Studying Mandarin – How to Succeed in The Long Run

20 May

Studying Mandarin in China is more popular today than ever before, but some people burn out and don’t complete the task, these people are usually not learning Mandarin by experiencing China, which gives us some hints to what we should be doing to learn the Mandarin language.

Studying Mandarin is an ambitions undertaking in which not everyone that tries succeed. There are definitely some general patterns regarding who actual masters the task and who does not, mostly it depends on the support they get when they study and how they are actually going about learning the language. Like with most things, the best way to learn a new language, especially one as foreign as Mandarin, is learning it by doing. When it comes to languages, which is inherently about communicating, doing it means speaking. There is a huge difference between primarily just studying a language and trying to get to grips with it by combining academic effort with natural fun (using the language in hobbies and at work). Everyone, literally everyone, that I know which have succeeded in learning Mandarin has done so because they did not only study the language. They were also learning while at work and / or in their spare time. Not only do people that actually speak a language while trying to learn it progress much faster, they also target the areas that most interest them. The combination of these three factors: interesting topics, rapid progress and targeted results is simultaneously a perfect recipe for success and a vitamin / protein / energy packed cocktail of motivational vitality. You keep going like you were a Duracell bunny.

When you are learning a language by just academics the opposite seems to happen. This is a very important lesson for people to learn when it comes to mandarin language studies: you will never last by only burning the midnight candle. You need to get out of the books and practice the language while enjoying yourself. Not only will you progress faster by not studying all the time, you will also enjoy your studies enough to actually finish them – which is not something you will accomplish if you go for it at breakneck speed using only textbooks, flashcards and your dictionary. Maybe, not definitely, but maybe, you can achieve faster short term results but when studying at home you are not going to be able to last the entire race.

Another reason that learning Mandarin by speaking Mandarin, by doing it, as it where, is that when you actually do it, you are not artificially perusing your ambitions undertaking, you are going about the project organically and holistically. You are naturally targeting the objective and you work just the right brain muscles that you will later use in real life because you are practicing the language in real life. I have never met anyone that has learned even decent mandarin from abroad unless their parents are native Chinese Mandarin speakers, that tells me that being in China is if not a pre requisite, it is at least a very useful benefit – going to China and only checking out the library is not the same thing as going to China. There are plenty of libraries where you already live. There is no need to come to China to find one. A course that requires you to overuse the library is not a good course.

What a good course actually constitutes is this: crucial support in developing your own study plan, which suits your own personal objectives. Personal content is by far the most helpful any teacher can ever be, simply because such content is not generally applicable – it is a perfect fit to the exact person that has been tailor-made to suit. A normal textbook can never achieve the same things that a personal study plan can because a textbook does not know anything about what you want to accomplish, a general ambition like “learn Mandarin” is a step on the way but people don’t want to simply want to learn a language, people want to learn Mandarin to do something which has to do with living in China, working in China – it is about experiencing a country and when you start treating the task of learning Mandarin like the reason you wanted to learn it in the first place, you are on route to success.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin Language School in China that is a great option for those that want to study mandarin, the lingua franca of the growing economic powerhouse. See the program overview page for more information about studying Mandarin in China.

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