Towns and regions

Chinese in Berlin

Around 6,000 Chinese people live in Berlin. Some have settled permanently in Germany and started a family. Others have come to study for a few years and plan to work in Germany for a while after they graduate to improve their career prospects when they return to China. Their goal is to gain experience in Germany which they can then put to use later in China.

Sie benötigen den Flashplayer , um dieses Video zu sehen

Author: Cordula Paetzel
Download SymbolFilm text (PDF, 19 KB)

Wu Jiang has lived in Germany since 1990. She came here with the first wave of emigrants who left China after the Tiananmen Square uprising was crushed in 1989. She was not destined to return to China anytime soon. Instead, she met and married a German man and had two children. When asked about his heritage, her older child - barely in kindergarten at the time - said, "I'm not Chinese. I'm German!" And how does his mother feel? Wu Jiang is always homesick. She is often lonely, although outwardly everything seems fine and her family in Germany even speaks Chinese. Although she can't escape the homesickness, she has found a way to live with it: Wu Jiang has been teaching Chinese at a German high school for several years. As she says, she is building a bridge to China within herself.

Zhang Hui, on the other hand, a student at Berlin University of the Arts, says, "China is always with me." Is there a more beautiful way to express the bond to one's homeland? It comes from a young woman who ventured out on her own and has been in Berlin for two years. She is intensely engaged with Western art and Western living. She shares an apartment in Berlin's trendy Mitte district. Zhang Hui does not consider herself an emigrant. Rather, she is on a research trip and one day will be back among China's elite.

The same applies to Luo Jian. He lives in a student dormitory in Grunewald in south Berlin, where he met his girlfriend, Liu Sha. Liu Sha studies economics and works at a property management company on the side. Luo Jian teaches Tai Chi classes, but his real expertise lies in the electronic exchange of data. He graduated from a technical university in China in just two years; his doctorate won't take much longer. Luo Jian's story is typical of the generation of twenty-somethings who belong to the elite.

As of the start of 2007, there were more than 27,000 Chinese students in Germany. Most of them already have a degree from China and have been sent to Germany by commercial enterprises for graduate studies or advanced training. Some of them receive grants from the government, but many finance their stay abroad themselves.

Weng Sibei is a flute player who is currently studying on a scholarship at the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. Only the best get in here. Sibei was given her name by her grandfather, who was also a musician. The characters "si" and "bei" stand for the composers Strauss and Beethoven. Sibei has every opportunity open to her, and though Germany has been her home for several years, it is just a temporary station. Someday she will return to China.
Goethe-Institut e. V. 2007
Related links