Are you still afraid of learning Chinese? See how they do?4

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Its one of the things that makes us most happy, that we always have so many students who study Chinese very hard, insisting on it year after year. We can feel they have a passion for learning Chinese and understanding China and its culture. So, we interviewed some students, and hope their experiences will be helpful to you!

Let us introduce Jack to you!

Jack has been studying Chinese with Chinese Surfing for three years, he is still insisting on the weekly class and continuous Chinese learning every day. We are always moved by his seriousness, hard work and enthusiasm for learning Chinese.

He has one private class every week, and are ready for HSK6 journey.


When did start to learn Chinese? How is your Chinese at time and now?


After deciding that I would teach English in China, I immediately moved to Chinatown to live and started to learn Chinese. I used yoyochinese.com and tried to practise what I learned every day at any place I could. I managed to successfully order pearl-milk tea and order Chinese food. 3 months after I started learning, I moved to China and have now been learning Chinese for about 4.5 years. I am just about to finish HSK 5.


Why did you start learning Chinese?


I started learning Mandarin because I wanted to integrate and really enjoy China to its full potential when I came here. I feel you cant truly appreciate a country unless you learn the native language. I also just love learning languages.


How do you feel about learning Chinese? Is it difficult or interesting?


Mandarin is very difficult in some ways but relatively easy in others. I learnt Persian for two years before starting Mandarin and although learning to write and read was easy, I found it very difficult to speak because the grammar is so different. Chinese writing and reading is difficult but at least the grammar is relatively similar to English with the subject-verb-object structure unlike so many other languages that have the verb at the end. I find Mandarin extremely interesting, largely due to the fact its difficult. 


How did the class go with Chinese Surfing? Was it helpful?


Chinese Surfing is a great company and has been very helpful, especially in explaining obscure grammar structures and minor differences in synonyms. If I didnt find it helpful, I wouldnt have been there for 3 years.


What challenges did you encounter in learning Chinese? How did you overcome?


Im constantly encountering challenges in learning Chinese. 

At the beginning, it was mainly listening but after I got a Chinese girlfriend that never spoke English, my vocabulary, reading and listening skills dramatically increased in a very short period of time. This was due to the fact that I constantly had to look up words that she would regularly use and I would have to text and read all her messages in Chinese. After doing that for a few months, you get used to the way a person speaks and all the vocabulary they use and it becomes as easy as understanding your native language. 

The problem however is that you only get used to the way that person speaks. This is why you always need to have a teacher so you get maximum exposure to all types of Chinese.


Do you have tips for effective online/offline learning?


I personally dont like offline learning as I get distracted by things and not interacting with the person in real life takes some of the fun away. 

As for offline learning, you must always do your work before coming to class so the teacher can go over it with you. I used to do the new content at the class which is a waste of time because you are learning new words and grammar patters in class time which you potentially could have learnt on your own outside class. 


What do you think of the teachers and service at Chinese Surfing?


Ive only heard good things about the teachers that I dont have and the teachers I have personally had Lili in the past and Daisy presently, are great. 

They often hold events about Chinese culture and have Chinese corner as well to help you get used to speaking Chinese in a low-stress environment.


Do you know other Mandarin learners in your offline environment? And how do you practice Mandarin?


I have two good friends that are learning Chinese, one of which is Marc who goes to Chinese Surfing. 

I practise my Mandarin through many methods but the main procedure I use is inputting all the words for the next HSK chapter I am about to study in memrise; learn all the words; learn the grammar points on chinesezerotohero.com; listen to the chapter 10 times; read the chapter and do the exercises and then go over my work with Daisy.


Whats your learning goal?             


My learning goal is to be able to understand the news and movies in Chinese. I am positive Ill reach this goal as I have already come so far and I plan to learn Chinese for my whole life.


Whats your favorite Chinese phrase, trivia, or character?


My favourite Chinese characters are dngyng and zhu because they look really cool.


What changes have you discovered from learning Chinese?


The biggest change I notice is the difference between people that dont speak any Chinese and those that do. Chinese people will often light up and be more than happy to make friends with you if you can speak Chinese. This would be impossible otherwise so thats definitely a good reason to learn.

Some exploration 

in China

From his Chinese teacher Daisy

Jack asked me if he is my most troublesome student, because he asked me different questions about Chinese language and culture almost every day. My answer is of course No, and actually I always talk to my family and friends about him, because he is my most hardworking student. I really appreciate it. I am also very excited and looking forward that I will start HSK6 journey with him.


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