British Chef details how she self taught herself Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan.

British Chef Amy Rattinger details why she came to Taiwan and the process she used to self teach herself Mandarin Chinese on the way to starting two restaurants in Taipei.

Listen to find out:

  • What brought her to Taiwan
  • Why she began learning Mandarin Chinese
  • Her initial approach to learning Chinese
  • How she self taught herself Chinese characters
  • Her process for learning new vocabulary
  • Her approach to Chinese tones
  • The benefits to speaking Chinese in Taiwan
  • How she transitioned from teaching English to opening a restaurant
  • Cultural differences between Taiwanese employees and British ones
  • How to get direct feedback from Chinese staff
  • Why your Chinese tutor needs to be direct with you
  • What she would have done differently regarding learning Chinese

Why many language teachers fail at teaching Mandarin Chinese [Podcast Interview]

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American Jenna Cody details how she learned Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, while living in Taiwan and why she feels many teachers and language schools fail at teaching Mandarin Chinese.

Listen to find out:

  • What brought her to Asia
  • How she initially learned Chinese in China
  • How she resumed learning Chinese in Taiwan
  • Why she didn’t like her first language schools
  • Her self study process to learn Chinese
  • The problem with most language teaching systems
  • How her Chinese benefits her in daily life in Taiwan
  • Her current jobs in Taiwan
  • What career advice she has for expats in Taiwan
  • Why she started learning the Taiwanese language
  • The resources she uses to learn Taiwanese
  • How the romanization and tones work in Taiwanese
  • The reaction she gets in public from speaking Taiwanese
  • How Taiwanese people mix Taiwanese and Mandarin
  • What she would have done differently if she were to start learning again
  • What she recommends students look for in a teacher
  • How she practices reading
  • How flashcard systems can be beneficial

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 048: Ron

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In this interview, Ron Hanson from New Zealand details the steps he took to learn Mandarin Chinese to allow him to research topics to write on for his magazine: Listen to find out:

  • What brought him to Taiwan
  • How he first started learning Chinese
  • Why he decided to learn Chinese characters
  • Why he feels learning Chinese characters are important
  • His character learning process at school
  • His process for researching in Chinese
  • His process for learning new vocabulary
  • Why learning Chinese is like learning Shakespeare
  • How he uses the Pleco Chinese dictionary app
  • How he feels about having a western accent when speaking Chinese
  • The benefits he gets from speaking Chinese
  • What he does to progress towards Chinese fluency
  • The trouble with learning Chinese handwriting
  • What he wishes he’d done differently when learning Chinese

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 047: Anthony

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In this podcast episode, Canadian Anthony Van Dyck details the steps he took to self teach himself Mandarin Chinese, which enabled him to branch out from teaching English and climb the corporate ladder all the way to COO of an energy company in Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

  • What brought him to Taiwan
  • What it was like living in Chiayi in the 80s
  • His first words in Mandarin
  • How he learned Bopomofo (zhuyin fuhao)
  • What business culture was like in rural Taiwan
  • Distinguishing between Taiwanese Mandarin and standard Chinese
  • Learning to count in Chinese
  • Learning Chinese from movies
  • Learning Chinese from love songs
  • Making friends with Taiwanese
  • Learning Chinese from the iPhone
  • Learning Chinese on the job
  • How speaking Chinese got him promoted
  • His Chinese phone hotline story
  • How he switched career paths
  • Why CVs aren’t good enough to get a job
  • Raising bilingual kids in Taiwan
  • Education in Taiwan
  • The problem with education in Taiwan
  • Why expats should learn Chinese
  • The benefit of an Master’s degree
  • A useful idiom to learn
  • How to develop your social environment in Taiwan
  • How to learn new idioms

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 046: Karen

In this episode, I interview Karen Chung, an American who has lived in Taiwan for 40 years.

Watch on YouTube

Listen to find out:

  • What brought her to Taiwan
  • What Taiwan was like in the 70s
  • Why studying in university is not enough to learn Chinese
  • What mistakes she made in Chinese early on
  • Why she began to worry about her English level, more than her Chinese
  • Her experience teaching Chinese at the University of Hawaii
  • The number one mistake foreigners make when learning Chinese
  • The proper way to learn Chinese tones
  • The importance of using proper tones beyond just being understood
  • Her experience learning characters
  • Why she prefers pinyin over zhuyin
  • Common mistakes that foreigners make when learning Chinese
  • What she recommends you do with your teacher / language exchange partner
  • The benefits of being able to speak Chinese at a higher level
  • Her advice on raising kids in Taiwan
  • Her advice on improving English education in Taiwan

American shares his most crucial habits to learn Chinese fluently and achieve career success.

The Impact of Chinese Language Skills on Career Trajectory


This interview was with Jamie Rufe, an American who has resided in Taiwan for 11 years. Jamie’s journey to Taiwan, albeit somewhat accidental, was influenced by his prior experience of living in China. His interest in Chinese language and culture was deeply rooted in his upbringing, inspired by his father’s business interactions with Chinese-speaking clients.

Reflecting on his language learning venture, Jamie shared his progression from high school and university studies to eventually relocating to China and Taiwan for work. He recounted the various methods he employed to enhance his fluency, including taking formal Chinese classes, utilizing flashcards, and actively engaging with native speakers to practice and refine his language skills.

Jamie also shed light on the challenges he encountered in securing job opportunities that necessitated Chinese proficiency. Immersing himself in Chinese-speaking environments proved to be a transformative experience, significantly bolstering his language capabilities and expanding his career horizons.

As the job market in China and Taiwan continues to evolve, Jamie noted the escalating demand for higher levels of Chinese proficiency. He advised aspiring individuals to immerse themselves in native content, practice listening and speaking regularly, and continuously adapt to the evolving language prerequisites in the professional realm.

The conversation underscored the value of Chinese language proficiency in career advancement and the persistent commitment required to excel in a competitive job market that increasingly values bilingualism.

Effective Methods for Language Learning and Skill Enhancement

  • Utilizing Podcasts and Native Input: Actively engaging with podcasts and other native language content, such as books and articles, can expose learners to authentic language use and aid in vocabulary expansion.
  • Consistent Practice: Regular practice through activities like conversation practice, listening exercises, and accent refinement can significantly enhance language skills over time.
  • Diversifying Content Sources: Exploring a variety of content in the target language, akin to one’s interests in the native language, can keep learning engaging and relevant.
  • Structured Learning Paths: Tailoring learning paths to individual needs, whether through structured curriculums or self-driven approaches, can provide a roadmap for progression.

Expanding on the theme of language learning methodologies, he shared insights on the importance of balancing input and output strategies. He emphasized the necessity of consuming diverse native content such as books, articles, and podcasts while actively practicing conversation skills and working on accent improvement.

Furthermore, he stressed the significance of creating a continuous feedback loop in the learning process and outlined his personal approach of extensive reading, active listening, and consistent speaking practice to reinforce language acquisition.

Emphasizing the need for a diverse range of content sources, he suggests aligning one’s interests in the target language with familiar topics from their native language. Additionally, he recommended adopting a systematic approach to learning, including vocabulary retention and leveraging tools for grammar explanations.

In discussing learning paths for Chinese learners, he differentiated between those benefiting from structured curriculums at language training centers and those preferring self-directed learning. He advised starting with foundational concepts and gradually progressing to higher proficiency levels, with a focus on spoken language before delving into character recognition.

Reflecting on his own language learning journey, he expressed a desire to have engaged with native content earlier to expedite his learning process. He highlighted the advantages of immersing oneself in challenging materials to advance to higher proficiency levels.

Reflecting on his expat experience in Taiwan, he underscored the instrumental role of Chinese language skills in his career growth. He highlighted the abundant opportunities that surface at advanced levels of Chinese proficiency, particularly in Taiwan’s bilingual education initiatives and corporate settings.

For networking and career prospects, he recommends active involvement in local networking events and breaking out of expat circles to forge connections with Taiwanese professionals. He recounted securing a job opportunity through LinkedIn and emphasized the efficacy of local networking in accessing the Taiwanese job market.

Lastly, he underscored the importance of leveraging local connections and word-of-mouth referrals in Taiwanese networking culture for enhanced career prospects, advocating for prioritizing relationships with Taiwanese contacts for more impactful networking outcomes.

Moreover, he stressed the importance of balancing input and output in language learning, advocating for activities that reinforce both listening and speaking skills. He suggests creating feedback loops within the learning process to ensure continual improvement.


Advanced language skills are instrumental in shaping an individual’s professional growth by opening doors to diverse career opportunities and enhancing global competitiveness.

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 045: Adam

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Interview with Adam Bell, an American, on his journey to Mandarin Chinese fluency in Taiwan.

Listen to hear:

  • What brought him to Taiwan
  • His experiences studying Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan
  • How he created an immersion culture for himself in Taiwan
  • How he transitioned from studying Chinese to working full-time in a Taiwanese company
  • His approach to learning technical vocabulary for his job
  • The benefits of immersion and using Mandarin in daily life
  • What he would do differently if he had to learn Chinese from scratch
  • Adam’s involvement in stand-up comedy in Mandarin
  • Raising a bilingual child in a mixed-language household

Mastering Chinese and Youtube Fame

Lamin’s Chinese Learning Journey in Taiwan

Lamin, an expat from Gambia, shares his experience of learning Chinese in Taiwan.


Lamin, an expat from Gambia, ventured to Taiwan 11 years ago with the intention of pursuing higher education. Originally, his plan revolved around completing his studies and then returning to his homeland. However, destiny had a different course charted for him. The enchanting blend of Taiwan’s weather and lifestyle captivated Lamin, ultimately influencing his decision to make this vibrant island his new home.

Upon his arrival in Taiwan, Lamin embarked on his academic journey, aiming to broaden his knowledge and skills. Little did he know that the scenic beauty and cultural richness of Taiwan would leave an indelible mark on his heart, altering his future plans significantly.

  • 11 years back, Lamin crossed borders to Taiwan, driven by academic ambitions.
  • Initially, his roadmap included completing his education and heading back to Gambia.
  • However, the allure of Taiwan’s climate and lifestyle prompted a change of heart.

The decision to stay in Taiwan was not an easy one for him, as it meant embracing a new way of life far from his familiar roots. Nevertheless, the warmth of Taiwanese hospitality and the endless possibilities that Taiwan offered fueled his resolve to build a life there.

With each passing day, Taiwan became more than just a temporary stop in Lamin’s life; it transformed into a place he proudly called home. The blend of traditional values and modern conveniences in Taiwan provided him with a unique sense of belonging and contentment.

As he settled into his new chapter in Taiwan, he not only found academic success but also discovered a deeper connection with the local culture and communities. The decision to extend his stay in Taiwan beyond academics was a testament to the lasting impression the island had made on him.


Learning Chinese

Lamin’s journey in learning Chinese began with mandatory classes during his English program.

Like many language learners, he faced challenges, particularly in reading and writing, largely due to time constraints. Juggling academic commitments and adapting to a new environment made it difficult for him to dedicate sufficient time to mastering these aspects of the language.

However, his determination to improve his Chinese skills led him to seek different avenues for practice. One significant factor that facilitated his linguistic development was the frequent interactions he had with Taiwanese friends and his girlfriend. Through daily conversations and socializing, hi proficiency in listening and speaking Chinese steadily increased.

Recently, he decided to take his language learning a step further by delving into bopomofo, a phonetic script used in Taiwan. By incorporating bopomofo into his studies, he aims to enhance his writing abilities and further expand his language proficiency.

One of his primary objectives in learning Chinese is to gain the ability to read official documents, menus, and communicate independently in various real-life situations. He envisions a future where he can navigate through everyday tasks with ease and effectively engage in both formal and informal discussions in Mandarin.

As a content creator on YouTube, Lamin’s language skills play a crucial role in his work. His channels focus on nature and interviews, requiring him to speak Chinese fluently in his nature videos and accurately translate and respond to viewer comments. This interaction with his audience not only hones his language abilities but also deepens his connection with viewers.

Reflecting on his language learning journey, Lamin acknowledges that he could have benefitted from giving more attention to his Chinese studies earlier on. He emphasizes the value of patience and dedication in the process of mastering a new language. Lamin’s experience serves as a testament to the transformative power of consistent practice and a positive attitude towards language learning.



Scot Details his Journey of Learning Chinese in Taiwan

Background and Initial Approach

Fraser Stewart, a former patent examiner from Scotland, embarked on a new journey when he moved to Taiwan to pursue a career in teaching English. In 2008, during a visit to China with his ex-wife, Fraser delved into the realm of learning Chinese. His methodical approach centered around immersing himself in reading and writing the most common characters of the Chinese language.

  • Started learning Chinese in 2008 during a visit to China
  • Focused on reading and writing common characters
  • Did not use flashcards or spaced repetition techniques

Fraser discovered that the ability to recognize and write characters significantly enhanced his communication skills and allowed him to differentiate between words that might appear similar. Opting out of conventional methods like flashcards or spaced repetition, he dedicated his efforts to continuous reading, writing, and practical application of the language.

Transition to Traditional Characters

Transitioning to life in Taiwan, Fraser made a shift from simplified to traditional characters by immersing himself in a Chinese version of “Wind in the Willows” and diligently referencing a dictionary for unfamiliar characters. Despite facing challenges in writing compared to reading, he persisted in honing both aspects of the language. In his learning journey, Fraser received invaluable support from his ex-wife, who engaged him in rigorous pronunciation exercises focusing on tones, an area that he initially struggled with but acknowledged as crucial for mastering accurate pronunciation.

Having achieved proficiency in Chinese, Fraser now navigates his daily life in Taiwan with ease, seamlessly communicating with locals, landlords, bank representatives, and colleagues in Mandarin. His language proficiency not only facilitates his personal interactions but also enhances his professional endeavors as an English teacher, where effective communication with non-English-speaking peers is fundamental.

Reflecting on his learning experience, Fraser recognizes the significance of early tonal emphasis for pronunciation refinement. He acknowledges that a greater emphasis on this aspect in the initial stages could have expedited his language learning process. Fraser’s journey underscores the importance of language immersion and the continual pursuit of improvement through diverse language exposure, interactive conversations, and ongoing study.

In summary: Fraser Stewart’s dedication to mastering Chinese through a character-focused approach, language practice, and eventual immersion in Taiwanese daily life underscores the enduring commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 044: Jamie

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In this episode, I interview Jamie Rufe, an American now living in Taiwan.

Jamie tells us:
– What brought him to Taiwan
– Why he started learning Mandarin Chinese
– What career opportunities being able to speak Chinese got him
– The one habit that was instrumental to his Chinese progress
– The approach he recommends new Chinese learners take
– His experience working in a Chinese factory
– His recommendations for foreigners looking for a career path in Taiwan or China
– What he recommends over Stephen Krashen’s comprehensible input approach
– How AI can dramatically speed up learning Chinese
– Why he recommends that new students forego learning Chinese characters in the beginning
– How even English teachers can improve their prospects by improving their Chinese
– How to find jobs in Taiwanese and Chinese companies

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 043: Lamin

Watch on youtube.

In this episode, we interview Lamin, who moved from Gambia to Taiwan. Listen to find out:

– What brought him to Taiwan?
– What prompted him to stay in Taiwan?
– How he began learning Chinese
– When his Chinese really started to improve
– How he learned Chinese from friends
– How he made lots of local friends
– How he started learning characters
– How he started practicing writing characters
– Why he doesn’t like to be pressured
– The benefits of being able to speak Chinese
– The benefits of bopomofo (zhuyin)
– How his youtube channel helps him learn Chinese
– What he would do differently if he was to start learning Chinese again

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 042: Fraser Stewart

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Interview with Fraser Stewart on how he developed his Chinese to near native level over his past 11 years in Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

– What made Fraser choose Taiwan?
– When he first learned Chinese
– His approach learning Chinese
– How learning to read and write helps with speaking
– Was there any difficulty moving from simplified to traditional characters
– His approach to learn to write Chinese characters
– How he learned tones in Chinese
– How Chinese helps him in day to day life
– What he would do differently regarding learning Chinese
– His contact with the most famous foreigner in China

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 041: Michael Gordon

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In this episode, I interview Michael Gordon, a Canadian living in Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

– What made Michael choose Taiwan?
– When he first learned Chinese
– How he used Chinese in Canada
– How he adapted to Chinese in Taiwan
– How his Chinese level has changed over the years
– How technology has helped with using Chinese
– How being able to speak Chinese has helped in daily life
– How his kids deal with local school
– What he would do differently regarding learning Chinese
– What he could do to improve his Chinese further

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 040: Ed Gonzalez

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In this episode, I interview Ed Gonzalez, a Mexican-Canadian restaurant owner in Taipei, Taiwan.

Listen to this episode to find out:

– What brought Eddy to Taiwan?
– About his initial journey learning Chinese
– His experience after briefly goes to Chinese school
– How he has benefitted from learning zhuyin / bo-po-mo-fo
– The benefit of being able to speak Chinese in Taiwan
– About Eddy’s podcast and how that helps him learn Chinese
– How he learned slang Chinese that isn’t taught in textbooks
– How he has fun with Chinese and how he uses it in public settings
– The technology he finds helpful for translating Chinese
– How he learns Chinese from reading subtitles
– What he would have done differently if he could go back and learn Chinese again

Follow Eddy on his podcast or visit his restaurant.

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 039: Caleb Shetland

In this episode, I interview Caleb Shetland, an American now working in Taipei as a firmware engineer.

Listen to find out:

– His experience learning Chinese at a US college
– What approach he wishes he had used instead, to learn characters
– When he realized that learning Mandarin would be useful for his engineering career
– How he thinks Mandarin compares in difficulty versus other languages
– His experience traveling overseas for the first time to Beijing
– His experience as a foreign student at a Chinese campus
– His struggle trying to find a job as an expat engineer in Taiwan
– His initial experience working in an office environment in Taiwan
– What it was like being the only foreigner in a large multi-national company
– The benefit of being a foreign engineer in Taiwan
– The demand for expats in the local tech industry
– The importance of co-ops and internships

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 038: Alex Trup

In this episode I interview Alex Trup, a Brit now working in Digital Marketing in Taipei, Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

– About his experience learning Chinese in the UK
– How he went from China to Taiwan
– His experience as a foreigner in a Taiwanese working environment
– Why he likes Taipei compared to other cities he’s lived in
– His experience as a new father in a mixed cultural relationship
– His approach to raising his child in a bilingual environment
– What he would have done differently if he was to learn Chinese from the start
– His advice for a westerner looking for a job in Taiwan or China
– How he got the job at his current company as one of its first expat hires

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 037: XiaoFei

In this episode I interview Xiao Fei, an American blogger now living in Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

– His experience trying to get a degree at a local Taiwanese university
– Why he switched out of the Chinese program to an English one
– His experience living in China
– Why he finds his current university program more manageable
– How and why he started a blog about waterfalls in Taiwan (Facebook)
– His long term plans in Taiwan
– What he would do differently if he was to learn Chinese again
– Why he thinks writing is a valuable skill to learn
– Why he’s proud of his sloppy writing
– His opinion on telling jokes in Chinese

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 036: Keoni Everington

In this episode I interview Keoni Everington, an American now working in the media business in Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

– What got him interested in learning Chinese 20 years ago
– What it was like learning Chinese in Ohio
– How he benefited from guanxi early on
– What it was like moving from Ohio to Beijing in 1994
– How he overcame the difficult living conditions back then
– All the different jobs he had along the way, and how he progressed through them
– His secret to getting jobs that he may not be directly qualified for
– The advantages and disadvantages between working for Chinese companies versus western ones
– What he wishes he had done differently career wise
– What he recommends more foreigners do to expand their career paths
– An alternate approach you could use to work at a specific company

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 035: Scott Faul

In this episode I interview Scott Faul, an American now living in Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

– What got him interested in learning Chinese, while in the US
– His experience studying Chinese in Taiwan, while working on the side
– How he used the Chinese he had learned, while working in the US
– The benefits he found for being able to speak Chinese, while looking for work
– His experience living in Beijing for 10 years
– The difference he found in culture between China and Taiwan
– The difference in accents and slang he experienced between Taipei and Beijing
– What he would have done differently regarding learning Chinese
– Why he switched from business to doing a masters in translation
– What his career plans in translation are currently
– The difference in business culture in China / Taiwan versus in America
– How negotiations are handled differently in China / Taiwan versus out west

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 034: Aaron Simmons

In this episode I interview Aaron Simmons, an American Professional Development Coach. He is the founder of Diversify International and Multi-Lingual Story Corner.

Listen to find out:

– What got him interested in Chinese culture and language in the first place, while studying in the US
– Why he chose a more challenging route to learning Chinese
– What his experience was living in China while in an intensive program learning Chinese
– Why he moved from China to Taiwan
– How he got his first job managing a school
– What he found unique about managing local Taiwanese employees
– How he had to change his management style to adapt to local culture
– How he adapted to becoming a consultant
– How he improved his Chinese skills as a result
– Why he decided to start his own consulting company
– How he found new clients
– How he adapted from simplified Chinese characters to traditional ones
– What the biggest challenge he had adapting to Chinese in Taiwan was

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 033: Alex Barker

In this episode, I interview Alex Barker, an American consultant about his experience learning Chinese

Listen to this episode to find out:

– How Alex got interested in learning Chinese in America
– His experience in an American college class learning Chinese
– Why he didn’t make as much progress in Chinese as he wanted to
– His experience taking a university class in Chinese in Taiwan
– His experience working as an intern at the American Chamber of Commerce
– Why he found it useful to have Mandarin ability on his resume
– Why he feels there are multiple levels of Mandarin ability
– His experience with personal relationships that only use Chinese
– What he would do differently if he had to study Chinese again
– Why he would encourage students in school to choose Chinese as a second language
– What advice he would give to students learning Chinese in a non Chinese speaking area
– How he recommends people learn colloquial Chinese
– What threw him off about speaking Chinese in Taiwan versus in Beijing
– His experience being on Taiwanese game shows

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 032: Adriana Estrada

In this episode I interview Adriana Estrada from Guatemala, who has lived in Taiwan for the past 7 years, completing her undergraduate and master’s degree during that time.

Listen to find out:

– What brought Adriana to Taiwan in the first place
– What advantages she brings to the work place over local Taiwanese
– What types of companies she’s looking to work at
– Her experience completing an engineering degree in Chinese
– Why she chose Taiwan to do her degree in
– Why she’s glad she did her degree in Chinese and the approach she took
– Why other students come to Taiwan, but don’t learn as much Chinese as they should
– Why she feels most learning of Chinese is done outside of the classroom
– Why she feels getting a degree in Taiwan isn’t for everyone
– What aspects of culture shock she’s experienced in Taiwan versus Guatemala
– Her experience dating Taiwanese men
– Whether she’s affected by the amount of Taiwanese used by locals
– Her opinion on the different food options available

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 031: Nick Howard

In this episode, I interview Nick Howard, an American who has been living in Taiwan for the past 9 years.

Listen to find out:

– What brought him to Taiwan in the first place
– How he moved up from teaching at a cram school to teach at a university
– The process he went through learning Chinese
– Why learning Chinese was a priority for him
– Why he switched from learning in class to learning on his own
– How he transitioned from teaching to consulting
– Why he started a co-working space (Facebook)
– What he would recommend for expats wanting to switch from teaching to a different career path
– Why he recommends living in a smaller town, for those wanting to improve their Chinese and understanding of local culture
– How Taiwanese is used locally versus Mandarin
– How he’s been able to get along with his wife’s Taiwanese family

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 030: Derek McCracken

In this episode I interview Derek McCracken, an American who has been living in Taiwan for 7 years.

Listen to find out:

– What brought Derek to Asia and specifically Taiwan
– How he started teaching English, while looking for other opportunities
– How he started his first business in Taiwan
– How he compares starting a business in Taiwan compared to Thailand
– How he began learning Chinese on the side
– What benefits he found from being able to speak Chinese at a functional level
– What skill he thinks is necessary for expats to learn Chinese
– What things he did in his learning to get to the next level
– How he transitioned into his current job at an international fitness company.
– What cultural differences he’s noticed comparing Taiwanese clients with American and Thai ones
– Why he chooses to live in Taiwan than America
– What advice he’d give to an expat wanting to change their career path

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 029: Adam Menon

In this episode, I actually interview… myself! Well not, really. I invited CLO user Joe Cooperman to interview me on my motivation for coming to Taiwan and starting this course teaching fellow expats how to speak Mandarin.

Listen to find out:

– Why Joe uses CLO
– What brought me to Taiwan
– What problem I found with many methods teaching Chinese
– How I transitioned from teaching English to teaching Chinese
– What other Chinese resources I liked and was influenced by
– Why the lesson material is limited to 7 levels
– How the usage of the site has changed over the years
– On the future of the site


Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 028: Steve Iglehart

In Part 2 of this episode, we continue our interview with American businessman Steve Iglehart.

Listen to find out:

– How he moved on to the skin care market
– What his biggest challenge was in this market
– The intense process of training salespeople to use his product
– How he learned to read people’s reactions over the years
– What the advantage of being an expat was, when it came to sales
– What businesses he has since transitioned to
– Why he thinks it’s easier for an expat to do business in Taiwan today
– Why he feels a local university degree is the best way to reach fluency in Chinese

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 027: Steve Iglehart

Steve Iglehart is an American businessman from San Francisco who has been living in Taiwan for almost 30 years.

Listen to this episode to find out:

– What made Steve want to learn Chinese
– Why he chose to come to Taiwan
– His first moments in Taiwan, looking for a Chinese school
– Why he decided to stay on in Taiwan and do a university degree locally
– Why he found the degree to be one of his most challenging life experiences
– His experience job hunting after graduating
– How he learned how business was conducted locally
– What his first business was
– What reaction locals had to doing business with him

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 026: Keiran

Keiran is a Canadian living in Taiwan, now working in the bicycle industry.

Listen to this episode to find out:

– What brought Keiran to Taiwan in the first place
– How he began learning Chinese initially
– What he didn’t like about his first school
– How he found people to practice his Chinese with
– Where the most effective part of his learning came from
– What he did to make himself more approachable for casual conversation with strangers
– Why he ended up getting a university degree in Taiwan
– What challenges he had getting the degree
– Why he feels learning more than one language at the same time is an effective way to learn
– Why getting a university degree locally in Taiwan is a great opportunity
– How he started in the bicycle industry
– His advice for expats wanting to do something different career wise
– Why being able to speak Chinese was helpful to him
– His advice for expats wanting to take their Chinese to the next level
– How he recommends you make the most of your experience abroad

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 025: Ross


In this episode, I interview Ross Darrell Feingold, an American now working as a senior advisor at the DC International Advisory, a law firm in Taipei, Taiwan.

Listen to this episode to find out:

– What made Ross focus on learning Mandarin Chinese 20 years ago
– What a one year intensive Mandarin learning program in Singapore was like
– Why he felt this program was still not enough for him
– What it was like to take a Mandarin studies course in a small American university
– What made him choose Taiwan over Singapore and China to further his Chinese learning
– What his plan was, after learning Chinese
– The most important thing to consider when applying for a job in Asia
– How he compares Asia with the west
– The differences in company culture
– A misconception he’s noticed in company hours
– Why he chooses to live in Asia
– How he uses Chinese in his daily work

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 024: Jon

In this interview, I interview Jon Renzella, an American artist now living in Taichung, Taiwan.

Listen to this episode to find out:

– What brought Jon to Taiwan in the first place
– Why he wanted to live in a place that didn’t speak English
– How he began learning Chinese without any formal classes
– His current approach to learning how to read Chinese
– How he uses technology to help with learning how to read
– How he transitioned into being a full time artist in Taiwan
– His experience joining the local art community
– His advice for fellow expats looking to follow their interests and passions
– How he overcame the language barrier to joining the local community
– How he started a gallery for foreign artists to showcase their work with the local community
– Some of the differences in local art culture from what he’s experienced in the west