In the fall, I will be learning Mandarin Chinese at the intermediate level in college. I think the language is difficult to study, but hard work and patience really pays off. I am able to read fairly well, but writing and speaking are areas where I definitely need to improve on. I am shy when I speak in English, the language I am fluent in, so I am even shyer when trying to speak Chinese!
When I first started learning, I was really nervous because up until then, I had only learned Spanish as a second language. One of the reasons why I switched from Spanish to Chinese was because I was not enjoying Spanish anymore. Spanish wasn’t terribly difficult for me, but because I was switching schools, I thought it was a good opportunity to try to learn a new language. Chinese was the best option – it wasn’t anything close to Spanish, and learning Chinese seemed like it could be helpful for broadening my future opportunities.
I also wanted to learn because I was adopted from China. Looking back, that was probably the main reason I wanted to learn the language, but I did not realize it until after the fact. I can definitely say that I am glad I chose to learn Chinese. Although my Chinese isn’t the greatest, it feels good to know at least some Mandarin, the main language of my birth country. And when I go back to China someday, it will be nice to be able to understand and interact some, even if I will still need guidance.
Learning the language has also helped me learn more about the Chinese culture, and I feel a lot more connected to my birth country. I hope to continue to learn Chinese and practice my skills after college.