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The call of home
Returning expert
Fan Jieping
E-Mail: fanjp@zju.edu.cn
Zhejiang-University, Hangzhou

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The call of home

Chinese returnee Fan Jieping leading an intercultural training session. Photograph: Returning Experts Programme

Six years ago, Chinese native Fan Jieping decided to leave Germany and return to his home country. China’s rapid development, combined with an attractive job offer from a top Chinese university, drew him back. As the dean of the respected Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, returnee Fan has initiated a number of major reforms. “My status as a CIM expert opened many doors for me here," he says. Fan spent 13 years in Germany, where he completed a degree in German and Chinese Studies, gained a Ph.D., and worked as an intercultural communication coach. “The knowledge I acquired in Germany is much in demand here,” he recalls, a fact he realised when he travelled home for a vacation. He spontaneously decided to return home and put his expertise at the service of China’s education sector. One year later he finally left Germany to take up the post of dean of the Faculty of International Studies at Zhejiang. Fan’s aim was to modernise the existing degree programmes and bring them into line with the requirements of the international job market. He introduced a modular programme that enables students to mix foreign languages with hands-on subjects such as management, and also introduced student exchange programmes with universities around the world. His reforms have been very successful, not least thanks to CIM’s Returning Experts Programme. “If I had had to live on the salary of a normal Chinese academic, I would have had to take on a second job. However, with CIM’s support I was able to concentrate fully on my new position here.”