Author helps Chinese residents navigate new life in Vancouver — from brunch to Wreck Beach (via Vancouver Courier)

Posted 1 CommentPosted in About the Book, Media
Vancouver ESL teacher Kari Karlsbjerg’s book My New Life in Vancouver aims to help new Chinese Vancouverites transition to life on the West Coast.
Photograph By DAN TOULGOET

Of all the places to tackle the nuances of the English language or uniquely Vancouver customs, Kari Karlsbjerg suggests the breakfast table as an ideal starting point.

How coffee is served and in what size, the way eggs are cooked or the kind of meat that rounds out the meal are details that both serve the stomach and start conversations.

Those talking points fill the pages of Karlsbjerg’s book, My New Life in Vancouver. Aimed specifically at new Chinese Vancouverites, the book draws on Karlsbjerg’s 16 years teaching English as a second language. “They’re here and they have a lot to offer, but what they ask me all the time is, ‘How?’” she said.  “I’m trying to be brutally practical in the book and straightforward.” Karlsbjerg’s book covers not just literal translations but also cultural and societal norms wrapped around 365 entries that touch on aspects of Vancouver life specific to each day on the calendar.

Source: Vancouver Courier

Richmond News Article about Book

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Today the Richmond News wrote an article about our book. It is very exciting to get their support to spread the word about the book to newcomers from China. Here is an excerpt from the article:

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, 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 want to wait for the ‘perfect’ moment to integrate with the community,” she said.

“For example, some want to wait until they feel their English is perfect and  so will spend more time and effort to help 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.


保持联系 Keep in Touch

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Building Community, Encouragement, Newsletter


Please sign up for our free newsletter and receive regular updates about daily life in Vancouver and invitations to free workshops and special events. We are building a community of people who are making a wonderful new life for themselves in Vancouver.


你的孩子有个秘密 Your Kid Has a Secret

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Encouragement, Learning English

I would like to share with you something that your children would like to tell you but are much too uncomfortable to tell you: they really, really want you to learn a little English.


Before I switched to teaching English to immigrant adults, I taught their teenagers, usually advanced writing skills needed for the SAT, TOEFL and IELTS tests. Over the many tutoring sessions working together, they would feel comfortable enough with me to share some of their teenage challenges. For the most part, they had the universal teenager problems such as dealing with stress to feeling shy around classmates of the opposite sex.

在我开始为移民人群教授英语之前,我一直在教他们的孩子,通常是SAT、托福和雅思考试所需的一些高级写作技巧。在许多课外辅导课上,他们非常乐 意与我分享他们孩子面临的一些问题和挑战。大多数时候,这些青少年都面临着多方面的压力,通常会感到害羞,害怕与异性同学交往。

However, for many of the students of immigrants, one stress in their life that they really wanted me to help with was to convince their parents to learn a little English! They wanted to resign from the position of translator and be ‘just a regular teenager’.  One shy boy shared his deep embarrassment at having to go to the doctor with his mother to translate for her. Another young lady shared her worries about a conversation she translated at a lawyer’s office where she found out stressful details about a legal situation threatening her family’s finances. These ‘grown-up concerns’ were an extra burden on their young shoulders and still immature minds; however, these sweet and kind teenagers were so respectful and grateful to their parents for all their love and support that they would never share this secret wish with them.


So I am sharing this secret with you now. With all the time, effort, money, and energy that you expend towards preparing your children for a bright future, I encourage you to consider also learning a few basic English skills for daily life. Believe me, learning some basic English skills will not only please your kids, but it will truly make your new life in Vancouver much more enjoyable for yourself too.


逐步 Step by Step

Posted Leave a commentPosted in About the Book, Encouragement


The best way to learn and remember new information is in small pieces every day. As an ESL instructor for many years, I have known this to be true. Our book, My New Life in Vancouver, is full of new information that immigrants to the city will find helpful about the everyday life, organizations, customs, and habits of local Vancouverites. Therefore, Yi Zheng and I have organized the book to have a small reading for each day of the year. One day at a time, one short reading at a time (written in both English and Mandarin) will give you a deep understanding of life in Vancouver. The topics of the daily readings have themes such as “everyday customs”, “western restaurants”, “how to meet locals”, “how to find volunteer work”, “guide to healthcare”, “best schools” and many more. Of course, if you are in a hurry and want to read all the entries in a certain theme, then it is easy to use the index at the end of the book to quickly find all the information you need. However, why not take your time and enjoy the journey step by step, day by day?

在温哥华的美好新生活 Your Beautiful New Life in Vancouver

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in About the Book

Every immigrant to a city has a dream for their new life in their new home. Listening to my students’ hopes and wishes for their new life in Vancouver is one of the biggest pleasures of my job as an ESL instructor. Their lovely comments about choosing to move to Vancouver help me remember the many reasons to appreciate my hometown. Choosing to immigrate requires a lot of hope, bravery, and optimism to leave one’s homeland and build a new life in another country, especially when it requires learning a new language and new culture, customs, and ways of thinking. However, once the residency paperwork is done, the home is bought, and the children are registered in their new schools, I have sometimes seen students lose some of their initial energy and excitement. In fact, there can be tears and quiet doubts about whether they can succeed at building a good life here. They share with me how they feel overwhelmed by all the things they don’t know about daily life here. I do my best to try and answer their many questions about the practical and cultural details of daily life, so they can build their confidence and move forward, but I simply can’t meet personally with everyone. Therefore, Yi Zheng and I have tried our best to compile all the answers to the most frequently asked questions about everyday life and culture in Vancouver in our book so that we can help get the information out there to all who need it. We have written the book with information and encouragement for you to create YOUR New Life in Vancouver.