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Studying Chinese outside of China


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John R

Hi everyone!

 

I'm a student studying Chinese in University. I was meant to go on a year abroad in China next year but the first semester has already been put online and I anticipate that the full year will be online. I believe that to learn the language you need to be immersed. Thats why I have been looking for alternatives to China. Because of Covid and visa reasons I cant go to Taiwan and Singapore. Besides those two does anyone have any recommendations on where I can go to be immersed as best as possible in the Mandarine language? 

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On 5/12/2021 at 7:14 AM, John R said:

I believe that to learn the language you need to be immersed.

 

I'm a believer in the power of immersion too. It fueled my own learning process, gave it a practical slant. I probably would have lost motivation had the whole journey been long distance and remote.  

 

That being said, perhaps the best course of action right now might be to use your available steam to make an attempt at thorough digital immersion. Lots and lots of input; lots and lots of output. Both are essential. Interact with native speakers; use native content.

 

Get some ideas here: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/. This guy is not academic, but has plenty of decent practical advice, particularly well suited to early stages in the learning process.  (He studies Japanese, but most of the advice works equally well for Chinese.)

 

Then when China eventually opens up, you will have a leg up and be able to benefit more from your first visit than most of us were. Every hour of every day "in country" will really count. 

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alantin

I'm now conversational in Chinese after 2 and half years of study without traveling to China during this time. Immersion is something that you can create to some extent without being in the country. It is also something that you completely avoid even while living in the country. I also warmly recommend the All Japanese All the Time blog.

 

That being said, my own best suggestion, that has helped me is; online tutors.

If you can't have Chinese friends, talk to one at least 3 to 6 hours a week depending on your budget and tell them never to speak anything else than Chinese to you. Also do a lot of recording of these lessons. At first I created sentences with the tutors, that I wanted to say. Mostly about every day things and stuff that was of interest to me, I asked them to record these sentences for me, and I made an anki deck for myself of these sentences.

 

Then, when the sessions became more like discussions, I began asking if I may record the sessions and I would then cut the audio so that only the tutors voice is left and listen to these recordings while driving or on a walk over and over again. One hour lesson with a tutor usually yields about a 20 minute long recording of the tutors speech and I have already collected quite a hefty collection of these recordings. I'm also still doing this and it's an infinite source of listening material that is highly relevant to you and at exactly the n+1.

 

It is also interesting to pick up more and more words that I didn't understand before even after listening to a recording over a dozen times. One cool example is after I learned the word 疫情. I suddenly noticed the word on month old recording where the tutor said "因为疫情..." but I had misheard the word all the time before.

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hexxagon

Thanks for the tips! I'm a Mandarin learner who lives in an English speaking country. Online learning is great, but expensive, the idea of recording my teacher is nice!

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alantin

Yeah. I pay about 100 to 200 € per month to tutors and teachers. Another idea is to find language exchange partners but I personally don’t have the time or energy to try to fit appointments with them to my calendar and to teach English or Finnish in exchange.

 

Payed teachers and tutors awesome because I can have lessons when it works for me and It’s all about my learning.

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hexxagon

I'm paying about the same on italki. I've just added a couple of new teachers to try and experience different accents (male, Taiwanese).

 

I tried to find conversation partners on Tandem but they won't commit. Anyway I don't really want to spend a lot of time teaching English.

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zhouhaochen
On 5/12/2021 at 7:14 PM, John R said:

I cant go to Taiwan

Are you sure? We have had a lot of students going to www.ltl-taiwan.com during the last few months - our school is pretty much fully booked. With the right documents is possible (for most nationalities/cases)

They just put a ban on visas and entry due to the current Covid surge, but it will finish mid June and if it gets lifted then again you should be able to go for a Chinese language course to Taiwan again.

Two weeks quarantine of course always.

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