One month in China
Nina Giesenkirchen, an apprentice and BA student of the GEA Air Treatment GmbH, spent one month in China as part of GEA’s “Stay Abroad Programme”. She visited our subsidiary, the GEA Industrial Heat Exchangers GmbH Ltd Wuhu of the HX segment, to support the Finance and Accounting Department with some special topics. The report below summarizes her Chinese experience.
Before I started my trip to the GEA Industrial Heat Exchangers Ltd. in Wuhu (China), I was very excited and nervous.
I asked myself: “How is life in China? What will the staff be like? Will I have the chance to really come close to the Chinese culture”?
There were many questions, but I was also happy and grateful that GEA were giving me the chance to get some experience of what it is like to work abroad, to work with other people, to improve my English, and to have my own project.
On the 15th of November, I started my trip to China and I was really surprised on my arrival. Wuhu is a little city in the province of Anhui. It has 2.3 million inhabitants and it is a real Chinese city with almost no foreigners there. It was very difficult to understand the people when they spoke English with a Chinese accent and, of course, many people don’t speak English at all. But after a few days, it became easier and easier to understand them and talk with them. They organized a welcome dinner for me on the first evening and welcomed me into their Finance and Accounting Department “family” which made me feel very honoured.
During my stay, it was planned for me to support the finance and accounting team and to do an order profitability difference analysis report at GIC.
I made a batch analysis for selected abnormal margin orders from each of the product lines and found the root cause for the differences between quotations / plan with the actual ones.
I did a summary list of root cause of the differences and proposed an improvement action plan for the GIC; something they could do in the future to decrease the high differences and develop an easy controlling system. At the end, I put forward proposals for some solutions and, moreover, advised them to connect our excel-based analysis with the ERP-system SAP to get an automatic batch analysis on the profitability differences every month.
The task I had was a very interesting project and I worked together with a lot of different kinds of people and got to know how the Chinese people work.
The stay in Wuhu was one of the best things in my life and I have learned so much about China, the Chinese culture, the Chinese people and also about myself. My colleagues were always so kind and friendly. During my stay, I looked on them as my little Chinese family and they were so hospitable. Every day, they invited me to join them or get to know their family and friends. It was fantastic because this was the best way to learn something about the Chinese people and their culture. The life in China is completely different to the German way of life and the work, too. In China, you always need time and patience because if you would like to know something or you would like to have something explained, you always have to wait. But as soon as you know this, it is no problem. They do not work so fast and they allow themselves plenty of time. So in my time there, I learned to adapt myself to many different situations and people and the life abroad and managed everything for myself without any help. I fortified my self-confidence and improved my English language skills, too. All in all, a memorable experience!
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