Being One of the Swissnex China Family is Amazing!

By Yingzhen Chen (Christy), Junior Project Manager - PR & Communications

Six months have never been passed so fast…until I joined swissnex China in this February. It was an amazing journey here to meet and work with many talented, friendly colleagues, and to further develop expertise for my career pursuit.  

The original intention for me to join swissnex China was the chance to connect China and Switzerland in science and technology in a creative way. Although I have just been to Switzerland for one week, the exquisite country left me really good impression, the poetic scenery, friendly citizens and highly developed financial and scientific innovations. The opportunity to work at swissnex enables me to know more about the Swiss people, their passion and professionalism towards innovation by organizing and participating various programs and events. One of my unforgettable experience was participating the CES ASIA 2019 in June, the biggest consumer electronic show in Asia. swissnex China brought 22 top start-ups from Switzerland and organized a #SWISSTECH Pavilion to showcase latest innovations. It was interesting to bridging the Swiss start-ups and Chinese investors together by collaborating with our colleagues in a short time. As for my role of PR & Communication, I was responsible for the media relations and publicities including wechat and weibo promotions, shooting interviews and editing videos etc. By talking with the start-up founders, I get to know some interesting stories of their product and entrepreneurship, and the reason of choosing China as the new market entry. It was also challenging to connecting the Chinese media with the start-ups, to build up a better image of Swiss excellence in science and innovation.

Christy had a great time working with her swissnex colleagues during CES ASIA 2019.

Christy had a great time working with her swissnex colleagues during CES ASIA 2019.

Another exciting task for me was the Tamedia Study Tour in April. I was responsible to plan and execute a program for the top Swiss media group – Tamedia to better understanding the media and innovation landscape in China. By constantly researching and reaching out to companies in different fields, I have improved my interpersonal communication skills, knowing how to better propose and target a collaboration in different strategies when facing different companies. The program was very successful at the end.

An insightful trip with Tamedia top delegations at Phoenix International Media Center in Beijing.

An insightful trip with Tamedia top delegations at Phoenix International Media Center in Beijing.

Besides from work, there are so many lovely memories during my sixth months’ stay here. I think the open and friendly working atmosphere is the most I valued. Every time we organized an event, the whole team will work together to support each other, and everyone is very open to discuss questions. I have spent many pleasant meals, outings with my colleagues as well, it is always cool to discuss different topics across different cultural backgrounds. Sometimes breaking the limits of your understanding is not so easy, but we are always open and respect to other’s opinions.

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Looking back my six months here – was short but meaningful. I am truly grateful and happy to work with all the colleagues at swissnex in Shanghai.

Wǒ de mā ya! Shanghai has been an outstanding experience!

By Victor Dietrich, Junior Project Manager & HEC Lausanne Ambassador

What a pleasant stay in Shanghai! Six months ago, I arrived from my small village of fewer than 200 inhabitants to Shanghai, a megalopolis with its population size three times that of Switzerland! After a first visit to China last summer with the China Hardware Innovation Camp (CHIC), where my team prototyped and manufactured a connected product in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, I had the pleasure of working as a junior project manager for swissnex China and as an ambassador for HEC Lausanne in China. I was excited to be part of this highly dynamic and innovative environment that has a rapid adoption rate and a clear plan to become a leader in many technology areas by 2025.

I joined the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team in October and had the opportunity to work on various projects with different tasks to accomplish and learn from this experience. I remember my first project where we participated in China's largest trade fair, the CIIE. I had the pleasure of organizing an event where we presented swissnex China's activities and projects as well as a presentation of Swiss start-ups to thousands of local audience. In the following months I had the opportunity to participate and represent swissnex China at events such as the Sino-European Health Technology Innovation Week in Nanjing, and the opening of the Sino-Swiss TechnoPark and the SSBICom in Chongqing. At these events, I have gone out of my comfort zone by giving speeches to more than 200 people. I also had the chance to visit exciting companies and see how innovative some players are. Cainiao’s autonomous warehouse and its hundreds of robots were incredible. Landspace and its rocket projects were fascinating. I also enjoyed visiting one of the Siemens factories and discovering all the project management tools that have been implemented in the production line. My last major project was to assist in organizing the Swiss Pavilion at CES ASIA with more than 20 Swiss start-ups joining us to represent the Swiss innovation ecosystem, and to join the competition to win some of the highly coveted startup awards. This role gave me the opportunity to meet exceptional people I could not have met in other situations and to build a quality network.

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For HEC Lausanne, the organization of events was fun, and the very encouraging participants were always happy to participate. The Shadow Banking conference with Prof. Ying Liu received much positive feedback and generated a lot of interest through many interactions. Supporting exchange students and organizing alumni gatherings was also fun, although it was not always easy to stimulate the alumni community. I also appreciated the opening ceremony of the China Economics and Finance Center, at which the Dean of HEC Lausanne was present, and where I participated in a round table discussion with other stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem.

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My experience at swissnex China has been much more than just work. I had an incredibly fun time with this wonderful team. There are so many impactful moments that I simply can't include them all here. The retreat in Beijing with the whole group was great. The countless lunches, dinners, brunches, and drinks. KTV, small getaways and other weekend activities were fun. 

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I want to thank all the people at swissnex China for giving me this opportunity. Working and spending time with great minds has inspired me and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. More than just colleagues, I found many friends here.

I would recommend China to all the sceptics as China has much more to offer than what we can read in the news or see on the TV. The Chinese are incredibly friendly and generous, even though communication can often be the main problem. Chinese food and its eight distinct cuisines has a lot to offer.

The next steps for me will be to write my master's thesis on artificial intelligence in China. But first, I will travel to Japan and Korea, as well as showing my family a little bit of China and add a city or two to my long list of Chinese experiences.   

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Sacha’s Farewell: Zaijian Shanghai, Nihao Beijing!

By Sacha Pantillon, Assistant Project Manager

Whaoo, I can’t believe that I've already spent 6 months in Shanghai. In my brain, I feel like I just arrived in China.

During my stay at swissnex China, I was mainly involved in assisting the Office Manager and the CEO with administrative and operational tasks including accounting. I also helped to push some events through social media, to increase the follower count of the official swissnex China accounts to supported activities and events such as the Future of Money Series, End-of-Year Open Day 2018 etc.

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Besides work, I also had the opportunity to discover Shanghai’s neighborhood and some cities around China. One thing that I enjoyed in particular is the food: it was very interesting to see all the difference between the food cultures in China and Europe.

I really want to thank swissnex China for choosing me and for entrusting me with the responsibilities. I hope that we’ll see us again in the future.

So goodbye Shanghai… and Beijing: here I am!

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Zàijiàn Shanghai … – Farewell from Priska

The end of my time at swissnex China is approaching and I cannot believe how quickly the last year has passed.

During my internship at swissnex China I took care of the science newsletters, did the coordination for the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle (with for me the highlights being the visits to Yangshan Port IV Automated Terminal and Cainiao, the logistics arm of Alibaba) and helped organizing various events (with “Homes of Drones: The Sino-Swiss Drone Night” being the biggest one).

I grew very fond of China, its convenience, its culture and food (lánzhōu lāmiàn, jiǎozi, bāozi, tāng yuán, shāo kǎo, huǒ guō!) and besides extending my Chinese vocabulary mainly in the area of food, I also had the chance to travel to various destinations in China. Although sometimes having to overcome some difficulties and often communicating with hands, feet and WeChat translate, I enjoyed all my trips and I was amazed by the country’s landscapes, sights and very kind and helpful people!

I am thankful for the year in Shanghai, a vibrant and everchanging city, and for the people that I met, making my stay in China an amazing experience!

Zàijiàn Shanghai, zàijiàn China!

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HEC Lausanne Day Trip to Zhujiajiao

By Valentin Beuchat and Sébastien Quadri, Junior Project Leaders

On May 26, HEC Lausanne invited 9 very motivated participants to join in for a one-day trip to Zhujiajiao Ancient Town and fully immerse themselves in the rich local culture and history.

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This ancient water town is located south of the Yangtze River, and has over 1,700 years of history. Affectionately dubbed the "Venice of Shanghai”, it is made of lovely waterways, curved rock bridges, old streets cemented with stone, and over 10,000 buildings built during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911).

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While walking through Fangsheng Bridge, Kezhi Garden and Yuanjin Buddhist Shrine or taking a local gondola on the narrow canals, it was a great opportunity to meet former and current students of HEC Lausanne and exchange our experiences, stories, etc.

Did you know that HEC was located at “La Riponne” 40 years ago? Always interesting to compare our university life!

Thank you to a great partnership between HEC Lausanne and swissnex China, which enabled such a little fun and cultural outing.

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Hope to see you very soon, somewhere in this very well connected world.

 

From Shanghai with love,

Valentin & Sébastien

"Time flies (too) fast..." - Farewell from Valentin

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Where to start describing this enriching experience? I have lived during my 6-month internship at swissnex China in Shanghai. As far as I remember, my first link with China was in primary school where I did a presentation about the Great Wall, which, according to the myth, is visible from the Moon. Then, during my studies, attending the course “Competing with China” has aroused even more my curiosity about this fascinating country and eventually, I had the opportunity to do this internship in the framework of the HEC Lausanne – swissnex partnership.

Instead of having too many expectations that are not fulfilled, I just thought "let’s see what China is", as it is always better to make a judgment after having experienced the thing. Fully understanding this enormous and diverse country and its kind people in only six months is certainly not enough, but I will never forget the time I spent in crazy Shanghai. This megalopolis is simply the showcase of what China is doing in the 21st Century, with ever taller skyscrapers, new disruptive technologies, vibrant lifestyle, today’s shop may be replaced by tomorrow’s restaurant, and much more. The fast-moving environment makes it feel as if everything is possible, and it is really exciting to be part of it.

During my stay here, I have worked on several swissnex China projects, and especially the one on AI in WealthTech, part of the Future of Money series. It was a great achievement and this has allowed me to improve my project management skills. I also represented HEC Lausanne on several events, and overall, I had the opportunity to connect with many interesting people and learn more about China in general and the Sino-Swiss relationships in-depth. I felt proud to represent my country abroad. Traveling within China is also part of the experience and the variety of regions and people encountered has broaden my horizon and allows you to develop some improvisation skills depending on the situation…

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Time flies (too) fast and the next steps for me still need to be thought about, but few options are in the pipeline, with China being definitely one of them.

Finally, I would like to thank all my supportive colleagues and dear friends for having made this adventure unforgettable. I am sure our paths will cross again at some point, whether it is in Switzerland, China, or anywhere else…

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): http://www.shijiejingxiang.ch 

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: http://www.watermarksthefilm.ch 

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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.

FAREWELL FROM ISABEL

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,

Isabel鲍奕琳

FAREWELL FROM JULIEN

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.

Cheers,

David 

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?