I am Yuanting Wang, 27 years old from Beijing, China. I did my Masters in Developmental Biology at Chinese Academy of Sciences. I moved to Germany a year ago for my PhD studies.
Why did you decide to come to Germany?
I love European nations, they are small yet so beautiful. I applied to several programs in Germany and Switzerland. In the end I chose the Max Planck of Immunobiology and Epigenetics as I liked the work and the city.
How has your stay been so far ?
I like Freiburg, I like it a lot. The city is small and environment is really good thanks to the black forest. It is relatively small and less crowded compared to Beijing, and I like it. I am very happy here (smiling – ed.).
Do you find it difficult here without knowing German?
I think it is sufficient if you know English, to move around and live. Knowing German is necessary, if you want to better communicate with people. It is better and easier to learn German here than in non-German speaking countries. When you come here, you will learn it. I am learning it myself at my institute.
What do people back in Beijing think of Germans?
Chinese people think of Germans as very cautious, careful and responsible. They also find them less humourous. Before I came here this is the impression I had. It is true! (laughing– ed.). My colleagues are very responsible and helpful.
What are the main cultural differences you find here?
There are so many cultural differences; I don’t know where to begin. When it comes to daily life – shops, all the shops are always closed during Sunday. In China, both on Saturday and Sunday all shops are open. It makes me feel like I have just one day for weekend. I do not have much choice of activities for Sunday. I have to think whether I should stay at home or go to the lab. In China, I would go to the malls, meet friends, eat and watch movies. Here, I have to think of what to do and don’t have enough choices.
I would love to make more friends, but I am not very outgoing. I will have to work on that. However, I think, it may not be true, but they do not easily accept outsiders. I don’t feel at home nor do I feel like an outsider. There are some exceptions though.
What do you miss the most about China?
Food, clothes, friends and my family. Right now I would say I’d like to move around the world. I like Japan and would like to go there. Also, the first thing I would do when I go back is eat and go shopping (laughing –ed.). There are so many varieties of clothes, which I do not find here.
What is easy and difficult for you here?
I would say the environment in Germany is really good. At the institute, everything is very accessible and working atmosphere is more relaxed.
Difficult…to make friends. I cannot follow the fast speaking German people (laughing – ed.). I could joke and chat easily with my friends in China though…
By our new collaborator Madhuri