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Matthew McCreanor

When did you start learning Chinese? What inspired you to take up the language?

2018, I started learning the language as one of my friends in university was from Nanjing as spent a lot of time introducing me to the culture through culinary experiences. 

Tell us about your Chinese language learning journey? What has been the most unexpected or rewarding part of the experience?

It was certainly difficult at the beginning, learning the core foundation of how the language functions, pinyin, tones, etc. Once I got past that, I was constantly surprising myself with all of these new phrases I could construct and use right here in Auckland! The fact that I could use the language on a daily basis in my own country was certainly a core incentive for continuing my studies. 

What opportunities have opened up for you as a result of your Chinese speaking ability?

Once I made a post on a forum for Chinese people living in New Zealand introducing myself, I received quite a bit of interest from Chinese owned companies in Auckland for me to work in various positions that required someone who could speak both English and Mandarin Chinese, but also understood the local market that they were trying to sell to. 

What do you like most about the Chinese culture? 

The emphasis on food and family, it's very heartwarming to see how much pride people take in providing / caring for their families. 

What are the most striking differences between Chinese and Kiwi culture?

Power Distance Index for sure, in China there's far more respect for those who have high amounts of wealth or responsibility, New Zealand is far more relaxed in that sense, our CEO can always be seen having coffee with entry level employees, however, this is a sight you would never see in Mainland China 

Why do you think other New Zealanders should learn Chinese? Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of taking up the language?

Absolutely, you will have countless opportunities to use this language in so many different scenarios, which will keep you hungry to learn it more! I would recommend using applications like Duolingo and Mango Languages in order to get a grasp for how the language works before moving to classes in person. 

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