Greetings from Shanghai

by Noë van Bergen, winner of the Egemin ie-net Award 2013

Nĭ hăo,

My latest update, just after returning from the US, already feels like ages ago. In the meantime I have been living for over two months now in the city claiming to have the largest population in the world, Shanghai China. Apart from the fact whether that’s true or not, Shanghai is big, busy and full of noiseless electric scooters bowling you over if you don’t watch out crossing the street. My window on the 29th floor overlooks three adjacent construction sites. Buildings shoot up like mushrooms, sometimes dozens identical ones at the same time, and all high enough to make your ears pop when going down the elevator.

My tasks at Egemin’s Shanghai office have been quite diverse, from giving sales support for several E’gv® and E’tow® systems, to assisting with the testing of a Process Automation MES package at a Chinese chemical plant and investigating further development possibilities for Process Automation in China. Whereas the development of an Egemin establishment so far abroad is not an easy task, the Chinese colleagues get more and more successful building a good looking project pipeline, reputation and network, also clearly shown by the large crowd participating in the third Shanghai E’tow® seminar. The most interesting part for me has been visiting the customers and experiencing the differences in practices, communication and doing business together more in general. There are many clichés about the Chinese of which some are spot on, but many far from true. Over time, I get to appreciate more and more the richness and complexity of the Chinese culture and their way of living. What I do not like about China though, and regularly caused me sleepless nights here, is the 11 hour time difference with the World Cup host Brazil.

During lunch, I often get thought Chinese by the colleagues. I came to the point that I, most of the time, do not get surprised any more when receiving the food I ordered. “Pretty lady, please bring me tomato beef noodles and a glass of cold water.”  The majority of the words I know are food related. Food is diverse and mostly tasty. However, if you do not want to remind yourself and the people around you every time you breathe that you ate a fruit tasting like rotten leek, than don’t eat durian. When going for dinner in China, one gets regularly confronted with pretty unusual dishes; I ate Hong Kong style chicken feet, duck tongues and green tea flavoured birthday cake.

For me, this is the end of my period as Egemin trainee and thus also as travel blog writer. I just signed my contract and will be joining the Handling Automation division. I want to thank the Egemin management for their engagement to support the Egemin ie-net award and thereby believing in the potential of their generation of young engineers. As I’ve been staying at all of Egemin’s international establishments over the last ten months, I’ve been introduced to new Egemin colleagues and taken in tow time and again. Once more, I want to express my appreciation for having me and making me feel home in all countries I got to visit.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!