ZZconnect: What’s your personal story of coming to Zhengzhou?
Artur: I am an ESL teacher (originally from the Republic of Armenia, educated in Armenia and the USA). I have been doing teaching job for the last 20 plus years in different countries across the globe. In 2004 I came to China in search a job and career opportunities here. It was then when I met my future wife and got married (in Puyang).
Soon after that I received a job offer and invitation from Lian Da, an English language training school in Zhengzhou, so I decided to stay here, work here and set up a home here.
In 2011 I was granted Chinese Permanent Residence (Green Card) to permanently stay in China with my family, so I am a kind of local here now.
ZZconnect: What do you think of Zhengzhou (culture, food etc.)?
Artur: Generally speaking Zhengzhou is a nice place to live and work. People are hospitable. Unfortunately, there is much left to do concerning food and environment. Eating out may not always be safe and healthy, environment may not always be clean and welcoming. This is something I am truly concerned with because it directly affects our lives.
zzconnect: We know that you concern much about health. Would you please inform us some of your own ways of staying healthy?
Artur: Staying as healthy as we should naturally be is extremely hard in the modern world, modern urban environment, but there is much we can do to stay away from totally avoidable health deterioration.
Some of the general rules in my family are; cooking and eating at home as often as we can, wearing clothes made of natural materials like cotton, wool etc, reading 'nutrition facts' tags when shopping for food if it is available, avoiding carbonated drinks and making our own homemade drinks (vegetable juice, yogurt, fermented kombucha, kefir etc), keeping humidity and temperature in our home under control, being aware of the atmosphere pressure, air quality index, on a daily basis (outdoor and indoor), keeping our blood pressure, blood oxygen content and glucose index within healthy ranges, and much much more.
ZZconnect: What’s your opinions on how to protect environment?
Artur: Protection of the environment is not an easy task but it is quite possible to keep it at an 'friendly' level, at least the environment in your home. In my opinion there is no need to blame individuals for the polluted outside environment.
Individuals can do little to help the environment. It should be a national program. The experience of other countries which have passed the same phase of development should be thoroughly studied by professionals and implemented as soon as possible.
Environmental pollution as an unavoidable phenomenon in the course of development of any country and society, we as individuals can do little to affect it, but we should and we can do a lot protect the environment in our homes, our personal environment and lifestyle.
ZZconnect: Comparing with your home culture, what kind of different things here that impressed you, and how are you adapting?
Artur: I am an open minded person and I can easily accept differences. I am philosophical in this. I am looking for similarities, not differences. Why everybody keeps asking me about differences? I am looking for and finding similarities wherever I go, not differences. We are all the same! (In the following audio, Artur explains more about the similarities. )
ZZconnect: Based on your personal experience, what suggestions would you give to those foreign new-comers here?
Artur: I would say to language teachers "Learn Chinese language if you want your students to learn your language," and I would say "Learn Chinese language if you want to survive" to those who are not language teachers.
The last topic, About language learning. In the following audio, Artur expresses his own ideas of foreign language-learning. Listen
Artur: Studying is not a simple thing you can measure by time. Knowledge cannot be measured by the time spent in learning. The time spent for them is very important, but I don’t think they should pay so much attention on the time.
Especially for learning a foreign language, they need to regard the language not as a subject they study to pass exams or something. If you want to really learn how to speak the language, you need to live with the language.
I can speak five languages.I learn because I want to learn. If you want to really study something, you don’t pay much attention to the teacher, and to the time, after all you have only 24 hours in a day! You have to do it by yourself. Most of the things should be done by yourself. Teacher is just somebody who is available to help you if you need help.
There is no speaking teachers actually, it doesn't exist. You can not teach speaking. It’s like teaching walking to a child. The child learns how to walk by itself, parents only watch them not to stumble and fall down.
Abilities. People have different abilities. For some people it may take longer, for some others it may take shorter. But eventually they will learn how to speak a foreign language if they really want and rely on themselves.