Why I Can’t Wait to Get Back to Beijing!

Emma-Wallace.Scholarship

 

By a way of quick introduction, my name is Emma Wallace, I’m from the Gold Coast in Australia and I have recently been awarded with the China Study Abroad (CSA) summer scholarship. I leave this Friday 1 August for a month of intensive Mandarin at Beijing Mandarin Academy (BMA). As part of my trip back to China I will be writing a series of blogs for CSA, so I hope that you find them enjoyable, inspiring and most importantly helpful and informative! For those of you that are considering coming to China to study Mandarin, all I can say is do it, do it, do it.

 

Trust me, you won’t regret it and I am so excited to be heading back there on Friday! As way of background I work full time in the Economic Development Branch for City of Gold Coast (Local Government) and my role is to attract new business and investment to the city with a focus on the China market (hence the reason why I have a passion for China and am learning Mandarin). I currently study Mandarin on the Gold Coast through the Tourism Confucius Institute at Griffith University and have been doing so for about a year and a half. The course at Griffith is 1.5 hours per week of face to face lessons with a native Chinese teacher… not much I know, but it’s really one of the only courses on offer on the Gold Coast. Outside of that, I listen to Mandarin in my car everyday (Pimsleur or Michel Thomas), meet with Chinese friends on the weekend to chat, study characters on Skritter everyday, wechat friends as much as I can in Chinese and review my textbooks on a weekly basis. Sounds like a lot right? Well nothing can compare for how quickly you will progress your Mandarin whilst in China! After a year of studying at Griffith, I decided to head to China in January of this year with the amazing assistance of CSA.

Mandarin Language Prorgam

I spent a month studying for 3 hours per day (Mon-Fri) at BMA and living with a homestay family. It is honestly the best decision I have ever made. My Chinese progressed phenomenally. When I got home my Chinese friends couldn’t believe that I could have possibly progressed that much in a month. Many people both in China and at home said that a month will never be enough, and yes I still have a long way to go, but if you are thinking about giving it a go and can only get a short amount of time off work, or you just want to kick start your learning, then heading to China should be a priority. So why can’t I wait to get back and why is heading to China (particularly Beijing) to study Mandarin so beneficial?

Benefits to studying Mandarin in China

  • Another month of immersion will save me another 2-3 years of study at home
  • Rapid progression…I learnt new words in the morning and that night I was using them
  • Classes are in Mandarin only. (I’m so used to my teacher at home speaking in English to explain things), this again results in rapid progression
  • English is not common at all……you are forced to try and communicate everywhere you go, sometimes this is frustrating, but mostly a lot of fun
  • Living with a homestay means you are constantly surrounded by Chinese, if I was living at a uni or alternative accommodation I am sure that I would have reverted to English every night
  • You will learn more about Chinese culture and way of life being in China than any textbook can teach you
  • I travel to China regularly on business, many Chinese clients in the South or to the West have commented on how good my tones and pronunciation is. Many of them have even said that I speak better Chinese than them! I guess you can say that “Bejing hua” is like Queens English, prim and proper.
  • BMA is super flexible and adjusts to your learning. You can change classes if it isn’t progressing quickly enough or it’s progressing too quickly for you! I changed about 3 times in the first week alone to find the classes that suited me best
  • Lastly, because it was so much fun! I met amazing people from all around the world who I still stay in touch with, there is so much to do in Beijing that you’ll never get bored and the food is amazing (get CSA to recommend their fav places to you!).

As you can see, I really feel that there is nothing else that can compare to being in China for your study. While it might seem daunting, it is the best way to learn and I am so excited to be heading back to Beijing to take my Mandarin to the next level! Hope to see you all there!

Enrol in a CSA Program at Beijing Mandarin Academy or Short Term Intensive Program by clicking these links!

Written by Summer Scholarship 2014 Winner, Emma Wallace

 

READ MORE

 In-Depth-China      CSA-blog

 


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