Today’s post is a guest article from the people over at LearnMandarinNow.com, in which they provide you with some tips and ideas for how to speed your Mandarin learning along, as well as a bit of research they conducted on how to better learn Chinese.
Finding the most useful ways to effectively learn Mandarin Chinese is key, and going to live in China is considered by some to be the most effective way to learn and improve your Chinese.
However, it’s important to get the most out of your time in the country. But how exactly can you do this? Here are some of our top tips.
1. Choose the right resources and the right way of learning
Some language students prefer to learn by using books, while others consider using learning apps or resources on the Internet to be best.
Naturally, everyone will try different ways in their quest to learn Mandarin effectively. For example, some students find that playing games helps them to learn certain Chinese words and phrases.
In reality, it’s often a question of trial-and-error to find out which learning methods personally suit you best.
2. Use a Chinese Tutor
While one-on-one language tuition is effective, be sure to keep a watch on how your tutor is reacting to your efforts.
If your tutor agrees with everything you say, it might be a sign that he/she is not really paying attention to your pronunciation or to your progress!
However, a good tutor can add great value, with average tuition fees being around RMB 100-200/hour (US $15-30/hour), although these rates can vary.
Having one or more tutors will also help as one may advise and correct you better than the other, or it may be that a particular tutor’s teaching style is more appropriate for you.
Additionally, having several teachers will expose you to a wider variety of different accents and ways of saying things.
3. Live in a second-tier city
For students living in second-tier or smaller cities, this generally means that they can really immerse themselves in the “real” Chinese culture and language.
On the other hand, living in larger cities like Shanghai or Beijing is often the same as living in any other international city, such as London or Tokyo. You can see large shopping centers and restaurants, and English is more widely spoken.
After speaking with foreigners who live in places like Chengdu, they advise that there are more chances to practice speaking Chinese with locals in these comparatively smaller cities as compared to living in a larger and better known one.
English is not so widespread in smaller cities and, of course, the cost of living is much lower!
The typical salary for a foreign teacher in second-tier Chinese cities is around RMB 8,000-10,000 (US $1250-$1550) per month, while living costs, on average, are around RMB 4,000-6,000 (US $600-$950) per month, although this can vary.
These are just a few select tips to get you started.
But why not have a look at our research about how to learn Chinese and review a more extensive list of resources from which to choose, which will be helpful whether you are a beginner or an advanced student of Chinese. No matter how you do it, though, be sure to enjoy your learning!