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Ron Casey E-mail
Magazine - City Interview
Written by ND
Ron Casey is an  english professor from the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE in Australia. He has been to China many times teaching in chinese Universities.

His last assignment lead him to Xi'an Polytechnical University. We had the pleasure of interviewing Ron right before going back to his home in Melbourne. He will surely come back to China, since he enjoys teaching here a lot. We, at ND hope that it will be Xi'an once more!  Click here to watch our ND TV Interview with Ron Casey. Where and when  were you born? Melbourne Australia, December 1 1952. How long have you been living in Xi’an? This is my 15th trip to China and 4th trip to Xian. I teach for Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE who have developed joint ventures with various Universities and Vocational Colleges throughout China teaching a variety of Diplomas. This trip I am here for 8 weeks.

When did you come up with the idea of living in Xi’an? When I accepted my teaching post in Xian back in December 2008.

Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?

No my Institute looks after that. Although this time my wife came with me and she organised her own Visa and it was easy to do.

Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?

No my Institute looks after that.

How do you make your living in Xi’an? Do you have any type of income generated?


Do you speak Chinese and do you think it's important to speak the local language?

No, only the basics. I then use  my Lonely Planet mandarin phrase book and plenty of body language. It would be great to speak the local language.

Do you miss home and family sometimes?

Yes, when my wife is not with me we talk each day on the telephone. I contact home regularly by email. I also write a postcard of my adventures in China which I send to family and friends.

Do you have other plans for the future?

To continue teaching in Australia and China. I am hoping to teach later in the year in Beijing.

What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?

This is provided for me by the University or Vocational College I teach at.

What is the cost of living in Xi’an?

In my 8 week stint this time I have spent AUD $800/Yuan 5,200. Amazingly cheap.

What do you think about the Chinese?

They are friendly and helpful when they understand you. However the language barrier makes communication difficult at times. It can be frustrating at times getting things done. I will get things done, but it may require me to ask to have it done 4 or 5 times. Recently my internet access in my apartment which had been working perfectly for 6 weeks suddenly stopped. It took me a week to get it back on; 6 telephone calls, 2 emails, 3 different people contacted.

What are the differences between life in Australia and here in China?

In China I don’t have the mundane worries of bills, mowing lawns and putting out rubbish bins or cooking. In China I eat out every night and can concentrate on my teaching. It also provides me with the opportunity to visit the tourist attractions and do a bit of bargaining at the Muslim market.

Do you plan to study Mandarin?

Yes I have for the past 5 years, but have done nothing about it. It is still on my checklist.

What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Xi’an?

Positive aspects – food, food, food! Enjoying dinners with friendly students. Universities normally provide you with a welcome and farewell dinner. Exploring the sights, sounds and faces of the city. Cheap food and beer. Cheap latest release DVDS( which my children give me a list to buy each trip).
Negative aspects Lack of blue skies. Missing family and friends. Frustration with communication and getting things done. Lack of good red wine. Little or no English TV programs. Chinese people unfortunate habit of spitting. I can see why the Chinese government is worried about swine flu.

Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Xi’an?

Try and mix in with the locals and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the city. Make sure you take a taxi at peak hour to fully explore a Chinese driving experience. At the restaurant if you haven’t got your mandarin phrase just walk around the restaurant pointing out what you would like for dinner.

Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Xi’an?


Click here to watch our ND TV Interview with Ron Casey.

Author of this article: ND

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