The Halfpat Life: Kimberly

Friday, May 4, 2007 10:43
Posted in category The Halfpat Life

KimberlyOriginally hailing from Sydney Australian, Kimberly has spent the last five year in Hangzhou (studying) and Shanghai (working), and recently took a new job with an event management firm (Account Manager).

Another member of the ORIENTED crew, she originally came to China as part of a language & culture university program, she came back looking for work and adventure (She jumped without a parachute)

Getting involved with organizations like ORIENTED early, Kimberly’s first jobs in Shanghai were in interior design, trade, and events management.

Language Background:
On a scale from 1 to 10, what level is your Mandarin? 9
How often do you use Mandarin in general? Daily
How often do you use Chinese language skills at work? 50-75%

To get ready, Kimberly studied language, history, and culture, and says that she had studied enough. “5 years at uni was fine, and business/work you learn by being here

For those looking to learn more, she suggests “Plenty of websites online. And definitely recommend learning some Mandarin if you haven’t done so previously

Living in Shanghai:

A typical day….

Won’t describe a full day, but typical experiences involve spitting, pushing in a bus, subway, or in a bank queue. Shouting Shanghainese people.

Finding out there used to be no TV on Tuesdays was a shock and another example of quirky things in China.

Top 5 Things about living in China:
1. exciting and fast paced lifestyle
2. meeting fabulous people and friends
3. exciting opportunities for work/business
4. accessibility to other parts of Asia for work or travel
5. eating and living is cheaper than in Australia

The bottom 5 :
1. Stress
2. Adapting to different culture and people’s habits
3. People not recognizing value of bilingual person over an expat

Living in an apartment (a small local apartment), Kimberly’s employment contract provides insurance

Career path:

Not concerned about what career opportunities exist back home, she believes the most value things about working in Shanghai are : Working overseas/internationally, marketing and events management, travel and dealing with many people from different cultures.

Do you have a business plan on the shelves? No
Have you ever carried 2 cards? Yes

Hindsight being 20/20 … Lauren WOULD do it again if given the choice, but for those looking to follow her footsteps, she has the following advice:

I wouldn’t recommend people coming here to take the plunge without any Chinese skills, the market is now much more competitive and experience alone is not enough. That being said neither is just language skills. There are a lot of foreigners here with excellent Chinese and many locals with strong overseas experience and English. Key is to find a job that requires YOU to do it.

Its about time that companies know the value in having a bi-lingual, foreign employee and remunerate accordingly. What we bring is totally different to a full expat new in China and also different to a local (with or without overseas study/work experience). Some old China hands know this and are willing to invest and benefit from such employees, my previous bosses are, but they are rare and in the govt. Its time corporations do too. On the other hand though my point about upcoming experienced locals is a challenge for us, but it’s a great thing for the Chinese labour force.<

HR is a huge issue in China for all companies, with such growth and expansion, so many jobs out there for people to explore, companies find staff retention pretty tough.

What keeps her in China? challenge, new things, being settled in Shanghai and knowing how things work, meeting new people, using and learning Chinese. Knowing its more exciting and fun as a young working professional than back home in Sydney.

Anything else?

It’s a business place, everyone wants to get in on the action and growth

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One Response to “The Halfpat Life: Kimberly”

  1. china - » CHINA: Tom privatisation recommended says:

    May 4th, 2007 at 12:46 pm

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