Among MI students, Peter is definitely one of the most seniors in his field. Being a British, he worked in France, traveled to Russia, African, South America…finally came to the land of Asia and established himself in Shanghai for work. Why did he decide to stay here and learn Chinese?
Q: You have a lot of international working experience! What’s your impression of Shanghai, or China?
A: Very good and interesting. I like Shanghai because it is dynamic. People always try to help you. Security is 100%. Foreigners who are not good at Chinese can still live here with good experience. My wife does not have the same experience like me but because of the solidarity of the wives of expatriates, she has a big group and they do a lot of activities. She is very happy in Shanghai too.
Q: Since the culture and language are totally different from what you are used to, what is the hardest thing for you in China?
A: The beginning when you as a foreigner you do not have a bank account, without "papers". You cannot order a taxi as you do not know how things work. You wait the car to stop but no one does…like this kind of small things. Once you have the things ongoing then it is easy. Now the phone has a lot effects in daily life. If you lose your phone, that is a problem; but 99% I have no bad experience.
Q: When do you make the decision to start learning Chinese?
A: It was a long-term target for me due to business activities I saw in here. China is becoming more and more important in automotive sector worldwide. In addition, through the language you can understand a bit culture: how things work and how people think. I understand that when you are older, the capacity to learnis a bit less, especially you have work and pressure. Sometimes I cannot stop working for six months intensively. Therefore, I am not seeking to be fluent. I set my target to understand the language, to be able to live the daily life and sort myself out.
As much as I am in China, I will do the course because I think it is interesting. I like the course with different people. You can compare to and interact with other students. Being with young people is funny.
Q: Sounds like you had good atmosphere in class. I know you have different teachers to teach you. How do you think of them?看来你们的课堂氛围不错呀。你有不同的老师教你，觉得她们怎么样？
A: We have two teachers. The first teacher used to live in Europe and deal with Europeans so her English is fluent. I think she is the ideal person to attract new comers and good at encouraging students during the class. Second teacher is also good in her style, more patient and repeating the key points in Chinese, different styles, either works.
Q: Do you prefer teacher speaking more Chinese or English as a medium language?
A: I prefer the way when we learn more Chinese. When the Chinese expression is not enough, then teacher need to find a way to speak English, this is how it should be for me.
Q: Do you have good tips for learning Chinese?
A: I think game is nice. We did some games like asking the price and negotiating in Chinese. It is funny and people are more involved. The golden rule for learning language is “People learn from using”. The other tip I could say is to mix people. Why not every three months, make some games with people from similar level of other classes? You know, to see different people.
Q: Due to the worldwide pandemic, many schools still not open. Online education is getting popular, how do you thinka bout it?
A: In my opinion, online education is different when you do not have a choice, e.g., the Covid situation, or as a support to the physical class. Online classes cannot completely replace the group classes but will be in support of it. As my Chinese course is getting more complex, the 1.5 hours per time may not be enough. After each physical course it could help to do exercise or review the content that we have learnt. (End)