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    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

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roddy

Why Chinese?

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icebear

Similar to Roddy - when I graduated in 2006 I wanted to do anything but think about a serious career or going straight to grad school. I'd had a blast studying abroad, and wanted to do that again and get paid. After a few false starts with other countries where I'd missed deadlines or would have visa issues, I found out that nearly any American with a pulse could get a job a few weeks before starting.

 

Landed in Shenzhen for a year of fun and blew it with the Chinese - just figured it was too hard and I was going back to the US a year later, anyway. After a year of teaching English and fucking around, I decided to get serious career-wise - but further north in China. Started to take my Chinese a bit more seriously once I saw a real, live, walking, talking laowai speaking decent Chinese.

 

Been in China on and off ever since, with an even greater hunger to return each time I leave... hell of a good ride, language included.

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Shelley

@Demonic Duck  -  thank you :)

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abcdefg
But my passion in life has always really been, as I wrote in the Dr. Suess book, to be "a teacher about Chinese".

But you have done some Chinese teaching, haven't you?

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Meng Lelan

That was in the Confucius Institute here until administration introduced a large number of major changes. Quite a few other Chinese teachers left during that time also. 

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abcdefg

Understand. Hope you get to realize your goal eventually.

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Meng Lelan

I think I will, but it won't be here and it will take a large amount of major hard work also. 

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xuexiansheng

My tale may not be as interesting as some of the posts of my fellow 'Forum-ers', but here goes:

 

Back in 2004 I was faced with the frightening prospect of graduating with a Theater Arts degree from University. The summer before I met a friend at a summer program and he mentioned he was going to China to finish up a doctorate in Chinese medicine. It all sounded very exotic and interesting and I guess the idea just struck something with me. He originally meant to visit, but he later suggested I could go to school at the university he had attended to work on his Chinese, Anhui University. Without much reason other than loving being a student, I decided to take on the challenge and go to school in China for a year! I started saving up my money and enrolled in a first year Chinese course.

 

The class was excellent, I met a good friend I'm still in contact with after ten years and my teacher inspired me to learn and gave me my Chinese name. We learned traditional characters and worked from an old primer that had all the classic communist era primer plot points. “The friendship store”, “the albanian student asking where the library is”, “Comrades assisting the exchange students”, it was so hokey, but my teacher had fun with it and his teaching style for beginners was excellent. I didn't learn much grammar or know much Chinese, but manage to get myself to Hefei to start a year of as a liuxuesheng at AnDa.

 

The schooling at AnDa was pretty good, we had four hours of class five days a week. The problem I encountered was my level of Chinese. I knew enough to not want to start back at Beginners (Chujiban) saying “Ni hao!”, but I wasn't good enough to be in Intermediate (Zhongjiban). After asking friends for advice I decided to jump into the deep end and go into Intermediate. I was WAAAY over my head for the first six months, then for the last three months I could kind of understand what the teacher was saying and contribute a little in class. I drilled my characters, tried to keep up and got a lot of passive understanding.

 

Hefei was wild back then (2004) we called it the Alabama of China. Foreigners were fairly rare and the economic boom hadn't really reached a backwater like Hefei. It was great because it was 'real' China, but also very difficult for a star-eyed 24 year old, who had just moved away from home for the first time. Luckily, my friend who was studying Chinese medicine was there and I managed to bungle through a year without too many problems. But, after a year and still thinking I wanted to be an actor I pretty much decided that Chinese was a just some crazy thing to put on my resume.

 

I gave the acting thing a half-hearted go for a couple of years and decided it wasn't really my thing. Any language skill I had gain atrophied. The whole time I was still trying to make sense of my time in China. It had definitely changed me and I felt some serious culture shock, so I went on the internet to read obsessively about other people's experience in China. I read a lot of blogs and came across Chinese-forums.com. It has been an invaluable tool for at first just keeping up a little in Chinese, then with my resurgence of interest in the last few years to understand the full possibilities of what it takes to really know China and Chinese language.

 

The last five years work a good union job that leaves me with time to pursue my interest in Chinese. I've gone back to school where I took my first Chinese class. (lo, these ten years ago!) I had to pick back up at second year and took third year and an introduction to Classical Chinese. My current passion has been Classical Chinese (as if modern spoken Mandarin wasn't hard enough!) Though I started ten years ago this year, I definitely don't feel like I know the language. But, I've also made some progress and enjoy it as a hobby. Plus, gives me an excuse to keep traveling back to China each year for a month, which I started in 2012, went back in 2013 and I'll be headed back in June this year!

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