From China via Finland to Vorarlberg

Ruijie Ban has been working as an Online Operations Specialist at Wolford’s headquarters in Bregenz for just over a year. Without ever having been to Vorarlberg before or having learned German in advance, she managed to find her way around here, find her own apartment and friends. Ruijie tells us more about her impressions, experiences and challenges in this interview.

Ruijie, where are you originally from?
I am originally from China, a city called Tianjin.

Is it a big city?
It’s one of the biggest cities in China, it has more than 10 million inhabitants.

That’s quite a difference to Vorarlberg. How did you end up here?
I moved here because of my job. I have been working for Wolford for one year and 3 months now. I didn’t come here straight from China though. Before I moved here, I was living in Finland for 14 years. I originally went there to study, then found a job, and lived in Finland till I got the job in Bregenz.

What did you study?
I did my master’s degree in Interactive Technology at the University of Tampere, Finland. It’s related to usability and how humans interact with computer interfaces. It’s a technical degree, you also need some programming skills. Right after graduation I started to work.

What work background do you have?
In Finland I was doing quality assurance for third party applications for mobile phones – in simple words: I was a tester. I was also customizing mobile software, I did a little bit of programming… before that I was doing localization testing.

And now, at Wolford, what do you do?
I am an Online Operations Specialist.

How does your working day look like?
Busy. I am testing our web store: That means that I have to make sure that everything works properly, and that the customer doesn’t have any problems purchasing online. On the other hand, I’m also involved in different internal projects related to the online business, and I am coordinating between third party companies and Wolford. The whole working procedure is very different compared to earlier jobs I had, since it’s a different industry. I am still involved in technical work, but in the fashion industry the whole environment is different compared to the mobile industry.

What skills are required for your job?
Understanding IT, testing skills, coordination skills.

What do you like most about it?
It’s challenging every day. I had been doing online shopping myself before starting to work with it, but I had never thought about what’s happening behind the screens, there is so much going on. There’s a lot of new stuff to learn and much to think about, which I really enjoy.

How was the change from Finland to Vorarlberg? How do you like it here?
I do like the weather here. Finland is quite cold and dark, there’s snow everywhere and the winter lasts about 6 months. Wintertime in Vorarlberg is much shorter. It’s also very easy to commute, I like being close to Switzerland and Germany and being able to cross different borders.

(c) Ruijie Ban
(c) Wolford
(c) Milo Baumgartner
Uplifting Energy

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