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Position: since March 2017 PhD
Student in the Department of Computer Engineering and
Familie: married, has a Daughter (7) and a Son (3), living with in-laws
How would you describe your career path to the
I worked for nearly 9 years for an international company but my wife encouraged me to go abroad to Europe to study – as an opportunity for myself but also for my family. And to give my children a better future. So I applied and started a PhD at the TUB because the working language here is English. But I also started to learn some German but it’s a little bit difficult.
When did family-friendliness come to the fore in your life
It started with getting married. *laughs* In China getting married is just the beginning, because I have to take care of my wife. We cook, go out or travel together. So sometimes I left work earlier but I thought I have to find a solution to the problem of work life balance. And it’s the same for my wife because she works too and started a PhD in International Management after her studies.
How would you describe the atmosphere (in terms of
structures, bosses and colleagues) in terms of family-friendliness at
When I compare my work place here with China the daily work duration is shorter and therefore better in Germany. For me it seems that family is much more important and my colleagues encourage me to prioritize my family life too. In China however my boss would encourage me to stay longer and even cancel my family time. So I think here at the TU the atmosphere is more family-friendly. But I didn’t work at other universities in Germany yet. *laughs* In my former company I didn’t have such support, I just had to solve everything by myself.
Where or from whom do you get support (family, colleagues,
structures etc.) and what does it look like?
I get a lot of help from my colleagues. They recommended the family services office and I found them on the TU website. Without them I wouldn’t have had a spot in the kindergarten for my daughter to visit me here. She came to Berlin with my wife. But my wife had to leave after two weeks when her vacation days were used up. But my daughter stayed for another two weeks and could stay in the kindergarten of the Studentenwerk when I was working. At that time we had an important project at work we also had to finish. I even thought I could maybe bring my small son next year as he could also go to the kindergarten here.
In which working time model do you work and what makes it
We have flexible working hours. So it doesn’t matter when I come or go to the office. It’s more about efficiency and finishing the task or project in time. When my daughter was here I got up at seven to cook for her and leave for work afterwards. At 16:30 I picked her up and spend some time with her. After she went to sleep – around nine o’clock – I would work another hour or so. Like that the family-friendly working hours are really helping me to adjust. The working time models in China are completely different from Germany. We normally don’t have family conscious hours, so we sometimes need our parents to take care of our children. We try our best to be there but for traveling or coming home very late our parents help to pick them up and cook for them. That’s very normal in China.
In your opinion, what would the university of the future
look like in terms of family-friendliness?
From my current perspective I think an accommodation program for guest scientists would be great because it’s really hard to find an affordable apartment in Berlin. Maybe also workshops for guest scientists about infrastructure in Berlin. In the future I will definitely need some more support from the family service office for the kindergarten and primary school infrastructure. It’s hard to comprehend if you’re from another country with a completely different system.