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John Beddoe E-mail
Magazine - City Interview
Written by ND
John Beddoe is one of those exceptional expats who is absolutely worth to be mentioned.  He is, due to his professional obligations in his home country Australia, an irregular visitor of Xi'an yet.

But even so, he always looks forward to come back to Xi'an and enjoys the teaching classes with his students at the Xi’an Polytechnic University. He is a professional english teacher for university students in Xi'an but beside that he is a professional musician and artist as well. John Beddoe, being a professional musician,  plays not only perfectly guitar but is eager to learn and master traditional chinese instruments like Yangqin  (扬琴) as well.

Contact him through ND if you want to have a special western artist on your events and if you are Yangqin teacher in Xi'an!

What is your current age or age range?


What country are you native to?

 I’m originally from London, England but now a citizen of Australia. I emigrated to Australia in 1996- It’s a great place to live.

What area of China do you current live (Providence, City, general area etc.)

I’m currently living in Melbourne, Australia but will be making a return visit to Xi’an (Xi’an Polytechnic University) to teach English in December this year.

How long have you lived in China?

I stay for short working stints, 5-8 weeks at a time. My first visit to China was to Huainan, Anhui Province at the end of 2008. My last visit was to Xi’an in June this year.

Why did you choose China, or what factors helped you to decide to choose China?

The college I work for (Northern Metropolitan Institute of TAFE- N.M.I.T) has connections with several universities across China so they offer me these regular work visits. It’s a great opportunity for me to have a break from my normal day-to-day life here in Australia and experience something quite different. Its hard work but I love it.

Was it difficult to get the documents you needed to live and/or work there? (residency and/or working permit)

This is all done for me very efficiently by my employer. No problems there!

What are your favorite activities that are available?

I’m a professional musician and fascinated with Chinese traditional music so I am constantly seeking private music lessons and concerts. I’m also interested in the new pop/rock bands that are around like Echo Rush (from Xi’an). Of course, I love Chinese food and seeking out new restaurants provides endless satisfaction! There is a local gym very close to the university I teach at which is very friendly and low key. I come here most days to work out.

Do you speak mandarin?

Not yet. My iphone is full of dictionaries and language learning programs so I hope to make more of an effort on my next visit.

Do you think it is crucial to know the language in China, or can you get by with English?

I think learning a little mandarin makes things much easier! It shows a respect for the people and culture of China and a great way to connect with people.

How do you earn your living in China?

I teach English language to diploma students at XPU (Xi’an Polytechnic University)

How did you go about finding a job in China? Was it easy or hard to locate work and get a job?

As I’ve said, I’m quite lucky in that my job is organised for me before I go.

Are there local customs that would make it difficult for foreigners to fit in?

Westerners tend to like to be alone at times which I think Chinese people find strange, perhaps indulgent. Chinese like to be together a lot. This can create tension.

What are the top seven things you like about China?

  • The historical and archeological depth of Shaanxi
  • The traditional instrumental musics (Yangqin, pipa, Erhu, etc.)
  • The variety of food
  • Elderly people being more active, visible and cared for
  • People using the pavement for everything …like badmington!
  • Cheap clothes to take home (although the shoes are never big enough for me)
  • Chinese beer

What are the top three things you DON'T like or find strange about China?

  • The weather- the sky is often hazy and overcast.
  • Traffic and drivers- people drive too fast and crazy in Xi’an.
  • There are too many people in nature spots. But China is crowded, of course.

Do you have any suggestions for people who are thinking about moving to China?

Learn some Mandarin, keep open-minded and give yourself time to adapt to a new culture.

What else would you like to say?

I’m excited to return to Xi’an in December, teaching English to the same lovely students I met in June. I will be looking for a Yangqin teacher whilst I’m here to have private music lessons and also plan to do some music gigs (singing and playing guitar) in bars in Xi’an around the December/January period. Hope to see some of you there!

Our valuable Editor ND has been with us since Monday, 15 June 2009.

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0 #1 backkom 2009-09-24 22:23
i'm looking for a yangqin teacher as well! interesting interview btw!

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