If you’re going to study abroad in China, chances are you’re there to learn Chinese. Learning a new language, even in a country that it’s spoken predominantly, is not easy. Here are some tips that I think helped me learn Chinese faster.
- Get a language partner
If you’re studying through CSUIP, your program director will assign a Chinese language partner for you. If not, you can ask your teachers to help you find one. There are also a lot of WeChat groups for students that want language partners. Having a language partner is great, because they can help you practice your Chinese, and you can help them practice their English. It’s a win-win! You can also talk about Chinese culture and they can even show you around the city.
2. Make Chinese friends
Now, this is actually easier said than done, since if you’re learning language, most of your classes will be with foreigners. There are plenty of ways to make local friends, if you’re willing to put in the effort. You can join school clubs. If you’re a Gilman scholar, you will also get e-mails from the embassy for their coffee hour events. These are 2-hour events where you can meet Chinese college students and answer any questions they have about America. You can also ask them questions about China. I’ve found this to be a great way to make friends and stay connected with your country.
3. Speak Chinese whenever you can
You don’t have to be with Chinese people to practice your Chinese. You can speak Chinese with your classmates. Since you’re all trying to learn the language, any time is a good time to practice.
4. Explore the city
Beijing is an amazing city, and you should see as much of it as you can throughout your time here. Exploring the city is also a great way to practice your Chinese. You can read the signs and practice talking to store and restaurant owners. Reading the Chinese versions of information plaques in museums is also a great way to practice your reading.
These are some of the language learning tips that helped me. I hope you guys have an amazing year in China!