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If the mainland borders remain closed to students...


realmayo
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On 11/8/2021 at 9:00 PM, 889 said:

Stop putting your life on hold and make other plans.

 

... then what are some alternatives?

 

Taiwan is probably THE an obvious alternative. However: I can't quite work out what the status is student visas for language courses, they seem low on the list of priorities.

Those are the only two mandarin-speaking environments. Absent that, another option is of course to stay at home and do lots of online classes.

 

But how about Singapore or Hong Kong or Malaysia? Obviously not the same as China, but are there many opportunities to practise mandarin outside of class?  @zhouhaochen

 

Or instead of full-time study, minimal-hours teaching might be an option in China - are jobs and work visas currently gettable for the mainland? Seems quite vague online. Anyone got any thoughts?

 

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I was too cryptic. I was referring to why you're thinking of studying Chinese, what you plan to do with it.

 

That is, you first have to look at the gradual closing up of China and ask how that affects your long-range plans to use Chinese.

 

Unless you're happy spending your life playing games with drawbridges.

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We're talking generically, not of specific individuals.

 

For me, the point of learning Chinese is to experience China and its culture. That all disappears when the drawbridge goes up.

 

Sort of sad to be stuck outside the country and not be able to use this skill you've devoted years to developing.

 

Not "sort of sad" actually. Really really sad.

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On 11/10/2021 at 1:15 AM, realmayo said:

But how about Singapore or Hong Kong or Malaysia?


Mandarin is there in SG and Malaysia, but not really spoken much unless you search out specific communities.

 

I'm about to leave PRC and would've been looking at Taiwan next, but the current rhetoric about 'war' — although it may well be sabre-rattling — is certainly making my family back home very nervous.

 

Once we've got past this week's plenum, and probably next October/November's CCP decisions about XJP's future, maybe the rhetoric will calm down a bit. I certainly hope so.

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@mungouk As you say, hopefully it will calm down - I used to reckon there'd be at least 5 years before having to worry about any of that, recently rather less confident.

 

Starting to wonder what's happening with Chinese-language students at western universities who are supposed to have a year-abroad baked into their four-year undergraduate courses.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 2:22 PM, mungouk said:

unless you search out specific communities

 

I wonder if that's realistic for me in any practical sense, have a feeling it might not be.

 

On 11/9/2021 at 9:41 PM, 889 said:

For me, the point of learning Chinese is to experience China and its culture. That all disappears when the drawbridge goes up.

 

Another way of looking at all this is: we might be the last batch of people for decades who lived happily in China for years and developed enough enthusiasm to start and continue studying Chinese. So if you find a place to use the language skills, at least you might have less competition as years go by.

  

On 10/8/2019 at 7:09 PM, realmayo said:

I sometimes wonder about Arabists in the West who got hooked on Arabic, studied it for years, and then found over the last 20 years or so that the number of Arab-speaking places to live and work with minimal hassle had shrunk quite a lot.

 

Bit vulgar to quote myself, but I do think there is a parallel there. And even with China 50 years ago, plenty of people continued to feed their interest in China from outside.

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On 11/10/2021 at 10:38 PM, realmayo said:

we might be the last batch of people for decades who lived happily in China for years and developed enough enthusiasm to start and continue studying Chinese.

 

Quite so. Right now I feel very sad that I'm about to leave, although my reasons are due to crappy treatment by the local employer, rather than any broader political reasons. Mostly. 

 

And I know that once I've gone "home" then my motivation will wane and probably I'll drop Chinese just like I did with other languages when I left the country.

After so many years of effort, and so much money spent on lessons. I hope not, but...

 

 

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On 11/10/2021 at 8:45 AM, mungouk said:

Right now I feel very sad that I'm about to leave, although my reasons are due to crappy treatment by the local employer, rather than any broader political reasons.

 

Sorry that it hasn't worked out, @mungouk. I know you've put a lot of effort into learning the language and it sounds like you've enjoyed Chinese culture. None of my business, but could you get another job with better conditions elsewhere on the China Mainland?

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The parallel I am afraid lies in all those Westerners who spent the '30s and '40s in China then found themselves locked out for decades. You often encountered them at universities. Wistfully talking about their China past.

 

Yes, but when I worked in Beijing in the 1980s, I met quite a number of the Westerners who spent the 40's and 50's in China and then in the late 60's got locked up - as in imprisoned - for years.  Were they the lucky ones?

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Not being a student anymore (for a long time), I don't feel too up-to-date with higher education in China for foreigners, so might be a dumb question: what is the issue here? I also experience the general sentiment from China towards the rest of the world worsening, but it is not new per se, it just deteriorated even further due to covid, but I would not put it as an absolute no-go for foreign students to study in China for a long period of time. Unless there is new regulation I'm not aware of.

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On 11/10/2021 at 3:19 PM, 889 said:

You often encountered them at universities. Wistfully talking about their China past.

 

Really? I'd imagine they'd be a pretty small bunch. I think of someone like Simon Leys but there are lots of others whose language abilities appeared to give them great pleasure despite being largely unable to visit the PRC.

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On 11/10/2021 at 5:53 PM, ZhangKaiRong said:

what is the issue here?

 

China not currently issuing student visas. To be honest I've just realised this topic title is a little misleading, I meant borders remaining closed over the next 12 to 24 months rather than forever. But I also think in general over the past few years China seems like a less welcoming or less fun place to be?

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On 11/10/2021 at 7:01 PM, realmayo said:

China not currently issuing student visas. To be honest I've just realised this topic title is a little misleading, I meant borders remaining closed over the next 12 to 24 months rather than forever. But I also think in general over the past few years China seems like a less welcoming or less fun place to be?

Ah, yeah, this is I know about. Not just student visas, though, I also cannot travel to China even on business purpose.

And fully agree that in general during the past few years China became a less welcoming / less fun place to be. This was one of the main factor in my decision not to go there and be a corporate expat. End of 2010's China feels a different place compared to the same country in the early 2010's. 

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On 11/10/2021 at 6:11 PM, 889 said:

most senior sinologists in the 60s

 

Fair enough, I wasn't at university back then, I was thinking you meant a bit more recently. I guess there's that older generation, then there's the next generation that didn't spend much time there, and they get teased by the current generation for not having great 口语。

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