Ni Hao from Qingdao
Greetings to all you Americans!
Caleb Roth and I are currently finishing up our what ended up being a two month business/trading internship with Title Trading in Qingdao, China. We have been here for a month and a half so far and it has been quite the adventure. When I first decided to tackle this internship my mind was full of predetermined visions of what China would be like and what sort of experiences I would have – almost all of them were wrong haha. First off, the language barrier is the most frustrating obstacle so far, in my opinion. I was told to hold off learning some Chinese from a few different people because they said it would be better to learn it IN China where I would also be able to pick up the accent and specific intonations. This seemed like wise advice at the time, but I thoroughly regret it. If, when I had first learned about this opportunity, I had started to learn just bits and pieces of Chinese I would have had a much smoother experience I think. However, seeing as though we came with almost NO vocabulary we’ve had to become incredibly fluid speaking charades. Seriously, I challenge anyone to a game when I get back – bring it!
Qingdao is a HUGE city that holds roughly 8 million people. From our 11th floor office windows we can look across the city daily and it stretches for as far as the eye can see (which actually isn’t all that far considering smog is a major pollution here in Qingdao). Mitch Cariaga, our boss and the man who helped put this internship together, has told us that the area we are living and working in was built just 5 years ago even though it appears to be around 15-20 years old! It truly is astounding to me how quickly it seems that buildings deteriorate here.
Our apartment, which we share with another intern and our translator, is a short 12 minute walk from work. In between is a shopping center (sort of like a Wal-Mart), a McDonalds, several other restaurants, a bank, a jogging track/soccer field, and a gigantic electronics mall – basically anything we could ever want or need! The best part is that for every dollar you can get approximately 6.8 Chinese RMB. In all honesty, besides the rent for the apartment, we could probably live here for a dollar a day. Within a short taxi drive from us you are able to find even more exciting places like 4 different beaches, the Olympic sailing center, gorgeous parks, a zoo, and several tourist places such as the famous Tsingtao beer factory.
This is just a taste of the experiences we have had here in Qingdao. I’ll most likely post more in time and share some more specific experiences with you all. Hope you enjoy this first post and please feel free to comment with any questions or comments!