My West Journey started from there and then ...

My language teaching career began with teaching German as a foreign language at Tongji University in Shanghai. The university, located in the northeast part of the city, was established in 1907 by Erich Paulun, a German doctor in Shanghai. Its predecessor was the Shanghai German medicine school, which was expanded and formally established as a national university in 1927.

The German class I taught was the first German class and just the second or third foreign language restored at Tongji University in 1977 after the end of the Cultural Revolution. Students were either graduate students or professors who had studied English or Russian or both. In December of 1978, with the authorization of the State Council, Tongji University resumed contact with Germany and became the window and the center in introducing technology and science to China. The German language reemerged as the most important first foreign language in China.  

In January 1979, the first group of 7 German teachers from the Goethe Institute arrived at Tongji University. Each German teacher was appointed a Chinese teacher of German to be an assistant. I was one of them. With the increase in exchange between China and Germany, Chinese teachers, funded by the German Ministry of Economics, were sent to Germany to obtain advanced training in language and culture. I had this opportunity in 1983, along with 9 other teachers.

Before departing to Germany, we were required to take a one-week-long training class in Beijing. There we studied Chinese government political documents dealing with foreign policies and principles. We also learned about German cultures and customs, such as details about clothing, food, table manners, and communication habits. We were taught that we should wear long skirts with long socks so that no flesh was seen, we should make no noise when eating, no burps, no flatulence, no ear- or nose-picking in others' presence, and we should not ask about others' age, weight and height, money, and marital status.

Upon completion of the class, we flew Air China to Germany. My journey to the west thus began.


During my stay in Germany, I experienced one culture shock after another, because I came from a country that had been closed to the world for a long time and that had been economically backward. The albums contain a selection of pictures with stories that go with them.






In Germans' Eyes

"Capitalist" Album