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.