Happy New Year to everyone out there:) I’m now back in the office after 2 weeks of travelling through China.
One thing I learned in those two weeks is that a little Chinese can help a lot, especially because a lot of Chinese people aren’t very good or don’t even speak a word in English. Even in cities like Beijing and Shanghai you will sometimes have problems communicating what you want.
When I first arrived in China for my internship the first problem was the communication – because of a delay of my flight I couldn’t get the ferry to Zhuhai. BUT there was no one who could explain the problem – they tried to speak English but I couldn’t understand a word.
Same problem was with the taxi drivers – in general you must be very lucky if you find an English speaking taxi driver in Zhuhai 🙂 During shopping in the underground markets, where you have to bargain for the price it’s even harder – haggling is not easy if both parties don’t speak the same language.
There are a lot more situations where I was lost without any help of the other interns, who already had Chinese classes. Honestly I felt stupid, like a small child that couldn’t do anything without help.
That’s why I decided to start Chinese language classes. I just talked with Morgan, our Office Manager in Zhuhai and the following week my Chinese classes begun. The best is to have a private teacher, 1 to 1 classes – so the teacher can slow down if you need more time or if you already know a little Chinese you will start at your level. I took 2 hours twice a week, so every Monday and Friday after work I went to the language school and expanded my language skills. As it is a private teacher you can arrange the time individually which is an advantage, especially when you have a full-time internship.
During my tour through China I was glad to be able to communicate at least a little with the people. Very often it was about ordering food in the restaurant or asking for directions. There are some basic things you really need to know and then it will be easier for you to live and travel in China.
As a bonus it also looks nice on your CV to have a language like Chinese – even if it is just the very basic. I hope this will help me in my future career, when I have meetings with colleagues from China – as Chinese people are very impressed when you can speak a little Chinese 🙂
Just like many other people, when I started to study Chinese, I had to face a lot of difficulties. I asked myself things like: Will I ever be able to produce those sounds and tones correctly? Or: How would I be able to learn all of those characters? Of course studying is a lot of hard work and if you want to study a language you will never stop learning. But then I found my ways to have some fun while studying.
This is basically about the spoken language, because there is no other way but to study the characters a lot, if you want to be able to memorize them.
No.1 Listen to music
Do you like music? Then find some good Chinese songs from your favourite music genre and start listening. Maybe you can find the lyrics in Chinese and pinyin, sometimes they have translations too. It also helps a lot to sing along, because you can practice your pronunciation and in music, as it’s all about the melody, the tones aren’t that important. Also remember going to Karaoke, or as the Chinese call it, KTV. This is one of Chinese people’s most favourite past-times, where you can make friends and have a lot of fun.
No. 2 Watch movies or TV
I started getting interested in China after my first Jackie Chan movie and I have always liked to watch movies. Then I also found my love for Asian television drama. When you watch Chinese movies you can put on subtitles first so you know what’s going on. Chinese movies and TV usually have Chinese subtitles, too, so if you’re already good, try to read along. Whilst watching you can practice your listening comprehension and also learn about Chinese culture. As Chinese love to make their own history into movies, you can learn about the main events in a faster way than reading a book. And if you meet Chinese people you will have something fun to talk about.
No. 3 Learn tongue twisters
I know it can be a little hard and maybe people will laugh at you first, but it’s still fun. It will help you with your pronunciation and studying the tones, because Chinese tongue twisters are also mainly about the tones. If you listen to the song 中国话Zhōngguóhuà by Taiwanese girlgroup S.H.E. you can hear some famous tongue twisters. You can also teach Chinese people your country’s tongue twister and laugh at them. 😉 Here is a really simple one for the first try:
sì shì sì, shí shì shí, shí sì shì shí sì, sì shí shì sì shí.
Four is four, Ten is Ten, Fourteen is Fourteen, Forty is Forty.
No. 4 Learn how to say and read your favourite dishes
As food is an important thing here in China and there are so many different dishes, you will have to find out which food you like and how to order it. In the meantime you can also study a lot of useful vocabulary that has to do with food, such as different types of vegetables or meat. You can combine studying and enjoying a delicious meal. Every city or region has their own special dish. The city I’ve studied in is famous for 扬州炒饭 Yángzhōuchǎofàn, which you can get in Chinese restaurants all over the world, but it still tastes the best in Yangzhou. 😉
No. 5 Find a language partner
Of course the best way to learn a language is to speak it and with a native speaker it’s the most efficient. So if you are still in University you should find out if there is a program to find a language partner or you can try to make Chinese friends via the internet. You can do all the fun things you do with your other friends and improve your Chinese at the same time. The easiest way to learn is if you come to China, because you will quickly find friends whom you can practice Chinese with.
She currently stays with InternChina in Qingdao. Thea studies sinology back in Vienna and is therefore predestined to write about this topic:
Once you arrive in China the first thing that comes into your way is the language barrier. Chinese language sounds so a lot different from any Western language.
Many people are completely overwhelmed at the beginning just by the exotic sounds and the different tones of Chinese, but appearances are deceitful. Those who have spent time studying this language know that – except for its pronunciation – Chinese is one of the languages with the least grammar rules. My Sinology professor would disapprove here, but I would still say it is true. Trust me, when I tell you – as an Austro-Chinese – that Chinese is so much easier to learn than German. Don’t believe it? There we go!
Compared to German grammar, the Chinese one is non-existing. First of all, we don’t have any article for any noun – bless Buddha, Confucius and all the other Chinese higher powers for that! Ergo, we don’t have to worry about the changes of case endings of neither adjectives nor nouns. Talking about those two word groups, adjectives and nouns can also be used more flexibly than in any Western language.
Especially for English speakers, Chinese grammar is quit straightforward. Most sentences structures are similar to English.
I want to eat something.
Wo xiang chi dongxi.
To help to simplify things even more – Chinese doesn’t have verb conjugations either. Since there are no articles, declinations – just think about German – or hardly any inflections.
There are of course also difficult parts of this exotic language, but there is nothing you can’t learn with just enough practice. I’ll grant you that Chinese characters make the idea of learning Chinese really scary, but next time I’ll show you, that it’s not as wild as it looks like. There are apparently over 80 000 Chinese characters, but we don’t use all of them – and not every character is completely new. You know the verb “to wash” and the noun “room”, so what’s the big deal in remembering the whole new word “washroom”? No big magic behind it, and the same goes for most of the Chinese characters.
Since InternChina organized their first Summer School Program in 2012, one year has passed. After our first successful experience with a big group of 36 students from Germany last year, we have continuously improved the quality and standards of our services. Due to the positive feedback from last year we became the reliable partner for the coming years to Hochschule Fresenius (Germany) in order to organize and run their official Summer School Program in China.
The two months -Program consists of 3 parts:
- Travel & Culture Days
We are going to visit the marvelous cities of Beijing and Shanghai to explore the rich Chinese Culture of ancient and contemporary China for 2 weeks. There will be plenty of space for rest and individual time for each participant.
- Language and Culture Classes
From Beijing we will move on to Qingdao, where all participants will attend Chinese classes in the morning and Culture Classes (conducted by our experienced Foreign and Chinese staff) in our local Partner Language School.
- Internship taster
Well prepared every participant has been placed in one of our partner companies to get first working experience in China. Companies are chosen from different fields and students have been matched to their preferred internship field where possible (e.g. Health Management, Logistics, Marketing & Media, HR, Consulting)
It goes without saying that all participants are welcome to join our weekend activities to get to know the city and Chinese Culture better!
Start of the program is next Monday, when the flight from Frankfurt takes off to Shanghai!
Our InternChina team is looking forward to welcoming you to China, Hochschule Fresenius!
For more info, check the following links:
- If you are a university and looking for a reliable partner for Summer School Programs in China, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly on email@example.com to get more information.
- If you are a student and would like to participate in a tailor-made program, please talk to your university (Career department or International Office). We are happy to hear from you and your university. More info: http://www.internchina.com/en/contact/universities.
Last week I had an interview with our Language School Teacher! I was very curious and wanted to know how it is for a chinese person, to teach foreign students. Therefore, I conducted an interview with her and asked her different questions!
1. How long have you been teaching foreign students?
– I am teaching foreign students since 2, 5 years, right after I graduated from university.
2. How is it to teach foreign students?
– It´s a very interesting job. I like it and enjoy it very much! I teach the Chinese language and it is a pretty hard language to learn. But I also introduce the Chinese culture and the foreign students tell me a lot about their cultures. We exchange much information about typical habits and facts and this is very interesting! Sometimes, the students also teach me their own language, therefore I learned a little bit of German!
3. Did you or your perspective on teaching changed while doing your job?
– Of course! I am a teacher and I pay more attention to teaching. In China, primary school students and middle school students work very hard and when they go to the university they have to learn more and study very much! But, I think in foreign countries the students pay more attention to their interest. When they go to the university they already decided what they would like to do and work harder and study much more for it. I think this is pretty cool and a very nice education system! I pay more attention to my younger students and their interests.
4. What makes them different from Chinese students?
– Foreign students are more creative, than Chinese students! Like every time I work with the same book but they always have different questions! Younger students, which are 16 or 17 years old, are here to learn the language, because they are interested in it. This is kind of easier because it was their own decision to learn a new language! However, Chinese students study because they have to; in China we have to go to the university. The result is Chinese students are always pushed to learn and it is often not what they want.
5. Do you notice any differences in nationalities?
– Yes there are some little differences, which I noticed during my teaching! I think the American people are more sociable and easygoing. In contrast, the German people are more serious; they are very focused on their work are very organised. The Chinese people, they are modest and more group oriented. Comparing the countries however only a few differences are recognizable and I love them all!
6. What are mistakes that always happen? Any special difficulties about Chinese language which are difficult to understand for foreigners?
– I think the most difficult part for foreign students are the tones, we have for example “ma1, ma2, ma3, and ma4”, we have four different tones and this is the most difficult part to learn. We have also some phonetics and it’s hard for the students to learn, because a lot of chinese phonetics sound pretty similar and it´s not very easy for the students to distinguish between them. When you speak English your tongue is very flexible but when you speak Chinese you should keep your tongue stable. That’s the reason, why misunderstandings occur sometimes. When you use another tone it can easily mean another word and this leads to confusion.
7. What does it look like when foreigners write Chinese characters?
– I think the writing of most students is pretty nice! For foreign students writing Chinese letters it is like drawing! It’s from the top to down and from left to right. We know which part is smaller and which part is the main part, but when foreign students write Chinese they just draw it like a picture, but a pretty nice picture!
8. Funny stories you encountered while teaching Chinese?
– There are a lot of funny stories, because of mistakes that foreign students sometimes make. Like in Chinese if you want to say “I am hungry” but you didn’t pronounced it clearly it can also mean “I am stupid”, mistakes like this are always very funny!
9. How long does it take until the students are able to speak and understand Chinese?
– It depends on the student, but in general it takes 2 or 3 months until you learn a good amount of words. In the beginning you cannot even open your mouth. But, after finishing the second month you are able to understand and after half a year you are already able to speak a lot and converse happily during every day life.
We are pleased to announce that today we will be welcoming 37 German students of all ages from Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences to participate in the first ever German Summer Business Program in Qingdao, followed by an opportunity to work as an intern in a Chinese business environment.
Arrival and Culture week
When participants arrive, they will be greeted into China by a friendly team to make them instantly feel at home. Welcome packages will be handed out and a shared dinner will be set up to allow them to interact with other people in the same position. To make students feel even more comfortable and to get the most out of their experience, we have arranged a culture week starting the day after their arrival. On the 17th of July the students will spend three days in Shanghai followed by a further three days in Beijing. In Shanghai we will be visiting famous landmarks like the Technical Museum, the Shanghai Museum of Chinese Art – Chenng Hua Miao and opportunities to shop in Nanjing Lu.
Then off to Beijing on the 20th to continue the tour of two of the most famous cities in the world. In Beijing there will be the chance to visit TiananMen Square- the memorial hall of Chairman Mao, stop by some traditional Chinese neighbourhoods known as ‘hutong’ and take a look around the eagerly anticipated Great Wall of China at the Ba Da Ling site. In the evenings there will be a chance to check out the nightlife of both cities, or if tiredness creeps in from all the touring, relax with a traditional Chinese massage.
Business Program in Qingdao
After the cultural tour has come to an end, applicants will arrive in Qingdao on the 22nd of July and will be either collected by host-family or brought to the apartment, depending on prior arrangements. The homestay option has proven to be successful as it presents students with the opportunity to get to know more about the Chinese culture and we are told all the homestay families are really excited to host the German students. Both living arrangements will give students a chance to find out more about upcoming events without leaving them in the dark. Once settled, the next day will be the start of the Business Studies course at Ocean University, where the students will be greeted with an opening ceremony and will be guided through what is in store for them in the coming weeks. There will be three weeks of classes with first time to China classes available. The lessons will run from 8am till 4pm, Monday to Friday with a lunch break at 1pm. Lessons will include Basic Chinese, Business Management in China, Chinese Culture and China and the World Economy to name a few!
There are key activities to keep all students entertained and it may be helpful for anyone in Qingdao to make a note in their diary. KungFu classes will be on offer on the 28th of July and either a climbing activity in Fushan or a hike in Laoshan is available on the 4th of August. There is also an option on the 11th of August between a cooking class and a Beerfest which is the 3rd biggest Oktoberfest in the world so for beer and festival lovers, it is one not to miss!
Internship in a Chinese workplace
The Business Program will end on the 10th of August and the students have three days to refresh before they start an internship on the 13th in Qingdao. While they may be working hard in the day, there is still plenty of opportunity for them to enjoy their surrounds in the evening and on weekends. With activities such as sailing, calligraphy classes and organised trips such as the one to Golden Beach on the 1st September, there will so much going on boredom will not be possible.
For all those who will be joining us from Hochschule Fresenius University, our team at InternChina will do our upmost to make sure you enjoy yourself and get valuable experience which will benefit you in the future. We wish you all a safe journey and can’t wait to meet you all 🙂
This blog entry is dedicated to our partner language school in Qingdao that recently moved and which has now many advantages in comparison to their previous location.
First of all, the school is just 2 bus stations away from our InternChina office, in the near of ‘Book City’, and therefore extremely convenient to reach.
What are further advantages of the new building?
Around the school you have many small shops, where you can buy drinks/snacks during the lunch break, and also few coffee bars, offering nice coffee.
Moreover, the school is inside an office building on the 7th floor and completely new renovated. Beforehand you had plenty offices there, belonging to different companies.
Another plus is that apart from around 15 classrooms (different sizes), there is also a reception desk in the school, 2 recording rooms and 2 meeting rooms.
All in all the school looks much more professional now in the new location, although the old school was also not bad.
Inside the building you also have a hotel and a restaurant. There is one big central entrance for people working in one of those offices, people living in the hotel and us students learning Chinese there.
When arriving in advance, because of avoiding the peak of rush hour, you can chill on the very modest sofa on the first floor. 🙂
The whole staff of the school is really cool and kind, giving you the impression to be welcomed and showing interest in you and your Chinese language. They adopt the speed individually and flexible concerning making breaks, repeating special lessons and teaching things apart from the contents in the books.
We really trust them as our partner for we are cooperating with them since the foundation of InternChina, more than 6 years ago.
In the name of InternChina I can really say that we are satisfied with the school and the new place the school is located.
We are really glad to have this school as our partner and we hope that more students find the way here. It is really worth it and a great opportunity to improve one´s Chinese rapidly!
So guys, we hope to welcome you soon to our new school! 😉