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I have no idea what I am doing


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Keldorn

So, i am a soon to be a graduate student and 1 month ago i woke up and said, i want to do my masters program in china.

I choose myself 4 universities and e mailed them. 1 of them replied to me recently and they asked my questions, sadly they did not had an English masters program, but speaking with them gave me a hope because their replies gave me a feeling that i could really do a masters program in there.

But the thing is, they require hsk 6 and i don't know what should i do to get resuts in a meaningful way. Should i study Chinese in china, which sites should i look for, how should i learn chinese etc.

Currently i am using Websites to listen to pinyin, use new practical Chinese reader, Duolingo. There is also a place in another city that have native chinese person to teach chinese up to hsk 4 level. I am realy exited and hopeless. What are your advice?

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Lu

Welcome to the forums! You came to the right place to get the answers you need.

 

First, I have a few follow-up questions:

Why do you want to do your masters in China and not in your own country or another foreign country?

Have you ever learned a foreign language before?

How much time and money do you have available to learn Chinese before going to China?

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  • Lu changed the title to I have no idea what I am doing
anonymoose

I assume you are a beginner in Chinese if you are still "listening to pinyin". To reach HSK6 if you study full time in China will realistically take you 2 years, and that is if you work hard. If you are not in a Chinese-speaking environment, well, I guess everyone's different, but I think it's going to take more dedication and motivation than most people have. Also bear in mind that HSK6, even if it allows you entry into a Chinese university, is still far from enough to be able to follow the courses easily.

 

It is difficult to give advice without knowing your personal situation. Lu has asked some good questions in this regard. Assuming time and money are not a limitation, then I would enroll in a full-time Chinese language programme in China. If you can afford it, a private language school with small classes would be better. In the meantime, the resources you have already selected seem like a good start.

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Keldorn
On 7/13/2021 at 11:48 AM, Lu said:

First, I have a few follow-up questions:

Why do you want to do your masters in China and not in your own country or another foreign country?

Have you ever learned a foreign language before?

How much time and money do you have available to learn Chinese before going to China?

Because i am a philosophy student and i want to study chinese philosophy in future

yes, i have learned Latin, Greek, French and İtalian. I was going to start learning German too, but i changed my mind.

I hame moderate amount of money, i could afford a year before going to china.

On 7/13/2021 at 2:10 PM, anonymoose said:

I assume you are a beginner in Chinese if you are still "listening to pinyin". To reach HSK6 if you study full time in China will realistically take you 2 years, and that is if you work hard. If you are not in a Chinese-speaking environment, well, I guess everyone's different, but I think it's going to take more dedication and motivation than most people have. Also bear in mind that HSK6, even if it allows you entry into a Chinese university, is still far from enough to be able to follow the courses easily.

 

Yes your assumption is correct. Sorry for my late reply.

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vellocet

Well, going from zero to HSK 6, and then using that Chinese skill to enter a Chinese university to study in Chinese...that's just awfully ambitious.  It would be a tall order for anyone.  Studying Chinese philosophy would mean speaking the language at a very high level.  You'd have to probably learn Classical Chinese as well, which might as well be a different (more difficult) language.  You have before you years of full-time study.

 

What should you do to get results in a meaningful way?  HSK 4 is a good start.  If you can do that, it's the level where people can generally hold a conversation in Chinese.  HSK 5 and 6 teach increasingly esoteric vocabulary that you probably will never use.  Also, they're revamping the HSK system for the higher levels, so who knows what the examination will look like when you finally acquire enough skill to take it.  

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Keldorn
1 hour ago, vellocet said:

Well, going from zero to HSK 6, and then using that Chinese skill to enter a Chinese university to study in Chinese...that's just awfully ambitious.  It would be a tall order for anyone.  Studying Chinese philosophy would mean speaking the language at a very high level.  You'd have to probably learn Classical Chinese as well, which might as well be a different (more difficult) language.  You have before you years of full-time study.

 

What should you do to get results in a meaningful way?  HSK 4 is a good start.  If you can do that, it's the level where people can generally hold a conversation in Chinese.  HSK 5 and 6 teach increasingly esoteric vocabulary that you probably will never use.  Also, they're revamping the HSK system for the higher levels, so who knows what the examination will look like when you finally acquire enough skill to take it.  

Yes it is overly Ambitious. I knew the classics, i have read many of them, but they all were translations. I only learned western languages so i dont know how to compare my progress. I know i at least need 2 years studying it, and i should at least study in china too...

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mungouk

HSK 5-6 include less-frequently used vocabulary for sure, but I'm not sure if I would quite consider it "esoteric". 

Certainly HSK 5 focuses on more formal vocab that appears in "serious" settings such as newspapers and reports etc. The increase in difficulty of the exam, and the sheer amount you're expected to know, increases a lot from HSK 4. 

As for the new so-called "HSK 3.0", it's been reported that this won't have any effect on the current HSK 1-6 for a year or two at least. CLEC is more focused on trying out the new levels 7-9 first.  One of the good things about the new system, when it finally arrives, is that the amount of vocab required will increase in a more linear way, compared to the exponential increases in the current system, which double the number of vocab words you need to know at each level.

 

Back to the OPs question: this is a long journey. Studying Chinese philosophy doesn't mean you have to study it only in Chinese. Many of the old hands here have been studying Chinese for over 10 years... 

 

To @Lu's questions I would also add: Have you ever lived in a foreign country before?  How about studying in one?  Apart from the difficulties right now around COVID, living and studying/working in a foreign place/culture is a lot easier if you are well-travelled and have some experience. In somewhere like China, not having good language proficiency can be a major handicap. Even just using essential everyday phone apps often means deciphering tiny Hanzi on screen. 

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Lu
On 7/16/2021 at 6:31 PM, Keldorn said:

Because I am a philosophy student and I want to study Chinese philosophy in future.

Yes, I have learned Latin, Greek, French and İtalian. I was going to start learning German too, but I changed my mind.

I hame moderate amount of money, I could afford a year before going to China.

Alright, those are useful answers. It helps that you have a solid reason for wanting this and that you have learned languages before.

 

Consider applying for a scholarship to study in China for a year. That would eat into your time but not your money, and studying in-country is generally one of the best ways to learn a language. I can't make a reasonable estimate as to how far you can get when you start from zero -- that also depends on your circumstances there (good school, good teachers) and your own diligence and talent -- but it should definitely get you well underway.

 

You could also just get started where you are: find a decent textbook and teacher and study diligently, and you can see how it goes and how fast your progress is. If you have good experiences with self-studying, you could also try that, but I recommend getting a teacher, especially at the beginning, to make sure you don't learn bad habits, especially in pronunciation.

 

Alternatively, consider studying Chinese in your own country, with a specialisation in Chinese philosophy. Whether that is cheaper depends on your country, but it's certainly easier. You should definitely spend time in China at some point during your studies and read the necessary works in Chinese, but you can also do that after having already learned about language and subject in a familiar language and environment. And your university may have an exchange program with a Chinese university that will make it easier to arrange.

 

Good luck!

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Keldorn
13 hours ago, mungouk said:

To @Lu's questions I would also add: Have you ever lived in a foreign country before?  How about studying in one?  Apart from the difficulties right now around COVID, living and studying/working in a foreign place/culture is a lot easier if you are well-travelled and have some experience. In somewhere like China, not having good language proficiency can be a major handicap. Even just using essential everyday phone apps often means deciphering tiny Hanzi on screen. 

I visited countries and stayed on them for like a week at most, so i would say no. I traveled some countries bu its been so long to be honest.

13 hours ago, Lu said:

You could also just get started where you are: find a decent textbook and teacher and study diligently, and you can see how it goes and how fast your progress is. If you have good experiences with self-studying, you could also try that, but I recommend getting a teacher, especially at the beginning, to make sure you don't learn bad habits, especially in pronunciation.

This is my main fear to be honest. I try to not get bad speaking habits but speaking is the hardest part when you don't live in china. I plan to study in my country till december, then study in china for a year. Do you recommend any scholarships?

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Dawei3
On 7/18/2021 at 2:03 AM, Keldorn said:

I try to not get bad speaking habits but speaking is the hardest part when you don't live in china.

One thing to add to the above is find some language partners.  Chinese live in so many countries, there is a good chance you can find someone.  You help them with English, they help you with Chinese.  This said, initially this will be difficult because it took me a very long time to develop reasonable conversation skills.  However, short calls to practice language could help keep you motivated.  

 

My Chinese friends are a chief source of motivation for me.  Also, most Chinese want to help foreigners learn their language (however, as in any country, only some know how to do this well).

 

If you have trouble finding one, even ask at a local Chinese restaurant or anywhere you can find native Chinese.  Usually more people want to be language partners with me than I have time.  It's fun way to supplement your learning and speaking with someone will help you develop good speaking skills.  

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On 7/21/2021 at 6:10 AM, Dawei3 said:

One thing to add to the above is find some language partners.  Chinese live in so many countries, there is a good chance you can find someone.  You help them with English, they help you with Chinese.  This said, initially this will be difficult because it took me a very long time to develop reasonable conversation skills.  However, short calls to practice language could help keep you motivated.  

 

My Chinese friends are a chief source of motivation for me.  Also, most Chinese want to help foreigners learn their language (however, as in any country, only some know how to do this well).

 

If you have trouble finding one, even ask at a local Chinese restaurant or anywhere you can find native Chinese.  Usually more people want to be language partners with me than I have time.  It's fun way to supplement your learning and speaking with someone will help you develop good speaking skills.  

Currently there is no chinese restourant in my city, i have two friends from interpals, but they did not have time for a video call. Do you have any websites that could be helpful in this area?

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amytheorangutan
14 minutes ago, Keldorn said:

Do you have any websites that could be helpful in this area?

A lot of people use Hello Talk app. If all fails and you don't mind spending a bit of money you might want to consider Italki and find some community teachers who would normally charge a lot cheaper than professional teachers (some charge as little as 10 USD per hour) and you can just book "conversation lessons" with them on top of other more structured class.

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