Mr Vesper, why were you the only one who showed an interest in an overseas stay in China?
CV: I think that other people were also interested, but back then no-one dared to do it.
How about you, weren't you nervous?
CV: Of course, I drove myself crazy the six or three, four months beforehand, when it become clear that I really was going over there. I had done a lot or preparation, including about the culture over there, and had read several books. In the end it wasn't that bad at all. It was a culture shock, but not as extreme as my colleagues had made out in the run-up.
What did Gira do to prepare you as well as possible for your year in China?
CV: Gira took care of the general things for me, of course: my job, accommodation, insurance, visa, all the flights, and also sorted out my holidays in Germany, which was quite convenient for me. Once I was there, I was also able to contact Gira's Shanghai office with any issues that I had, as someone there spoke German. So I always had a backup in case something were to happen. And even if I had wanted to interrupt my stay in a worst-case scenario, I would only have had to make a phone call.
Had you already organised your return to your job beforehand, so that you could calmly embark on the stay in China?