‘The German Scientific System Is Better at Supporting Independent Work’
Prof. Dr Weiping Feng, Professor of German Literature at Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing / China
Research stay at the Heidelberg Department of German Language and Literature from 2005 to 2006 as a PhD student
When, how long and in what capacity did you stay at Heidelberg University?
From April 2005 until March 2006, I studied at Heidelberg University’s Department of German Language and Literature, where I wrote my doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Wilhelm Kühlmann.
Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University?
My doctoral adviser Prof. Wei Maoping recommended Heidelberg University and Prof. Kühlmann because he earned his own PhD here and has stayed in touch with the Department of German Language and Literature ever since.
What were your experiences in Heidelberg?
Heidelberg is a beautiful city. My colleagues and the other students at the University and in the department were friendly and always willing to help.
What did you like best about your stay, and where do you see room for improvement?
I came to Heidelberg to write my doctoral dissertation. So I loved the fact that I was able to find nearly all the literature I needed here and that I could discuss my questions with my adviser and with other experts. I stayed in a very well-equipped apartment in the University’s guest house. But because most of the other residents in the guest house were also international researchers, I didn’t get to interact with Germans day-to-day as much as I would have liked.
How did your career continue after your time in Heidelberg?
After my stay in Heidelberg, I obtained my doctoral degree and have since been working as a German lecturer at the German Faculty of Sichuan International Studies University; in 2007 I became a professor of German literature. In addition to teaching, I have kept up my academic research and published a number of papers and other works, as well as translations.
How do you rate the German scientific community compared to your home country or other countries in which you have conducted research?
The German scientific system is very different from that in China: in my opinion, German universities and research institutions place much greater value on encouraging students and researchers to work independently.
How important do you think international exchange is for scientists?
For academics in my subject area, i.e. German language and literature, international exchange is the most important aspect of their training and work.