Michaela is a student from Germany who has been studying at Mandarin Inn for 9 months. She thinks it is important for people who live in a foreign country to learn the local language, not only to communicate, but also to learn more of the culture and to get a better understanding for the thinking of the people. Interested in what she considers the most important method of learning Chinese? Let's have a look together!
Michaela 来自德国，在Mandarin Inn已经学习了九个月的中文。她觉得在异国学习当地的语言很重要，不仅仅是为了交流，更是可以了解语言背后的文化，从而更好的去理解人们所思考的和他们的观点。她有什么好的学习方法呢？我们一起来看一下！
Q: Please tell us how long you have stayed in China, how long you have studied at Mandarin Inn, what kind of course you are learning, and which level you are.
A: I am Michaela from Germany. I am a Chemical Engineer and have worked for over ten years in projects designing and building water treatment facilities and cooling towers for chemical plants. I came to Shanghai nine months ago I have started learning Mandarin at the same time. I am having private lessons but also enjoy the open classes. I am currently finishing HSKII, looking forward to the next books soon.This is my first time in China, but I have spent 6 month in Korea in 2006. I had learned some Korean there and I had a little Japanese in school. I think it is very interesting to compare the three languages. They are so different from each other and very different from European languages.
Q: Why did you come to China?
A: I came to Shanghai for a project of my company. I’m planned to be in Shanghai for the first 2 years and then move to Guandong province for another 2 years.
Q: Do you think it is useful for foreigners to learn Mandarin? Why? And why you’d like to learn Mandarin?
A: I think it is important for people who live in a foreign country to learn the local language, not only to communicate, but also to learn more of the culture and to get a better understanding for the thinking of the people. I’ve learned in my past stays in different countries that the language will display the way people think very well. What is on the tip of people’s tongue is often the more common though in their heads and vice versa.I also think it is important for me to speak some Mandarin, when I move to an area where English is not an option, even if other dialects are more prevalent in the South.
Q: As a good student, how do you learn Mandarin? Would you like to share your tips?
作为一名好学生，你是如何学习中文的? 你想分享一下自己的学习建议吗? 你学中文的时候是怎样激励自己的?
A: I try to use different media to learn Mandarin varying between workbooks and exercises, Apps and conversation, both with my Chinese colleagues and with my fellow delegate colleagues that are also learning. I am making a point of learning to read and write Hanzi as well. Apart from the additional depth of understanding, cell phones are in my view an essential part of living in China and while they help with translating functions, it is very satisfying to deceiver the first if short messages without a translation App.
Q: Would you like to talk something about your teacher, do you like him/her? And What kinds of teacher’s behavior will encourage you to learn Mandarin?
A: My teacher is very kind and has a good balance of letting me talk and correcting me. I think it is very important to getting into a flow of talking, even if not every word is completely correct, in order to built up confidence talking to other people. Teachers are for me a safe place to try out sentences.
Q: We just got through a very tough time in Shanghai, during these time, how do you keep learning Chinese?
A: I think it is most important to be consistent with the repetition. When I don’t speak Manadrin as much, because I don’t leave the house I make sure I still do some exercises and use my language learning Apps. For me it is important to mix the mediums, to avoid getting bored or frustrated.
Q: You are keeping doing online class, how do you feel about it?
A: While online classes are a good tool, when face to face meetings are not possible, I still prefer f2f meetings. Especially when you are learning a language, I think it is much easier to pick up nuances when you are in the same room as you teacher.
Q: We are doing free public online class recently, how do you feel about it, and do you have any suggestion, or do you have any subject you are interested?
A: I think the free classes is a great opportunity to meet other students and start speaking Chinese more in a more informal setting. I would love to see the smalltalk section of these classes increase a bit to force students speaking with the help of a teacher, even for low level students.
Q: Do you have any interesting thing during your Mandarin study or the problems you meet in your daily life as the language to share to us？
A: I think the most interesting thing is to talk with my Chinese colleagues about the idea behind the language rules. My German colleague noted early in my study, that the understanding or down and next are the same word in Manadrin. As Germans we thought, that the newest thing in would always be on top, because we were thinking of papers on a desk. We discussed the thinking behind this a little bit with our Chinese colleagues and finally came to the point, that it would be disrespectful, if the young would stand on the old. The concept itself made sense to us Germans, but we are very used to see the old as the roots of the young, like a tree that grows slowly from under the ground into the sky.I always think it is fascinating to understand, what the underlying concepts behind a figure of speech is, even if it is just the concept of up and down and old and new.
Q: Finally, please say a your favourite Chinese sentence, and why.
A: “听到了吗？“Just because it is the first full sentence I understood in an online meeting at work and it reflects the hard time Shanghai just went through. Hopefully we soon can hear – and see – each other again!