By Hayley Gibson and Alicia Wan – 21/08/15
Last week we were offered the opportunity to volunteer at Jinwan School in Zhuhai. The two of us, along with Magda and Pippa decided this would be a great opportunity to get involved with the community, so we took a day off work to help out. On the Friday, we were all picked up from our apartments in the morning and driven to the school which was around 45 minutes away.
After a brief introduction, we were then asked to talk to the children and ask them questions in English, they then had to stand up and respond, allowing them to practise the English they have been learning. Thanks to Magda who got the ball rolling with questions, we eventually became more comfortable and so did the children.
The group then split in half, we took one half of the group, and Magda and Pippa took the other. This section of the class was aimed at teaching the children how to direct tourists. We taught them how to say basic directions such as left and right in English, and decided that the best way to teach was to play games and be interactive with the children. They loved it, and so did we!
The lesson went fairly quickly as it was only 2 hours and at the end we had the opportunity for a photo or 2, which ended up being more like 100 selfies with the children!
After class, Wesley, who is in charge of the volunteers, said that he would be taking us to lunch at his restaurant. This was a great surprise as we thought we would be heading straight home. The food was delicious and it was a great gesture to say thank you.
After lunch Wesley then announced that we would go to his farm to see where the food had come from. Again this was unexpected and a great addition to what had already been a great day!
Overall we had an amazing time volunteering. The teachers were friendly and the children were fun to work with. It was an invaluable experience and we hope to have another opportunity like this again in the future!
Most people think that the most difficult part in learning Chinese is the writing. Chinese characters look very complicated at the first glance, especially for those who start learning Chinese on their own, and try to memorize random characters. Of course, that’s the hardest way to do that. But you will realize that once you have figured out the system behind the Chinese characters you’ll find it so much easier to memorize them.
Chinese is a quite logical language. If you’re interested in reading and writing Chinese characters, the easiest way is to start with the numbers 1-10. They are very simple to write, quite useful to know:
One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten
一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十
This is it! Now you know these characters, you actually know how to read and write all the numbers through 100. The reason is that Chinese counting follows a very simple pattern:
10 = 10 + 1 = 十一
20 = 2 + 10 = 二十
There are so called “radicals” in Chinese language, that defines the character. If you know the basic ones then you could also get the meaning from the characters, even though you don’t know how to spell the word. So Chinese radical is like a graphical component of a Chinese character. This component is often semantic, but could sometimes also be phonetic.
For example the Chinese character for mother consists of two parts.
The left part is the radical 女=”female”. Here the radical is also a semantic component.
The right part is a phonetic component: 马 mǎ = „horse“.
To sum it up, by just checking the left part you know that this character has something to do with a woman and by recognizing the right part you know how to pronounce it. Characters like this are quite easy to remember once you have learned more radicals.
Knowing this helped me a lot to learn Chinese characters. Just yesterday I had a task to call the manager from a company.
The problem was that I’ve never seen this character before and also didn’t know if the manager’s gender. So I checked the name, which says: 张 高娜. So I saw somewhere in the name the female radical 女 and I recognized the phonetic compenent from the family name “长”cháng. The rest of the name was a mystery to me. So picked up the phone, made a call and referred to the manager as „Miss/Manager Chang?“ and it worked out
So the hardest part of learning Chinese is to memorize are the tones, which will be handled in one of our next blogs. Being able to recognize the common radicals helps in the learning and recognition of old and new characters.
You see, learning Chinsese is not that hard. Especially not in one of our language classes.
She currently stays with InternChina in Qingdao. Thea studies sinology back in Vienna and is therefore predestined to write about this topic:
Once you arrive in China the first thing that comes into your way is the language barrier. Chinese language sounds so a lot different from any Western language.
Many people are completely overwhelmed at the beginning just by the exotic sounds and the different tones of Chinese, but appearances are deceitful. Those who have spent time studying this language know that – except for its pronunciation – Chinese is one of the languages with the least grammar rules. My Sinology professor would disapprove here, but I would still say it is true. Trust me, when I tell you – as an Austro-Chinese – that Chinese is so much easier to learn than German. Don’t believe it? There we go!
Compared to German grammar, the Chinese one is non-existing. First of all, we don’t have any article for any noun – bless Buddha, Confucius and all the other Chinese higher powers for that! Ergo, we don’t have to worry about the changes of case endings of neither adjectives nor nouns. Talking about those two word groups, adjectives and nouns can also be used more flexibly than in any Western language.
Especially for English speakers, Chinese grammar is quit straightforward. Most sentences structures are similar to English.
I want to eat something.
Wo xiang chi dongxi.
To help to simplify things even more – Chinese doesn’t have verb conjugations either. Since there are no articles, declinations – just think about German – or hardly any inflections.
There are of course also difficult parts of this exotic language, but there is nothing you can’t learn with just enough practice. I’ll grant you that Chinese characters make the idea of learning Chinese really scary, but next time I’ll show you, that it’s not as wild as it looks like. There are apparently over 80 000 Chinese characters, but we don’t use all of them – and not every character is completely new. You know the verb “to wash” and the noun “room”, so what’s the big deal in remembering the whole new word “washroom”? No big magic behind it, and the same goes for most of the Chinese characters.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, summer is up and running now, temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and images of beaches and tan people in bathing suits flood the advertising spaces everywhere. If you are a student, school is probably over for the semester or you are wrapping up exams and project deadlines.
It’s likely that you’ve already made plans for the summer (after all, you’ve been thinking about it since spring break was over). But if you still don’t know what you’re going to do for the next three months – or if you like to plan so far ahead that you’re already thinking about next summer – let me tell you why an internship in China is the best thing you can do with your summer.
You might be thinking: “Working? During my summer holiday? Why on Earth would I want to do that?” Yes, of course, everybody’s idea of summer is chilling in the sun by day and partying with piña coladas by night. But the truth is, you will most likely go on vacation for one or two weeks, and then spend the rest of the summer playing Xbox with your friends, hanging out at the mall or running errands for your mom.
What I’m saying is: do something more meaningful with your summer! These days, in the competitive business world that we live in, work experience is highly valued and if you graduate university without any at all, chances are you will have a very hard time finding a job that satisfies your career goals and rewards all the hard work you put into your studies (check out Penelope Trunk’s great blog about the importance of doing a summer internship). Of course, you can do an internship in your home town or even try to find a summer job but, now that you’re already thinking about it, why not do an internship in China?
Having work experience in China gives a great boost to your CV. It is not only the fact that China is increasingly gaining importance in the worlds of business and industry, which will definitely help you stand out to recruiters. But they will also see that you are not afraid to take on a challenge, given that you are willing to travel halfway across the world to live and work in a country with a completely different culture and way of life. How you adapted and handled the language and cultural barriers – this will be a great topic to mention in future job interviews.
But coming to China for an internship during the summer is not only great to improve your career prospects. It is also an opportunity to learn about a new culture and have fun while doing it. Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu are great cities to do this: great weather, not as busy or expensive as Beijing or Shanghai, but still close enough that you can visit them and big enough that there are plenty of places to go to keep your evenings and weekends occupied with fun activities.
Just to mention a few examples: in Qingdao you can spend a day playing beach volleyball, sailing and jet skiing; or go climbing Laoshan Mountain if you’re a bit sportier. At night, you can sit outside drinking beer and eating street BBQ. In Zhuhai, you can go swimming in the sea or a pool, take a trip to one of the 146 islands around the city and even hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for the day, do some sightseeing and eat a delicious meal. Chengdu is a great place to go cycling for both pros and amateurs, given the fact that the landscape is mostly flat so you can go far without wearing yourself out too much. You can also have a relaxing afternoon at a tea house and of course, go see the pandas!
As you can see, doing an internship in China gives you the ultimate summer experience: working, learning and having fun! Conclusion: what are you waiting for?
Would you like to spend your summer doing an internship in China? Apply now on our website or send us an email for more information.
China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With a whole bunch of job market problems and huge numbers of unemployed people in Europe/USA, China is often seen as a possibility for young people to get a job, learn something new, gain experiences which will make you more desirable as an employee in Europe and the Unites States.
Going to China is not enough
Chinese are a fast learning people and most of them studied English at school, so there is no real need of people who can speak English (apart from teachers perhaps). If you want to come to China and work here, it’s mandatory to speak and learn Chinese and have a good education. You are not going to be something special because you are white, or know how to speak English. It is the same in Europe: Let’s say you want to work in Germany! Then you have to be able to speak German or at least English. You see, just going to China is not enough.
Different types of language students
There are different groups of Chinese students in the Western world:
1) The first big group is University Students.
2) The second group is people learning at home with some random language program.
3) The third group is booking expensive language classes in a language institute.
4) And the fourth group is going to China to learn Chinese!
The thing about learning Chinese in Western countries is: You might get good teachers, but you will never have the opportunity to try your Chinese in real life.
Classrooms provide only an artificial learning environment, you can learn your basics there. But where to try them? You know how to ask for 2 apples? That’s great! But where do you go to check if a Chinese person would understand you?
The only place for learning proper Chinese is China!
Can you think of any better place to practice your Chinese than being in China, buying your own stuff on the streets, attending language classes, doing an Internship perhaps?
Chinese people are often thrilled when they see that you try to speak their language, which they know is difficult to learn. The problem with language classes at Western Universities is often that groups are too big. In a class with 30 people you can’t learn properly and a teacher doesn’t really have any chance to correct you mistakes.
In our language school in Qingdao e.g., you will never have more than 10 people in one class! Normally it’s 2-6, sometimes it’s even one-on-one, so you will profit a lot more from these classes than you would do at your home Uni or in a Western language school.
Some people like to study at home, you can still do that when you attend a language school in China, but learning together with other people who are having the same problems as you do and after class trying out what you just learned will give you a big motivational boost!
3 years ago – it was the first time for me in China after having finished my basic studies of Chinese language – I went to a really small restaurant. The owner’s daughter wanted to speak with me and my friend, I know I was quite afraid of not being able to understand her (having learned Chinese at Uni for 2 years in classes of at least 30 people), but she didn’t care about any mistakes we made! We were sitting together for more than one hour and it felt like I learned a hundred new words that evening. I haven’t forgotten one of them!
Now I do an Internship in China and I can speak Chinese with my colleagues every day, it’s the greatest opportunity for me to improve my Chinese again. I often think that it must be annoying for them to hear me speak my crude Chinese and saying things wrong so often, but they don’t seem to mind, since they have been studying Chinese for all their life and know how difficult it is!
Giving 60 children the opportunity to go to school- that was the headline of the day in Zhuhai. On September 1st InternChina helped organise a Charity-Event ‘Come together’ in the Beishan theatre to help raise money to buy children equipment to go to school.
The collected money from the Charity Event ‘Come together’ was given to the children today at their new school. The head-organizers of ‘Come together’ gave the envelopes to the children and got compensated with an affecting speech of one of the kids.
InternChina and a lot of InternChina interns helped to collect money for the school education of 50 children. Several live bands and DJs, a BBQ, a donation and a raffle helped to collect enough money to buy 60 children their whole school equipment.
After the event was such a big success and after everyone saw the smiling children practicing their English, everybody was sure, that there will be a ‘Come together’ next year.
Thanks again everybody for helping and for making all of this happen.