Scholars take a break from study with city stroll
Visiting professors and research fellows enjoyed an afternoon session on Saturday in The Grand Halls and a city tour around Lu Xun Park in Hongkou District.
Foreign scholars who work and live in the city talk about their life here and have their own insights into the internationalization of Shanghai at the CNS Coffee Talk: Stay in Shanghai.
"It is my first time to visit Lu Xun Park and I'm very glad to see people enjoy themselves in the park," Vadim Grinenko, a visiting professor who works with Tsung-Dao Lee Institute, told Shanghai Daily. "I usually bicycle around Shanghai on weekends to see different things. As you see I'm a new comer so I only explore a small fraction of the city.
"On weekdays I'm quite busy, such as making arrangements on research and equipment … I've shown my family the city center and I think they love this city very much."
Grinenko's wife Tatyana just arrived in Shanghai on Friday.
"I like the food here very much and am so surprised to see so many people and so many cars here," she said.
"Shanghai tries every best to attract international talent to settle down and work in the city," said Huang Hong, deputy director of Shanghai Science and Technology Commission (Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs). "As an international metropolis, the city has boasted a favorable business and career environment for talented professionals from all over the world."
Steffen Schoenhardt, a research fellow with University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, has been in Shanghai for three years but added: "Shanghai is too big to experience."
"With my son, we like to go to Gongqing Forest Park and picnic there during weekends. It's a very beautiful park with a lot of space," he said.
"I think Shanghai has a strong atmosphere of internationalization in terms of research and development," Schoenhardt. "I also learned that Yangpu District where I live and work really focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship."
Tsokalidou Petroula, or 罗兰 in Chinese, is currently a visiting professor in Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) but she is also dean of a Confucius Institute in her motherland Greece and a professor of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Petroula told Shanghai Daily that Lu Xun Park is very close to the Hongkou campus of SISU and a big and beautiful one among many parks in Shanghai.
A professor in a university of international studies, Petroula agreed that internationalization is complex and not easy for everywhere not only for Shanghai.
"But the reality is multiple cultures and languages coexisting in the same place so since this is the way it is, let's make the best of it and let's take the best we can," she said. "The more we help expand the Chinese language and culture in Western countries the better will be for the whole world.
"I just remember two Chinese idioms '求同存异、和而不同, which means 'seeking common ground while reserving differences'."
After visiting the Memorial Hall of Lu Xun, Jayawickrama Janaka, a professor with the history department of Shanghai University, said: "We may learn knowledge from history no matter it is traditional medicine of China or India or their philosophy.
"Things such as climate change cannot be solved by just one country, one nation or one group of people. We all have to come together so that if we can combine the Asian knowledge, the local and the global all together, that is the only way to survive as human population since we have already gained too much from nature."
For Simone Lamon, life is quite easy here. "Although Yangpu is a little bit far away from downtown, I go shopping at Wujiaochang and sometimes sip coffee at Daxue Road."
Lamon works at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology.
When the scholars had a coffee break at the 1927 Luxun and Uchiyama Memorial Bookstore, Dominik Pietzcker said: "By chance I'm living here in the same neighborhood with Lu Xun."
It is his fourth time in Shanghai and he will stay here for the next half year.
"The history intertwines in a very specific way here and that's very interesting to learn," he said. "The cultural heritage in the city and even in China is amazingly rich and it's simply good to be here to experience that fact.
"As a visiting professor, foreign service here is so far so good … the visa process may need some effort but SISU is quite helpful," said Pietzcker.
"I'm here to teach European studies and German literature. SISU students are diligent and some of them even brilliant. It was really impressive.
"I was previously invited for lectures, three weeks, one month but since then I'll spend more time here as a research center has been established."