If you ever go to China, bare in mind that most people only speak Mandarin. If you don’t know the language it’s therefore a good idea to get a translation app on your phone and learn some key sentences and words in Chinese before you arrive. I can understand how this can be quite inconvenient for most people, since they don’t speak Mandarin at all but how would you feel if your own country changed their menus, their instructions and directions to another language to humor tourists? I believe that keeping everything in the original language keeps the culture and your experience as true as possible.
I lived in Shanghai for 6 months and tried to travel as much as possible. I worked and studied Mandarin at the same time. Unfortunately, I had to leave to renew my visa and I haven’t been able to go back because of the Corona virus pandemic. I’ve been trying to go back since April yet I’m still stuck in Europe. Like me, many others are in the exact same situation, hoping the borders will open soon so we can resume our life and our plans in China. At this point, me and anyone in the same situation as me, we’re only trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
In my experience as a young woman starting her career, the most important thing is to keep fighting for what I want and right now is improving my chances on getting a job in China. The best way that I found to do this is through online Chinese classes. I was always on the fence with online classes since I didn’t believe it would work. However, after 7 months waiting to go back and restart my classes, I realized I can’t keep waiting since I need to keep learning and practicing the language or I’ll just start forgetting it and then I’ll have to restart from the beginning all over again. So I gave into online classes. Personally, I chose private online classes so that the teacher can focus completely on me and my difficulties. I already had my first class with Arianna 老师.
It was a 2-hour class where I was able to review some vocabulary and grammar that I had already learnt but forgotten. The class was very interesting and helpful. The teacher was very nice and understanding of my difficulties. I was afraid there would be a little of miscommunication since it’s online but nothing like that happened. Everything went smoothly and the 2 hours went by really fast.
In this class, my 老师 (teacher) explained to me in detail and with a lot of examples some grammar rules. For example: verb + 得 + adj. After she explained it and gave me the example she asked me to do the same and give her some examples in Chinese where I would use this grammar rule. She then also explained how this rule changes slightly when the sentence is in negative or if it’s a question. Then again, she gave me some examples and then asked me to do the same to see if I could use it correctly on my own.
Apart from grammar, I also learnt new vocabulary such as:
站 – zhàn – station
需要 – xūyào – to need
对了 – duìle – by the way
经理 – jīnglǐ – manager
Now I have a week to review all the vocabulary and grammar rules I learnt before I have my next class. I even have some homework to do for next class apart from reviewing what I’ve learnt.
It felt fantastic to restart my classes and regaining my motivation to keep learning mandarin. I specially see it as well spent money because it will help me get back to China. It’s a good investment in my future since more and more companies are collaborating with Chinese companies. So if you are interested in the Chinese culture and language, I 100% recommend giving online classes a try!