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 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 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 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 025: Ross

FEINGOLD, 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


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 018: Ethan Feig

In this episode, I interview Ethan Feig, an American now working in a trade company in Taichung, Taiwan.

Listen to this episode to find out:

- What brought Ethan to Taiwan at age 18
– How Taiwan differed from his prior expectations
– How he learned Chinese from a fellow expat, and how that approach compared to his Taiwanese teacher
– How he maintained his Chinese listening and comprehension skills while back in the US for 2 years
– How he transitioned from teaching English into other work
–  About the work culture at his current company
– What advice he has for others wanting to work in non teaching careers in Taiwan