What do you think of Chinese students

Chinese students learn intercultural competence

Status: October 29, 2020 5:00 a.m.

Nine Chinese exchange students are learning intercultural skills at the West Coast University of Applied Sciences in Heide. For them, life in Dithmarschen is a big difference to the Chinese metropolis - especially during the corona pandemic.

by Katharina K├╝cke and Oliver Kring

Fry the eggplant, Chinese cabbage and mixed mince with soy sauce in the pan. Finished. Cooking after university - that wouldn't have happened at home. Because in China, students receive intensive support and the day is completely planned. The cafeteria is always open and there is breakfast, lunch and dinner. But for the past three weeks everything has been different for Weng Yichen and Xu Zhehao: They are in Dithmarschen - and two of the nine Chinese exchange students at the West Coast University of Applied Sciences in Heide.

Because of Corona only 9 instead of 15 exchange students

They usually study industrial engineering at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, near Shanghai. Almost ten million people live in the metropolis, in Heide there are only about 20,000. The two universities have been cooperating with each other for seven years. Germans study in China and Chinese in Germany. Because of the corona pandemic, 6 of the original 15 students canceled. The risk of being infected here is too great. Because in China there have hardly been any new corona cases for months, while the number of infections in Germany is rising again. But neither of them are really worried. "There aren't that many people on the street and people keep their distance," said Xu Zhehao.

In the event of infection: Chinese government monitors the door

The way the pandemic is dealt with in Germany is quite different from that in China. Most Chinese stayed at home for the wedding, says Weng Yichen. "We were very self-disciplined and just didn't go out. And when someone was infected, the government monitored the door so that people couldn't go out." In return, the government organized volunteers who provided the infected with food. Distance regulations and mask wear are less common.

Twenty instead of hundreds of students in one seminar

The only obstacle is the language: Because the two of them don't understand German very well.

So far, Weng Yichen and Xu Zhehao have been living quite isolated in Germany. "I first met in the supermarket when a woman pointed out the distance to me," says Weng Yichen with a smile. She has not yet met other students outside of the German-Chinese shared apartment, because almost everything has been digital so far. Nevertheless, they could already see some differences. "In China we have several hundred students in a lecture hall. Here there are only about twenty," says Weng Yichen happily. There is also more exchange between students here, because discussions are part of the seminar. "I have a much better chance here of expressing my opinion and that way I learn the content better," he says.

You only understand half of it

The only obstacle is the language. Because they don't understand German very well - they only tell about half of what the teachers say. And that despite the fact that the two of them studied German hard before they came to Germany. "After class, we need about two to three hours to repeat everything," says Weng Yichen. It is particularly difficult if there are no books in which they can read the content again and translate it. In some cases - due to data protection - it is not even allowed to copy documents. That is different in China. There are books for everything.

Corona: Differences between China and Germany

The two are supervised by Boris-Maximilian Uran, who is responsible for technical cooperation at the West Coast University of Applied Sciences. He studied in China years ago and is happy that a few Chinese have come to Dithmarschen this year too. "For us this is internationalization and a nice sign for the University of Applied Sciences that our students are equipped with intercultural skills." This year, students can also experience how differently Germany is dealing with the pandemic. "China was able to contain the pandemic very strictly and rigorously. In Germany, a different path was chosen," he explains. All the more he has to make sure that the students can still find their way around.

German food: Not very balanced

Weng Yichen and Xu Zhehao have already been able to determine how different the two countries are. And there are also big differences for the two of them when it comes to food. Because since you've been here, you have to be completely self-sufficient. This is new territory for both of them. "The food in Germany is very salty and dry and often without vegetables," says Weng Yichen. "I don't think that's very balanced." On the other hand, the prices for food are much cheaper. Milk, for example, is much cheaper. In the meantime, the two of them have got used to cooking themselves and are even enjoying it. "But the soy sauce doesn't taste as good here as it does in China," says Weng Yichen. But he brought some Chinese groceries with him. But the two of them are already longing for original Chinese food.

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Schleswig-Holstein Magazine | 10/30/2020 | 19:30 o'clock