How hard is it to learn a new language? If you are curious, then read about my experience learning Chinese. I even have some tips and advice for you!
Dajia Hao! Hello everyone! Right now, I am in my hotel room in Luoyang, China. Luoyang is considered one of the seven ancient capitals of China! I am very excited to be here and learn about the history of China. I am also very happy because yesterday I realized my Chinese is getting better! While in Luoyang, a local person and I had a conversation about America and Americans. After speaking to him, I was surprised that I understood everything he said. I was even more surprised that I wasn’t scared anymore to speak Chinese with a native Chinese person. I have officially become more confident in speaking Chinese with other people! This has made me very gaoxing (happy) because the main reason I came to China was to improve my Chinese.
The Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang! Beautiful!
Learning Chinese has been and continues to be a great challenge. It is considered one of the hardest languages to learn. However, I always liked Chinese history and the culture. That is why I decided to learn Chinese. When I started to take Chinese classes, it was very fun! I was really excited to start learning. I studied very hard every day so I can improve my Chinese very quickly. It is an interesting language to learn because you have to read characters. For example, 你好 is ni hao, which means hello in Chinese. It is not like in English where you read the words. In Chinese, you have to know how to say the characters and then know what the characters mean. This has made it a little hard because I have to memorize a lot of characters! But my love for Chinese has made me work hard to memorize them.
In China, my program allows me to take one class of Spoken Chinese and one class of Written Chinese. These classes help me improve my Chinese skills when I speak and when reading texts. The biggest difference when studying Chinese in China is that I have many opportunities to practice my Chinese. Outside of the classroom, I can practice my spoken Chinese when I order food or when I speak with Dama, my host grandma. I can also practice my written Chinese when I read menus in restaurants or when I read subway maps. China has forced me to practice everything I learn in the classroom.
My Chinese textbooks
In the streets, I always try and practice my Chinese so I can get better. However, there have been some moments in the streets when speaking Chinese has failed me. Let me tell you a funny story. On the first day I arrived in Beijing, I tried to ask a person where the nearest public bathroom was. But I think my accent must have been really bad, because he didn’t understand what I was saying. I kept asking more and more people, but no one could help. I started to feel really desperate because I really wanted to use the bathroom. So with the next person, I decided to use sign language! I made motions of a place where I can wash my hands and wash my face. I even squatted down so the person can understand. It was very embarrassing because people were looking at me the whole time. Thankfully, it worked! The person understood and told me the nearest public bathroom. It was definitely a challenge! Today I have to say that I am more confident in my fayin (pronunciation).
Having these challenges in a new country made me appreciate of immigrant students in the United States. It must be very hard for them too! They have to learn a new language, attend school in a new language and live in a new country. Now I have so much respect for them because I am experiencing it. The only difference is that these students have the courage to challenge themselves and dive into a new place at such an early age! I encourage you all to help them! You can help them practice English. You can show them around school when they first arrive. You can even do homework together. At the end of the day, you should be their friends. Having friends in China made me feel more relaxed. I know it will help the new immigrant students when they have questions or problems. In general, my advice is to always be nice to people. One day, you may need the help when you are learning a new language in the future.
Learning a new language is very important! It has many benefits. For example, it will help you learn about a different country, and its history and culture. Second, it will help you get a job in the future. Today, many employers are looking for students who know more than one language. With this in mind, my advice is to start learning a new language now! Why wait? The earlier you start, the easier it will be to learn the language. So the first step is to pick a language you really like. It can be Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, or Russian. There are many different options you can pick from. Once you pick one, ask you parents to help you to look for classes that teach the language you pick. After that, you can start practicing the language. You can watch movies, read books, or watch TV shows which use the language.
When studying the language, I have a few tips for you! First, make sure you choose a language you really like. It is important so you have fun when you learn. Second, make sure you are ready to work hard. It is not too hard to take thirty minutes every day to practice the language. Remember, practice makes perfect! Finally, the most important, have fun! Learning a language can be hard sometimes but it should be mostly fun.
I hope all of you are excited and start learning a language very soon. I want to hear you guys tell me “hello” in a different language. Until next time, zai jian! Bye!