• 4/28/2020

TUM student Xinrui Yang

"The virus knows no nationalities"

Far away from home: TUM student Xinrui Yang is from Wuhan in China, which is currently on everyone's lips because of the coronavirus. What did she experience in Germany over the past few months? What differences did she notice between Germany and China?

TUM student Xinrui Yang
Back when you could still move around freely: TUM student Xinrui Yang in June 2019, against the backdrop of the Chinese port city of Qingdao on the Yellow Sea. (Photo: private)

Xinrui, how does the coronavirus concern you right now?

Xinrui Yang: Until recently, I studied TUM-BWL in the Master's program, and I just finished it. Actually, I was supposed to start my first job in Munich in April. However, the starting date has been postponed because of the corona crisis. Also, the foreigner's registration office is not working normally at the moment: it only deals with urgent emergencies, so I can't get a work permit either.

Your family is from Wuhan, where the virus first broke out. How is your family?

My parents and grandparents live in Wuhan, and we communicate via WeChat or video calls. Until a month ago, the situation there was very bad. We talked on the phone more often than usual because I was worried about them too. Fortunately, they are doing quite well and aren't affected by the coronavirus so far. Meanwhile, social life in Wuhan is starting again.

And how are you doing here in Munich?

At the beginning, I would have wanted to be with my family, as I am alone here. It's not a nice feeling to want to help but not be able to. I repeatedly urged my parents to take special care of themselves. Meanwhile, I'm getting along quite well. I'm not afraid for myself either, because I know that it helps to wash one's hands regularly and to keep distance. Also, I stay at home most of the time.

And how do you spend the time at home?

Also with a lot of nothing much – like relaxing and watching videos. In my spare time, I dance in a hip-hop dance group. Unfortunately, we can't meet up in real life at the moment, so we now have small digital meetings and teach each other new choreographies via live stream.

What differences do you see in the way the Corona crisis is handled in Germany and in China?

One big difference is – a matter of cultural differences, I guess – that everyone in Germany still wants to go out, to do fitness or to meet friends. The people in Wuhan are much more afraid of the virus. They stay at home most of the time for fear of getting infected. In Wuhan, it was especially the younger people who paid special attention to the virus in the beginning, while older people did not take it very seriously. My family had planned to meet up for the spring festival. So I intervened and said that it would be better to do without this tradition this year.

There have been several incidents here in which Asian people experienced hostility in public due to the Corona crisis. Did you experience something like this?

No, I didn't myself, yet, but I have heard things like that from friends. Unfortunately, this is not an exception. It happens more often than you might think. But if this virus shows us one thing, it is that it does not care about nationalities or borders – and we are all equally affected. We should not forget that. And there is also the other side: many of my German and international friends asked about my family in Wuhan and sent their best wishes in these terrible times.

(Interview: Sabrina Czechofsky)

Xinrui Yang (26) is from Wuhan and graduated from high school in China. She came to Germany seven years ago with a DAAD scholarship and completed her Bachelor's degree at the University of Cologne before taking up a course of TUM-BWL at TUM.


Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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