Jack’s Experience at Newman Tours

Expats are jealous, when I tell them about my work. I met some last night, when buying my noodles. They’d asked me, not really caring about the answer, if I was ‘an English teacher too?’ When I told them I was a tour guide – what I get up to, and where – they were surprised and really jealous. They were right to be jealous – my work for Newman Tours has been extremely interesting, and extremely good experience.

I’m the resident guide in Xi’an. I regularly go to the Terracotta Warriors, the Muslim District, the Great Mosque, and Great Wild Goose Pagoda, and go cycling on the Ming-dynasty City Walls. I’ve come to know these places like the back of my hand – and I’ve had the chance to do so much research, I can feel like a genuine expert.

It’s not just Xi’an. Thanks to Newman Tours I’ve travelled all over China, and seen its greatest sights. I’ve been to Shanghai. I’ve been to Chengdu – where I’ve seen the pandas playing and chomping on bamboo. I’ve to been to Beijing, multiple times, to research and lead tours through hutongs, on the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. It’s been an amazing chance to travel China, to become an expert on it, and to be able to share that excitement with others.

My work is well-rounded. It’s made my Chinese language skills much better. I’ve had lots of experience in running a business, and gained lots of transferrable skills, which I know will be undoubtedly useful in my future. I’ve been in charge of the company’s finances. This has been a big, important role. I’ve kept the company’s accounts, and the record of our tours, and have learnt lots of things about accounting in the process. I was given the opportunity of presenting a financial report for the year’s first quarter. This was a brilliant chance for me to learn a whole bunch of new skills: from practical Excel skills, analysing profits, returns-on- investment, making historical comparisons, putting our performance into perspective, and making suggestions for business strategy going forward. This was a chance for me to be right at the heart of business, raising important issues, and making suggestions that were thought over and acted on.

I’ve come to really enjoy the performance involved in being a tour guide. Delivering speeches, making them dramatic, dynamic, and fun is not something I had done since my last school play, aged c. 12 – but I’ve found it extremely enjoyable, and a skill that was lying dormant that has come back to life. Newman Tours is the perfect place to develop this skill, and Daniel the perfect person to teach it. I now have no problem with public speaking. I positively enjoy it. Whatever I do in the future, this is a skill I’ve learnt which I know will be extremely useful.

I’ve interviewed lots of people for jobs. Right from the first few days of my time at Newman Tours I’ve been doing them, helping select new staff, and recruiting others. It was a weird experience, at first. Only weeks before I’d been on the other side of the table, being interviewed myself. But now I’ve learnt lots of skills in interviewing, which has made me a lot more confident both in being the interviewer, and I know it will help in the future when I’m an interviewee again. I’ve been published. My article on Xi’an for Shanghai Talk was published and I was credited as author. I’ve done a speech, for around thirty people, in Beijing. I’ve had lots of chances to market and promote our tours and plan how our marketing can be smarter and better targeted.

From learning what a turtle’s ‘plastron’ is, and why the Shang Dynasty used it to tell the future, to maximising the speed you can go down from the Great Wall in a toboggan, to the Chinese word for ‘compound interest’ I’ve learnt an enormous amount from my time at Newman Tours, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to work in an interesting, important, valuable, and fun role.