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?