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Attracted to a beacon of lifestyle

Updated: 2011-01-26

To build an international friendly neighborhood, foreign language studies have been very popular in Dalian.

Many language competitions have been held in Dalian for years and have become popular nationwide. These include Korean, English and Japanese competitions. Foreign residents from transnational corporations such as Intel are also eager to teach English at local communities.

At the same time, the performances of traditional Chinese art including Peking Opera are arranged for foreign residents every day in Dalian. The authorities also encourage local companies to invite foreign cultural performers to Dalian.

The city's international community is not as big as major metropolises such as Shanghai or Beijing, but expats in Dalian still enjoy the comfortable and relaxing life as well as friendly Chinese neighborhood.

Robert Power has been working for Intel in Dalian since September 2009. He says it was the Dalian residents who made him fall in love with the city.

One day, Power got lost while looking for a barbecue restaurant in downtown Dalian.

Attracted to a beacon of lifestyle

American Robert Power in the lobby of Shama Luxe Grand Central, a high-end serviced apartment in Dalian where he has lived for more than a year. [Cui Meng/China Daily]

He stopped the car and showed the address on the restaurant's business card to a man who happened to be on the street. The man took the card and ran to a convenience shop to ask for the directions.

"I originally came from New York, but nobody in New York will run down half the block to help you find out where you should go," the American IT engineer says.

When Power and his wife firstly arrived in Dalian, language proved to be a barrier. But Power always found people who spoke English.

"The local people can be very, very friendly and helpful," he says.

Similarly, Timothy Seekings cites Dalian's fresh air, public transportation and relatively relaxed lifestyle as a major draw.

Attracted to a beacon of lifestyle

Timothy Seekings surfs the Net in a cafe in Dalian. [Cui Meng/China Daily]

"I like Dalian because I can write and play music here," says the 29-year-old German who is currently teaching English at a local language college and playing for a Western band in Dalian as a drummer.

"When I saw the old buildings getting torn down in central Dalian, I felt like my city's history was missing. It's really sad," Seekings says.

Western lifestyle neighborhoods are also easy to find in Dalian. Europeans and Americans took up about half of the 195 serviced apartments at Shama Luxe in the Dalian Development Area. Shama Luxe offers Western breakfasts everyday and coffee 24/7. The building also expanded its units' balcony area in case foreign residents wanted to enjoy the sun as they used to at home.

It is all about making the residents happy, says Sylvester Fong, director of the sales and marketing departments in Shama.

"We make sure our clients can keep their Western living habits, if they want to."

By Zhao Yanrong

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