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


Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 023: Alex

In this episode I interview Alex Wagner, who now runs a pizza shop at a local Taiwanese night market.

Listen to find out:

- What brought Alex to Taiwan in the first place
– How he transitioned from teaching to selling pizza
– His process starting the business
– How the night market business works
– How he markets himself as the foreign face of the business
– Where he finds employees to work there
– How his Chinese has improved as a result of interacting with customers
– His plans for his business going forward
– How he got over the uncertainty of starting a business
– The crucial factor required to stand out at a night market
– His advice for those wanting to transition away teaching English


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 021: I love Taiwan

In this episode, I continue the interview I did with Shaun Bettinson, where he discusses his “I love Taiwan” project.

Listen to find out:

- How this project got started.
– How he launched his initial promotional video

- The Project Website
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 How he was able to promote it
– How he won a Guinness World Record
– Why he thinks the project was so popular
– What he gained from this experience
– How he benefited from the friendships made
– How his outlook on the future has changed


Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 020: Shaun Bettinson

In this episode, I interview Shaun Bettinson, a Brit who now lives in Taichung, Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

- What brought Shaun to Taiwan initially
– Where he learned his initial Chinese
– What he didn’t like about his first group class
– What he liked about his next teacher
– What he recommends you look for in a private teacher
– What kind of effort he put in to learn Chinese outside of class
– What benefits he found from being able to speak Chinese
– How he transitioned from teaching into an alternate career path
– How his Chinese helped him in his new position
– What advice he’d give to someone wanting to switch from teaching to a different career path