As told to Dawn MorrisonYong Jia Lin

Yong Jia Lin (BCD’12) says he came to the West from the East for education, and that his first impression of Halifax was the beauty of the environment. “The waterfront is in walking distance to the ocean, isn’t that wonderful thing?,” he says. “And people in Halifax are so nice and close to each other; it made me feel at home.”  He is a volunteer with the Dalhousie Alumni Shenzhen Chapter.

Best networking advice

I think the best location for networking is the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre. They always have lots of different events and exhibitions involving technology, art, design, IT, culture, business and more. Many people from many different disciplines will attend these events, so it is a good opportunity to get to know people.”

What’s it like to live and work in Shenzhen?

“Shenzhen is a vital and developing city in China, therefore, it attracts a great number of young people who want to pursue their dreams. Everyone works hard, but they also know how to relax. Basically, people know how to balance their work and life.

Shenzhen is now one of the top 4 cities in China, and overall, I feel it is the best city. It has built an international financial district, which attracts global business. Shenzhen also enjoys the reputation of a high-tech industrial city, so it attracts ambitious people who want to live in a large, exciting place. In terms of education, the government has funded the The City University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, a hub for research, incubation and professional education. As for the climate, Shenzhen is very warm. People will feel comfortable in every season, and not need a winter jacket at all!”

Best volunteer opportunity

“The Shenzhen government will post volunteer opportunities for new graduates. These opportunities include participation in the urban development of Shenzhen, caring for the elderly and children, working at the library, and so on. If people are interested, they can check out this website.”

Best Spot for a Lunch Meeting

“I would recommend Link City. It’s the underground mall which links 3 subway stops together to form a large shopping centre. It provides tons of different cultural restaurants, and it’s super easy to tell friends where you are.”

The essential ‘Shenzhen experience’

We have a proverb in China that food is always the best thing in life. Shenzhen is a coastal city, so seafood is the best thing you can enjoy there. People can go to Yantian District to take the boat out and go fishing, and the surrounding restaurants will cook their catch for them. So you can enjoy a fresh seafood meal and a beautiful sea view.”

Best place for Friday night fun

“The best place for Friday night is Shekou Sea World. It provides offices, recreation, shopping, food, a hotel, a vacation spot, as well as art and design. Every Friday, people who work there will stay in this place to hang out with friends, and people come there from everywhere else for fun, because of the gorgeous sea views and lots of night activities.”

Best local delicacy

“Dim sum is not only the best local delicacy, it represents Cantonese culture, from the family gathering to the business dinner. The dim sum in Shenzhen is quite different from Hong Kong or Canton since it keeps the traditional methods but also adds different flavour.”

Best place to eat on a dime

“Most places will have both very expensive and cheap food; the cheap food is also delicious and safe. The best method for choosing where to eat is to just follow people and see where the locals go, and you will find out how cheap and yummy the food can be.”

Best neighbourhood for newcomers

“The best neighbourhood in Shenzhen is the Nanshan district (there are 10 districts). Nanshan district has very low urban density, so it’s a very human-scaled place to live. It is also the future economic core of Shenzhen. Shenzhen University and University City are also located in Nanshan, and lots of recreational parks and bars are located there.”

Most important advice for someone moving to Shenzhen

“I trust that Dal graduates will blend in well in Shenzhen. My advice would be to enjoy the most exciting city in China!”

For inquiries on Dalhousie’s alumni chapters, please contact Bill Chernin at