First Week Back Studying: Recap

So I’ve been back at Uni studying Mandarin a week now, and all in all it went quite well! A few more people joined the class, while a few others left, so next week everyone will probably stick to one level now.

Some students in my class are coming to the first two classes in Level 3, and then moving to Level 4 for the listening and speaking part. We are going to stay put in Level 3; we have the book for next semester so are Chinese friend said we can start to learn that book with her. That way next semester we can jump to Level 5.

What is pretty annoying however is that there are 10 levels altogether! So if I started from Level 1… it would take me 5 years to complete the whole series of the book!! Although I really enjoy the series that we are using, I definitely think we move too slow.

In some ways I feel level 1 didn’t teach us too much, but what it was good for was pinyin and tones (how to pronounce Chinese). This of course is very important when learning Chinese, and I feel my pronunciation of words has improved because of studying this.

But as always, I’m always angry at myself; I can’t remember this words, I forget how to write a character, my sentence isn’t correct, I can’t think quick enough when thinking of an answer. . . .

My quest for perfection and being perfect in Chinese will always nag at me. Ha it is unfortunately a never ending battle!

So, I try and study as much as a can…. until I forget something and get frustrated at myself, again.

Oh, if only someone Chinese could implant their language into my own head……. that would be brilliant.








3rd Semester Studying

3rd Semester Studying

Today was our first day back in University again, which I am very happy about! It has been over 2 months since finishing our 2nd semester, and I had definitely become bored!

Although I did try and meet up with my Chinese friend in order to give me private lessons, I didn’t go nearly enough during that free time… but I will try and make more of an effort now that I am back studying full time.

Like the previous 2 semesters, we have again changed classrooms, meaning we are now in one of the biggest classrooms of the foreign teaching building! Unfortunately we still have one person that has followed us from level 1 that we don’t particularly like. Let’s just say, he has professed his love to our previous teacher one too many times (he’s in his 40’s)….. plus he doesn’t really make the effort in class that much.

Another person who has joined us today is another male student who I know I wouldn’t really enjoy being around either. . . I know I shouldn’t judge him just on one day, but I’ve heard other people mention this guy too. But anyway, the only person I should be caring about is myself.

Our first two classes are reading and teaching us the grammar, and our teacher spoke, at most 10 English words throughout that time. Compared to last semester, our teachers spoke more English than Chinese! So this is a big welcome! I definitely need to concentrate in class more now.

Our listening and speaking teacher seems very nice also. We had to each talk about our winter holidays and where we went, what we did and so on. Getting everyone to speak kind of tells you what sort of Chinese everyone has, and I’m sure thats why the teachers get us to speak, so they know the average level of everyone.

Plus, this semester, we have no pinyin! So the conversations in our book are all in Chinese characters, so this jump will increase our reading capability and fluency.

Although having to wake up much earlier than usual, I know in a few days my body will suddenly become tired! But I’m glad to get back into our studying routine again.



A Cinematic Surprise

A Cinematic Surprise

Having still not seen the new ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘ movie, we decided to head to the cinema to watch it. Our good Chinese friend helped us book them online, as it is much cheaper than buying them at the cinema itself. For two people it was 50yuan, so about 7euro. Great! We even got to sit in the 25 seater ‘VIP’ room!

We arrived and sat down in the lovely comfortable seats and got ready for the film to start. My boyfriend asked me ‘Did she buy the tickets for the English version?’… I dunno, I forgot to ask. I know in China they have two variants of the film, one in Chinese and one in English…..’Aw I am sure it’s in English’ I thought.

It was in Chinese…

I knew, 3 seconds into the film that it was. . .It definitely didn’t sound like Jack Black huffing up that mountain… I turned to my boyfriend and whispered ‘Oh no…’

So there we were, the only foreigners in the place watching the film and not having a clue what they were saying. I was thinking to myself ‘The Chinese people here must think are Mandarin is great!’

So we spent 1 hour and 30 minutes listening to an all Chinese movie, with no English in sight… and to be honest, I’m actually really glad I did!

I say I could understand maybe 10-15% of the movie, but I spent that whole time listening and trying to comprehend what they were saying. When they were speaking fast, I literally had no idea what they were talking about, but in some scenes they would speak slow and I could understand quite a lot of actually!

If it wasn’t an animation, oh I would have been bored to death. At least with animations they are much more visually entertaining.

To be put into that situation, like a cinema… you kind of HAVE to watch the movie…. unlike at home, you’re not allowed on your phone, you’re not allowed to talk, so you are totally immersed in an all Chinese speaking environment.

I think I will try to watch Chinese animations at home more. I was really happy with myself when I could understand what they were saying.

Now that I know what kind of level I’m at while watching the film, I’ll be interested to see how my listening has improved in another year. I think I’ll watch it again in a years time and see what else I can pick up on. It will be interesting to find out!

So, although we may need to watch the film again…. ha but this time in English…. I’m actually glad to have my first experience watching a 100% Chinese speaking film with no subtitles.

I hope one day I’ll be able to confidently watch the whole film and understand all of it. 🙂



Contract signing

One year has flown by, with us suddenly needing to sign another contract for work. Our current contract is part time, as will our next one. However in 2017 we hope to start a 15 hour full time contract.

This means that we will be payed a fixed salary every month, instead of being part time where we are only paid by the hours we work.

I’m looking forward to starting a full time contract next year, this lack of money coming in does not make me happy!

Presently, I have been working in two campuses; one from when I first started working, and the second when I moved to another campus and work during the week. For my campus on Saturdays, I would have to travel one hour to work and one hour back… which at the beginning was ok….I even stayed with the campus for an extra year, just so I could teach my students.

However I soon became fed up with the travelling. Last week, I had 3 classes.. totalling 2 hours 45mins. But because my first class was at 11:15am, while my last class finished at 5:30pm… this meant I had to leave home at 9:30 and I would arrive back at 7:00pm. So all in all I worked nearly 3 hours, but I was away from home for like 9 hours! I just didn’t want to keep wasting my time travelling and then only teaching a few hours.

In fairness though, I did stay the extra year to come in on the Saturday to teach, which I kinda feel, after telling my campus manager that I was finally leaving… my effort of going every Saturday wasn’t truly appreciated… thats what I felt anyway! I have 2 more Saturdays to work and then… adios Zhonghai!

Yesterday when we were signing our new contract in the businesses main headquarters, the Chinese staff told us “because you took 35 days off for holidays, you will have to work an extra month to make those days up”

What????? We were so surprised to hear this! How could this be!? I distinctly remember when I signed my contract that it definitely did not say this. Plus, we were part timers… it shouldn’t matter if we take time off… we don’t get any bonuses for completing a contract.

Part timers don’t get many benefits unlike full timers, but not having to make up for days not working is just for part time people.

So we asked her to check… and sure enough she returned saying “Oh I’m very sorry, I got confused… you don’t need to work an extra month” So we got that sorted.

Because we plan to move from Chengdu next year, we will not be studying Mandarin in a University. We will look at private places in (maybe Xiamen) and then we will get a work visa. We will also need to go to Hong Kong during November or December in order to do this.

I will miss studying at the Uni we are at though… I like the school and we have a good routine in Chengdu. At the moment I am half against moving away, half against staying in Chengdu. I’m comfortable here, and I don’t want ‘change’…

But I suppose, if you are always comfortable with something… it will be difficult to change, or you will never change it….. and I know in the blink of an eye…. I’ll have been in Chengdu 5years if I opted to stay.