I wanted to write a few lines to share my feelings and experiences from the last three years of living and working in China.  However, this is a difficult time for me because I am now in the planning stages for returning to England as my contract will end this June.  I really do not want to leave Shanghai.  It’s an emotional thing and I want to be honest about this most amazing and valued experience in my life.

For the foreigner and his/her family, there are many challenges that come with a working assignment and living in such a different culture.  The language barrier, new career direction with expanded responsibility and thoughts for my family’s security, to be honest, left my head spinning at first.

From the start, I therefore made a conscious decision to learn the language.  I was lucky that the company helped to organize a great teacher for me and I soon found that being able to say a few things in Mandarin really helped to make a difference here.

I did make a few mistakes however, both with my spoken Mandarin and in some cultural understanding.  It’s easy to say completely the wrong thing sometimes, both in Mandarin and also in English due to some cultural differences.  My colleagues however have always been very patient and keen to explain and give me good advice.  For that I am very grateful.

The Role

In the job, I was lucky to be surrounded by some very supportive local colleagues.  The attitude and energy of my Chinese colleagues is like that of a new company, with a “can-do“ approach and a passion for good results.  There is also a strong “family-business“ feeling here as people always seem to be supporting and looking out for each other.  Strong teams.  I also noticed how dynamic the business is from a people development perspective, in that career progression is a strong feature.

As the technical guy, I found that my colleagues were always keen to learn more and more about the filtration technology I represented.  It seemed that every day, new questions needed answering from all sides of the business, from customers to suppliers and I enjoyed supporting them.  Through my colleague‘s new understanding and market intelligence, we have found a promising new direction in Asia that will help to secure future business.  So I‘d like to herald my colleagues’ great work here. This is an exciting time for the centrifuge in Asia.