Tēnā koutou katoa!


It’s great to read the bios of the Skritter team, but I’m surprised no one else has posted an introduction yet! I’d like to start the ball rolling.

I’m a Kiwi/Canadian (hence the Maori greeting in subject), and have been living in China since May 2012. At university in New Zealand I studied Chinese language, Linguistics, and Second Language Education. After completing the CELTA, I immediately applied for an English teaching job in the Northeast of China, and then spent a month hitchhiking and hiking around New Zealand’s South Island while having the paperwork sorted out.

I lived and taught at two institutions in Jilin province, and used every day of holiday travelling within China. I’m currently studying Chinese language full-time (8:00am to 12:00 noon), while teaching at both a university (1:30pm to 3:30/5:30pm) and a business English training school (6:00pm to 9:00pm + weekends) in Qingdao. Typically this involves 61 hours of class per week, so it can sometimes be hard to find time for Skritter! Let’s just say I like to keep myself busy. I used to have hobbies like marathon running, mountain biking, ocean swimming, and martial arts, but I don’t have time for a life at the moment. I have one final semester at university before I can enjoy some free time and days off again.

I typically Skritter on my Xiaomi3 on my 10-minute commute, and waste a lot of time admiring progress graphs. During university, I was very concerned with learning to handwrite well, but I have dropped this priority, and am now not studying writing at all. My writing is seriously bad now, and I doubt if I could write 100 characters. I forget to write things like 他, and the other day writing 我 I missed the first 丿. When I encounter something in daily life that needs to be written by hand, I use pinyin input on my phone and copy the characters. Perhaps I will start to pick up writing again the future, when I hit about 10,000 words and 3,500 characters (reading/tones/definition). I’m at about 6,200 and 2,600 now.

I am hoping for a little more social integration with Skritter in the future, because I am extremely competitive and would love to vie for a place on a leaderboard. Looking forward to meeting a few more fellow Skritterers, post up!


That is a terrifying amount of teaching time. I work 15 hours a week plus however long it takes to mark homework etc. So maybe 20 hours total.


Hi! I agree - let’s get to know each other! :smile:

I’m originally from Scotland but I live in London now. I work for a famous global Engineering firm that has offices in China and which was behind such prestigious projects as the Beijing Olympics and CCTV tower (sadly both designed before my time!); I’ve yet to spend a great deal of time over there but have managed the odd week or two.

I started learning Mandarin in high school in Edinburgh in 2007. My first teacher taught me calligraphy in art class which was an excellent way to hook me in to the language, and the reason I still focus on writing even though conversation really needs a boost!

In the past 7 years 4 months I’ve only learnt about 900 characters/1200 words, so it’s a bit disheartening to see how much further others have got in a similar timeframe but I promise I’ve done a lot of other things too! Like @Amitabha I like to keep busy, studying two degrees (engineering/architecture) at the same time in university alongside Chinese evening classes at the Confucius institute in Sheffield. It’s a bit easier now with a full time job taking up less time than my studies did (!) so I’m still attending evening classes in London and trying to push myself further. I one day hope to be at the dizzying heights of 6,200 words…


Hi Catherine! Is this you in the WSJ? I guess so:


Yes :smile: My new claim to fame - though I don’t suppose I can put it on my CV!