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The WHU Asia Connect Team.

Debut Event from New Student Club WHU Asia Connect

What’s it like living and working in Asia? Newly founded student club offers insights at its debut event

Living in China. For those who hail from outside the country, it presents both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity to jump headfirst into an entirely different world. Dan Huang, Research Assistant at the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Creativity, and Jasper Thiedemann (BSc, 2023) shared their own experiences from their time in East Asia.

After an introduction delivered by representatives from WHU Asia Connect, Chinese-born Dan Huang took center stage to present her own unique perspectives to the audience. Before starting her MBA program at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, she had already spent some years working as a consultant. She later decided to move to Germany in 2019 to begin her studies. Having spent so much time in both countries, she was able to describe the differences between the two and give the students valuable tips for the future. For example, she has observed more solidarity among colleagues, greater distances between the hierarchical levels within companies, and a stronger sense of collectivism in China overall. She also noted the factors necessary to integrate into Chinese society successfully. According to her, it’s much more important at the beginning to find a confidant native to the area than to master the local language.

Jasper Thiedemann then followed up by giving the audience insights into his time as a student and employee in China. In 2015, he spent a fulfilling year abroad, staying with a host family in Shanghai. After later graduating from secondary school in 2018, he opted to return to China once again. During his professional training in wholesale and foreign trade, Thiedemann got to know the many different sides of the country on a much deeper level. He spoke of what had been an informative time in his life, of the challenging culture shock, and of his affection for the country that had developed over time. After some initial communication problems and unease with his host family, he eventually found a way to integrate into society by improving his language skills, making new friends, and learning more about the culture. He advised his audience to embrace cultural differences with respect, as doing so would allow them to discover the country’s many facets, as numerous as they are beautiful.

At the end of the presentations, guests gathered in a relaxed space, where they had a chance to grab drinks and snacks and to ask questions directly to the speakers. The club already offers a monthly newsletter and is planning more events for the future, where guest speakers will discuss their experiences in living and working in Asia. In doing so, the club intends to provide WHU students the solid foundation and comprehensive background information they need.

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