Build Blog

Learning Chinese: What’s it like studying Chinese at Build?

Story added 17th Jan 2018

David Parton, who has been studying Chinese at Build.

Thinking of signing up for Chinese classes?

Chinese is the world’s most spoken language, with over 1.2 billion speakers worldwide, with roughly 1 billion of those speaking Mandarin. If you’re keen to start learning Chinese, you might be interested to find out a little more about Chinese classes and the tricks and techniques that can help you when starting out with this richly rewarding language. Whether you’re looking to learn Chinese for business, pleasure or purely for the thrill presented by the challenge, there are plenty of reasons to take on this fascinating language.

We recently caught up with David Parton, a student at Build who is currently learning Chinese, to discover more about his experiences of Chinese classes at Build.

 

 

What motivated you to start learning Chinese?

I decided to take up Chinese at Build because I have a scholarship to study Chinese Law (in English) in Shanghai for 6 months from February, and I want to be able to communicate, to some degree, upon arrival. I felt that this would allow me to get more out of my time in Shanghai, and I wanted to let people know when I arrive that I have made an effort to communicate in the language of my temporary home.

 

How have you found the challenge of learning Chinese?

It has been intense at times; the course is very content-heavy. Additional supplementary work in-between classes is essential. Making time for additional Chinese practice every day, as advised, can be hard. In addition, pronouncing tones and pinyin can also be quite difficult and require intense practice.

Can you tell us a little bit about your tutor?

Ting Poon has been a great tutor. She utilises lots of teaching methods, from group work, pair work and individual work, utilising videos, power points, card games, whiteboard tasks and question and answer activities. Ting makes a point of engaging every student throughout the class, offers extra help to students needing it, and frequently checks for understanding. She sets homework and marks it – offering feedback as and when required.

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of learning Chinese?

I think it’s been seeing my skills and understanding begin to take hold. Learning Chinese has been an interesting window into China as a country. Knowing that I will hopefully be able to communicate, even at a basic level, with someone in another language has also been quite satisfying. Overcoming obstacles, such as Chinese characters that are particularly difficult to remember, or words that are difficult to pronounce, is also deeply rewarding. 

Finally, what's your biggest tip for any student thinking of learning Chinese?

I would recommend really committing to learning Chinese. That’s not to say that if you don’t do lots of additional work in-between classes you won’t do well. I just mean that you can really take an awful lot out of the classes at Build. It becomes quickly apparent on this course that if you want to learn a lot and really excel, you can, but you need to put extra work in to do that.

 

Chinese courses in London at Build

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