I did a 3-month internship with a Chinese company in Hangzhou, China near Shanghai. Hangzhou is a smaller city, but it is also a big tourist place. I worked predominately on layouts for new high-rise apartments and shopping areas. The language barrier and the difference in culture were the hardest things to overcome. I suggest trying to find out as much about the culture before you head over because it came in handy to understand cultural norms and cultural history while designing. As far as language goes, Rosetta Stone rocks. there is also http://www.chinese-tools.com/learn/chinese which helped me a ton. One very important thing to know is that business is definately about who you know: guanxi=personal relationships
Because I was still a student, I lived in an international dorm at a nearby university. I was given a food stipend, a cellphone, and some spending money every two weeks. This was enough to survive but it would not be enough to pay back loans or to travel around china much. hope that helps some.
hi Tom! What’s the name of that firm you’ve worked for? I want to have my internship in China and i’m still looking for firms i can apply to.. Can you give me more info about that firm? How do i contact them? thanks!