Learning Chinese is tough!

The Mandarin character for “Knowledge”

So I’m full swing into my Mandarin classes. It’s only been a week and I’m already failing. My class is really tough and moves very fast. We did b,p,m,f, in three days and are already making sentences. The class is two hours a day, five days a week and I’m studying for about an additional two hours per day. That’s 20-24 hours per week on Chinese! Nonetheless my efforts are not going to cut it. The other students are either from an Asian country like Japan, or Thailand, or are spending FIVE hours per day studying.

Unfortunately two hours per day is all that I can handle. Today I spoke with a nice American girl who told me that most people fail the first time and to just keep at it. Still, it is tough to be in that classroom and feel lost and unable to comprehend the lesson or material. Most likely I would be able to pass if we were going at half the speed we’re going at. However, I’m on this ship now so I guess we’ll just keep on sailing.

My students have been really helpful. Yesterday, they were on the floor laughing at hearing me try to pronounce certain words. However, they are actually great teachers because they push me until I get it right.

Believe it or not the stress over my Chinese is actually making me more creative. My mind starts to wander, I hear music (DJ Champion) in my head, and soon start to think about the weekend and my photography.

Over the next 48 hours, I’m going to be hitting the city to take photographs of Taiwanese fruit for Discover Taipei, on Sunday there’s the pool party for Taiwan Nights, Monday its HsinChu with the girls, and Tuesday a portrait shoot for jorees.com.


3 Responses to “Learning Chinese is tough!”

  1. June 13, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Would love it if you posted an audio clip so I can be on the floor laughing too.

  2. 2 Luke
    June 20, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Chinese is tough…

    When i first started taking mandarin back in UNBC days…it was odd…not something i was used to. The class moved very quick…what i had to do..is exactly what you said..spend more time on it….writing out the characters and imprinting them into your long term memory. What i did…was shut out everything..and went to the library and litterly forced myself to memorize everything that i was learning…chapter by chapter…hour after hour.

    After 2 weeks of this i did very well on the midterm..and by the final i managed to understand enough to pass teh course….but since them when ever i do a language class i put in 110%..i know there is so many other things to do…dust the book shelves…rearange the furniture…

    So you know what needs to be done…but dont stress out about it…when you are ready you will absorb it like a sponge (with some intense immersion)

  3. 3 globetrotteri
    June 20, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Learning Chinese is tough on everyone at first. I was lost my first couple of months too, but I guarantee you’ll pick it up in no time. Just keep at it and practice, practice, practice! You have an advantage that I didn’t have. At first, I studied with a private tutor and didn’t have an opportunity to study with other students at the same level. My tutor didn’t speak any English at all, so it was really stressful. I know you’re going to be pumping it out in no time!

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