U6 Student Studies Mandarin in Beijing
- Published: Tuesday, 15 September 2015 13:30
Over the summer holidays, I was lucky enough to experience life in one of the most incredible cities on earth - Beijing.
Being a fairly confident linguist, I expected my first week exploring Beijing to be a breeze. However due to my poor understanding of the Chinese people and the complete cultural shock, this proved not to be the case... Luckily after a few lessons I was back on my feet again and was able to communicate with the majority of the locals, allowing exploration of Beijing to be more enjoyable and less of a complex puzzle.
My opportunity to travel to Beijing on an all expenses paid trip came to me earlier this year when my mandarin teacher at Birkdale entered me as a possible candidate for the 4 week course at the Beijing Language and Culture University. After having completed only the first of my HSK examinations in October 2014, I was sceptical whether or not I would be selected. Thankfully I was one of the 20 foreign students from all around the world to be accepted onto the scholarship course to study at the University. I would do anything to go back to Beijing as it is an incredible city in which I have made many life long friends from countries such as Bahrain, Bangladesh, Korea, Germany and Greece.
In my opinion, Mandarin and the study of China is an exciting subject, embedded with history and interesting culture. The language consists of over 50,000 Characters, made up of Radicals (which help with learning and understanding how characters work). Mandarin Chinese at Birkdale is very flexible, you can learn the language for enjoyment or feel intellectually challenged by completing a series of HSK exams at varying levels. These exams are not compulsory, and many students and parents alike enjoy simply exploring Mandarin Chinese as a hobby. Teachers from Sheffield University come in weekly and hold classes in the evenings and lunch times, fitting nicely around the busy schedules of parents and students.
Mandarin Chinese has more native speakers than of any other language, with around 1 billion people being native speakers. To learn Mandarin Chinese at Birkdale School has been an extremely worthy investment of time and has helped me grow more independent and knowledgeable as a person. If you are an aspiring businessman, want to fill up your DofE "skill" record or simply hope to learn an enjoyable new language - then learning Mandarin Chinese at Birkdale is definitely one of the best opportunities you should take advantage of. Why not try something new this term?
Written by Henry Siddall (U6)