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Simbioza in China

Simbioza in cooperation with Shanghai Summer School enabled Chinese seniors their first experience with the computer.

Project Simboza has crossed the borders of Slovenia as the first free computer workshop was held at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, organized by the participants of the Shanghai Summer School 2013. 10 Chinese seniors have attended the workshop and were very pleased with the results, having recognized the potential of this project. The workshop succeeded not only to connect the younger and older generation, but also different cultures. A successful workshop in Shanghai supports the efforts of the organizing team to implement multiple Simbioza workshops around Shanghai in the future and thus provide free e-skills to Shanghai seniors, which they hope will lead to other workshops being held all over China.


Shanghai Summer School is a project of two former participants of the language and culture course in China, Dejan Roljid and Petra Bokal. With their entrepreneurial spirit they have further enriched the program with business knowledge and skills. In cooperation with the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics they have enabled a practical experience to a greater number of students.


Simbioza workshop was an interesting addition of this year's summer school program which is attended by 33 participants (2 from Germany and 31 from Slovenia), students of humanistic and technical studies from 16 different European faculties, enabling them to organize the workshop and test their newly gained knowledge of language, culture business and organizational skills in practice.
The workshop was held on August 12 under the leadership of Chinese volunteers with the help of the summer school students and Simbioza project team.


»The challenge of youth unemployment in Europe is on the rise, therefore it is very important for young people to gain as much practical, business and international experience as possible. Since Slovenian economic market is small and lacking proper support, it is essential for us to do business internationally. China is the second largest economy in the world, the Chinese middle class is getting stronger and China is no longer just an exporting country, but also a significant consumer,« is how Dejan Roljić, one of the organizers of the Shanghai Summer School recognizes the potential of China.

»We are happy and honoured that the first international workshop of Simbioza was held in Shanghai, China. We strongly believe that the knowledge and experience from Slovenia can be transferred to this part of the world. Of course, in cooperation with the Chinese youth. Intergenerational cooperation is an important value everywhere in the World,« was stated by Žiga Vavpotič, initiator of Simbioza project.

Wei Min Hou, 67 years old retired director general of a big textile company, was extremely excited. »The computer is a new international word and seniors need it. I thought it would be a very commercial project, but now I can see that you are doing it whole-heartedly. You need to make this project happen together with the Chinese youth, and I strongly support you in that. I can tell to everyone how important it is to have a project like this in China.«

71 years old artist and manager of a designer company Mei Rong Bao arrived at the workshop a bit surprised, maybe even sceptical: »I was interested how you do it and what motive lies behind it. It would be nice to have a project like this here. It won't be easy, you'll have a lot of work, but the older generation would be very happy if you succeeded. And it would also be important for the youth, volunteering is an important value.«

The question of 57 years old Ai Hua Liu at the end of the workshop demonstrates perfectly how the participants felt about Simbioza: »When should we come tomorrow? It was so nice, too bad that the workshop is only held today.«
»Simbioza has an immense potential. For us it is important that it has been accepted in a cultural sense, which was demonstrated by the response of the Chinese participants. If we play with numbers and translate our achievement from Slovenia, we are estimating it could connect over 7 million people in China,« Petra Kocjan, director of the Ypsilon Institute has shared with us.

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