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Study advice for Chinese in South Africa

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Hey guys,


Firstly, thank you for an extremely fun & informative forum!


I am hoping to get some advice/ideas on a course I would like to do, but first I should introduce myself and give you some background information.


My name is Daniel, hold a BSc, and am about to turn 27. I have some work experience in my field of studies (paid government internships), but due the work environment and prospects*, I am not very attracted to this path.


I have studied 4 consecutive semesters at 北京语言大学 and passed the HSK 5 and am currently preparing for my HSK 6. I really enjoy studying Chinese a lot!  Apart from Chinese, I speak German fluently and my Afrikaans (what the band 'die antwoord' rap) is alright.


Since starting Chinese I have always wanted to do something professionally with the language and understand in many instances it is more of a 'supporting skill'  than an actual skill in itself. I have previously been 'offered' a well-paying job at a Chinese tourism firm here in operations (interview was in Chinese etc.), but unfortunately the offer has been retracted due to internal problems and my personal time constraints.


So…Stellenbosch University (to my knowledge one of the best universities on the continent) offers a one-year full time honors class (what we do in South Africa after a 3 year degree and before a masters) in Chinese as a modern language. I have spoken to the responsible lecturer and it is quite likely that I am eligible for the course. Looking at the course layout I have already covered most of the material in D班 and through my own studies, it also seems like the majority of the students enrolled for the course either have a 'limited' knowledge of Chinese with only some having passed HSK 3/4 after the 3 year degree.


The honors course includes a 6 month scholarship at a Chinese Uni, which would be very beneficial to me and obviously having a second qualification in my name wouldn't be bad either.


Family and friends have been giving me a whole bunch of suggestions ranging from MBA to BComm etc. Essentially I don't know where I would like to be in 5 years or what exactly I see myself doing in the future (seems to be a generational problem). I am quite good at and enjoy working with people and would like to earn a good salary in a few years like the rest of humanity I suppose.


Okay, obviously don't expect anyone on this forum to solve my life's problems, but perhaps someone has a better insight or a similar experience. I realize having the honours degree won't necessarily help me find a better job, or any job for that matter, but the stay in China in combination with the local class work will certainly improve my Chinese a lot and that would make me quite happy. 

There is all this talk in Africa how China is slowly but surely taking over and the need for local Chinese speakers will increase, but after having spoken to business men and searching through government vacancies this does not seem to be the case in my experience. 


Would like to hear what you guys think!








*BEE although very beneficial to some, is making it quite difficult for someone with my profile (white) to get to a decent paying job in the environmental field, seeing that a lot of it is government work

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Hi again, to rephrase the question a bit and hopefully get some responses  :lol:, would it be more useful to invest a lot of time in Chinese or learn some business skills (i.e get a relevant degree) to compliment the language abilities?


Any other Africans here on the forum using Chinese in their profession?


I know it's a very broad question, but any ideas would be appreciated at this stage.


Thanks guys!

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  • 1 year later...

Looks like I am finally in a position to answer my own questions! So I ended finding quite a good job in fisheries as a scientific observer and am able to apply my Chinese on a daily basis, the job is conservation related and pays surprisingly well for SA standards. I am even going to be sailing on a Taiwanese speaking boat.I am very grateful to have been able to find d something Chinese related and my advice for anyone on the forums that is in the same position I was in is try, try and try again. There are plenty of Chinese speaking jobs out there, especially ones you have never even heard of!

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Congratulations on the job, Daniel, and thanks for coming back to let us know the possibilities! Glad to hear you were able to find a job that made use of your language skills.

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