New book to help Chinese newcomers build a life in Vancouver

Two Vancouverites, Kari Karlsbjerg and Yi Zheng, have teamed up to write a book to help Chinese speaking newcomers. The book, My New Life in Vancouver, shares details about everyday life in Vancouver and is bilingual in both English and Mandarin.

Karlsbjerg, an ESL teacher with more than 15 years teaching experience, told the Richmond News that she found many of her students lacked cultural information while learning English.

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"They might not know Canucks hockey team and western restaurants etiquettes,” she said. “There are books about western holildays and traditions but no books about everyday details in life."

Karlsbjerg also mentioned that, in her direct experience with hundreds of immigrants from China, many really want to learn about the way of life here, but they just don't know how to go about it and they don't want to make a mistake or offend anyone.

"The biggest challenge for newcomers is that they want to be part of the community but they don’t know how. They always wait for a ‘perfect’ moment to integrate with the community," she said.

"For example, some waited until their English is perfect and instead spend more time and effort helping their kids, but not themselves."

The book, which was translated into Mandarin by Zheng, has 365 daily readings, covering a wide range of topics such as local customs, entertainment, different ways of thinking, newcomer support and parenting in Vancouver. It also contains 50 mini English lessons with free pronunciation audio guides to the lessons on the book website.

In addition to the book, Karlsbjerg and Zheng have started a social club for newcomers to socialize and learn from guest speakers about life in Vancouver.

Karlsbjerg also plans to publish a series of life in Vancouver books, customizing each one with topics and local languages to cater to different ethnic groups. 

For more information about the book, visit the website

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