People come in and out of lives and I am so thankful that Nadine and I both serendipitously both ended back in China. We first met in Malaysia six years ago when we were both living there for a year. We shared our challenges living in a new country, laughed at the funny cultural idiosyncrasies and ate all the food. Six years later and not much has changed! Nadine is finishing an internship in Kunshan which is a city only a train ride away from Shanghai. We have shared several weekends together running around Shanghai, ordering food from the comfort of my apartment and exchanging hilarious stickers on WeChat. My mom always encouraged me to be friends with redheads so there you go mom! Nadine is a German beauty who has traveled the world and is finishing her undergraduate studies in business before pursuing her masters. The other weekend I sat down with her and interviewed her about all the adventures she has had and all those to come.
Me: What does your experience in Malaysia mean to you now?
Nadine: I know I’ve grown a lot and it’s okay to have problems with people. It’s okay. It makes you grow and makes you stronger. Going home was hard. It’s unusual to go to Malaysia; Germans usually go to America or the UK. Living in Malaysia helped my development and now I am more bold. It made me desire to go to unusual places like Latvia and now here in Shanghai.
Me: Tell me about your time in Latvia where you studied for one year.
Nadine: Well the food was not better than Malaysia. Even the capital was like living in a small town as you were always seeing people you know.
Me: What do your parents think of your travels?
Nadine: At Frankfurt before I left for Malaysia my mom cried and I had never see this before. She is so strong. She was so proud but also scared and sad. My parents are very happy and know it’s helped my confidence a lot.
Me: How did you choose to study management and economics?
Nadine: My parents are both “office people” in insurance and whole sales. I’ve always been a strategic thinking. Law is too dry and medicine is so long and hard. I wanted something I can do for people; ethical that can propel can benefit from.
Me: What is your dream job?
Nadine: I want to be a boss. In a leadership position and help people be their best. I’m not great at taking orders.
Me: What is the most German thing about you?
Nadine: You remember the traffic light? (Note: when I regularly ignore the ted lights and just cross the street when there are no cars coming and the cross walk is not green). I cannot cross a red traffic light. I don’t like football, I’ve been to a Bavarian carnival…but it’s traffic lights really.
Me: what do you enjoy about China?
Nadine: My weekends in Shanghai. It’s not difficult to meet cool people. Malaysia food is way better. It is so exciting to be here; the tradition and modern. People here are more creative and expressive compared to Beijing. This is a traditional country where people live a liberal life in Shanghai.
Me: What do you not understand about China?
Nadine: Work ethics. How are you able to sleep in the office on your keyboard. There’s an image of discipline in school and work and then it’s just not very productive or efficient. There is a change when people leave university.
Me: What is your next step?
Nadine: Another internship and then to write my thesis and do my masters with a company. My masters will be in international trade management.
Me: What do you hope life is like at age 30?
Nadine: I hope I will be a mom, in a relationship and have a career I can return to after the kids early years. I want to be with my young children a lot. I will be living in Germany for social and career. Germany is the ideal place for building a family and living a real life as there is a strong social system. I want to live in the north to the German seaside.
Me: What is something you thought was a mistake/failure at the time that you have learned from?
Nadine: Doing my bachelor program that required to stay away for three semesters. After a semester in Latvia, I was so down on my program and wondered if I wanted to change. My flat mates really motivate me and helped me see the value in being away. Of course you are sometimes and homesick. I learned a lot about life skills. You go abroad to build understanding and diversity. Your marks (grades) don’t matter as much as your life skills.
Me: What is the last thing that made you laugh?
Nadine: Our Trump shirts. (we have matching shirts that day “Trump hair don’t care” under a cartoon of his hairdo).
Me: Time for three last questions.
Where have you been?
Where are you now?
Where are you going?
Home to soon.