About the Author
Steve Kaufmann grew up in the English speaking part of Montreal, Quebec in the 1950s. Although he was taught French in school, he could not communicate in that language. It was only after he left high school that he became interested in learning French and was able to make himself fluent. This experience inspired a life-long interest in the discovery of languages and other cultures. After two years at Montreal's McGill University, Steve hitchhiked on a tramp freighter to get to Europe. He ended up studying in France while supporting himself at various odd jobs. He graduated from the elite Paris School of Political Science, l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques in 1966 and entered the Canadian Foreign Service. As a Diplomat, Steve continued to immerse himself in the culture and languages of other countries. In preparation for the opening of diplomat relations with China, Steve was assigned to Hong Kong to learn Mandarin. During this time he made regular visits to China which was then at the height of the Cultural Revolution. He next served at the Canadian Embassy in Japan, where he made himself fluent in Japanese, essentially by studying in his spare time. While at the Embassy, Steve was heavily involved in developing markets for Canadian forest products. In 1974 Steve left the Diplomatic Service to establish and manage Asian subsidiaries for two major Canadian forest products companies. In the early 1980s he returned to live in Vancouver. In 1987 he founded his own company which today has offices in Japan, Sweden and Canada, and of which he is the President and CEO. Steve is fluent in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Swedish and English and is working on two more, Korean and Portuguese. Steve I married with two sons and five grandchildren and lives in Vancouver, Canada. In 2003, Steve decided to write of his experiences in exploring and discovering different cultures and languages in the hope that it would encourage more people to become "