(ECNS) - As an assistant to a community head in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, John O'Connell, a 61-year-old American man, has been helping foreigners feel at home in the city.
Chengdu has 17,400 permanent resident foreigners including 4,300 in the Tongzilin community alone from 30 countries and regions including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.
The community’s administration has introduced many measures to make life easier for expats such as a “Foreigner's Home” that among other services handles entry and exit management, offers information about transportation and policies, and provides Chinese language classes.
Some three years ago, John O'Connell from the U.S. followed his wife to the city. He said he’s very satisfied with the environment in Chengdu, home to the giant panda.
As an assistant since 2016, he now helps understand and collect all kinds of requirements and responses from foreigners and reports them to the community head every workday.
O'Connell said Chengdu is as developed as New York and as comfortable as California. More importantly, he said, the people are friendly, tolerant and really love the city.
His main job is to help foreigners solve daily life problems such as how to take a bus and use software for taxis, WeChat and Alipay.
“When international friends in Chengdu encounter problems, they can come to the center for help, and if I can’t help them, I will find other people to solve the problem,” said O'Connell.
He often goes to the city’s blood donation center and helps donors there because the center serves not only Chengdu but also other areas in Sichuan Province.
O'Connell said he wishes everyone a happy New Year as China celebrates Spring Festival starting on February 5.