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Projects Abroad China- Journalistiek
Stefan Van Assche
Voor ik vertrok dacht ik dat ik na een maand in Shanghai alles wel gezien zou hebben. Na hier een week te verblijven wist ik al hoe fout ik was. Elke dag brengt wel iets nieuws, interessants of vreemds. De stad is enorm, en ik probeer ze stap voor stap te verkennen want de verschillende districten zijn fascinerend op hun eigen manier. Over de verschillende toeristische attracties ga ik niet uitweiden want er zijn er gewoon te veel om op te sommen.
Shanghai zou gemakkelijk een klein land kunnen zijn, met een populatie van 24 millioen, meer dan dubbel zoveel als België. Het eten is gevarieerd, en enorm lekker. Het vergt wel enige aanpassing, want met stokjes eten is niet zo gemakkelijk als het lijkt. Maar als je ze driemaal per dag gebruikt wil je al gauw niet meer terug naar vork, lepel en mes.
De stage waar Projects Abroad me heeft geplaatst valt veel beter mee dan ik had verwacht. Elke dag moet ik een zestal artikels schrijven, met een interview elke week. Dat klinkt nogal saai en monotoon, maar de verhalen die je hier in China tegenkomt tarten elke verbeelding. Enkele voorbeelden: de Chinese overheid die de dodelijke vervuiling als iets positief probeert te verkopen omdat het een perfect anti-laserschild vormt, Chinese touristen die gevechten starten overal ter wereld voor de gekste dingen, een vrouw die haar man neersteekt vanwege een geschil over een soap, een boogschuttersclub die levende kippen als doelwitten gebruikt, een vrouw wiens maag ontplofte vanwege een combinatie van te veel alcohol en een elektrisch chirugiemes, of een verveeld koppel dat naar het ziekenhuis moest na een uit de hand gelopen sexspel met een hardgekookt ei. Buiten de rare verhaaltjes zijn er ook veel interessant onderwerpen, ...
Taking snaps for Instagram promotion
On a mission around Shanghai
Illustrations in the office
Taking snaps of Uraku glasses in funky destinations
All of the volunteers have a Mandarin lesson during their first week or so. Here is Mina attempting
Our Chinese New Year Lantern festival social
The view from Uraku's office building
Mina (20) is a Projects Abroad China business volunteer from Norway and she has now been in China for one month. Back in Norway she is a flight attendant, but the long flight from Norway was her longest plane journey as of yet. She volunteered in China because she wanted to see the country, and experience Chinese culture, while at the same time get some experience working in a business, particularly a fashion/media business.
Mina has been working at ‘Uraku’, a fashion design company that specializes in eyewear. Uraku is a small company that is expanding rapidly. Their office is in central Shanghai and the company has four shops, two of which opened in the last two years. Three of the shops are in Shanghai and the other is in Suzhou (a couple of hours from Shanghai).
One of the main duties for business/marketing volunteers at this placement is to help the company promote the brand internationally. The volunteers have a lot of freedom to have their own input, and Harrison (the supervisor) encourages them to use their initiative and formulate ideas about how to expand the business. One great thing about volunteering at Uraku is that there is no typical day. Volunteers can conduct market research in the office, visit the Uraku shops and speak with clients, promote the company with potential investors and conduct ‘field work’ which will involve illustrations and photography that can ...
The Panda Bear (sometimes referred to as the ‘Giant Panda’) can only be found in the wild in China, most being in the Sichuan province (they also live in the forests in Gansu and Shaanxi). Fully-grown pandas can be up to 6 feet tall! This is very surprising considering that over 99% of their diet is bamboo! It is strange because there seems to be absolutely no reason why they have the distinctive black and white marks… This has baffled scientists for centuries. Another interesting fact is that pandas do not hibernate and they do not have one fixed home. The panda is often considered to be China’s ‘unofficial mascot’ and panda merchandise could be seen everywhere during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The panda is also the face of the World Wildlife Fund.
With an estimated 2,000 pandas living in the wild they are under serious threat of extinction. Over the past few decades there has been a serious problem with poachers really threatening the future of the panda bear. Also, rapid deforestation is not only taking away the panda’s home it is arguably the reason for the low birth rates. Projects Abroad works with a panda base near Chengdu in the Sichuan province. The placement is a rescue & breeding centre for pandas that ultimately aims to increase the panda population. The volunteers at this placement will be responsible for caring for the pandas and they will learn about the research and conservation efforts relating to the panda bear.
I’m very much looking forward to visit this project and reporting more on the work that our volunteers doing at this care centre!
George (21) is from the UK and has just started a journalism placement with Projects Abroad China. He will be working for the ‘Time Out Shanghai’ magazine for two months. George has recently graduated from Bournemouth University with a Media & Communications bachelor’s degree. During his time at university he experienced a taste of journalism, and enjoyed this, so he decided to carry out a journalism internship in China to access whether he wants to pursue a future career in this field. Therefore the following two months is potentially the ‘make or break’ for George’s journalism career! No pressure then!
China is definitely an interesting place for journalists. Unlike the west, there is limited freedom of speech in China and every report/article has to be censored. Some sites that are easily accessible in the west are banned in China so sometimes finding information on a story may prove to be very challenging! Nevertheless there are endless amount of stories to report on and I am sometimes shocked to hear about what our volunteers write about (I just heard about one of our journalism volunteers reporting on a man-eating tiger that has just claimed its tenth victim!)! Projects Abroad China has a whole range of journalism placements in Shanghai. These placements include expat magazines, bi-lingual magazines, business oriented newspapers, travel, music, global and pretty much everything in-between!
Time Out Shanghai is a free monthly magazine that predominantly reports on Shanghai culture and its vibrant entertainment scene. Time Out is an international brand that is published in over 30 cities worldwide, including two in China (Beijing and Shanghai). In China, the magazine is published in both Chinese and English. As you may guess, ...
Information Manager 18 days ago
Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in China and more people in the world speak Mandarin than any other language (over 870 million people speak Mandarin as their first language)! Most parts of the Mandarin language seem obscenely difficult for the western tongue. Arguably the most difficult aspect of speaking Mandarin is the numerous different tones. For me it sounds like ooooh aaaa cheeeeee waaaooaa hiiiing haaaaaa (apologies to any of you mandarin speakers for this terrible definition). However there are a few relatively simple parts. For example, forgetting about the pronunciation of the numbers for a second, if you know how to count from one to ten, you will know how to count from one to 99.
5-wu, 10-shi, 8-ba (bear in mind there should be lines above these letters to signify the way that it is pronounced)
58 translated directly into English will be five-ten-eight- Wu shi ba
Also, the days of the week are simple. They are roughly translated as Monday- Day 1 (xing qi yi), Tuesday- Day 2- (Xing xi er ), Wednesday- Day 3-(Xing xi san) and so on..
By no stretch of the imagination am I trying to claim that learning Mandarin is a doddle, but grammatically-wise it doesn’t seem to be as a daunting task as I originally thought.
Reading, on the other hand, is something I don’t think I will ever understand! In ancient times Chinese characters represented animals, people and places but now they have evolved into various different shapes and patterns. These beautiful eloquent Chinese characters are nout but squiqqly drawings to someone who has not studied Mandarin characters. Fortunately ‘pinyin’ was created n the late 1950s. Pinyin is basically a Latin style writing of Mandarin. It was created for the purpose of ...