Isabel says "Zàijiàn"!

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The initial plan was a 4-months internship in PR & Events…Now, after 7.5 years with swissnex China, Isabel Götz is off to new adventures.

Before she joined our team in March 2010, she worked in various sectors such as hospitality, aviation, IT/internet project coordination, human resources and education, as well as PR and event management. As our Head of Operations her daily work was both very exigent and versatile, and given the broad background she became a bit of a “human interface”. So, after all these years in Shanghai, there are many stories to tell, and we asked her to share some thoughts on her experience in China.

Do you still remember your first day at swissnex China?

“I do! I was really excited to kick things off. Other interns have started the same day too, and I remember being impressed by that all red and white, and very Swiss design. Oh yes, and of course I never thought that I’d stay that long.”

What made you stay?

“All kinds of different things! For sure it was the dynamic and international environment, the appealing lifestyle and endless opportunities this vibrant mega city had (and still has) to offer. When I started, we had the Shanghai World Expo 2010, an amazing time which allowed me to dive in to work and organize unique events. The interest in China (from the Swiss side) has been on a rise ever since. I knew there must be more exciting projects in the future, so I guess I simply wanted to explore more of it. I was lucky enough that I was in a position which allowed me to seize the opportunity and to just go ahead!”  

Can you name a couple of highlights?

“The first big event for me was the Future Cities Conference Week, then Design Prize Switzerland, the Red Container, the E+ framework program for the Einstein Exhibition that I got to help organize. We had the BBQ lectures, later swissnex China lectures, and over the years more and more visiting delegations…  

I could go on, there are so many. All of them added to this unique experience, in one way or the other.”

After all these years, what still fascinates you about China, and Shanghai?

“The fact that some things you see, still blow you away! This incredible speed of how things happen – high rise buildings seem to be built overnight, or how fast technology simply becomes a part of your daily life and you can order literally everything online. Yes, what did we do before “wechat” again? (laughter)  

It is this 24/7 access of life, which of course has positive and negative aspects (but it would take too long now to elaborate…). Places open and close on a daily basis, so even the street you life in can look different the next day, because a fruit store became a hair salon overnight!”   

What are your main takeaways on culture and business in China?

“The pace China is giving itself to reach its targets and implement its goals made change becomes a constant factor. The market is highly demanding, due to increasing needs of a fast growing middle-class. If you do business here, you need a lot of patience, a high level of flexibility and the ability and will to adapt very quickly. But even more important - you must have 关系 Guānxì, which means you really need good relations/connections and you have to know the right people.”    

From take-away to give-away – your wishes for swissnex China?

“First a big THANK YOU to all my colleagues and friends in the network and community. It’s been a great journey, and I will keep the memories dearly! To my team members (and here I like to also include the Consulate General), wish all the best for the future! 加油! Jiāyóu! Which means “let’s go”, so stay curious, and keep up the good spirit, enjoy next year’s 10th Anniversary of swissnex China, and continue to connect the dots!”  

What is your next step?

“I will move back to Switzerland and enjoy an extended Christmas and New Year break, with family and friends. I’ll slow down a bit, after an incredible and intense time in China. I look very much forward to new adventures, even though I don’t know yet what 2018 will hold for me. But in any case, it will be very exciting, I am sure!”

The experience of a “Neuchateloise” at Shanghai

I am Emilie Roemer, I stay 6 months in Shanghai; 3 months as an intern in swissnex China and the 3 other months in Swiss Center Shanghai. I arrived in China the 29th of August and started working at swissnex the 1st of September. Before coming here I did a commercial apprenticeship and the “maturité professionnelle commerciale”. In January I saw the advertisement for an internship in Shanghai but unfortunately I can not apply for it because of my studies. Then in May I found a new job advertisement in the newspaper for the next six months and this time I did not hesitate before sending my application. One of my biggest dream is to travel around the wolrd. Work at the same time is, for me, the perfect combination to discover more about the country and the culture.

Currently we are 3 “Neuchatelois” at Shanghai. Daniela Dernedinger does a commercial internship too. She started in Swiss Center Shanghai, then in December we are going to change our place. Nicolas Holzlé does a mechanic internship in LX Precision for 6 months. We met a lot of other Swiss intern or student here. Now we are a great team of Swiss people, we do all together different activities.

As an example, the weekend of the 14th and 15th October, we went to Zhenjiang in the 3rd swiss theme week to bring “Swiss spirit”. We performed two swiss songs on a stage and the Sunday morning we ran a 7km race.

We also would like to organize some event all together so that we can use each other skills to build something more interesting.

Now working for swissnex China, I work for “Canton of Neuchatel” too.  It made a new program with high school students. They went for six weeks in Shanghai, every morning during weekdays, they attended to Chinese lessons to improve their language skills. During the afternoons and weekends, they had time to discover Shanghai and its surroundings. One of my main task was to organize their afternoons and the visits of others cities.

I will never regret this experience here in Shanghai although before the departure it was a bit hard to leave Switzerland. I have learned many things, I think I have changed my point of view on various subjects and I am more independent. Everything change when you live in big city like Shanghai where you do not have time to get bored! I am very happy to stay 4 more months in this city. I already look forward to live more adventures in China and after that in many countries.


The Experience of Four Students form Neuchatel in Shanghai

The Canton of Neuchatel gave four high school students the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Shanghai. They arrived on August 29, 2016 to start their adventure in China. Every morning during weekdays, they attended to Chinese lessons to improve their language skills. During the afternoons and weekends, they had time to discover Shanghai and its surroundings.

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Swiss day – 65 years of Sino-Swiss relationship

Having a bachelor in business administration from the University of Applied Sciences HEIG-VD with a major in Marketing and Innovation, Sabine Boulos joined the team for a four months internship. This is the first event she attended!

The role of cultural diplomacy was the main subject of the Swiss Day in East China Normal University. It is Mr. Claude Hauser who started and led the whole evening. Four different speakers took the word and share their knowledge. 

The first one was H.E Jean-Jacques de Dardel, our Swiss Ambassador. He gave a good overview of the Swiss cultural activities in China since 1950: going back to the very source of our relation, listening to the story, being remind of the faced challenges and understand our actual situation. It has been interesting as well to listen to a Chinese point of view by Mr. Feng Shaolei. He, for instance, brought forward some reasons why Switzerland is neutral. Firstly, it is the Fruit of a courageous people who defended its independence. Then when covenants have been made, Switzerland maintained its neutrality. To put in a nutshell his whole speech, “China cannot copy the Swiss model, but can be inspired.”

To understand better the main subject, and read some of the speakers work, here is a link (available in French, English, German, Italian and Chinese): 

In conclusion of the first part of the evening, and to quote Mr. de Dardel, “The Sinno-Swiss relationship is a growing friendship and an increasing proximity.”

To experiment a bit of the cultural part, the presentation was followed by the release of the movie “Watermarks” by Luc Schaedler (2013). Telling three different stories, by going back to what influence those people lives. Showing the contrast between their daily, and listening to their hope, when hope exists.  A moving, authentic, and recommended movie: 


Emma & Alessandra adventure in Switzerland

Who would have known that two of our team members would win not only a free trip to Switzerland but also an interesting hiking adventure in Zermatt?
After seeing a post on Weibo from the Chinese team of Mammut, a Swiss sportswear brand specialized in mountain equipment, Emma and Alessandra decided to take part into a competition…let’s hear about their story!

The competition required us to take some promotional pictures wearing the brand’s clothes and I also drew some fashion figurines. The surprise arrived after a week: we were so happy to hear that we won the first prize!
After the long trip from Shanghai, we arrived in Zurich and from there we transferred to Zermatt, a very famous destination for snow lovers in winter and mountain hiking during the summer. This year is a very special year: everyone celebrates the 150 years of the first ascent on the alpine mountain “Matterhorn”, which actually ended up in a tragedy as four climbers died on the way. 
Mammut had taken in charge our accommodation: a really beautiful hotel-chalet. Our room was big and all made in wood but the best surprise was when we actually went on the balcony… the Matterhorn was just right there shining in front of us! No cars are allowed and the town is full of nice little restaurants, where we had typical Swiss dinners.

August 17th 2015: this was the day. At 1PM we met Annette, the mountain guide of Mammut hiking school. To be honest, we were both a little scared about the hike, as this was a really first time for us. However, we took the challenge and, wearing all our professional equipment, we grabbed our big backpacks and our sticks and the adventure started!
The uphill hike was really nice: we firstly took a cable car and then started the trail from Schwarz See, a “black lake” with a small white chapel reflecting in the water surrounded by green land. The more we were walking up, the more the trail was steep and we had to be careful in the middle of all the rocks. The last meters were even harder as a snowstorm started right where we were! However, after 4 hours of hiking, we arrived at Hörnlihütte, a kind of guesthouse at an altitude of 3260m. We had a nice dinner and breakfast there as well as a special Mammut shared bedroom.

The morning call for the professional hikers willing to reach the top of the Matterhorn is settled at 4 in the morning everyday; on our side though, we were pleased to have some more hours of sleep and to hike back downhill. From the middle of the clouds we ended up at the bottom of a very big glacier…impressive!
I guess at this point you will want to ask about our overall impressions, so here they are.

For Emma, this wasn’t her first time in Switzerland but she never went to Zermatt before.  As a girl who grew up in the South part of China, mountain hiking was definitely an unfamiliar name to her but it was a really interesting activity to go through. She thinks that from a mountain hiking point of view there are many good resorts in the world, however, because of the panorama, the mountains and the professional hiking schools like Mammut, Zermatt turns out to be just unbeatable in her mind.

On my side, the whole trip was first of all a great occasion for me to go back to my country and meet my family and all my friends after one year in China. Moreover, the hiking experience was a first time for me as well. Although I have to admit that the panoramas were really beautiful, I don’t consider myself being such a mountain girl willing to risk my life on dangerous trails.
Finally, we were both really happy and grateful to Mammut who gave us this great opportunity.  Annette was very nice to us and has always believed in us: ‘Just have a try, if you don’t feel good, we can just stop and take the cable car. But I am confident in you girls. You will make it’ she said with care and in a confident tone. At the end of the adventure, we could feel that a friendship was born - not just a plain relationship between a mountain guide and the clients.

Thank you Mammut, Zermatt and Switzerland…we’ll come back!

8 Months in The Chinese Cloud

When I was younger I had the opportunity to travel to China with my family. Those brief moments ignited my fascination with China, and I knew that one day I would come back. Last year after finishing my Bachelor Degree in Communication Systems at EPFL in Switzerland, I finally got my opportunity, and so I decided to find an internship in the Middle Empire.

However, after months of research and hundreds of none-answered e-mails, I started to realize the difficulty of finding a Chinese company that would hire me.  Nevertheless, after a quick exchange with swissnex China about what I was looking for, I received a list a 3 new contacts. To my luck, one of them decided to hire me.

Moving on, I ended up in China at the end of August for a 8-month internship at a cloud computing startup located in Beijing, China’s capital city. The company is called Eayun, and is currently focused on building B2B cloud computing solutions for the Chinese market based on open-source projects. Two weeks after my integration into the R&D department, I was already working on core features of the main product of the company.

Moreover, being the first and only foreigner in my team was an amazing cultural experience. I couldn’t hope for a better situation for the improvement of my Chinese. Experiencing Chinese-life from the inside taught me a lot about how important diversity is in the workplace as well as in social life. My own insights helped my colleagues understand a perspective that they weren’t used to. Even if we suffered through a language barrier, there is no measure of growth to be had when you are learning from someone who is different from you. 

As you can see, even though this experience working at a Chinese startup would not have been possible without the help from swissnex connecting me to useful contacts, it was my initial interest in China that compelled me to persevere through the hardships of finding a job. This motivation allowed me to live out this extraordinary experience in which I was able to meet many amazing people. Needless to say, I can’t wait to come back.

Written by Lucas Vandroux (冯凯), Eayun Inc.


Before coming to China I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this big and populous country. After having worked at Swissnex China, lived in vibrant Shanghai and explored as much as possible of China, I can’t believe how quickly the last six months have passed. All I know now is that it is hard to say goodbye and that I want to come back as soon as possible.

At the very beginning I was surprised, how easy it is to come to Shanghai and start to live on one side, and how puzzling it is to not be able to communicate. But it didn’t take long to pick up the most important words and find other ways to communicate. If I have learned something, than how pragmatic and innovative Chinese people can be and I will take this with me.

Swissnex China offered an incredible place to work at, with the possibility to participate on a large amount of projects, mainly in the field of innovation and academic relations, and to learn about the extreme speed and high potential of this still much unknown nation. Thanks to my position as a representative of University of Zurich I could also contribute to the bridging between China and Switzerland, and I hope to be able to continue with it in future.

I want to sincerely thank Swissnex China and the International Relations Office of the University of Zurich for this great opportunity, and all my colleagues at Swissnex for teaching me so much about China and helping to make the last six months such a wonderful experience. I will miss all the unexpected occurrences, the delicious lunches and the cheerful laughter I could provoke, by simply using the few Chinese words that I had caught up, and last but not least, my many new friends!

See you soon,



The past 6 months flew by too fast and it is already time to say goodbye to a great team at swissnex China and to the fascinating country that China is.

When I arrived here four years ago, I barely knew anything about China, its culture, and its language. It was overwhelming at first to arrive in a country where you can’t be understood by others. But overall, I would say the experience has been nothing but a positive one. Confronting myself to an unknown environment and to an unfamiliar culture impacted my life in so many incredible ways. I learned a new language, discovered new hobbies and passions, and met great friends from all around the world. All the hardships or tough times that occurred at first all seem to have disappeared to give place to only good memories now.

My 6 months internship at swissnex China has been an amazing time, and the perfect way to finalize my 4-year journey in China. I was able to work on challenging and interesting projects such as Lift China, and the organization of the “Escalade” 2014. I will also remember the very dynamic and multicultural atmosphere that fills this office. I want to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues at swissnex China for the great moments shared within these 6 months. Your warm welcome and constant support allowed to perform well at my tasks and to make the most out of this experience.

Before leaving, I would like to share with you a quote from Lin Yutang’s book “My Country and My People” which I think describes very well the relation one can have with China.

When one is in China, one is compelled to think about her, with compassion always, with despair sometimes, and with discrimination and understanding very rarely. For one either loves or hates China. Perhaps even when one does not live in China, one sometimes thinks of her as an old, great big country which remains aloof from the world and does not quite belong to it. That aloofness has a certain fascination. But if one comes to China, one feels engulfed and soon stops thinking. One merely feels she is there, a tremendous existence somewhat too big for the human mind to encompass, a seemingly inconsequential chaos obeying its own laws of existence and enacting its own powerful life-drama, at times tragic, at times comical, but always intensely and boisterously real; then after a while, one begins to think again, with wonder and amazement.

Hope to see you all soon either in China or in Switzerland!

Julien (小朱)

"Say Goodbye to My Beloved swissnex China"

Now comes my turn to write a farewell piece to say goodbye to my beloved swissnex China. I can still remember the times when I was interviewed and how I strongly desired to get this internship, and all the excitement after I did it! Four month ago, my magic journey made its sail and began to leave its mark on me.

At the beginning I was mainly responsible for translating all kinds of documents because that was within my expertise. Then Cissy entrusted me with tasks that directly facilitated the upcoming and ongoing projects including researching, writing invitations, and escorting visiting professors and students. Over time my responsibilities as an academic intern diversified. I was helping Tu draft bilingual news and publicity materials, manage social media, and maintain our official websites. I was trusted by Sherry with setting up venues and logistical support. Lijun involved me into contributing to a variety of technology and business-related events both from the office and at the front. Pascal asked me to add to and polish his presentations. My Swiss colleagues came to me for translation… I never got bored with the range of roles I could take and really enjoyed myself in the process.  

I want to especially mention here an important event which took place in September in the middle of my 4 month internship – the Lift China. This whole day conference was pretty major because it was its debut in China and required a large amount of preparation beforehand. The whole swissnex team was putting a lot of efforts into the event together with the Lift team in Switzerland. I was also contributing my bit and really put myself into it whole heartedly. The process was demanding and rewarding and the conference finally turned out to be a huge success. I just felt so fortunate to be part of such a major event and get to make a number of friends, both Swiss and Chinese. Together we had so much joy and wonderful memories which I will never forget.

Apart from my exciting work life, I also had an amazing time out of the office. Lunch hunt with my cute Swiss colleagues (Chinese? Japanese? Or the Chinese-Japanese?) Fun moments I had trying to translate and explain what’s on the menu. All the teambuilding dinners, birthday and farewell parties I have been to. Intimate, personal outings with my Swiss friends. Just to name a few.

These four months have been just wonderful with a bunch of fun, loving people and interesting and challenging work. I just want to express my gratitude and thank you all for making part of life in Shanghai beautiful and memorable.

Dennis / Wang Zhongzheng         



Fire Escape Training!

Liliane Gonzalez worked in swisssnex China as a Junior Project Leader for six months, assisting us especially in the scientific and research projects. However, JUMPING from 22nd floor must be the most adventurous experience she could ever imagine...

When I first heard about fire escape training, I was so excited that I wanted it to be right now… The idea is to test all the equipment available at the Swiss Consulate General in case of fire… When THE DAY arrived I forgot about it! For me it was another ordinary day at work… When I went out for a break I saw a lot of people looking upstairs and taking pictures… I was curious and when I saw the long escape tube from downstairs, I realized it was THE DAY I was waiting for! I run back to the 22nd Floor, enter the Consulate General and everybody was wearing a green combination to jump into the escape tube!

I prepared myself: green body protection, double pair of socks and gloves. I’m ready to go! Some only explain you how to do: You enter in the tube, hold yourself with the left hand that will need to be always up, while your right hand holds your chest. You are in a sitting position and control the velocity of the fall with your legs, the more they are open the slower you go.

My fall begins, I’m happy, everything is going as planned, I can control the fall speed and I’m turning counter clock wise. You are a bit disorientated after a minute and are wondering when is the fall going to end… the walls are very close to you, your legs are trembling and tired to carry you… The fall goes faster and faster and you cannot stop it as you want… I panic! I want to stop but couldn’t! Ok, ok… Breathe Liliane, breathe, no need to panic… remember use your legs and not your arms… I manage to slow the fall, but where am I??? When is this going to end? I don’t see anything! Ear anything! I began to shout: Where are you guys? Is this going to end one day? I see a red mark on the tube… I hear someone: You are arriving… continue a bit!

I’m finally arrived! My legs are trembling, I cannot walk! Too many emotions! Sacha helped me and I lean against the wall of the building for a few minutes… I DID IT! With some burns on my hands and elbow, but I DID IT! To be honest, I hope I will never need to do it again, but in case of fire from the 22nd floor, I’m ready to jump!

Greetings from the new HEC Lausanne representative in Beijng

On behalf of HEC Lausanne and swissnex China, I would like to introduce myself, as the new HEC Lausanne representative and as a new intern at swissnex China in Beijing. This position, as you may know, is usually carried out at swissnex China in Shanghai. It is very exciting and challenging to be the first one in Beijing.

My name is David and I have just graduated from HEC Lausanne with a Master’s degree in Finance. I actually never planned to go for such an assignment to China, as I had no previous connection to this country. In 2011-2012, I was first introduced to China when I went studying abroad in the US. Unlike in Switzerland, the US hosts many Chinese students so I happened to meet and make friends with many classmates from 中国. They gave me a crash course in Chinese culture and cuisine… Obviously, at that time, I was not planning on moving to China. The opportunity and the idea of it came 2 years later, right after I handed in my master thesis at HEC Lausanne. Each year, swissnex China hires HEC students in order to pursue an internship in a vibrant environment. After having worked on a very technical thesis, I found the prospect of joining swissnex China a rather exciting and motivating project, even though it meant to step out of my comfort zone and emerge into a new culture. I received a preparatory briefing from my “pessimistic” Chinese friend which left me with no other choice than to lower my expectations on the issues of pollution, traffic jams and public transportation prior to my arrival to Beijing…And actually that is not a bad approach. Obviously Beijing is not Appenzell (a country-side style region in Switzerland), but hey, which city is. I have already been in the most touristic places in Beijing. Now I’m willing to discover a more traditional (maybe more mystified) part of Beijing. And I guess during the next 6 months, I will have the opportunity to do so.

Right after my arrival I enrolled in a gym program in order to keep my physical activities high and to be well-prepared for the constant hum and challenges of the city. Further, I as well started my mandarin lessons yesterday together with two other intern colleagues here at the Swiss Embassy. We have all the same level of mandarin, meaning no level at all, but we are very eager to learn as much as we can. In our first lesson, we learned “everything” useful about food. I already knew “jiaozi” before coming here and I hope after this lesson I will be able to finally order something else than just dumplings. It has been two weeks now.



Farewell from Maad

After 5 months in Shanghai, the time has come to say goodbye. Goodbye to an office, a city, a country and especially goodbye to a very singular way of life.

From the moment I decided to come to China, everything happened very quickly. I obtained my visa on Monday, on Tuesday I booked my flight and on Friday I was standing in front of the office of swissnex China.  I immediately enjoyed the friendly and also very dynamic atmosphere at swissnex. Every week, several delegations come to visit the office and plenty of interesting presentations are given. I was also surprised by the openness and freedom given to the interns: anyone can come up with an idea and turn it into a real project.   

During my stay, I wrote my master thesis focusing on a comparison between smart city approaches in China and Switzerland. I had the opportunity to attend many conferences and forums related to the topic which brought a great added value to my work. I also analyzed the sustainability aspect of the Tongji University campus in Shanghai and compared it with the EPFL campus in Lausanne. I realized that difference in human behavior is a central element and it highly influences the energy efficiency of the two countries.

I also took part in several projects related to the EPFL and the Swiss Alumni network in China. I organized the visit of professors from EPFL as well as several events gathering Swiss people living in Shanghai.

Living in Shanghai for 5 month was without any doubt a very rewarding experience. The international and intercultural aspect of the city made it a very pleasant place to live in. Shanghai is also a paradoxical city: local street food shops where you can have a decent dinner for 15 RMB coexist with fancy bars at the Bund area where a simple glass of wine will cost you 5 dinners. This possibility of moving from what I call “real china” to a more international city is what I most liked in Shanghai. Living 5 months in China gave me a first impression of the country but it was not enough to understand its culture. I hope that I will have the chance to come back in the future.

Finally, I would like to thank all my colleagues and friends from swissnex China. Thank you for your warm welcome, for your constant support and for all these great moments. And hopefully we will meet again in the future, who knows?

Farewell from Elsa

When I discovered Shanghai for the first time in September 2013, I knew I would come back soon. It was self-evident. The magic of this city left its mark on my life. So, after having lived a tourist life for 10 days in Shanghai, I wanted to discover China through a working life. Swissnex China gave me the possibility to realize this dream by offering me a 6 months internship.

At swissnex, I had the chance to have a highly diversified job by helping the team in their projects but also by bringing my own ideas. Half of my work consisted of representing HEC Lausanne, which is the University where I graduated with a Master degree in Information System. The other half was dedicated to help the swissnex China team on diverse projects.

China gave me an amazing life experience that I will never forget. I am glad to having undertaken this challenge and I will definitely leave without any regrets. This experience allowed me to open my mind, discover a new culture and become really independent. Now, I am about to leave Shanghai but with the only objective to come back in the near future.

Finally, this experience would have never been be the same without the swissnex China team. So I would like to thank each of them for having contributed to the success of my Chinese working experience. Few months ago, I remembered how much I was afraid to come here and leave behind friends and family. Now, I feel more than afraid to say goodbye to Shanghai. I will miss this town and the people I met, but I know that I will leave with the head full of memories.

Good Bye swissnex China and thank you again for making this happening.

Elsa Bouzaglo

Farewell from Zhanyu

How time flies. Now, I am arriving at the terminal of my journey of 6-month internship at swissnex China. All the past days spent together with colleagues at working, lunch, or team-building have been merged into a series of images which would be engraved in my mind.

 Zhanyu Li

Zhanyu Li

Working as a local academic intern at swissnex China is really a rewarding experience. I could follow up multiple tasks at the same time. While assisting the SSSTC programs, I also contributed my own bit to various projects, like Swiss Start-ups, Swiss Day, Swiss Week, from which I have learned a lot in the field of project management. Besides, by accompanying various delegations and guests to Chinese universities, I have witnessed the efforts of building up partnership between Chinese and Swiss universities made by both sides. I found it challenging while significant to help achieve the common ground between the two sides by transcending the differences in language, culture, mindset and ways of working.

In the end, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to my dear colleagues, Tu, Sherry, Jasmine, Lijun, Cissy, Isabel, Elsa, Maad, Liliane… I would like to speak out the names of all of you. All of you have helped me make this internship complete. Many thanks, in particular, goes to mon chef, Pascal. I should say, you are a charismatic leader, great influencer and nice motivator, always full of energy and ready to listen to the opinions of every team member. I would also like to thank you, Linda, for your patient coaching and insightful advises throughout my internship.

Thank you very much, and hope to see you again soon.

Farewell from Niklaus

After six intensive months at the Shanghai office of swissnex, I’m about to leave the People’s Republic of China and head back to Switzerland. With me, I take a full bag of impressions about this country and its wonderful people.

I had the chance to visit Shanghai during the exciting time where the country’s enormous growth during the recent past lets it become the world’s largest economy. The wind of change can be felt on every corner of this very lively and ever busy metropolis. New buildings are pulled up at high speed, tonight’s dinner restaurant might be replaced by tomorrow.

The variety of encounters with the Chinese population taught me a lot about the way of life over here, about the differences to Switzerland, but also about many similarities.

Six months are not enough to fully understand this country and its people, but it is certainly enough to make me never forget this unique experience and the many friends I made in Shanghai.

During my time here, I worked on several swissnex China projects, represented the University of Zurich UZH on many events and supported the local UZH-Alumni chapter. Thanks to the broad field in which swissnex is engaged, I had the possibility to see and learn about many different aspects of the Sino-Swiss relationships as well as about China in general.

My sincerest thanks go out to all the people who made this internship possible, especially Pascal Marmier and Isabel Götz from swissnex China and Xenia Goslicka and Yasmine Inauen from the International Relations Office of the University of Zurich UZH.

My first official event

I’m Anouk and I’ve been an intern at the Science, Technology and Education (STE) section of the Swiss Embassy in Beijing for two weeks now. So far I can already look back to a very interesting and manifold time.

Last week I had my first “official appearance as a representative of the Swiss Embassy”. The occasion was the opening ceremony of the Beijing Science Festival (BJSF) at the Beijing Olympic Park. The BJSF took place from September 12th to September 16th, organized by BAST, the Beijing Association for Science and Technology. The aim of the annual Science Festival is to popularize science through interactive projects, demonstrations, forums and shows.

 Source from

Source from

Our section of the embassy got an invitation to attend the opening ceremony of the festival as well as a buffet prior to that. When I heard that I should go there all by myself, I was on one side looking forward to it, but on the other side very nervous, since I have never attended such an event before. There was a shuttle bus waiting for the invitees from the different embassies near the embassy district. Of course I did not exactly calm down when I saw that the other attendants were all men in a much higher position and with a lot more experience than me. After every one of us got his own volunteer appointed to, who should guide us through the evening, the bus took us to the buffet. I quickly calmed down when I experienced that the atmosphere was very informal and friendly. I had the chance to have interesting discussions with representatives of the Finnish, French and Malawi embassies about their embassies cooperation with China and about innovation in China. Although there weren’t any Chinese officials present, the way of connecting clearly had a Chinese touch. Most of the times even before the small talk started, business cards were exchanged, of course with two hands and a slightly bended head.


Later we were driven to the exhibitions of the Science Festival at the Olympic Park. The exhibition was organized into different theme regions, like chemistry, nutrition and health or defense science. Especially interesting was the astronomy and space region, where the presentation of a lunar vehicle model took place for the first time in public.

After the tour through the exhibitions, the opening ceremony took place, with colorful acts, shows and dance performances. Unfortunately it was disrupted by heavy rain, but of course the volunteers anticipated that and had umbrellas ready for us.

So all in all I had a really interesting evening. The different way of interacting with people (although maybe less formal compared to Europe, but on the other side more formal with important procedures like the exchanging of business cards), the perfectly organized evening (everything went exactly after timetable, everyone had his own guide), the very colorful performance at the end, this was all very new for me. I definitely look forward to my future tasks at the embassy.


Goodbye from Claire Berset

It seems like I arrived yesterday in Shanghai and it’s already time for me to leave swissnex, after two short but intense months. When I left Shanghai in 2012 after one year, I’d never  have thought that I would be back so soon, and this time to get work experience. I was really excited about it and I was right: from the first day on, I felt very comfortable thanks to the warm welcome of the team and I got to work on different interesting projects. I learnt a lot regarding swissnex but also about working in a dynamic and multi-cultural environment (and in an open space listening to Shanghainese conversations), with its advantages and challenges. Being involved in such an organization from the inside probably taught me way more than reading a million books on business administration. This internship confirmed my interest in international relations and opened my eyes on other fields, which I am looking forward to explore further during my studies.

For my second time in Shanghai, I found everything I had been missing for so long (friends, ECNU, the skyscrapers,… and of course COCO) but also experienced many new things. One could spend 10 years in China and still be surprised every day; Shanghai is the perfect example – I was impressed how many places had changed in only one year… I’m already looking forward to coming back in a few years!

I’ll keep many memories from these two months and I would like to thank Pascal Marmier as well as everybody else for welcoming me at swissnex and allowing me to participate in the many ongoing projects. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope to stay linked to the swissnex network and to the great people I met here!

谢谢你们, 祝大家顺利和愉快!



"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana"

… and after 5,5 months in Shanghai I am flying back to Switzerland.

My internship at swissnex China was incredibly interesting, valuable and rewarding. While writing my research report on philanthropy and nonprofit organizations China, I learned a lot, not only about research topic itself, but also about China’s history as well as its social, economic and political development over the past decades. In my interviews with different nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other institutions, I learned about the many challenges the nonprofit sector and Chinese society as a whole face.  During conversations and travels with my friends and colleagues at swissnex, I learned a lot about them and myself, the differences and similarities between Switzerland and China, and about 莲子. During my lunch breaks, I learned to appreciate the delicious simplicity of a full plate of fried rice with lots of spicy sauce. The list goes on…

I would also like to take this opportunity to share three of the many highlights of my stay in China:

-          Walking around and being blessed by the holy waterfall 雨崩神瀑 in Yubeng, Yunnan.

-          Being late to the stage at the SERI delegation event “What’s driving Switzerland’s success in Education, Research and Innovation?” at the Swissôtel Grand Shanghai… (Thank you Pascal for taking it with humor!)

-          Having my leg hair admired and touched by an elderly man at a bus station in Kunming.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Pascal Marmier, the entire swissnex China team, and the Gebert Rüf Stiftung without whose generous support and assistance all of the above would not have been made possible.