The Best Way to Learn Mandarin

  • By Sithikorn (Win) Kittivatcharapong
  • on 23 Jul 2020
  • Categories : Culture, Destinations, Events, Life Experiences, Tips Advices, Travel, Opinion, Welcome Guide, Health & Fitness

The Importance of Foreign Language

Everyone is connected and the world is extremely international. Everyone is everywhere. Yes, English is the universal language but an addition of a foreign language is not just an asset, it makes your daily life in a foreign country so much better.

In Asia, a lot of people and countries speak Mandarin. Chinese culture has infiltrated the basic levels of almost all Asian countries, from the North all the way to the South. There is no harm done in learning another language. Being an expat, and an intern, learning the local language will allow yourself to immerse yourself into the country’s culture while also getting to know the customs and traditions!

Why should you learn a foreign language?

  • You have an urge to explore new cultures and travel! If you’re doing an internship in Hong Kong, China, or Taiwan, it will be very beneficial to learn Mandarin, or at least the basics of Mandarin. Think about it, you’ll be living in an area where Mandarin is the dominant language for a few months. Learning Mandarin will at least allow you to create small conversations with the locals there.
  • Add some unique experiences to your resume! Mandarin is a popular language and being able to speak it will only make yourself even more impressive. Learning a new language can be tough, so speaking it fluently will show that you have dedicated some time to mastering it. Employers like this because you did something educational and out of the box. Learning mandarin was not mandatory but you learned it anyways. Who knows, in the future you might actually have to use mandarin to talk to international clients, or customers.
  • It’s required for your dream job. People learn new languages for two reasons; they want to expand their horizon or it is a requirement for their job. Yes, some internships or jobs really do need you to speak an additional language. So, knowing the specific language(s) necessary for these positions will definitely get your job application and resume pushed to the top of the pile.
  • Break down those language barriers. It is weird enough to be in another country while at the same time getting acclimated to its culture. Learning the local language will definitely help break down those cultural and linguistic barriers. For example, isn’t it easier to order chinese food while speaking mandarin rather than awkwardly pointing at the menu?

Ways to learn Mandarin

There are no easy ways to master a new language. The process takes time and patience. Stick with it long enough and you’ll slowly improve. However, there are ways to approach learning Mandarin that are both efficient and effective.

  • Make sure to research. You’re going to want to know the basics of mandarin before actually learning to speak and write. “磨刀不误砍柴工”, means the more the preparation, the more the work gets done. There are multiple crash courses to take, or videos to watch. If you’d like to really master your mandarin be sure to go through these media outlets!
  • Lay down a good & strong foundation. Without a strong foundation in Mandarin, you will not be able to speak the language or talk to other people in the language. People usually want to skip the boring part in the beginning and jump to putting in practice. As ambitious as you may be, you’ll never get there without mastering the fundamentals of pronunciation in Mandarin through the Pinyin System. Behind pronunciation is the fundamentals of mandarin characters. Learn simple characters from the beginning,and you will come to realize that it is not that difficult to learn, especially when you get past the first “awkward” stage. There are four main Chinese Characters types in total. It’d be very beneficial towards yourself to learn them stroke by stroke.
  • Link the “knowledge points” together. Knowledge points do not necessarily mean grammar. Honestly, Chinese grammar is not all bad and impossible. There’s actually no need to change the tense, or gender, in Mandarin. Comparing English to Mandarin, you should try to acknowledge the differences first. This will give you a better overview of the language you are studying.
  • Always seek to improve your learning method. Self teaching is effective but sometimes, it can be very rudimentary and mundane. If you are more inclined to boredom from watching youtube videos or reading from textbooks, try to learn Mandarin with a group! You’ll get to meet new people, form friendships, and learn a new language all at once. Another extremely effective way to learn a new language is hiring a tutor. It is never a bad idea to have a mentor in this sort of situation. At AIP, we understand the importance of understanding a new culture and immersing yourself in one. Hence, we offer to place you in language classes that can teach you Mandarin. During your internship in China, take a language course at Hutong School. You will get the chance to meet people from around the world while learning Mandarin. 
  • Speak the language frequently. All that practice will not do any good unless you put it to test! Speak the language with your friends and on your own. It may sound weird and cranky at first, but you will get better! Have faith in yourself and trust the whole process. Do not be shy to make mistakes, it is normal for someone learning a second language.

Using Mandarin to your advantage

There are many advantages to knowing Mandarin, one being that it is the most widely spoken language in the world with around 1.2 billion people speaking it. If you are interning in Asia or are contacting clients from this part of the world, knowing Mandarin is an asset that you will never regret. On the topic of business, Mark Zuckerberg was able to astonish people with his Mandarin skills on stage.

Apply for an internship with AIP!

An internship with AIP will guarantee you an experience of a lifetime. You will be able to immerse yourself in a new culture and working environment. Want to learn Mandarin at the same time? No problem, let us know and join one of our language classes!

About author

Originally from Thailand, I attended an international school in Bangkok from kindergarten until senior year. I got my bachelor's degree in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA and I'm extremely passionate about (almost every) sports, digital marketing, and learning about different cultures around the world!

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