Learn Chinese in China
Chinese tuition is super cheap, making learning Chinese in China, which happens to be the most efficient method of studying this difficult language, an option for many. Utilizing the Chinese university system, which charges incredibly low tuition by western standards is undoubtedly the strategy to get you to fluency rapidly. Remember that before Chinese became a popular language, few universities were offering Chinese-learning programs, which makes today a special time for Chinese learners. In addition, the universal knowledge of Pinyin in China allows teachers to effectively teach foreign students. In the past, it took seven to eight years for the average student to become fluent in Chinese. But now, in spite of its large number of symbols, Chinese is a relatively language to learn, if only for this opportunity. In addition, the hsk test, which contains various levels, allows students to streamlined their training strategies.
On the other hand, a Chinese proverbs says, “To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation,” implying that you should be able to focus on listening without learning much speaking to learn Chinese well. In other words, perhaps studying online is good enough? At least in the beginning, listening is more important than speaking. It's important to first familiarize yourself with the way the characters are spoken before you try speaking Chinese. The tones of Chinese mystify many students, with are flat, rising, falling and falling-rising tones. The tone used when speaking a word can change the meaning, even if the sound is the same. Thus, first using some online audio tutorials to help you understand the tones is an effective strategy in the long-term. Also recognize that the HSK test can be taken without having to go to China. You can read more about that on our FAQ on how to speak mandarin.
But even if you decide to go the online route, don’t give up on plans to go to China to study. At this point, many scholarships exist within China, essentially making study free! The times in which you could only learn a language in your home country are gone. But at the same time, more and more people are learning Chinese, which makes competition for jobs and positions in universities stronger.
Overall, going to China is a great option, especially considering that you can throw away your mind numbingly boring textbooks in favor of organic learning materials, such as by going out and making friends. Learning Chinese effectively is a matter of consistently exposing yourself to the language. So, when in China, talk as much as possible. Language acquisition is a natural process — it's built into our brains. This makes all students inherently good at learning Chinese. Keep these Chinese-learning tips in mind when you study!