Hi all, Mandy here. I’m the new design and marketing intern at the Zhuhai office and the project manager for Teach by the Beach. A local of the lovely Cape Town (actually the wine-lands just outside the city), I graduated with a Fine Arts degree majoring in sculpture – meaning, after four years in studio my only employable skill was speaking English. Luckily South Koreas’ English teaching market wasn’t yet saturated and I managed to live and work there for two years.
Today living and working abroad is made immeasurably easier with advances in information exposure. Primarily thanks to the instantaneous access afforded by the Internet. Sure, nothing really prepares you for the staring you may garner by being “other”, the enticing and insulting scents of daily life or any of the other possibly different ways of navigating concepts of time (what constitutes “being on time” anyway?) and physical spaces (product placement in shop aisles, cycling in traffic, occasionally dodging dollops of baby excrement on pavements and dish-water from several storeys above) – but these few sources could prove useful for your day-to-day life:
Pop-up Chinese (podcast)
One of the more entertaining ways of learning Chinese, Pop-up Chinese provides short dialogues with transcripts in Pinyin and characters As well as a guide through the finer details of pronunciation, meaning and often hilarious explanations of contexts by the two hosts – the native Chinese speaker and the second language speaker.
Their podcasts are arranged from absolute beginners to advanced levels – with a few fun categories (such as KTV Wednesdays and Film Fridays) included.
As a regular subscriber (no fee) you get quite a good range of the source material and access to forums for discussion as well as responses to your personal language questions if you email one of the hosts. Paying for a subscription allows more access and quite a bit more in terms of downloadable material.
Also available on site, is the sister-podcast, Pop-up Cantonese. Which could prove somewhat useful for our Zhuhai interns looking for a bit of a language edge or simply to surprize and impress their office staff.
Sinica is a weekly discussion podcast available on the Pop-up Chinese website. Hosted by Kaiser Guo and Jeremy Goldkorn, the show manages to provide highly insightful topics, guests and recommendations without getting stuffy or boring. Everything from political situations to contemporary pop culture is dissected in a fresh and easy manner that allows even complete outsiders easy engagement in the discussions. Highly recommended for staying on top of current events.
Another favourite for current events, ChinaSmack, not only keeps one up to date on the latest Chinese news, but if you are at all interested in the thinking and behaviour of Chinese netizens, this is a quite gem. Netizen reaction to Chinese news stories, behavior and language in discussion forums and the general comment-banter thrown around in such forums, are translated into English. Impress and offend your Chinese friends and co-workers! Amazing!
Raouls’ China Saloon (forum)
This forum site is a quite an effort to apply to as they have some measures in place to make sure only really keen and/or persistent parties join. Once past that wall, it’s really quite a useful go-to source for times you need a quick answer to everything from adjust your TV setting/water heater to accessing inconvenient sites.
The more frequently you post in the forums the higher up you can move (more exclusive forums and posts are made accessible).
Hope this has been useful guys!