Learning Chinese...not impossible
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Sep 2, 2012 5:42 AM Last Post By: jroc12
Jul 31, 2012 9:00 AM
Learning Chinese...not impossibleI had some free time this summer so I thought I would travel and improve my Mandarin at the same time. I've been in Guilin, China for just about two months now and I absolutely love it. So much so, I even feel compelled to blog about it. Here's my two cents about Guilin and learning Mandarin Chinese:
I studied Mandarin in college for a little over a year and I found it really interesting, but in big classes of 30 people, needless to say, I didn't learn a lot. Then, this opportunity to travel to China and take some time to study the language and fully immerse myself came along. I chose to come to Guilin in Southern China for a coupe of reasons. First, it's absolutely beautiful. Second, and perhaps more importantly, my main goal was to learn the language and I knew if I went to Beijing, Shanghai or another major city, I would be talking English far too often. I chose to study at The Chinese Language Institute (CLI) and I would highly recommend it to anyone else that is looking to start studying Mandarin, improve his or her language skills or even if you're aiming for total fluency. There are plenty of beginners here (like me), but I have also met plenty of Chinese teachers and other fluent speakers from around the world who just come to brush up on their language and experience the beauty of Guilin. The main reason I chose CLI was because of the one-on-one intensive classes. At least for me, this is what forces me to study every day and not slack off. And it's paid off...
So far, in just under two months, I have learned more than I ever did between my 3 semesters in college and 2 semesters of night courses at a language school in Boston...it's truly incredible. What is most rewarding to me is my progress has been measurable. Unlike in college, the test here isn’t a piece of paper…it’s weather you can communicate where you want to go to the cabbie or what you want to eat at the restaurant around the corner. And so far, thanks to my CLI teachers , I’m doing quiet well. After coming here several weeks ago and barely being able to introduce myself or form a basic sentence, I now find myself having full conversations with taxi drivers, women selling fruit on the street, Chinese students at the nearby university and just about anyone else who is willing to talk to me every single day! So, before you brush off Mandarin as "too hard" or even "impossible" try a one-on-one class...working one-on-one with a teacher has totally changed my perspective of language learning.
Jul 31, 2012 11:12 AM
1I also have had encouraging results through one-on-one instruction. While I would have loved to study in Guilin and immerse myself, I've been doing it from home three days a week through echineselearning.com. (I swear they have not asked me to plug them.) I have an excellent teacher, conversing one-on-one with her three days a week for four months has gotten me to the point where I can now handle (somewhat halting) conversation on a range of topics. I also do almost daily practice on my own. Chinese may seem daunting, but with daily practice you can learn it.
Jul 31, 2012 1:56 PM
2This sounds tempting and I suspect Guilin is a smart city to chose for instruction as I liked it during the couple of days I was there.
I have to ask you something I think about occasionally. Does the Waterfall hotel still do that bizarre routine each evening with the water fall over the building? It was one of the oddest and most unexpected things I ever saw in travel and I always wonder if they could keep it up without eroding the edifice away?
Jul 31, 2012 4:50 PM
3@markoboston---I totally agree..One-on-one instruction is the way to go. I'm leaving to head back state side the end of this month and I also think I am going to continue my courses online. This place where I'm studying now, CLI , also has online courses so I'll be able to continue with my favorite teacher, which I am excited about!
@jkkintoronto--Yes! There is still the Waterfall hotel that does the waterfall over the building routine each night--I've only seen in a couple times while wondering around down town. I think it's at 8pm(ish) each night.
Jul 31, 2012 6:40 PM
Aug 1, 2012 10:10 AM
5I do the same thing in Chengdu. One-on-One is quite useful.
Sep 2, 2012 5:42 AM
6I've also found Guilin to be a great place to learn Mandarin. In Beijing and Shanghai, not to say AT ALL that the residents of those cities are rude, but life moves at a faster pace there, as it does in any large city. In Guilin, I've personally found the residents to be more patient with my language abilities. They seem more willing to wait for me to formulate my sentences, and more patient with me if it takes us a couple times before meaning is properly conveyed.
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