Kwadwo: So your meetings, they’re all in Chinese?
Caroline: Yes, Chinese.
Kwadwo: She works completely in Chinese in a Japanese company called Canon. You may have heard of them. They make the best vlogging camera ever. Right?
Caroline: Mm-hmm, yes exactly.
Kwadwo: You guys want to know what it’s like to work in China? Because I’m here with Caroline-
Caroline: Hey guys.
Kwadwo: And you’re from Belgium-
Kwadwo: And you speak Dutch.
Caroline: Yes, I speak Dutch.
Kwadwo: And a little bit of German.
So this is special. Just hang out with us for a moment. If you don’t know me though, my name is Kwadwo. I teach ex-pats here in China that everyday Chinese we need to communicate what you want. I do book reviews and Chinese tips and I ask people like you who are super experienced in speaking Chinese to share tips with folks like you.
How did you get good enough Chinese to work in a Japanese company where they only speak Chinese and Japanese here in Beijing?
Caroline: Yes, so I studied it in university. It was my major. I had a very big interest in China very early on already before the Beijing Olympics. So I started in 2006.
Kwadwo: All right.
Caroline: And I did bachelor’s and master’s and then I came to China for work.
Kwadwo: So they taught you well?
Caroline: They taught me very well.
So your meetings, they’re all in Chinese?
Caroline: Yes, Chinese and some Japanese. I don’t speak a word of Japanese.
Kwadwo: Wow. Was the interview in Chinese?
Caroline: Everything has been in Chinese, yeah.
Kwadwo: Okay, so four years of Chinese back in Belgium. You got here to Beijing..
Caroline: I came for an internship at the Belgian Chamber of Commerce.
Kwadwo: Oh, okay.
Caroline: Afterwards, the Event Manager left. I became the new Event Manager.
Caroline: Then I created the network because everyone knows that guanxi, right, network in China is very important.
Kwadwo: 关系Guān xi.
Caroline: Yes. And I happened to meet a few people from Canon and they were looking for someone with very good English to enroll the company because we needed someone to communicate with the rest of Asia as well and to support on more international PR.
Kwadwo: Wow! Okay.
Caroline: And this is how I went for an interview.
Kwadwo: I missed when I worked in a Chinese factory and got to have meetings all in Chinese and you’re living that.
Caroline: It was challenging in the beginning, but yeah, your level improves tremendously, of course. After doing that for two years, yeah, go straight up. So this is a very good tip for people who really, really want to learn Chinese and who are willing to completely change their environment.
What’s the biggest thing that helped you learn?
Caroline: Go work with Chinese people every day so that you’re forced to learn and speak Chinese every day. You will have a headache in the very beginning. Every day you will have a headache.
Caroline: But it works.
What are you going to say to the person that wants to work in China but doesn’t know how to start or where to start?
Caroline: Just work on your network. Really go out and meet people and use Linkedin. Try reach out to the right people and especially try to meet them face-to-face and show what you got to offer and show that you’re passionate and adaptable to a new environment. And this willingness I think is most important.
Kwadwo: I’m Kwadwo, teaching you the everyday Chinese you need to communicate what you want. Good, good studies.
Both: Good, good study, day day up
My fave Chinese booklist 📚👇🏾
See the original article on Linkedin here.
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