Daniele is the "student of the month" last month at Mandarin Inn. She like use flash cards to learn Chinese and made the cards by herself. Daniele said, flash cards are the only useful way for her to learn Chinese.
My name is Gu Danlei. I'm French, I'm married, I don't have children, my husband is German. We are in Shanghai because my husband's job. This is the second time to live in Shanghai. (The first time in Shanghai was ) from 2000 to 2007. The second time I lived in Shanghai from 2015 to the present, I lived in Shanghai and live in the French concession.
Q1: Please tell us how long you have studied at Mandarin Inn, what kind of course you are learning, and which level you are
I started my class here in April, more than one year. And I’m very happy here and I think it really fits my needs, and I feel like very much to come here. I thought being different levels, being better in speaking and very bad in writing. So I would say I have an HSK 3 level in writing and speaking.
Q2: Except for language, what’s the hardest thing to understand for you in China?
I think this is a basic problem. That many things I’m not accessible to use anymore because you don’t speak Chinese. We use apps situation. What is the accessible to Chinese people because of course you can read. It’s not accessible sometimes and it’s frustrating for me to be part of the minority.
I have a hard time to struggle, or to make myself understood, like when I was sometimes alone, I ask something and it’s easy, and yet it always use most of the time.
Sometimes it is said you have to struggle to get what you need. And the other is complicated, things just raise to the Chinese mind, because we are here and you are just the opposite of the mentality, the way of thinking, the way of expressing yourself of being completely impressed.
First of all, I revise everything I do here, so it helps me to remember it and revise. And I translate them at my notebook at home, and whatever I write, I work with the cards, which by myself.
I come home and the new words, and I put the pinyin, and put it in “汉字”,and I put maybe the grammar, I put the grammar rules. So I work with my flash cards, but I do them myself. I have four flash cards, from when my teacher gave me the flash cards, and I bought them, but still I prefer to work with my own assistant. I use them and I can always start to repeat. This is my own rule.
When I after the class, the whole morning, at least three or six hours, and then maybe a Monday and ten to fifteen hours a week, I will try to remember the characters.For me, it’s the only way to learn the language, to memorize it.I usually, prefer to study at home to be honest. If you want, you could do this in the crowd, but I prefer to stay at home.
Q4: What kinds of teacher’s behavior will encourage you to learn Mandarin?
I'm someone who loves pressure. You have to really under pressure to learn. Some people they would like pressure, but sometimes I get lazy if not the pressure. So I think giving the homework is a very good way of forcing you because next time you come and talk about the homework, so it’s a good way to make sure that you have learnt the lesson.
My teachers are very good. Gwen is also a very very good teacher, she puts sometimes too much pressure. But she was very efficient. And then I think Teico is also very strict and she's just very well-prepared, all the class, system, she explains very well and very patient. I think she’s doing very well.
Q5: Mandarin Inn offers online course management system and someresources for learning Mandarin. How do you think about these online things?Does it works? Do you have some suggestions for that?
I think it’s not for me.I’m lucky enough to be educated to come, but I think it’s perfect that you offer it, because for people who are travelling, business people, working people that are travelling, maybe they are not in Shanghai, but in small town, maybe there’s no class there, so it gives you a good approach to learn the Mandarin.I am lucky, but if someone is unlucky, it’s a very good instrument that you do it.
I am lazy and I have never the chance to use this tools. Usually I’m here and what I learnt here and practice at home.
For me, it should never be enough, but for me, for right now it’s okay. Definitely, I ‘m a communicator.
Q6: Mandarin Inn hold cultural workshops every month, did youparticipate? And what kind of topic do you want to talk in the future events?
No, do not yet. I really have to say you do really really nice things, but sometimes I’m busy, and sometimes I get many friends, and I haven’t any time. But I think it’s really good to do this kind of cultural events, really good idea.
I think right now it is one day you can do what is Qipao, then you had the tea ceremony, so I think you pick the right things to try to give the insights to the foreigners. I think it doing well, doing really good.
I think I never participate. I think it’s really nice and you should keep on doing it. To sum up, that you take extra work to make present things for your students.
Q7: Finally, please say your favourite Chinese sentence, and why
It is called “车到山前必有路”（chē dào shān qián bì yǒu lù ）, I learnt from a book.
Chinese mandarin first is a written language. First it is a written language and then it becomes a spoken language, it is also important that characters should be taught and learned, but it seems it is complex for me, or maybe as for foreigners. You have to take so much energy to be able to express the whole idea of learning. That, when you come here for only a certain month, you often take time to do it properly. So you come here for the first thing, you should know is to communicate a little bit something to the restaurant or to be taxi or maybe colleagues. I think yes it is very important but if you stay here only for three years, you won’t get to it. It takes too much of your time to be able to learn.
And then it is why I think for expats, for short period time, here’s to know pinyin.It helps me really sometimes to understand the language because sometimes I was see and I looked at the character and I think “what is this character?"
If you want to learn Chinese, you have to learn the characters but you have to learn five years at university to be able to read the newspaper and book to go there. Not everybody has the time.