The Chinese language is one of the most popular languages in the world, with over 1.3 billion people speaking it. Over the years, the number of university and college students who study Chinese has increased tremendously and, from all indications, will not be dwindling down any time soon. That will be useful for future employment, since students will be useful for building relations with Chinese businesses, or going to business trips. Having a person, who knows Chinese will be simply more profitable, than hiring a translator on sight. Not mentioning, that troublesome seeking process- Chinese knowing person in house is more trustworthy, already aware of company’s principles and has already established emotional connection with the team.
This just goes to show that learning how to speak and write in Chinese is beneficial to any student. But why study a foreign language in the first place? Is it worth the time and effort? How long does it take to learn Chinese? Let’s find out.
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Why should you study Chinese as a college student?
If you’re a college student trying to figure out which courses to take in order to gain extra credit, here’s why you should choose Chinese:
It’s one of the most popular languages in the world
Learning a foreign language is great, but learning a popular foreign language is even better. Considering a large number of native speakers and second language learners, Chinese is the world’s most widely spoken language.
As such, students who learn Chinese gain the ability to communicate with millions of native Mandarin speakers all over the world.
A beneficial point in your CV
Even though Mandarin is becoming increasingly popular among second language learners, Chinese language skills are still not so popular in many companies. However, some agencies carry out functions that may require the help of a Chinese translator. For instance, most writing service companies often come in contact with Chinese people who can’t communicate in English.
In this case, knowing the language would make you a beneficial addition to the company.
Chinese is easy to learn
Contrary to popular opinion, Chinese is actually one of the easiest languages to learn. You don’t necessarily have to worry about verbs, tenses, subject-verb agreement, or even conjugations. In fact, even a toddler can easily learn how to say words like ‘no’ in Chinese.
Even though the language has over 80,000 characters, only about 3500 are typically used in general conversations, so you don’t have to learn all of them.
The language represents Chinese culture and traditions
The Chinese culture is known for colorful Zhongshan suits, rich food, and general way of life. However, language is the core vehicle through which any culture is transmitted. Through the language, you can experience the rich Chinese culture and understand how the society works.
Studying the language also bridges the cultural gap and exposes you to the way Chinese express themselves in everyday situations.
There are tons of technology-driven learning resources
When you study Chinese, there’s no end to the amount of learning resources at your beck and call. From language learning apps such as Duolingo to online notes, you’d definitely find the entire learning process seamless and stress-free.
For instance, you can download free Chinese dictionaries online and use them to run quick checks on words. Similarly, you could also listen to Chinese podcasts to build up your listening ability and increase your exposure to the language.
Tips for learning Chinese in College
Looking to learn Chinese easily? Here are some tips that may help you:
Carry out basic research
Just before you start studying Chinese, it’s advisable to do basic research about the target language to help you feel prepared. By researching the Chinese language, you’d be able to have an idea of what to expect and how to overcome any hurdles that you may come across.
Fortunately, there are tons of articles and videos on the internet that can give you a headstart. Watch all the introductory videos you can lay your hands on, map out any questions you may have, and try to find the answers to those questions online.
While practicing Chinese, you could try having real-life conversations online with people from any Chinese-speaking country. Fortunately, there are tons of online communities for Chinese learners. As such, you can easily join any community and interact with your fellow learners.
Even though it may sound awkward at first, you would eventually get the hang of it. As you go about your daily activities, speak Chinese to yourself or any Chinese friends you may have. This way, you can polish your speaking skills and communicate better.
Target your weak points
What exactly is your weak point? Writing? Piecing words together and forming sentences? As a second language learner, it’s important to target your weak points and focus on them. If writing Chinese characters is not your strong forte, you could focus more on that area and aim for perfection.
Use supplementary resources
Even though you probably got a wide range of helpful textbooks from your professor, there are tons of supplementary resources designed to make the learning process easier for you. From language apps to online Chinese communities, there’s no limit to the number of digital resources you can have at your fingertips.
Make Chinese friends
To improve your language skills, it’s important to surround yourself with Chinese students. Make friends with them and strike up conversations in Chinese. Not only will this make them feel more comfortable around you, but it will also help you communicate better in their native language. Besides, your friends could easily point out any errors traceable in your speech.
Sign up for a Chinese test
Even though your professor may already have set tests for you, it’s important to set personal goals for yourself. Taking an external or international Chinese language test helps you to set those goals and study better.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of Chinese tests you could take, including HSK, OPI, and BCT. These exams can give you a clear understanding of your Chinese level by evaluating your language skills and pointing out the areas you need to improve.
However, it’s important to note that passing the exam or test isn’t exactly the end goal. Rather, the test will help you to stay motivated when studying or learning the Chinese language.
Participate in activities that combine speaking, reading, writing and listening
When learning Chinese or any foreign language, it’s easy to focus solely on one language module (e.g reading or speaking). As time goes on, you may end up being a great speaker with terrible reading or writing skills.
Thus, to ensure that you get the best out of your learning experience, focus on activities that incorporate a fusion of the four language modules.
Chinese is becoming a popular choice among college students who want to learn a new language. Looking to learn Chinese in no time at all? Try surrounding yourself with the language as often as possible. You could also subscribe to Chinese podcasts and YouTube videos or pages to speed up the process.
Amanda Dudley is a writer and a lecturer with a Ph.D. in History from Stanford University. When she is not lecturing and helping students with complex assignments, she works as a part-time essay writer at EssayUSA, providing top-quality essay writing service and academic projects. An efficient writer, she delivers projects in good time, ensuring that her clients are satisfied and content.