Putonghua (also called Mandarin) is the official language of People’s Republic of China. Therefore, if you are or ever will be learning Chinese, the most likely it will be Putonghua. However, Cantonese is also quite widely spoken in certain areas of China. Especially in Guangdong province, where Zhuhai is located. If you are wondering how different these two languages are than I will tell you that they are probably more different than English and German.
So, when I was applying for an internship one of my major concerns was whether I will be able to speak Mandarin in Zhuhai. Wikipedia stated that it was a Cantonese speaking area. However, Zhuhai, its beautiful landscapes, sub-tropical weather and the internships tempted me so much that I couldn’t resist. Thought to myself: I am sure there are plenty of ways of practicing Mandarin as long as you’re in China. It will be all up to me, whether I will look for opportunities or not.
So, here I am in Zhuhai. How’s my Cantonese? I think I’ve heard it in the bus once. Haha. If somebody would ask me, I would say that this is Mandarin speaking area. Wouldn’t even occur to me that I am in Canton. I hear Mandarin everywhere: in the busses, shops, on the radios. Everybody speaks to me in Mandarin. Of course if I would be more attentive maybe I would hear more Cantonese speakers. But only Mandarin catches my attention. And believe me, it’s everywhere. I am not sure how it is in other Guangdong cities, but Zhuhai is very, very Mandarin! So if any of you have concerns about practicing your Putonghua in Zhuhai I can guarantee you that you shouldn’t even think about that. Just enjoy the weather!