While others might feel damned to be cast as an eternal outsider, Mr Sven Meyer has embraced the opportunity to serve as a bridge between east and west.
Armed with his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Flinders as well as a range of other German and Australian qualifications, Mr Meyer moved to China 20 years ago and has assimilated to the point that he now feels an outsider at home.
Mr Meyer’s father migrated to Australia in the 1960s and fell in love with an Australian woman. They moved back to Germany where Sven and his siblings were born and raised.
After enrolling in sinology (Chinese studies) and cultural anthropology in Germany, he sat through a number of economics lectures and loved them – but was told he wasn’t allowed to take the course.
Undeterred, he pulled out his Australian passport and returned to Australia to study commerce at Flinders, in his mother’s home city.
“Flinders gave me the opportunity to dive deep into economics, and familiarise myself with Australian culture, which was quite different to life in Germany,” Mr Meyer said.
After further study he moved back to China for good, reasoning that as a German-Australian, choosing a land halfway between the two seemed like a good idea.
The global citizen now resides at the interface of east and west, overseeing a team of researchers into the Chinese economy and its impact on the world, as the Director of Research Cooperation at the Shanghai Institute of Futures and Derivatives.
“This job gives me licence to spend time developing insights into how the Chinese economy works – and by extension, how society works, how life works,” Mr Meyer said.