My Chengdu Experience
Even though I’ve only been in Chengdu for two weeks, I feel I’ve gotten a good grasp on what this city is about thanks to the endless activities and Chengdu knowledge offered to us by the InternChina team.
Good food and a good life with a splash of Baijiu – the local alcohol.
I was fortunate enough to come with 12 other interns from my University – the University of Sussex – who are all on the same program as me. Although it was nice to have people with you when coming to a new country, it is not essential for having a great time out here as there are over 50 other very friendly interns in Chengdu who make it very easy to settle in to life in such a foreign city. Especially since the InternChina team organise many events to get people together – you’re only alone if you want to be!
Heat and Rain in The Summertime
1st of July is the start of summer time in Chengdu but also roughly when the rainy season kicks off! So if you’re thinking of coming to Chengdu around this time expect average temperatures of 25-30 degrees celsius all the time and a heavy shower here and there, so always have an umbrella at hand as when it rains, it literally pours!
Noodles, noodles and more noodles! After the first couple days I felt I was getting a bit sick of the cuisine, but after that I started to crave the Sichuan peppercorn tingle (“Ma” as the locals call it) which I can only compare to millions of tiny insects rushing around your mouth – doesn’t sound appealing but trust me, it’s a weird sensation you won’t forget! The more you explore, the more you find and the more you enjoy, and I did! I was over the moon when I found a home comfort with a Chinese twang and the only acceptable form of a sandwich in Chengdu, the non deep friend guokui sandwich. It’s warm toasty thin bread with the cold oily filling sold me at first bite, just watch your clothes as that oil can get everywhere!
If the Chinese cuisine doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are some home comforts available such as Subway, McDonalds and KFC. I can’t lie, I did crack a few times as something in the KFC window caught my eye, the Chizza, a pizza with a friend chicken base! I thought this was the greatest thing, a marriage of my two favourite foods, but unfortunately it was too good to be true, I was greatly disappointed as it lacked all the goodness of both foods so I had to divorce myself from the situation. This is the main reason I keep away from Western alternatives, a big bowl of delicious noodles sets you back a mere 8-12 RMB (around 1-1.4 GBP), a KFC can be 3-4 times the prices and most of the time not as good.
The first trip we went on as a group was to JiuZhaiGou, and what a trip it was! Starting off with a 15-hour coach journey to the UNESCO inscribed World Heritage site, which was painful but as with most things, is over at some point and everyone agreed it was very worth it when we arrived. Although the 20km hike the next morning sounded daunting, there would have been no better way to properly experience the breath-taking views and transparent lakes, I would do it all over again!
To learn more about JiuZhaiGou, click the link here.
So far I have been having a great time, and this program is, in my opinion, the best way to see this city. You get the complete package the social experience, the working life experience and you get to see in the cracks of the city and get a taste of what life really is about!
If you feel you’re up to it, join us and click here to apply!