“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
It goes without saying that there are more Chinese people who speak English than British people who speak Chinese.
So are you ready to learn how to speak Chinese?
A lot of people think that since so many people speak English, it’s pointless learning another language. However, very few students in the UK are learning Chinese.
That said, there are plenty of classes and language training for all levels available to everyone in the UK. Learn more about Chinese culture and how to speak Mandarin Chinese in a Chinese class in a Chinese language school or learn Mandarin at university and get ready for a trip to Beijing!
Learning a foreign language, and learning Mandarin especially, can be quite complicated. Chinese writing, vocabulary, pronunciation, and tones are enough to turn even some of the most enthusiastic learners away.
Learning Chinese will allow you to discover a magnificent country. (Source: jplenio)
Additionally, the older you are, the more resistant you’ll be to learning new skills, and Chinese is hardly an easy language to learn.
However, there are plenty of reasons that more and more people are deciding to learn Chinese. For one, language and culture are linked, so the more you learn about Chinese Mandarin, the more you learn about mainland China, where it’s spoken. That said, almost every region has its own language or dialect and while there is a standardised form of the Mandarin language, getting over a billion people to speak it exactly the same way is tricky.
Learning a new language can help you give your brain a workout while training your memory. It also helps you to train your ear and improve your listening skills. By working on all this, you’ll be able to distinguish new sounds in a foreign language more easily. Language skills are useful in an increasingly globalised world and since China is one of the largest economic powers, it would be silly not to learn Mandarin Chinese.
Having Chinese on your CV will look great to employers, even if just at a conversational or intermediate level! A lot of businesses are looking for employees who know how to speak Chinese and this could make all the difference when it comes to getting an interview.
Of course, it’ll also be easier to communicate in China if you speak the language.
Why should you study Mandarin Chinese?
Without a doubt, learning to read and write Chinese is one of the most difficult parts. (Source: PublicDomainPictures)
Whether you do weekly classes, an intensive course, or a degree, there are a variety of different solutions for students. This means that everyone should be able to find a solution that works for them.
Studying Chinese in allows you to make the most of qualified and experienced teachers while following an organised and structured course. You’ll cover all aspects of language including Chinese grammar, conjugations, spelling, Chinese characters, transcription, Pinyin, speaking, phonetics, etc.
Unlike private tutorials or online tutorials for teaching yourself, you can practise with other students at the school as well as organising traditional Chinese events for their students.
You can also practise for exams in order to get a certificate confirming your level in the language.
There are also disadvantages to choosing to study Chinese.
Calligraphy is also an important part of Chinese writing. (Source: rmac8oppo)
For starters, the price isn’t always very affordable. These establishments use their students to finance them. This means the rates can sometimes be quite high. Furthermore, you need to find a class schedule that works for you, especially if you work full time.
While many private language schools offer evening classes, these don’t work for everyone. In this case, it might be better teaching yourself or getting private Chinese tutorials. This means you can have Chinese lessons whenever you want and not just because it’s time for class. It’s hard to find this kind of freedom in Language schools.
Whatever your reasons, each person needs to find the right way to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese.
If you want to study Chinese at the Univerity of Bath, you’re going to have to go somewhere else first. However, the university does offer an MA in Interpreting and Translating for those interested in the field.
You can also learn through food! (Source: jonathanvalencia5)
The University of Birmingham has a number of undergraduate courses where you can learn Chinese. If you prefer focusing solely on languages, there’s the BA in Modern Languages. However, there are also the BSc in International Business with Language or the BA in Modern Languages with Business Management if you prefer that side of things.
The University of Cambridge offers a BA in Chinese Studies and an MPhil in Chinese Studies for those interested in more than just the language.
Cardiff University in the Welsh capital offers two courses for undergraduates: the BA in Modern Chinese and the BA in Modern Languages & Translation.
The University of Central Lancashire offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses for those interested in Chinese. Undergraduates can pick either the BA in Modern Languages, BA in Asia Pacific Studies, or the BA in Business Management & Chinese. There’s the MA in Interpreting & Translation for postgraduates.
Similar to Cambridge, Durham University offers the BA in Chinese studies. However, for postgraduates, there’s only the MA in Translation Studies available.
For those looking to study in the Scottish capital, the University of Edinburgh only offers the MA (Hons) in Chinese (undergraduate) and the Master of Chinese Studies and the MSc in Chinese Society and Culture.
Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh offers a large number of Chinese postgraduate courses. These courses include MSc in Chinese – English Interpreting and Translating, the MSc in Chinese – English Translating, the MSc in Interpreting (Chinese Pathway), the MSc in Translating (Chinese Pathway), and the MSc in Interpreting and Translating (Chinese pathway).
The only course offered by King’s College London is the MSc in China & Globalisation. A good postgraduate option for those interested in business.
The LSE offers both degree and certificate courses for Mandarin Chinese.
The University of Manchester has the BA in Chinese Studies for undergraduates and an MA in Conference Interpreting or an MA in Translation & Interpreting for those interested in a postgraduate degree.
Newcastle University has a number of courses for those interested in Chinese both an undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Undergraduates can choose either the BA in Chinese Studies or the BA in Modern Languages while postgraduates can choose the MA in Translating, MA in Interpreting, MA in Translation Studies, or the MA in Translating & Interpreting.
The University of Nottingham has both an undergraduate and postgraduate option. Undergraduates can study a BA in a European Language & Contemporary Chinese Studies while postgraduates can choose the MA in Chinese/English Translation & Interpreting.
For a change of pace, the Open University offers Beginners’ Chinese courses which, like all Open University courses, is a distance learning course.
The University of Oxford has some interesting choices for those wanting to study Chinese. Undergraduates can study the BA in Chinese Studies while postgraduate students can opt for either the Mst in Traditional China or the MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies.
If you’re interested in studying in Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast offers a BSc in International Business with Mandarin, a great option for those looking to break into the world of Asian business.
The SOAS at the University of London offers a variety of different courses for students. There are certificates, diplomas, and short courses available in both Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese for those not interested in studying for a degree.
For undergraduates, there is either the BA in Chinese Studies or the BA in Chinese (Modern & Classical) and postgraduates can study an MA in Chinese Studies or an MA in Sinology.
While the University of Wales Trinity Saint David only offers one undergraduate course in Chinese, the BA in Chinese Studies, there are a variety of interesting postgraduate courses: the MA in Sinology, MA in Confucian Classical Studies, the MA in Chinese Buddhist Textual Studies, and the MA in Chinese Daoist Textual Studies. These courses are obviously for those who are very interested in Chinese culture.
If you’re wanting to study at the University of Warwick, you’re going to have to be quite interested in languages as they only offer the BA in a Modern European Language with Chinese. However, Chinese and a European language would look great on your CV!
The University of Westminster offers a BA in Chinese & Global Communication as well as a BA in International Business. These courses are definitely for the business-orientated.