Grow the language, grow the business

Learner Stories

When Xing Mao arrived in New Zealand twelve years ago, she wasn't a confident English speaker.

Now she has her own business and comfortably interacts with members of the public every day.

In March 2016, Xing became the owner and operator of Palmside Café, located in the busy Palms Medical Centre in Palmerston North.

She has settled in New Zealand with her husband, Mingshu Cao, daughter, Maize and son, Kevin.

Already armed with a Bachelor of Economic Management from China, Xing graduated with a Bachelor in Business Studies, majoring in accountancy, from Massey University in 2009.

After her studies, Xing became determined to improve her English. Encouraged by a friend, she joined English Language Partners as a learner. She tried to attend language classes but soon discovered having an ESOL home tutor better suited the demands of family life.

“I was lazy and read the news in Chinese only, so [my home tutor] brought me some reading materials from the local newspaper, and then asked me to answer questions. She pushed me to read and understand current events.

“For me, English Language Partners is like a bridge”, says Xing. “It’s a very friendly environment and it helped me to get involved in the community.”

Xing’s financial skills were soon in demand and she volunteered as treasurer for her local English Language Partners' centre committee up until the organisation became a Trust in 2014. Xing continued doing administration work until her recent elevation to business owner.

Xing bought the café business from her friend who was moving to Auckland. “I jokingly said to her that I liked her shop. She said, ‘Well, buy it off me’ – so I did!”

The youthful 45–year-old is very excited about her new venture and is thriving on being her own boss.

“I am always thinking about how I can grow the business,” she says. “Perhaps I can become the caterer for future English Language Partners’ events!”

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