Informal Group sessions
I participated in a zoom call with other language learners. There were six of them either learning English or Japanese. One other native mandarin speaker. It was a nice distraction to listen to Japanese.
I also did a group practice mandarin class hosted in New York. I sent in some details of my learning and my aims to see whether they would accept me. All along, I have never sought to connect to other learners of mandarin except for this forum. For example, when I attended LTL small group class, my feel for the language is smoother compared to the others and I felt I might demoralise them. For the New York group, I was a bit nervous as I had selectively forgotten to tell them I am based in HK. Would that be OK?
The group leader was really good in leading the session. She started off with recounting in mandarin about what she did in the previous week which was her son’s birthday. I volunteered to translate (surprisingly around 95% comprehension) and also introduce myself using Mandarin. In fact, they do have a couple of people from England that also sometimes join. Others have to chip in with stories and some didn’t. I explained usually I learn on my own but thought it would be a good idea to connect to more learners in a different way and also hear what sort of vocabulary they use.
This group comprises of mostly overseas Chinese. A couple of them look quite senior. Some didn’t say anything nor show their faces. Some have a bit of HK connection so I can contribute a bit on the local HK comings and goings. It’s a bit difficult to gauge with some people remaining silent but so far I think I am one of the better ones.
I am a person that gets massive downphases in learning due to frustration of no progress. Hopefully, this group helps reduce that frustration because not only am I learning, but also can help in assisting others. The cultural similarities to other heritage learners helps massively.