Learning Chinese In Taiwan

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Learning Chinese in Taiwan – My Experience

By Justin O White

When I first arrived in Taiwan to teach English, I had already taken several courses in university on Mandarin Chinese. I had done well in those courses and enjoyed them very much. I thought that maybe I would be able to begin conversing immediately with Chinese speakers and improve my Chinese in the process. I was excited.

However, as soon as I became immersed in the overwhelming environment of Taiwan I became afraid to speak. Seeing all of the signs written in Chinese, constantly overhearing long streams of spoken Chinese that were incomprehensible to me, and seeing the effortless fluency of some foreigners who had been there for a while, I began to feel very differently about my Chinese speaking ability. Things felt very different outside of the classroom.

And so when I went to Starbucks, or ordered at a restaurant I spoke only English except for a polite “xie xie” or “thank you” to waiters and waitresses, and an occasional polite “Ni Hao”. I occasionally wondered whether my university courses in Mandarin Chinese had been a waste.

What really happened to me was what happens every day to Chinese language learners. I became afraid and overwhelmed at the foreignness of the language, and did not stop to consider the fact that with a little more practice and a little more courage things would begin to make sense and I could learn Chinese fast. Being paralyzed with fear, I was limited in my ability to interact with Chinese people.  Read Full Article Here – Learning Chinese In Taiwan