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Samantha Kim Dean: I fell in love with China, the Languages and Culture

By Mikkel LarsenICHONGQING|Apr 27,2021

Chongqing – Samantha grew up in New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada. Her love for China came in high school after becoming friends with a couple of exchange students from Beijing and Shenzhen. “I began to teach myself Mandarin with whatever free resources I could find online. Using Jay Chou lyrics was my go-to method. I traveled to Beijing 3 or 4 times during high school and university on volunteer and exchange trips and thought I was finished with China after that, until moving to Toronto where I met my partner Daniel in 2016.” Her partner, Daniel, received a job offer from a colleague to teach in Chongqing, and Samantha was able to introduce herself to the company and get a job there as well. Samantha and her Partner Daniel then moved to Chongqing together.

Samantha and her partner Daniel. (Photo provided by Samantha Kim Dean)

Samantha and Daniel both work for a music education company here in Chongqing. Their company has gone through several iterations during their time there, and now they are working with a large dance company based in Hunan Province’s Changsha. Together, Samantha and Daniel are producing content and writing original music for their students.

“I am in charge of the content creation and Daniel writes and produces original music for the videos and for their dance classes. I’m usually behind the camera filming video series for the students and editing them from home. It’s a comfortable and fun job, though very hectic when deadlines are strict!”

Samantha also started her own YouTube channel while living in Chongqing. However, with a hectic job like hers, and having to film for other people throughout the day, it can sometimes be hard to find the time and energy to make your own videos. She loves making videos but has turned to other creative outlets such as painting and writing and she has even sold some of her artwork locally here in Chongqing. “I have been selling some of my artwork too locally in CQ and am hoping to start shipping abroad too as a little side gig that I love doing. I have dreamt of writing and publishing a novel for a long time too… but not sure if that will happen!”

Chongqing Chose Us

Samantha has lived with her partner Daniel in Chongqing for over 4 years. Currently they live in Yubei District of Chongqing. Choosing to come to Chongqing came when her partner Daniel received his job offer, and she was able to get one as well. Chongqing was a new place altogether for Samantha at the time, and she had never heard of the city and didn’t know what to expect. But she has come to love the affordability of Chongqing and nature and scenery found in places like Wulong, Jinshan Mountain, and Tongnan for the rapeseed flowers.

“Some of my favorite memories include visiting the Shaolin temple, Wulong, and Jinshan mountain cable cars out by Beibei station. I also love the affordability of CQ, especially of art supplies for my painting which is so expensive back home. I went to see Jay Chou live here too. Fun fact, I have only ever been to 2 major concerts in my life, and both were Jay Chou. Once in Beijing in 2009 and again in CQ in 2017. Those are some of my favorite memories as his music had such an impact on me as a kid learning Chinese. “

Samantha in Longtousi Park (Photo provided by Samantha Kim Dean)

In addition to the scenic spots, Samantha has found joy in some restaurants that she says she eats at almost religiously, including a Korean restaurant near Xingfu square. She has become a bit of a homebody since the start of the pandemic but loves riding to work on the readily available public electric scooters, and she enjoys that many coffee shops now also offer non-dairy milk options.

Had plans to move to Canada this Summer

Samantha and Daniel had plans to move back to Canada this summer. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances with COVID-19 abroad, they are not sure if that is still the best idea and may decide to stay in Chongqing longer. In the 4 years, they have lived here, Samantha has noticed the city expanding and all the new developments popping up, which also brings with it, noise. Construction noise has gotten worse in Yubei over the years. She does love the addition of the new e-bikes, which make traveling in the city a bit easier, but they can also sometimes cause congestion on the sidewalks.

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