"It rather looks like being open-ended stay"

Living in Germany: researcher Shang Huang talks about her experience at the Senckenberg Society in Frankfurt.

Shan Huang is engaged in research at the Senckenberg Society in Frankfurt.
Shan Huang is engaged in research at the Senckenberg Society in Frankfurt.

Are you interested in living and working in Germany? We have spoken to several expats; they share their stories and experiences with you here.

Dr Shan Huang, 40, from China

I first studied biology in China, then later in Britain and the United States. Now I work at the Senckenberg Research Centre for Biodiversity and Climate in Frankfurt am Main. Fortunately, I received a Humboldt Research Fellowship and then support from the German Research Foundation, which supports researchers with above-average qualifications from all nations and disciplines in their research projects in Germany.

In my working group, we research how the diversity of life on our planet came about. We work in an interdisciplinary way: biology and palaeontology, geography and ecology. I concentrate on mammals and shellfish. Patterns of evolution and climate change play a major role in my work.

Coming to Germany to work is more complicated than going to the U.S. Especially for me, because I don't speak German. My colleagues have been very supportive in all my dealings with the authorities, for example to get a work permit. The German work culture is also very different from that in the U.S. I can't compare it with China, because I only studied there. In Germany, people take very long vacations. It is then often difficult to reach someone, because many switch off completely. On the other hand, I also think it's good that the work-life balance is very much taken into account. I have a very friendly working environment here.

I have been living and working in Frankfurt since 2015. I came to advance my scientific project. Before I arrived, I had heard that families get a lot of support here. I have a child of preschool age and I'm married. Mothers and fathers who work are treated very respectfully here. I don't know yet how long I will stay in Germany – at the moment it rather looks like being an open-ended stay.

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