Guest Post: Learning Mandarin Chinese? Consider 3 Key Things

A couple of months ago, Yang Yang from Learn Mandarin Now! contacted me and asked if I would be able to share some insight in how I learn Chinese for an infographic they were putting together. I enthusiastically replied with my Top 3 favourite tools I use to improve my Mandarin and got featured in their blog post, which you can read here, a few weeks later. I promised Yang Yang to share a guest post on my blog, however these last couple of months I managed to repeatedly prove to everyone just what a bad blogger I am by continuously procrastinating. Before Yang Yang gives up all hope to ever see the guest post up on my blog, I'm finally doing what I should have done a long time ago!

Yang Yang, the stage is all yours! 

Learning Mandarin Chinese? Consider 3 Key Things

Learning Mandarin Chinese can be accomplished in a variety of ways. However, sometimes, too many choices can be confusing for the new student.

Follow us at Learn Mandarin Now and make learning Mandarin Chinese easier by reading the advice, tips and informative pieces we regularly offer.

In this post we are going to cover 3 key things we almost always get asked about:

1. Learning Mandarin Chinese in China
Most of the students we interviewed who are learning Chinese, especially those who have reached an advanced level, tell us the same thing:

…To really get ahead with effectively learning Chinese they decided to go and live in China. Obviously, living in the country allows you the convenience to practice and use your Chinese language skills, but also an opportunity to understand and learn more about Chinese culture and etiquette.

Learning Chinese in China is no doubt the best and most effective way forward, but how to make the most of your experiences when in the country?

(1) Some interesting places to practice your Mandarin Chinese

In China’s more international cities such as Shanghai or Beijing, locals are more likely to talk to foreigners in English rather than Chinese. To help overcome this, some foreigners chose to live in certain second tier cities such as Chengdu where English is not so widespread and they will have more chances to practice their Chinese. Another key benefit is that the living cost is much cheaper!

(2) When in China mix more with local people

When socialising, many foreigners in China go to western restaurants or bars frequented by other foreigners and end up only speaking English. This can be compared to those Chinese people who only stay in Chinatowns around the world and still speak poor English after living overseas for many years. If you wish to improve your spoken Chinese, you don’t want to be like that!

(3) Having a Chinese tutor is a plus

Another great thing to do is to find a Chinese private tutor instead of going to a school with large classes to learn Mandarin—“1 on 1” learning really is an effective way to improve your Chinese quickly!

2. Finding the right resources, not necessarily expensive ones
Choosing the right resources is vitally important, especially for those who cannot go to work or study in China to upgrade their language skills,

As an example, Italki is a tool which enables students to find a native speaker to practice with at a relatively cheap price and has been recommended by many people. In reality, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to learn the Chinese language, as there are always ways and means to do so.

It’s well worth looking at one of our earlier articles if you are looking for some free or cheaper resources to help get ahead with learning Mandarin, namely: How to learn Chinese, as this will point you in the right direction to find more than a hundred free or relatively low cost resources.

3. Being fluent will take time
Becoming fluent in Mandarin Chinese cannot be achieved overnight, whether you are working with a private tutor or have decided to learn by yourself. Although lots of blogs or courses claim to be able to help you “master” the language in 7 days, a couple of months or other such short period, it’s only the application of study and hard work which will get you through!

Still, if you are serious about learning Mandarin Chinese, then there is no better time than today to get started!

Maybe you are still not sure about the best way to begin? Well, to help you on your journey to learning Mandarin Chinese please feel free to ask us any questions about learning the language and we will be happy to help!