Three years ago, I arrived straight from a tiny mountain village in the Swiss Alps at Pudong airport. With me, I had two suitcases and much anticipation of what lay ahead. It was my second time moving to China. When living in Beijing in 2014/15, I could already witness how China was becoming one of the rising stars of global innovation thanks to its commitment to making innovation a key driver of its future growth, an increasing number of Chinese firms at the global technology frontier, and hundreds of millions of hyper-adaptive consumers who further accelerate the speed of innovation implementation. Swissnex was right in the middle of all this, and therefore exactly where I wanted to be. I knew that coming here would be the ideal opportunity to peer into the future and to work with an interdisciplinary team in a creative and fast-paced working environment. It was an easy decision to leave my comfort zone and move to Shanghai.
The time I spent in China has been incredibly enriching. Privately, I had the chance to travel to some of the most stunning and breathtaking places and to experience firsthand the outstanding diversity of this country. Professionally, I was offered a working environment which allowed me to learn, experiment and explore. Now that my last day in Shanghai is approaching, it is time to look back on some of the highlights of my time at Swissnex.
Swissnex in China has organized some memorable events over the past years. The Swiss Alumni China nights have always been among my most anticipated events, not only because they bring together a great community and allow to reminisce about the student days, but also because during these evenings I spent some unforgettable moments with my team. The fact that we have managed to organize this largescale event every year despite the numerous challenges (zero Covid policy!) makes me feel very lucky. While the Swiss Alumni events gave us the chance to enjoy the Shanghai skyline from a cruise ship on the Huangpu River, the Sino-Swiss Energy Reception offered us the opportunity to gaze at the iconic skyscrapers from the 52nd floor of the Shanghai tower – definitely another highlight! Then there was the Café des Science lecture series through which I got introduced to many exciting projects and got to meet many interesting people. My involvement in some of the network initiatives is another fond memory from my time at Swissnex. The coordination of nexTraining, a virtual training program for the Swissnex network, and the global operations call allowed me to connect and to exchange with many of my colleagues from around the world and made me realize what an incredible network I have become a part of thanks to Swissnex.
Swissnex serves as a platform to connect people and ideas and as a facilitator, not just for partners and collaborators, but also for its staff. Thanks to Swissnex, I was able to join the mentoring program of the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons and was heading the University of Zurich Alumni Chapter Shanghai for almost two years. These were valuable opportunities for me to explore new responsibilities, to organizes some fun activities, but most importantly to build new friendships.
I am very thankful for all the people I have met through Swissnex, first and foremost my colleagues who never seized to amaze me with their incredible resilience, creativity, flexibility, and adaptability. My team has supported me throughout my time in China, professionally, as well as in my private life.
I was lucky enough to be part not just of team Swissnex, but also of team Switzerland. Many thanks to the amazing colleagues from the Embassy in Beijing, the Consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Business Hub, the Swissnex residents, and all the other stakeholders from the Sino-Swiss community who were always welcoming and supportive.
Looking back, I can confidently say that my time at Swissnex contributed to my professional and personal growth. The skills and knowhow I gained during my time in Shanghai helped me build a solid foundation to continue building my career on. I wish Swissnex in China and my team all the very best. I am looking forward to following the exciting projects and new initiatives from afar and to coming to visit you in the future. Until then – 再见上海!