been some free -FINALLY- on my hands. 2 weeks back at home (San Fransisco, California), cycles through fairly quickly. While in Beijing, there are so many things to absorb, these two weeks felt like 2 months. The weird thing is, I am finally getting comfortable. Just a little bit ago, I was already ready to go home. Beijing beat me. I felt tired, frustrated and sweaty. (This humidity/air is something to get used to.) But on the bright side, today was the first day that I felt acclimated, to all aspects of Beijing.

Interning with bilinguals helps me pick up really quickly. When I couple this with Chinese lessons every other day, I feel like im really making progress! I can order food with confidence and go around not looking/feeling like a total dumbo. Im not going to lie, I still tell locals that I am Japanese (Na guo ren), hahaha.

MORE TO COME:

THINGS TO BUY CHECK LIST, GOALS, AND LOTSALOTSA PICUTRES/videos..

 

 - Jonathan Wong 

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Summer Palace & A new website

I was going to make a really cool Summer Palace blog post but one of my lovely cohorts beat me to it. So I’ll just give my 5 cents.

It’s not really much of a palace, more of a large hill and a big lake.

The best part was the group trying to get a boat with a motor and a boat where you bike to go the same way at the same speed. We mostly just gave up and had a picnic in the middle of the lake consisting of bread, Nutella, peanut butter, and jelly.

Boats on the Summer Palace Lake

Boats on the Summer Palace Lake

Blond people actually do get asked for pictures apparently.

Heidi Klum is getting a little sick of the paparazzi

Heidi Klum is getting a little sick of the paparazzi

Religious studies can actually be useful in real life.

 

Justin showing us the correct way to meditate

Justin showing us the correct way to meditate

So this week @ WUHAO I’m helping the big boss finally create an actual website where things can be bought and products explored and all that good stuff that we take for granted in this age of technology.

Just because we work in a 16th century Chinese garden doesn’t mean we should adhere to 16th century Chinese practices. Anyway, building a fancy website takes fancy technology and a whole lot of pictures and information to put together, so I’m gonna go get started.

Here is a picture of the cats that live at WUHAO.

 

Only WUHAO cats take naps on Innovo chairs

Only WUHAO cats take naps on Innovo chairs

- Percia Verlin

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A Warm Welcome…Or a Hot One, Really

So the urban legend goes like this: if your Chinese friends have hot pot gatherings without you, you probably need to reconsider your friendship…

Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit. But what’s a better way to welcome MCO’s new summer interns to China than a cozy night with hot pot?

This past Saturday we had a welcome dinner for the new interns at Hai Di Lao, a wildly popular hot pot chain famous for its five star service, unlimited free snacks, and Kung-Fu-style “noodle dance”.

Chris asked a waitress to show us around the kitchen. Apparently this was something you could just ask for here at Hai Di Lao.

Isn’t it reassuring to know what your dishes look like when you are ordering?

Isn’t it reassuring to know what your dishes look like when you are ordering?

It was a great challenge for the new arrivals to put meat and vegetables that they couldn’t even name into their bowls; luckily, our interns are an adventurous group.

Everyone is excited to cook for themselves…except for Percia who’s probably wondering what kind of food she’s been tricked into eating

Everyone is excited to cook for themselves…except for Percia who’s probably wondering what kind of food she’s been tricked into eating

Meatballs and mushrooms in tomato soup

Meatballs and mushrooms in tomato soup

Happy faces!

Happy faces!

- Kaixin Bao

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Day Trip to the Summer Palace with MCO

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Day Trip to the Summer Palace with MCO

If you ask me what excites me more than fancy parties and shopping for new shoes, the answer is—day trip with besties! This past Sunday My China Opportunity took our interns and their friends out on a day trip to the Summer Palace.

Jonathan (left) and Justin (right) outside the gate at the Summer Palace

Jonathan (left) and Justin (right) outside the gate at the Summer Palace

Finally got into the park. Journey starts here!

Finally got into the park. Journey starts here!

To three of our interns, Justin, Jonathan, and Ann, this is their very first outing in China since they just arrived last Friday. Immersing themselves in Chinese culture and experiencing as much as they can is the purpose of this trip.

Houses from the old days

Houses from the old days

First group photo. Everyone is happy and pumped

First group photo. Everyone is happy and pumped

Long before the trip started Jonathan and Ann got themselves “in trouble.” As two newbies in town, not knowing much about the city, Jonathan and Ann hopped on the wrong train coming from their place to the park! Instead of taking the short path on the subway line, which is a circle, they went all the way to the other direction and stayed on the train for almost 30 stops. Hands up if you need to learn Chinese, Jonathan & Ann!

Beautiful scene at the park

Beautiful scene at the park

Interns hiking in the park   

Interns hiking in the park

 

The Summer Palace is always packed, especially Sundays; even the ticket box was surrounded by hundreds of people trying to get the tickets! However, Chris, our group leader who has been living in Beijing for almost four years, “strategically“ got the tickets for all of us with no waiting in lin. How so? He cut the line, just like any other tourist there, of course.

 

Greens that you don’t see in the city

Greens that you don’t see in the city

A cute corner we found in the park

A cute corner we found in the park

Even as a so-called Beijinger my memory about the Summer Palace is so vague and blurry. I’m so glad that after so many years away from home I got a chance to revisit this beautiful park once again.

Fun group photo along the bridge

Fun group photo along the bridge

Waiting to get on the boat!

Waiting to get on the boat!

Everything is fun when you do it with the right people. Our lovely interns made the hiking in the park a fun thing to do although the sun was not so friendly to us. It was interesting to see how our interns were amazed by little things happened around them. 90-year-old man training Kongfu in the park, the Buddha in the temple, trying the Chinese corn dog, “kidnaped “by Chinese tourists to take pictures with them, all of these things made the trip a memorable one to all of us, but the best part of the day has not come yet.

Interns on the boat

Interns on the boat

Good view of the park from the center of the lake

Good view of the park from the center of the lake

I bet you will never guess out the answer that where we spent the last hour in the park—on the boat! Yes, we rented two boats and got everyone on board to have a unique experience on one of the most famous lakes in China. As the captain of my boat, yea I was the driver of a boat though I don’t even hold a driver’s license, I was having lots of fun navigating with my “crew.”

 

Nora the Captain

Nora the Captain

Feet in the water

Feet in the water

The sun was still high when we left the park. Besides all the excitements and laughter we had on this trip everybody got a nice tan that was from the beautiful summer sunshine.

- Nora Zhou

The bridge

The bridge

Buddha

Buddha

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Three Minute Speed Networking Challenge: Senior Executive Speed Connection at Kerry Center

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Three Minute Speed Networking Challenge: Senior Executive Speed Connection at Kerry Center

It’s all about first impressions.  You have a chance to talk to business leaders from your favorite industry – only that you’ve just got 3 minutes with each of them. How do you use the short time to present yourself, seek advice, and even make a personal and professional connection?

It’s like speed dating, but with senior executives.

Kerry’s Centro Bar

Kerry’s Centro Bar

On Tuesday, June 18, MCO’s summer interns joined AmCham YPC’s Senior Executive Speed Connection and Networking Event in the Kerry Center Hotel.  Senior executives and leaders attending the event came from a variety of industries, including aviation, energy, public relations, healthcare and medical devices, sports management, think tanks, non-profits, government relations, beverages, executive troubleshooting, financial management consulting and others.

Our summer intern Percia having a great conversation with Ira Cohen, Executive Director of China EMBA Program

Our summer intern Percia having a great conversation with Ira Cohen, Executive Director of China EMBA Program

The speed networking portion of the evening consisted of an executive networking round-robin, in which young professionals had 3 minute timed conversations one-on-one with each senior executive. Over the course of one hour, the interns talked to the top members of companies and organizations in Beijing, and obtained insider’s advice about entering into the business world in China.

This hour-long session concluded with AmCham’s monthly member cocktail at Centro Bar, located on the ground floor of Kerry Center Hotel. Interns continued conversations with the executive mentors, and mingled with other AmCham members.

- Kaixin Bao

Nora, Kaixin, Miranda, and Percia in the cocktail mixer

Nora, Kaixin, Miranda, and Percia in the cocktail mixer

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Birthday Celebrations

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Birthday Celebrations

The Boss and the Intern

The Boss and the Intern

So, what I would call my Hell Week is finally over. WUHAO threw it’s 3rd year anniversary party which also signified the culmination of Spring and our event spree. Leading up to the event we changed two of the display rooms completely and set up two new installations as well as sending off over 2,000 invitations. Though I did not always enjoy staying at work until midnight, it was definitely a bonding experience (or whatever grownups in professional settings call bonding experiences).

I don’t have many pictures but I included the links below with pictures and information on the new designs we were showcasing.

http://www.dezeen.com/2013/06/11/shanshui-city-exhibition-by-ma-yansong/

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTcwNzE4ODAw.html

http://encn.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/914575/natural-wonder-elaine-ngs-climatology-smart-textiles-for-wuhao

I took a  picture of my lunch one day because it was some sort of seafood soup with these really cute striped seafood balls. We pretty much always order food for lunch at WUHAO from surrounding restaurants. There is a Taiwanese restaurant , a Japanese restaurant  and a Sichuan restaurant that we often order from. My Chinese speaking co-workers lovingly make sure I don’t get anything excessively spicy and to eat we sit or stand together in the small kitchen and share our side or main dishes.

 - Percia Verlin

Re-reading Things Fall Apart

Re-reading Things Fall Apart

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True Beijing Tourist

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True Beijing Tourist

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Alright, now it’s time to give my captivated audience what they’ve been waiting for. I finally got my butt to Tian’men Square and The Forbidden City. Tian’men square I honestly found lacking. The large flat square was mysteriously lacking in any sort of seating. Some people simply crouched while others sat on the edges of monuments, avoiding eye contact with the large amount of patrolling guards. The large avenue that separates the Forbidden City from Tian’men Square has to be crossed  by underground tunnels where they funnel crowds through metal detectors. I spent no more than 15 minutes wandering amongst the various pillars and statues, lawns dotted with large colorful flower arrangements and a few very large LED screens showing some wonderfully moving patriotism.

 

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A week later I spent my first day off in the modern, business part of town. I met some friends for lunch and then headed over to the shopping district of Sanlitun. I  just needed to buy a plain black tank top and

thought Uniqlo would be a no fuss option. The staff in Chinese Uniqlos partake in an odd ritual of constantly yelling to each other about what I expect are updates on customers (I really have no idea they could have been talking about their grandmothers).

The Forbidden City left a much more favorable impression on me, even though they refused to carry me around on a sedan chair. My

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first thought was that they really do not call it a City for nothing. It’s a 5-10 minute walk to even get the the ticket lines, right next to the main gate. The lines went pretty quickly and I made my way inside. I bought an audio guide and started my tour. The audio guide had a built in GPS that knew where I was and told me the history accordingly. My favorite parts were the less busy ones where there were small shrines, meeting areas and bedchambers. The weather which had been so hot and sunny the day before was chilly with a solid gray sky.

- Percia Verlin

 

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Networking in China: 101

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Networking in China: 101

The first lesson that the summer interns of MCO learned was how important networking is when it comes to doing business in China; networking skills are essential for business professionals to build strong, long-term relationships, and to keep up-to-date with latest information in the industries where their interests lie. The good news is, it’s really not as intimidating as it sounds.

Interns Learn How to Network in China

The interns learn about do’s and don’ts of networking

The interns learn about do’s and don’ts of networking

On June 2, the summer intake of interns came together for a short training session focused on professional networking in China. The interns learned about the basic concept and general goals of business networking, as well as specific details they need to keep in mind.

To start with, the interns discussed their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of communicating with people. Next, Chris and Miranda talked about do’s and don’ts of networking, hot topics and taboo topics in a professional conversation, as well as dress code and other etiquette rules specific to networking in China. “It’s like presenting yourself as a brand.” Explained Miranda.

Interns learn how to exchange name cards in a professional manner.

Interns learn how to exchange name cards in a professional manner.

It was the small things that sounded the most challenging to the interns. How to skillfully join a group conversation? How do you cut off a conversation that’s been going too long? “These are the things that you learn over time.” Said Chris, after answering the interns’ questions and concerns.

It takes time and effort to master the art of networking. With basic ideas as well as specific tips in mind, the summer interns of MCO are ready to take their first steps into the business world.

- Kaixin Bao

 

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Biking Around Beijing

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After my first full week of work,what I’ve generally gathered is that working 9 hours a day for 5 straight days is rather exhausting. This is my first full-time job (internship). It’s all very interesting, since there are so many different parts that go into making a small business work. Though though the different parts work largely autonomously we all report back to the higher ups. I guess I shouldn’t really be explaining this because how a workplace works is only new to me.

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I largely have been working with retail. Which is good for familiarizing myself with the products we carry. A lot of the work we do is updating. Updating visitor forms, what has been bought, how the customers feel about our selection, and the new designer profiles. I really like doing research on designers so that we can know their background when explaining their work. I also recently researched a newsletter site because in order to send emails and invitations to our large clientele list gmail is not up to par. We needed a site that is able to send messages to upwards of 3,500 people.

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Unfortunately because I’ve been working I haven’t had much time to see the sights but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen Beijing from my bike. The two neighborhoods I’ve visited most extensively are my own (which extends to my workplace) and the downtown business/foreigner area. I live right below the subway stop Andingmen,which I rarely use because biking is cheaper and better for seeing Beijing. My bike was actually only about 150 RMB which amounts to about 25 U.S. dollars. I haven’t had any problems with it except for one day when I came down to go to work and realized my brakes had been mangled. It cost 20 RMB to get them fixed, but I’m still wondering why it happened. I guess my enemies in high places wish to cause me harm.

Anyway my neighborhood is really cutesy and personal and there are a lot of little Hutongs and shops and restaurants and at least 1 or 2 fruit and vegetable seller/ supermarket on every block (why aren’t the states like that?). The downtown area is usually where I go to meet Chris and Miranda (the people who are running this ship) since they work and used to live down there. I’ve been to networking event, peking duck restaurant night, and gotten a massage. I think what is so striking about Beijing is you can turn a corner and see massive steel and glass shopping malls and office skyscrapers not too far from sights more like this one:

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- Percia Verlin

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Internship Beijing Style

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I haven’t quite stopped waking up at 6 every morning. Whether from lingering jetlag or the light from my window, I’m usually up in time to talk to some friends before they eat dinner or go to bed. My small shared apartment has a kitchen so I make myself breakfast with food bought from any of the surrounding food markets and stands. I’m trying to hold off from succumbing to the foreigner supermarkets that carry things like cereal and cheese and instead eat eggs, vegetable and fruit.

My internship starts at 10 or 11 in the morning. Today will be my third day there. My internship is at a company called Wuhao. The idea is a bit hard to explain but they call themselves a curated shop or concept store. They work with designers of clothing and various home items and accessories to create events and shows and also have general displays. It’s all very artsy, and though I’m not sure I could be part of the creative process, the fact that their clientele is almost entirely international is central to my interest.

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I’ve been navigating the great city of Beijing via bicycle, a mode of transport which is not for the inexperienced. I actually enjoy the lawlessness (which really isn’t that bad, you just have to realize the cars who are turning don’t yield for pedestrians crossing the street). The area that I am living in is already one of my favorites. It has lots of restaurants and little shops as well as some really popular Hutongs (smaller streets or alleyways). I haven’t really noticed Beijings famous pollution but the dust and free-floating pollen wisps are irritating. Luckily the weather has yet to become unbearably hot.

- Percia Verlin

 

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Being an Intern in China!

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Being an intern at My China Opportunity has been a great success for me. The instant my plane touch down in Beijing I was  taken in by the team, which made this experience even more inviting.

China is a mysterious place to Westerners, which can make visiting/working to some less desirable. However the greatest wisdom I have ever been given is; “if you have butterflies about something and you decide to opt out; you’ll never grow”.   I came to China with those butterflies and have done nothing but grow….

With the economy booming in China, opportunity is vast; whether it be international or domestic. This, among many other reasons was why I initially decided to intern here. Economist have stated that by 2016 China’s economy will surpass the United States; which to me said if there was any better time to learn about this place, its now.

Through this program I traveled to many different parts of Asia, learned crucial business etiquette, studied the language, met a fun interactive social group, and made valuable connections through networking events. Everyday our network of friends would be up to do something; whether it was going to a market or riding a train outside of the city to go for a hike.

As far as the internship itself  went I learned a lot. Being from the West and having a western education goes along way in China. What I mean by this is that your advice/ideas actually get put into play, which comparable to the states an internship is more like having a babysitter teaching you how to due busy work. The Chinese need innovation and creativity, this alone aloud me to test the real currents in the marketing industry. I was not only part of the marketing team,  but in many case the team leader. The 3 months of experience I gained here, would have taken me two years in the US.

-Ryan Huerter

Beijing Intern for summer of 2012!

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Great Wall Camping at Jiankou

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Last weekend’s adventure took us to a place called the Wild Wall. It was located in the Jiankou area. This part of the Great Wall is special because it has never been restored and is in it’s natural condition. On some parts of the wall you can see trees and various shrubs coming out of the towers, which makes for an awesome view.

To get to this amazing location, we booked a private van from some guy that we meet on the internet. We left from the Dongzhimen area and it took around three hours to arrive to this scenic location.

The hike from the Xizhazi village to the top of the wall took around two hours to reach the top. Since the weather was not so good, we got a little dirty on the way up. I have to say it was a pretty slippy going up and down the mountain. When we arrived to the top of the wall, we decided to camp inside one of the towers. Each of us brought yoga mats, and tarps to sleep on. We also brought foil dinners with us, which we prepared beforehand and tasted awesome after they had been sitting on coals for quite sometime. For anyone camping on the Great Wall, I recommend checking out the Jiankou Area. For hikers that are looking for a shorter trail make sure to go to the Xizhazi village, which is much shorter then actually starting from Jiankou.

 - Ryan Huerter

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