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Akyl

Chinese courses at uni not as expected; how to proceed?

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Akyl

Hi everyone,

 

I am writing to seek some advice and help. 

 

I am a second-year Languages and Linguistics student at university. Before coming to university, I knew what I was going to do — Chinese as a second language, the program that my university seemed to offer. But, as I discovered later, the program is actually called Languages, Linguistics, and Literatures, which sounds very broad and vague, so I caught myself asking 'What exactly am I studying under this program?'. Turns out that it is like you pursue a specific track: a Linguistics track or a Literature track or a Language Acquisition track, but you can actually take whatever courses you want from all these categories. So we do not really have a full-fledged major in any foreign language, but just language courses. In my first year, I did not take Chinese because we didn't have the instructor to teach it, so I took Linguistics courses, and got really interested in it. Now that I had an opportunity to take Chinese in my second year when the university had new teachers recruited, I, again, discovered that our Chinese language 'program' is composed of only 4 courses each weighing 8 credits (that is 4 as it is sometimes written): Beginning Mandarin 1, Beginning Mandarin 2, Intermediate Mandarin 1, Intermediate Mandarin 2. What these courses can give me does not compare to the level of skills and knowledge offered by full-fledged Chinese as a second language majors at other universities which are much more intense and cover different aspects of the language and its culture as separate classes — not like the courses that I take where everything is squeezed in a single course. 

 

Yes, I am interested in Linguistics, but right now I am finding myself interested in Chinese even more after taking the Beginning 1 course. I know that I cannot gain as much from these courses as I would otherwise do at a different university with a full-fledged Chinese program. Changing universities is not an option at all. But what about studying Chinese at a Chinese university later after I graduate, not under a BA program but an MA program? Would that be possible, how do you think? Are there MA programs in Chinese at all for those who have some background and experience? I might have an HSK 4 by the year I graduate. Please, any suggestion/idea/sympathy/a piece of advice on my situation is welcome!

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roddy

So you’re currently studying Linguistics in Chinese or English?

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889

Is a summer course in China a possibility? See how you like the country -- as distinct from the language -- before signing up for years of graduate study.

 

Some thoughts as to your career goals might also help.

 

 

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PerpetualChange

My Chinese minor was the same, required a total for 4 Chinese classes (Basic I, Basic II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II), and two culture courses (one was film, one was literature which we read in translation). Because I'm a go-getter I also did a independent research project with the professor translating poems. I didn't start until my Junior year of college, though, so it felt like a good amount of commitment to make to something that wasn't even my major course of study. Had I gone in earlier, I would have been disappointed if there were not Chinese classes at least for all 8 years, but I doubt the markets really supported that at the time (in my program, there were about 20 people in Basic I, 12 people in Basic II, and even less in in Intermediate I and II). 

 

In the early stages, though, not sure I really could have handled more than 1 language class per semester. The class itself is already 3 hours per week, and then you consider that you'd require at least double that amount of time studying, and likely have at least 3 or 4 other classes... I think if you just want to learn Chinese and be totally immersed in it studying it and speaking it all day, every day, there are far cheaper options than doing it as part of a college degree (the pursuit of which would probably be ill-advised anyway). 

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NinjaTurtle

Akyl,

 

Please make a list of all your options. Number them 1, 2, 3, etc. Choose the one that you think is the best option. After you do this, I will give you some advice.

 

 

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abcdefg

If the course material being offered is not sufficient to your needs, supplement it on your own. Exercise personal imagination and initiative to round it out to your liking. 

 

Don't ever expect the formal course work to be enough, in and of itself. It's only a starting point. You will find this to be true whether your studies are taking place in university or in a private language school. 

 

 

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