Elyse '03/MBA '08 and Justin Kauffman '03
When Elyse and Justin Kauffman shared with their family and friends that they were moving to China for two years, many were surprised. Justin, a Mechanical Engineer at Johnson Controls, who also has an M.Eng. from Johns Hopkins University, was presented with the opportunity to work in Wuxi, China. This position involved drafting a plan to build and lead a team of engineers at the Johnson Controls Asia Engineering Center whose primary focus is chiller modeling and simulation.
The couple always enjoyed learning about other cultures and immersing themselves while traveling and they quickly embraced this opportunity. Justin immediately began studying Mandarin, while Elyse prepared daughters, Charlotte (3) and Vanessa (10 months), to embark on this next chapter of their family’s life. Five months after committing to the temporary assignment, the Kauffman Family traveled more than 7,500 miles to their new home away from home.
While the transition to living internationally has been different from what they imagined, the Kauffman Family is enjoying life in China. When he isn’t at the office working, Justin has continued to meet with his Chinese language tutor. Elyse has been able to join the Wuxi International Club, a networking group made up of expats living in Wuxi. Both look forward to opportunities and unique experiences with the whole family on weekends.
Doing their best to soak up experiences while they are on the other side of the world, the Kauffmans have visited 11 different provinces/special regions in China and seven countries in Asia and the Pacific.
This trip has given Justin and Elyse a new perspective on the world and the role of the United States in world affairs. It has shown them how a study-abroad experience could shape a student’s education and, because of this, they have created a scholarship for YCP students who want to travel overseas. They encourage Spartans to take advantage of travel overseas and say, “It can open your eyes to things that you take for granted at home and not always in the ways you expect.”