By Lukas Blumenauer. Diploma thesis at Georg Fischer Automotive. Summer 2013.
There was one question I was always asked before I flew to China: “Do you really want to go to China?”
Yes, I was sure, that the opportunity to write my Diploma thesis in China is the right decision. I’m here for two month now and I settled in very good. Now I want to give you some insights into my Chinese everyday life.
Working in China
I’m a student at TU Bergakademie Freiberg and study foundry engineering since 2008. For my diploma thesis I work for Georg Fischer Automotive at the plants in Kunshan and Suzhou. The topic is mainly to develop a new escalator step for the Chinese market.
Generally the plants here don’t differentiate much from European locations. Both, the aluminum die casting foundry in Suzhou and the iron sand casting foundry in Kunshan are built and managed by European standards.
There are some differences in the everyday work after all. First of all, there are much more workers and manual labor. Also the approach of tasks is sometimes much different. Chinese workers don’t want to accept responsibility and want to do their work by the book. But they will do their work conscientious and fast. As soon as problems occur, they will not try to solve it, they will try to circumvent it. If you are able to handle their methods, determined working is possible.
Language in China
The communication in the company is no problem. Most of the people who studied, speak pretty good English. For everything else you will always find somebody who can translate for you.
Totally contrary is the communication during the spare time. Before I left Germany I did not think much about language barriers or other obstacles. Also, many people who have been to China before, told me it is not worth it to learn the language, because it is too difficult. I cannot agree to this after two month in China.
About 90% of the Chinese population doesn’t understand “yes” or “no” and so I started immediately to learn the first words. I can only recommend everybody to focus on speaking. Simply learn how to say different syllables and then memorize some words. You will not learn perfect Chinese like this, but you will be able to handle your everyday life.
The life in China itself is really pleasant. I live in a nice apartment on the 10. floor of a skyscraper in the south of Kunshan. Right next to my apartment is the newly constructed train station for high speed trains. This is perfect for me, because I’m able to get to Shanghai and Suzhou within 15 minutes. Even Kunshan now has about 2.2 million inhabitants (50% growth within 4 years), it resembles more the character of a village rather than a city. Especially the contact and exchange of experiences with other expats is easier in bigger cities.
The daily living costs in China are very low, assumed you eat Chinese food. The Chinese food is very tasty, varied and healthy. Only people who like big pieces of meat will be disappointed. It’s common here to always have a big piece of bone with a small piece of meat. All the people who like to try out new dishes will have a lot to explore: pig ears, dug feet, century egg, snails…
The good infrastructure enables to see many places in China without a car. I can only recommend visiting some places off the beaten tourist track. Thereby you get a better and deeper insight into the traditional life and many great memories.
It is hard to summarize all my impressions in such a short posting. For this reason I suggest to everybody to do the adventure China on their own. It is worth trying and definitely not worse living than anywhere else on this planet.
GF Automotive AG – Passion for a lighter future:
The Georg Fischer Automotive AG, a division of Georg Fischer AG, with headquarter in Schaffhausen is a recognized development and serial production partner of the automotive industry with 10 production sites in three countries (Germany, Austria, China). The core business is the development and production of highly claimable castings of iron, aluminum and magnesium for the automotive industry and its suppliers. GF Automotive has therefore designed the research& development for years on weight reduction and lightweight and the reduction of CO2 emissions and efficient fuel consumption.
For more information, please visit: www.gfau.com