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How I'm Learning Chinese

I've been studying Chinese for 7 months now and it's been an amazing journey so far! I've gone from knowing basic words like 你好 (nǐhǎo), which just means hello, to making long sentences with correct grammar. My situation is different now because I'm in class 5 days a week, compared to when I was learning Korean by myself at home.

Back then, I studied languages because I liked it, but now I'm studying it because this summer I have my final exams, then I can start my major! With that in mind, the way I'm studying Chinese isn't necessarily the same as others studying a language but some things are the same anyway!

This semester, class is early in the morning, and on Tuesdays it's in the afternoon. We learn around 30 new words each lesson, how to write them, their meanings and how to use the word correctly. 

This semester I'm taking Spoken Chinese, Comprehensive Chinese, and Chinese Listening, and it's around 30 words per lesson. Once a week we have dictations, where the teacher will call out the word, we write it down and hand the whole test in for marking. We also get given homework everyday and it's a pain to finish when I wanna go out and do other things hehe.

Homework is usually to answer questions from our textbooks, write paragraphs using the grammar we learned, or to write the Hanzi (Chinese character) out stroke by stroke.

When I'm done with my homework, I then start studying previous lessons Hanzi and go over them at least four times, and I do this everyday. 

To practise my reading, I read and re-read texts in the textbook, song lyrics, and subtitles on Chinese vloggers YouTube videos or in shows or films. To get better at listening I listen to songs (which is my favorite way to practise!), and I also use audio files sent in our class group chat. For speaking, living in China is practise enough!

Sometimes if there's something my teacher said that I just can't understand, or the textbook doesn't help either, I turn to YouTube channels to help me out! This has been happening more frequently this semester because the classes are more in-depth, but after one video I can get the hang of how to use that word or that grammar just fine! Let me know if you're curious about which channels I love on YouTube!

Everyday, I also head to a study group with my friends. We've kept it relatively small, and we spend a couple of hours going over HSK material. HSK is the Chinese proficiency exam we have to take at the end of this semester, and it's super important we pass because only then can we begin studying our majors! It's a nationwide exam that all foreign students take in China to test their level of Chinese. Since we really can't afford to fail this exam, we've taken it upon ourselves to study all the HSK content we can before our exam in June.

Other than that, I also chat to my Chinese friends using only Chinese. I've got a friend from back home in England who I chat to everyday and she helps me correct grammar or make my sentences sound more natural, and I'm so grateful for her! Regular conversations we'd be having in English just this time last year are now in Chinese, which I think is pretty cool.

People tend think learning Chinese is impossible, or any Asian language for that matter, but it's not true! I think if you have the passion for it, you can learn any language in the world; you just have to push yourself to do well. 

I was definitely afraid in my first class but now I get excited to head to class and learn even more because I have a genuine interest in it!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you in the next one!