The annual excursion to China is one of the highlights among the events organised by the ETG. 16 students get the unique opportunity to explore the Middle Kingdom for about four weeks during the break between terms. The trip is based on three core elements. It consists in equal parts of visits to companies, universities and cultural institutions.
The three pillars of the excursion
On site we go on factory tours visiting production, research and development departments to get to know the local work environment of German-Chinese companies. The main goal of this is to speak to the local engineers and get insights into their daily work routine.
Furthermore, there are visits to universities planned. There we attend seminars and lectures to get insights into the education of future engineers in China and to facilitate the exchange with Chinese students.
The goal is to get to know and understand the mindset and way of life of the Chinese population. For this purpose we will be visiting traditional markets and historical sites as well as the Chinese countryside to try and grasp Chinese culture in all its diversity.
How it all began
Getting to know each other
After the lottery drawing for the spots on the excursion, the focus first of all was on getting to know each other. The participants of last years excursion to China offered us a great opportunity to do so by inviting us to a “China barbecue”. It was also a brilliant chance to listen to their experiences and stories about organizing the excursion and travelling China.
Deciding on the itinerary
The first step of organising the trip was to plan our itinerary. For this purpose, every participant presented information about a Chinese city as well as a non-Chinese city in South-East-Asia to the group. Out of the 16 cities in China we voted for Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzen, Jinan, Hong Kong and Shangri-la in the end. The non-Chinese city we were most interested in visiting was Taipei in Taiwan.
While choosing these cities it was especially important to us to achieve a balance between the modern and traditional aspects of China. We also wanted to visit a place that no other previous excursion had visited yet which we achieved by choosing Lijang.
Dividing the work: organization teams and special tasks
Our next step was to form groups of one to three people that would be responsible for organising the visit to one of the cities and ensuring a trouble-free visit.
We also appointed people for special tasks like administrating the website, writing protocols of our meetings, taking care of the shared bank account and taking pictures for the daily blog.
Continuing the Planning
Each group now had to plan the activities and the program for our visit to “their” city. For this purpose, each team approached businesses and universities for visits or workshops, as well as searching for interesting cultural destinations to see.
The general progress of the planning was presented and discussed in regular meetings.
The two leaders of the excursion weren’t part of any city teams, but instead took care of overall administration like searching for and hiring a travel agency for flights, transfers between cities, hotels and visa.
Looking for Supporters
Since the participants have to bear the costs of the trip themselves, we have been looking for companies, clubs, institutions and private people to support our efforts and the goals of the excursion.
We have been approaching potential sponsors through contacts from our networks, in personal conversations, for example on the renowned “Contact”-fair at the Technical Faculty in Erlangen as well as over the phone.
These efforts are supported by our sponsorship letter in which we explain the goals of the excursion as well as potential benefits for the companies supporting us.
The China excursion has been organized annually by the ETG Kurzschluss e.V. since 2002 and if you´re interested you can check out the websites of the excursions of the last couple of years here: