Italian mom finds a rich new life in China

10:51, May 29, 2011      

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Hers is not the most typical tale of an expatriate in China. After coming to Beijing to live from her native Italy - her first trip away from Europe - Luciana Rizzo spent most of her first year immersed in language study: English. Then she spent most of her second year pregnant, awaiting the birth of her second daughter, Lucrezia, who arrived just before Christmas last year.

Bright-eyed and outgoing, the new mom and her baby carriage have become fixtures at meetings of the International Newcomers Network, where Rizzo is an active board member and host of the expat group's monthly "lunch bunch". But the first time she checked out INN nearly two years ago, it wasn't clear she'd found a happy nest.

"I went there very excited about meeting new people like me and learning about life in Beijing. But after the meeting, I came home to my husband Alessandro and burst into tears!" she says, laughing about it now. "I couldn't understand anything anybody said."

That's when she knew that the language she needed to study was English - most expats in China spoke it and most of the Chinese she'd encountered could speak at least a little English, too.

The decision was, coincidentally, a family affair. Her teenage daughter Andrea was enrolled in the British School and studying the English language.

"She was 15 then, a critical age socially, so we had some concern about that when we came," Rizzo says. "But after a month she was fine. She spoke no English when we arrived, but she learned well and now she's starting Chinese."

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Source: Xinhua
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