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 022: Bear

In this episode, I interview “Bear” – originally from Scandinavia, now working in China.

Listen to find out:

– What brought him to China in the first place
– His initial hardships in China
– Why he felt he wasn’t capable of learning Chinese in the beginning
– Why he didn’t make progress learning initially, and what changed that
– What motivated him to start learning characters
– The drastic improvement being able to speak Chinese had on his daily life
– How he’s able to make friends with local Chinese
– What aspect made a great improvement in his qualify of life in China
– Some of the big differences in company culture he found in China versus Europe
– The big difference in job interviews between China and Europe
– His experience with “face” and trust in Chinese companies
– His recommendations for foreigners living in Chinese communities and in local relationships
– How he learned to communicate using a Chinese version of English
– How learning Chinese compares to learning other languages
– His advice to foreigners who haven’t tried to learn Chinese yet, because they believe they aren’t capable
– Why it’s ok to make mistakes while speaking

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 019: Davide Saccon

In this episode, I interview Davide Saccon, an Italian now living in Qingdong, China.

Listen to find out:

– How he learned “street” Chinese in Italy
– What brought him to China after that
– Why the Chinese he had learned before wasn’t as useful in smaller Chinese villages
– How he used the Chinese he had learned to land his first job in China
– Why it was much harder to learn Chinese outside of China than in China
– What cultural differences he noticed between working in China versus Europe
– How compensation affects motivation with Chinese workers
– How he manages language and communication with his Chinese wife
– Why he had to change the language approach he used with his kids
– The language approach he finds works best with kids from mixed language couples
– The problem he found with the local education system for kids, and what solution they found for it

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 015: Dominic Cope

Dominic is from Oregon, USA, and now lives in Taichung, Taiwan with his wife and 3 year old twins. Listen to this episode to find out:

– What made Dominic move to China at the tender age of 16
– What it was like as a teenager living in China
– Why he lost a lot of weight while living in China
– What aspect of being a foreigner in China was the biggest cultural shock to him
– What brought him to Taiwan a couple of years later
– The biggest differences he noticed between Kunming, China and Taiwan
– What it was like to take a university degree in Chinese with local Taiwanese students
– How he transitioned from teaching English to his current position as Director of Operations for a US Tech company
– His advice for people wanting to transition into a different career path in Taiwan / China
– How he uses Chinese in his daily life
– His approach to language with his Taiwanese wife and his kids
– Why he changed his language approach with his kids
– His thoughts on educating his kids at this young age


Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 011: Jason Schuurman

Jason has lived in Taichung, Taiwan for the past 4 years, after previously doing a stint in China. Listen to this episode to find out:

– What brought Jason to China in the first place.

– How he practiced learning Chinese before moving to China.

– The benefits of learning Chinese from a native English speaker, and what to look for

– How he compares interacting in Chinese in China versus Taiwan

– How he compared living in Nanjing versus Shanghai

– What prompted him to move from China to Taiwan

– His thoughts on traditional classroom learning versus modern methods

– His thoughts on learning to type versus learning to read.

– His approach to learning to read while learning to speak

– How he received a scholarship to learn Chinese in Taiwan (and what key approach he used)

– The differences between Chinese and Taiwanese people

– His communication approach with his Taiwanese wife


Resources and links mentioned: Anki flashcard program, Taiwan Ministry of Education Scholarship information