Learning Chinese, by Rory Spittle

Learning Chinese in China is one of the most rewarding things that you can do. At first it seems impossible, incredibly difficult as you are obsessively comparing the language structure to English. Then something clicks. You forget about the constant comparisons as you are actively trying to engage in conversations with locals. There are laughs as you struggle but the people really do appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to communicate to them in their mother tongue.

The free lessons that Aihua offers are a great way to start learning the language and to inspire and motivate yourself to continue learning the language. As the language at first appears difficult it is easy to give up, but once you start interacting with the Chinese people around you it becomes fun. The free lessons are flexible and you have a choice of attending a group lesson with many other foreign teachers, or alternatively you can attend a V.I.P class where you have a solo lesson with the Chinese teacher. These for me are a much better way to learn as you don’t need to worry about the speed that everyone else in your class is learning at. The Chinese teacher makes the classroom a great atmosphere to learn, it is fun and challenging at the same time. Looking back over my year and a bit in China my Chinese has progressed a lot.

From the day I arrived, not being able to say anything but hello to now being able to tell a taxi driver exactly where I want to go, or ordering food or even asking for directions. Learning Chinese is certainly handy and it makes your experience in China that much better as it makes your life easier, and the interactions that come from the conversations are very memorable and fun. I recall trying to ask someone on a train which home town they were from and I mixed up my grammar and didn’t ask correctly, however they knew what I was trying to say and promptly followed by teaching me the correct sentence structure and teaching me some other things. Chinese people are very patient and will help you if you struggle with the language., I think learning Chinese has been a highlight of my time here as it improved my social interactions and allowed me to complete basic tasks such as ordering food when I travel around.

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