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


Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 013: Austin Yoder (Part 1)

Austin is an American who has lived in Hong Kong, Indonesia and now in Taiwan. He now runs two companies including tearroir and Foundation for Talented Youth. Listen to this episode to find out:

- Why he chose to live in Taiwan
– What it was like growing up as an American in Hong Kong.
– What it’s like going to an international school
– His experience taking a degree in Chinese from an American university
– How he started his first business in Taiwan
– His recommendation for how to register a business in Taiwan
– How he went about finding local clients
– About the tea culture in Taiwan and how it’s bought and sold

We will wrap up the interview in our next episode.