My name’s Nicole but you can call me Niki if you like. I’ve been an FT at Wall Street since July 2007, and I’ve spent about a year and a half at the Gongzhufen Center. Previously I worked at the Oriental Plaza Center in Wangfujing.
I’m from the state of Michigan in the US where I grew up in a small town called Chelsea. Chelsea isn’t a very exciting place so I’m happy to be living in a big city. But, I’ve got two sisters and three brothers and I miss my family very much living so far away. Don’t get me wrong—I love Beijing! It’s such a great city. But I always look forward to returning home for my vacations.
After graduating high school, I went to Kalamazoo College, a small private college also in Michigan and got BA’s in Spanish and Philosophy. I’ve studied Spanish since I was in the middle school but now I’m much more focused on learning Chinese. You could say I’m just interested in learning languages. Also, due to my interest in Chinese philosophy, I got my second major and was very attracted to coming to Beijing after graduation. I had no idea I’d be here this long but I’m glad I enjoy my life in China so much.
Prior to coming to Wall Street, I had several small teaching jobs in Beijing. Even before I came to Beijing in February 2006, I was a volunteer English teacher at some local high schools while I was in college. The first was in the city I studied in, Kalamazoo, not only did I help with English, I also mentored the bilingual students I was teaching in other areas. I volunteered at that high school for my whole college career.
The other opportunity I had to teach English was while I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. Living in Chile was another great life experience and I often think about returning to South America although I haven’t quite finished my time in Beijing yet. I also volunteered at a high school there and I’ll never forget those students I taught either.
When I’m not teaching I like to relax in my free time so I don’t do much on my days off. Of course I like to go shopping and eat out with friends, and you can often find me hanging out with colleagues after work. When I stay at home I enjoy reading and watching movies and playing with my cats-they’re my family in Beijing.
That’s about it for now. If you ever swing by BJ7, come say hi!