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Last modified: 08 Nov 2021 3:32pm

A smiling man standing in front of a sign for Plant and Food Research

Catching a two-hour subway to work in Beijing and visiting his four year-old daughter at his parents' home on weekends, wasn’t the lifestyle Jian Liu and his wife wanted.

“Every day we spent lots of time on the commute and then one day we said, ‘This is not the life we want to experience," says Jian.

Together the couple started looking for a new country to call home.

“We did a little bit of research and because we studied agriculture, three countries came in at the top.”

Canada was too cold and Australia seemed to have less of a focus on agriculture study, which lead them to choosing New Zealand, moving to Lincoln in November 2013.

Moving to New Zealand was a big culture shock, he says.

“I couldn’t speak a whole English sentence when I came to New Zealand, so I had to go through a three month English course.”

After completing his postgraduate diploma in agriculture science, Jian accepted a position with Plant and Food Research in Hawke’s Bay.

He didn’t really feel like he belonged in Hawke’s Bay and missed Lincoln, he says.

Jian talked to his manager who gave him an opportunity to work at Plant and Food Research in Lincoln.

After visiting his parents in China, Jian realised Lincoln felt more like home than his birth country.

“When I got off the plane I just felt a little bit overwhelmed. ‘Oh, this is so crowded compared to New Zealand’. Then I felt everything is a bit rushed, because I’m used to this slower lifestyle. When I came back to New Zealand I felt a sense of home. It really made me think, ‘Oh which is my real home?’ So I had a bit of struggle during that time, but I think I choose Selwyn as my home town now.”

Listen to the full interview with Jian Liu or find more podcast episodes from the latest series of Faces of Selwyn