Day 14 – Guangzhou: Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou

The day started in the morning at 6:45 a.m., when we had to catch the bus to the airport of Guilin to fly to Guangzhou. Due to time pressure caused by the delay of the plane we had to rush to the bus and eat lunch on the way to the Sun Yat sen University. There we were welcomed by Ms C. Yan, officer of international affairs. She gave us a brief introduction in to the different departments and programmes they offer. The University offers programmes in Arts, Sciences, Law, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Education. Sun Yat Sen, the man who dethroned the emperor at the beginning of the 19th century, founded the university in 1924. It has four campuses covering a total area of 6.170 square kilometers and is located on both sides of the pearl river. Currently there are 90 000 students enrolled, thereof around 70 are internationals.

Consecutively Prof. Steven X. Shi held a speech about the outsourcing industry in the province of Guangdong. He gave us some insights into the present situation and the near future of the chinese outsourcing industry. The region is facing the problem of rising salaries and therefore higher production costs. Because of this many labor-intensive industries moved to western provinces to benefit still from lower salaries. The region is trying to change from labor-intensive factories to more service-oriented companies. To achieve this goal they firstly need to overcome the lack of education facilities and English skills of the local population.

After a short visit to the library we drove to the East campus where we met a group of local students. We all went for a stroll around the campus and chatted with each other. It was interesting to hear about their daily life at Sun Yat sen University. Then we met Prof. Dr. Christian Stähelin who did a lecture about his work as a biolocical researcher in Guangzhou. At the end of the day we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Mr Stähelin, his wife Ping and some of his students in an outdoor restaurant. For dessert we had local lychees, which were very sweet.

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