Learn Chinese in China
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    • 杰.克
      3
      Hi guys,   So my parents will be visiting me in China for 3 weeks. Parts of this I will be working and unable to be with them, as such im looking to book them into daily tour groups. I wonder what you think the best way of doing this? Ive looked at both trips on Ctrip and Tripadvisor. Although both are a bit more expensive than I expected. With prices around 500-1000 RMB per person zuoyou to go on 1 day trips in places such as Beijing/Shanghai etc    Does anyone have any experience doing this that they can share?
    • 杰.克
      2
      I recently read River Town, and am well on my way through the other books in his China trilogy (Oracle Bones, Country Driving) and I've got to say I find them and his life absolutely fascinating. Firstly the books are riveting, the way he manages to convey the enormous change, the China he is living in is going through, via the lives of the 'ordinary people' he meets is excellent. It makes all of this change that much easier to conceptualise and personalise. The fact that he moved to China in 1996 is almost not comprehendable when I relate it to my study experience here (studying at Zheda 2013-2015 , read; i thought i was ground breaking!). Add to this that he seems to pick up Chinese at lightening speed and his ability to convey experiences that relate to all expats (i like his description of the two versions of himself, those that come out when he uses the Chinese/English). All of this should garner huge admiration and respect...   .. but my appreciation has been taken to new levels on realising that he is married to the author Leslie Chang author of Factory Girls, again a marvelous book that tells the tale of China's factories global impact on the world through the eyes of individuals. Its poetically beautiful. But wait, theres more...   Reading from his website, after 10 years in China he and his wife, moved back to USA to have children. Seemingly this was not enough however, and they as of 2011, relocated to Egypt with their young children, to learn Arabic and cover the ever changing political situation for the New Yorker.   I'm just amazed at the role model this guy is for anyone wanting to lead a varied life (which I imagine the majority of you strive to do). My only disappointment is that he know longer lives in Beijing, so my chances of meeting him are less!   SHORT version of this post - Read his books!
    • DanielG
      10
      I am curious as to how other people study their flashcards.  I used Anki for a while, creating my own cards, but then abandoned it for Pleco's advanced flashcard system which comes with their bundle.  I started out with four separate tests, one each for listening recognition, where I only hear the spoken chinese, reading recognition where I only see the characters, recall, where I only see the definition, and writing, where I see the definition and have to write the character.  I later dropped writing, because I started using Inkspot, which I like better for writing.  I do these tests every day, and even  without the writing, (which I don't do regularly), it usually takes about an hour to get through the three tests, with the total amount of cards fluctuating between about 120 and 250 per day.  This is about half of the time I spend studying Chinese, which seems a bit excessive.  On the one hand, I feel like an hour is more time than I want to spend doing flashcards, on the other hand, it feels like I'm getting tangible results, and I don't want to drop any of my four tests.  I'm curious how much time other people spend on flashcards.  I've added a poll, but I'd love to hear people's comments as well.
    • tooironic
      0
      This is a guide about how to find a job teaching at a university in China without going through a job agency or advertisements. I'm writing this up so that those who are going through something similar as to what I did will know what to expect. Note that universities in China recruit foreign teachers from March to July each year for teaching positions that start in September. The earlier you start making enquiries the better, as it can take a while to find a suitable school and get all the paperwork finalised.      Make a school short list To get a job as a foreign teacher (外教) in China, you should first make a short list of which universities you would like to apply for. You could consider the following things: 1) University ranking in general: If you want to work at a university which ranks well internationally, you can find out the ranking of different Chinese universities on Wikipedia. The highest ranking universities in mainland China are concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou - outside of those are a handful of prestigious universities in each of the other major Chinese cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Xi'an, Tianjin, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Changsha, etc. Generally, the better a university is ranked, the more resources it will have, which in theory means a better working environment for you, and  more opportunities for personal and career development. 2) University ranking in terms of discipline: You may also want to find out which universities in China rank well for the discipline you teach. If you speak Chinese, the best way to do this is to search on Baidu, or ask your Chinese friends or colleagues on WeChat. In many cases, schools which do not rank well overall often have very reputable programs for specific fields of study. 3) Living environment: If air pollution concerns you, you should know that there are only a few cities in China that have relatively clear air while also boasting decent universities. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are Xiamen, Dalian, Qingdao, Suzhou, Guilin and Kunming.   4) Cost of living: If you want to take advantage of a lower cost of living (lower rent, cheaper food, etc.), then you may wish to consider second or third tier cities. This would be especially beneficial if you want to have a completely English-free environment to practise Chinese, or you are not pursuing an academic career.   Find out more about the schools After you have written up a short list of universities, you can start thinking about what questions you would like to ask them about what it would be like teaching there. Remember that the "waijiao" (foreign teacher) recruitment system is completely different to that of local teachers - most universities don't have "vacancies" per se, but instead will take on any teacher that approaches them and meets all the requirements (more on that later).   Ideally, you should go to the universities directly and enquire in person. You will want to speak directly with the dean (院长) of the school you wish to work at. In some schools - especially the prestigious ones - you may not be able to track the dean down, in which case you can simply talk to the administrative staff at the personnel office (人事处), or similar. If you are unable to get to the university in person, the second best method is to email them a list of questions - though this should be followed-up by a phone call, as many universities in China do not respond to emails. If you can speak Chinese, I highly recommend you ask them in Chinese. If you don't speak Chinese, you can try in English. Even better, you could find a Chinese friend to help you communicate with them. You should ask about the following matters: 1) What is the salary range (before tax) for foreign teachers at your university? For most universities, this will be 7,500-9,000 RMB a month. Make sure you ask for a figure that is before tax, as some schools won't specify. The only way to get a higher salary would be if you have a doctorate degree, are well-known in your respective field or are applying for a private training provider (i.e. not a public university). 2) Does your school pay for foreign teachers' flight back home? If so, how much will the school reimburse? Most schools will reimburse foreign teachers' flights back home, but the exact amount they are willing to pay will vary from school to school. It's a good idea to get a clear figure for this. 3) Does your university provide free accommodation for foreign teachers? This can be a real deal-breaker, especially in first-tier cities, as renting can be very expensive. If the school does provide accommodation, ask them what it is like - e.g. what is its condition, is it on campus, do I get my own room? etc. 4) How many hours a week would I have to teach? This can vary, but in most cases you would be teaching roughly 10-14 class periods (课时), with each period lasting 45 minutes. That's 7.5-10.5 hours a week. This is, of course, one of the advantages of teaching in a university in China - the pay may be low, but the teaching load is low as well, so you will have plenty of other time to take on other jobs, or pursue personal interests. 5) What subjects would I be teaching, specifically? If this is a concern for you, you could ask about this.   Apply for a work permit To get a work visa, you need a work permit. To get a work permit, you will need to provide about a dozen different documents. There are four that are particularly troublesome that you should start preparing as soon as possible: 1) Authentication of highest qualification (最高学历证书认证). You will need to supply a copy of your highest qualification (e.g. Master's diploma) that has been authenticated by the Chinese government (for diplomas from Chinese universities) or a Chinese embassy (for diplomas from non-Chinese universities). If you are currently in the middle of a Master's program, ask if you can supply a certificate from your university to satisfy this requirement. The policy is getting stricter now though, so you may not be able to do this anymore. 2) At least two years' teaching experience (两年以上教学经验). You will need to provide a certificate from the school that hired you, proving that you worked there for at least two years. Some universities will strictly require that that experience be at a university level, and won't accept experience teaching at a high school, training school or similar. Note this experience requirement can usually be waived if you have a TEFL/TESL certificate. 3) Criminal record check (无犯罪记录证明). This should be authenticated by the Chinese embassy of your home country. If you have lived some time in China, you may be able to simply get a check from the Public Security Bureau instead. 4) Health certificate (健康证明). This should be issued by a Chinese embassy or from an international travel healthcare centre in China. It's basically just a physical examination (体检).   After you have received offers from a number of schools, you can start narrowing them down. You may find that salary and teaching hours are more or less the same for most schools, so you may want to consider only schools that offer free accommodation, though you should find out what that accommodation is like beforehand. Once you have decided on a school, you will be dealing mostly with the administrative staff to get all the paperwork in time for the work permit so you can apply for a work visa. Note that if you are already in China on another visa, you will not be able to apply for a work visa from within China - the government requires that you apply for it in your home country.   Well, that's all of the important things I can think of. I hope someone out there finds this useful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away, though I think some of the other users on this forum will be able to do a better job at answering them than me. Remember that everything in this post is just a rough guide - things are always changing in China, so it is best to confirm with the school directly should you have any concerns.
    • chinesekitten
      2
      Hi everybody!   I have to do a presentation in Chinese and need to explain the origins of the idiom "刮目相看". The problem is that it should be really, really, really short like 30 or 40 seconds, so I tried to write down first, what I want to say and this is my first draft:   三国时,吴国有个将军叫吕蒙传。他家庭较穷,所以他都没念书,没有学识,人们也看不起他。有一天君王 (孙权)对他说:武艺高强(真会大战),但是你还要多读一些书才可以做好一军的统帅。 然后吕蒙努力地读书。几年以后另一位将军来看他,跟吕蒙议论后,就发现了他现在很有学识。吕蒙对这位将军说:士别三日,当刮目相看。   Actually I read through the baidu baike explaination of this story and I'm not really sure, how the other general came to the conclusion that Lü Meng now became a wise scholar, so I just wrote跟他议论后. Do you think this will be alright, since I don't really have much time to explain it anyway?   (Additional information: the audience of this presentation already kinda knows this story, I just have to summarize it real quick here you can find the story from baidu baike: http://baike.baidu.com/item/刮目相看/3327#4)   If you have any suggestions for improving this short explaination or any other suggestion, please let me know. I'm really not sure about this whole thing and I'm afraid I didn't even catch the right meaning of this story.    Thank you so much!!    
    • Yaojueding
      0
      I'm thinking about going there, but I couldn't find any review about it. I am an intermediate student. 
    • Yaojueding
      7
      I have been granted a scholarship for studies for both countries. The Taiwan one is 12 months, and as long as I won't go to Taipei it covers most of the expenses. The China one is for two semesters, so it gives me two months less.  As I can't use both of the scholarships, I am trying to decide where to go.  I have studied the simplified characters so far (about 2000 of them, I guess), and the transition to writing traditionals is quite intimidating. Other than that, it seems like Taiwan would be a better choice in term of length and life quality (including the pollution issue). Since I'm not into scholarly research on the field (beyond the B.A in Asian Studies that I'll be soon finishing), I am not sure that the hassle in learning (to write) the traditionals is worth the difference between the two scholarships.     What would you do? 
    • Belmont47
      1
      Hi there, can anyone help me translating these lines in shown picture please ?   Regards
    • Kayres
      9
      Hello. I'm a non-native, so I have to go through some problems to get Z visa. What about the situation when the company send you an invitation letter and work permit and you are making legal Z visa. Everything seems right, except that by this visa you are not a teacher, but with some other position. They are trying to convince you that it's legal to work like this, but it's obviously not legal, right? In my opinion, you should work only as it states in your work permit. There are not so many information about this situation in China. Can you give me your experience on this or just opinion? I guess, I will find another place anyway - don't want to take any risks. Thank you.
    • chrispalasz
      3
      My wife (mainland Chinese) and I are having our wedding ceremony this July near Chicago. Her younger sister plays the pipa, and we would really love to have her play a couple of songs in dedication. She has a pipa in China, but it would be troublesome to bring it all the way to Chicago for the wedding.   Can anyone help me find a place where I could rent/borrow a pipa for our ceremony at the end of July? I would be so grateful!   ~Chris
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