Aarjan is from Canada and has been studying Chinese at Mandarin Inn for three months. He thinks that learning a new language is a very rewarding process. It takes time, effort, and patience. It requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. You might find yourself changing for the better in unexpected ways as you learn a language. Let's see what he has said about his Chinese learning journey!
Q: Please tell us how long you have stayed in China, how long you have studied at Mandarin Inn, what course you are learning, and what your current Chinese level is.
A: My name is Aarjan and I’m originally from Canada. Now I’m working here, in Shanghai, as an English teacher. I teach very young students who are just beginning to learn English, so I think I can often relate to them. This is the first Chinese course I’ve ever taken, and I feel all the common feelings that come with learning a new language: frustrations, struggles, and embarrassments. But eventually, you will have the satisfaction when you get something right. I’m sure my 4-year-old students must feel the same. And learning a new language in a unique way has been very instructive to me and it allows me to strike a chord with my students.
Q: Why did you come to China?
A: My dad lived in China for some years in the 80s. He did his schooling here and graduated with degrees in business and medicine. He worked and lived in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou for all the 80s and most of the 90s but left around the time when I was born. I grew up with these fascinating stories about what happened in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing in the 80s. I was intrigued and have always wanted to see what it was like in real life.
Q: Do you think it is helpful for foreigners to learn Mandarin? Why? And what makes you want to learn Mandarin?
A: If you live in China, learning Chinese is not a bad idea. It’s very useful actually. Just recently I found out you can use coupons on delivery apps. It can be something small like that or maybe something bigger like knowing the difference between “it’s raining outside” and “it’s pouring fish outside”. I know that speaking Chinese is a requirement for a lot of job opportunities in China, so if you wanted to work here knowing Chinese is a huge advantage. Moreover, learning a new language is a very rewarding process. Although It takes time, effort, and patience; it requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks, but you might find yourself changing for the better in unexpected ways in this wonderful journey.
如果你生活在中国，学习中文并不是一个坏主意。它实际上是非常有用的。就在最近，我发现你可以在快递应用程序上使用优惠券。学习中文对生活很有帮助，可以是这样的小事，也可能是更大的事，比如知道 "外面下雨了 "和 "外面下鱼了 "之间的区别。我知道在中国，懂中文是很多工作的先决条件，所以如果你想在这里工作，会中文是一项重要的条件。但不仅如此，学习一种新的语言是一个非常有意义的过程。它需要时间、努力和耐心。它要求你走出你的舒适区并承担风险。在学习语言的过程中，你可能会发现自己会以意想不到的方式改变。
Q: As a good student, how do you learn Mandarin? Would you like to share your tips? How do you encourage yourself during daily learning?
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 got a lot of Chinese practice with my students. They are my first Chinese teachers. One learning tip I can share is “practice makes perfect.” I heard someone says:“language learning is all about input”. It is true that you need a good teacher to teach and guide you, but the best way to improve is just to do it. In terms of motivation, I’m very lucky to have my instructor. She keeps me motivated to learn Chinese. I think reading Chinese stories or watching Chinese movies can also be very good motivations. Someone around the office told me White Snake (2019) is a good movie.
Q: Would you like to talk about your teacher, do you like him/her? And what kind of teacher’s behavior will encourage you to learn Mandarin?
A: Elaine, my teacher, is wonderful. She is patient and caring and seldom gets angry about my mistakes even though she can. What makes her a great teacher is that she’s an interesting person. She’s passionate about Chinese history and culture so she always mentions something fascinating that happened a thousand years ago or something like that. If your learning partner is fun to talk to, practice is not so painful.
Q: Would you happen to have any suggestions about Mandarin Inn online class and our management?
A: Doing online classes is not as fun as doing face-to-face classes, but during this epidemic period, I’m just happy that we can even continue to have lessons. Being a teacher myself I know how frustrating it can be on the other side, so I’m grateful that my teachers have the patience to organize the online classes.
Q: Recently, we are having free online open classes, do you have any suggestions? What subject would you be interested in?
A: The public online classes look fun, but I’ve never attended one. Maybe the calligraphy open class could be interesting.
Q: Final question, please say a Chinese sentence that you like, and tell us why.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
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