Why Learn Mandarin?
Chinese languages matter more than ever before.
With 1.3 billion Mandarin speakers at home, and several million more speakers living in nearly every country of the world, Mandarin is one of the most widely spoken languages on earth. You don’t even have to go to China these days to find yourself working with colleagues and customers for whom Mandarin is their first language. Therefore, a small investment in learning the language could translate into more business and career opportunities. Or just more friends.
Meanwhile, as China replaces the US as the main trading partner of most East and Southeast Asian countries, Mandarin will play an increasingly important role as a language for business communication. Especially in countries like Japan and Korea, and also in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, Mandarin is slowly becoming the most popular foreign language. If you take up the challenge to learn Mandarin, you will not only be able to communicate with Chinese natives, but more and more with other Asians who decided to learn Mandarin as a foreign language themselves.
Further, for people taking their first steps into the job market, it is important to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Learning Mandarin will provide you with an excellent chance to get a step ahead and attract the attention of future employers.
Mandarin will be taught at four different levels of difficulty ranging from basic to advance in order for you to be able to communicate and get your point across. At advanced level you will also be taught legal and business terms and phrases so it will be more helpful for professionals. Classes for each level will be 3 months long and will prepare you to take a proficiency exam at the end of the course.
Difficulty Level: It is easy and fun to learn
Do not let Chinese characters scare the heck out you. It’s easier than you think. Chinese characters are beautiful. For thousands of years, calligraphy has been one of the major forms of artistic expression in Chinese culture. And you don’t have to learn the written language to get started with learning how to speak.
While there are some grammatical features that are unique to Chinese, the grammar is strikingly minimalist: No tenses (and therefore no conjugations needed), no male-female distinction between nouns or pronouns, no plural forms.
Learning Mandarin – and especially using it in real situations – can be a lot of fun. Besides being able to order off of a restaurant menu and knowing what I’m actually about to eat, or reading a news article without having to run it through Google translate.
Mark Zuckerberg is learning Mandarin. Whatever Mark’s motives may be, he sets an example that others might want to follow. There are more resources for learning the language than ever before. Today, you can go to iTunes and subscribe to free podcasts, or download audio lessons or install apps and start learning Mandarin at your own pace.
But you know the learning process never ends.