26 December 2012

Face The Challenge of Learning Chinese outside of China


I like many Chinese language learners face the challenge of learning Chinese outside of China. So I believe that to make Chinese part ‘real life’ or daily life has considerable challenges. February will be a major milestone for me, as I shall be a third year (final year) Chinese language student at my university.

It may help other Chinese language learners  if I share my list of many of the things that I have done in the past two years.

  • Use technology where possible to aid or enhance the learning experience. Use Android and iPad / iPhone Apps, online dictionaries, online flashcards, etcetera.
  • Learn something new every day. For example; a new grammar or sentence pattern, a short vocabulary list, new hanzi (there is always something that needs to be learned to progress)
  • Make opportunities to try even the most basic Chinese. Join Chinese social networking sites. Live Mocha, Facebook, Google+ (many Chinese language learning and teaching groups are around).  Seeking like-minded learners to help makes you feel part of something.
  • Get a teacher for one on one lesson. Skype allows you to have lessons at home at a time convenient to you. Shops around prices vary considerably.
  • Use low tech too. Print flashcards, hang posters, print out and fill grids with hanzi, test yourself.
  • Practice daily - a little bit of Chinese even 10 minutes a day is better than none that day.  Such is the way of second language acquisition.
  • Seek opportunities for some study in China. I was lucky enough to find a course of Chinese (Diploma of Modern Languages) sponsored by the Oz Government. This year I was lucky to find an intensive study tour ELTF (also sponsored by the Oz government. Depending on who you are and how old you are Hanban and your local Confucius Institute (these are actually the same thing) also have sponsorship and scholarships for the serious Chinese learner.
  • For those of you in major cities look for night schools and local community groups studying Chinese. If one doesn’t exist start one.
  • Enrol in a formal course at University. People in Oz have a choice of two (maybe three) Uni’s offering online / off campus courses and degrees. I also know this is possible through the UK’s Open Learning. In my search I also found something from New Zealand and South African Universities.
  • Watch and monitor your level of motivation.  If you feel it is ‘all too hard’ contact your support group. Perhaps review your study habits. Even review your goals.
  • Set a very realistic goal. I will learn X amount of Chinese this week, this month, this year, this decade (for those in the long haul).
  • Make learning Chinese a habit. A set time every day is better than leaving it to chance.

I could keep going with this list. However, I think I should stop. I could go on. Less is more.

If you want clarification or more do contact me.

I wish you all the very best for you Chinese studies of 2013.

乔纳森 AKA 老龙王

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