Chinese is the Latest Craze
Chinese studies has become the latest craze. Individuals from all over the world are going to China to learn Chinese and numerous universities have dedicated entire campuses to the teaching of Chinese to foreigners. Chinese studies is becoming more important and relevant essentially because China is one of the richest countries in the world and one fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. China is the second largest economy in the world, China is one of the largest trading partners of most countries and all the big multinational companies have profound economic links with China. The world is taking notice.
Things to Consider
Chinese studies opens doors to first-rate careers in business, politics, archeology, history and economics. Chinese studies is the study of a people, their culture and their history. At the heart of Chinese civilization is its rich heritage of short stories, novels, drama, poetry and film. They shed a lot of light on the struggles, the values, the joys and the sorrows of a great civilization and provides great insight into the most intimate feelings of people past and present in the complex and diverse land of China. Understanding China helps you to learn the language, which is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn. In Chinese studies, learning the language is half the process but getting to know the history and culture of the people who speak the language completes it.
About the Chinese Language
How Long Does it Take?
Most university courses require above two years, doing about 20 hours a week, to get students to a proficient level in Chinese.
How Difficult is it?
Mandarin is both character and tonal based, which makes it rather unique among languages, which are often one or the other but never both. That’s why Chinese is difficult for most foreigners, because it’s unlike anything they’ve encountered before. It’s difficult for them to learn how to speak in tones since in most languages, it doesn’t matter which tone you use in saying a certain word, the meaning more or less remains the same. This is not the case with Chinese, since the same word with a different intonation means something different.
Chinese is also a character-based language, whereby there is a unique single world for every word. To learn Mandarin you will have to learn more than 4,000 characters, which requires a lot of dedication and time. Many students decide to concentrate on the speaking and listening aspect of the language and forgo the writing aspect, which is not a bad idea, especially if reading and writing is not of any importance to you.
Which City in China Should I Choose for my Chinese Studies?
To effectively learn a language, immersion is indispensable. If you are serious about learning Chinese, the city you choose should provide an environment in which you can be immersed. The temptation to speak your own language is always going to be greater in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai, particularly if your own language is English. This is a catch 22 situation. Most foreigners would probably have a better time in Beijing or Shanghai because the lifestyle would be more familiar, there’s more to do and people are more modern and western in their outlook. Yet, in terms of learning the language, it might be best if you just bite the bullet and head inland.
How do I Choose a School?
After choosing a city the next logical thing to do is choose a school. Most people would choose a school based on how prestigious it is, or on the reputation of the course and the teachers, which is a good idea, but price is also a significant factor. It’s probably better to choose your university, based on cost, location and facilities, because, when you get right down to it, learning a language depends on you and not on the teachers and the prestige of the school.
What Should I Expect?
Chinese studies has a lot more students than you’d imagine. You will not be alone. You will not be one westerner amid 1.4 billion Chinese. As mentioned above learning Chinese has become very popular. They’re all doing it. Within no time at all, you will be effectively communicating in Chinese like a pro.
Why is Chinese Important to my career?
Currently, international businesses have a preference for individuals who speak more than one language and China is a huge, expanding market. If you’re a westerner, who speaks English and Chinese, you will have no trouble finding a job. Multinational companies will be fighting over you. China is the future. The Chinese economy is expanding at such a fast rate, in a few years it will be the strongest and biggest economy in the world. It’s pointless resisting it so you may as well join the party.
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