Xiamen Internship: Week 3
Chopsticks, Temples and Great Views by Laura & Lisa
I can’t quite believe that we’ve been in beautiful Xiamen for almost 3 weeks now! 3 weeks of delicious Chinese cuisine, heat & humidity, ‘Liu sha bao’ breakfasts, being the best interns we can be (!) and having to get used to constantly being the target of many curious eyes and finger-pointing from the locals. I can’t say I’ve gotten used to being taken photos of whilst the Chinese think we aren’t looking. We were even stopped by a family and asked for a photo this week!
My biggest achievement so far is that I can happily say I’ve finally conquered the art of eating with chopsticks. In Xiamen, I quickly realised, you either learn to eat with chopsticks or go hungry! I have proudly gone from stabbing at my food, looking very un-elegant and from one of our Chinese buddies giggling and telling me “don’t worry, you’ll learn” to being able to actually eat in a relatively normal fashion. We were offered forks in a more touristy restaurant this week, for the first time, and I felt very proud of the three of us when we were able to turn them down.
On Saturday night, we headed down to one of our favourite local bars, Mojito, (very well recommended by last year’s interns) to watch the semi-final of the World Cup – England vs. Sweden – and persuaded our Chinese buddies, who had never watched football before, to come along as we were determined to get them into the World Cup spirit. The 2-0 win was met with lots of cheering and shouting on our behalf, giving our friends a very lively first impression of a football match.
We continue on our mission to try every possible kind of Chinese food there is to offer and this week we happily came across a friendly-looking street vendor. We stopped to watch the impressive way in which he was making a wrap/omlette-looking food, and we got chatting to a very friendly monk, from the nearby temple of Nunputuo. On his recommendation, we all ordered a ‘jian bing’ and it did not disappoint, the street food here is even better than regular Chinese food, which itself is scrumptious. The fact that our dinner therefore cost us 5RMB (57p) made it even more delicious.
We’ve been working at Amoysen Design for 3 weeks now and the beautiful view from the 17th floor never gets old. It continues to be a very relaxed and enjoyable work environment, and we continue to enjoy our lunch naps very much. This week I have been reaching out to design companies across Europe, to promote the China Good Design Award, and hope to get some positive replies. This award allows Chinese products to enter the international market but also for international products to enter the Chinese market. The deadline for this year’s award is the 29th July and so it is crucial to branch out to as many companies as possible, both this week and the next. My supervisor, Jess, is very friendly and easy to work with. She has trusted me with the task of personally writing to companies, both big and small, from the US to Sweden. This task of writing professional e-mails is teaching me a lot and is very good experience. They have also informed us that we need to prepare short individual presentations for next week and have left us room to be creative about what we can include – from projects we have completed during our stay here, what we have learnt, to our personal views on the company and ideas we may have for them – which has taken some of the pressure off!
On Sunday, we finally went to visit the famous Nanputuo temple, which is located right outside campus. There are multiple temples in that area, which are all surrounded by beautiful gardens. Since it was Sunday, there were many tourists around and most of them would stop in front of the temples to pray.
The weather was not great, it was cloudy and humid in the morning, but this allowed us to make it to the top of the Wu Lao Mountain only half drenched in sweat. The view from the top, which we enjoyed sitting on a big rock for about 2 hours, was breath-taking, especially once the sky cleared up!
Before leaving Nanputuo, walking near one of the biggest temples, we heard people singing so, moved by curiosity, we decided to enter the building. A Buddhist ceremony was taking place inside, so we decided to join in by singing along in Chinese after a lady monk kindly gave us a book to follow.
The visit at the temples was absolutely amazing and we would definitely recommend visiting Nanputuo to anyone coming to Xiamen!
This week at work I have been doing research on how to effectively manage social media platforms in a business context. By doing this research I had the chance to learn about different strategies that can be applied to promote the company on Facebook and Instagram, becoming more familiar with digital marketing and communication. I also focused on creating a plan for the company’s social media activity on a weekly basis, suggesting different types of posts that can be shared to attract followers’ attention. I was given this task according to my interests, which made me feel even more motivated to do a good job 😊.
To conclude this fantastic experience here at Amoysen, next Friday I am going to briefly present my work to my supervisor and the managers, before enjoying the little party the company is organising for us to say goodbye. I can’t wait to celebrate this incredible month with the whole team!