We often get asked by hopeful Keats students what the best way to learn Mandarin is.
While there are many different ways to learn to speak Chinese, the absolute best way is to live abroad in China and study Mandarin at a Mandarin language school.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about why it’s so important to live abroad when you want to learn to speak Chinese and why Keats school is a great option for your study needs.
Best way to learn Mandarin
By immersing yourself in the Chinese culture, studying at a qualified and accredited school and spending time with Chinese locals, you’ll be on your way to learning Chinese. At Keats School, we believe this is the best way to learn Mandarin because you’re becoming a Chinese local and the experience is invaluable.
Moving to China to learn Chinese just makes sense. But, the most important thing is that you’re also in school studying the language. By simply living in China, it will be hard for you to pick up the language. But, by studying the language during the day at school and then using your Mandarin language skills in the city you’re living will deepen what you’re learning. Plus it gives you real-world experience speaking Mandarin to native Mandarin speakers!
Many people are questioning going to technology to learn a new language. There are many online courses and apps, but those techniques don’t give you the real-world interactions that a Mandarin language school in China does. We highly recommend turning your phone off and stepping inside a Mandarin language school classroom.
While you’re in Mandarin language lessons during the day, you’ll be learning the basic communication skills needed to live abroad. You’ll also be learning how to better understand the language by a teacher who has experience with the language and who can answer any questions you have right away.
But what happens when you’re out of the classroom? Does living abroad still benefit your Mandarin? The simple answer is yes! Here are some of our tips when it comes to keeping up with your Mandarin outside of class.
1. Spend time with people who speak Mandarin. You’re not going to learn Mandarin if you’re hanging out speaking your first language with classmates. You need to be constantly practicing it. What better way than to practice Mandarin during real-life situations with people also learning the language. You can help each other with the language.
2. While it may be nice for your new Chinese friends to use you to practice their English, it may not be the best idea. If you spend your time speaking English and helping people learn English while in China, your Mandarin language skills are not going to sink in. Speaking English with your friends and family back home should be one of the only times you speak your first language. Try speaking Chinese for the majority of your time abroad.
3. Spend your spare time watching films in Chinese, reading Chinese books and paying attention to the Chinese news. This will allow you to pick up on words, phrases and tones that you’ve been studying.
Picking the right school
Now that you know the best way to learn Mandarin is by moving abroad to study, it’s time to pick your ideal Mandarin language school.
Keats School in Kunming, China has been a popular spot for Mandarin learners since it was founded in 2004. This year Keats won the award for Best Mandarin School in Kunming, which was rewarding to us after spending years researching how to teach Chinese as a foreign language.
Our teachers go through a very strict interview process. Teachers must have a bachelor degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language or English. This gives them a good sense of the language and how to teach it to others.
The management at Keats is one of the biggest things that makes our school stand out from the rest of Chinese language schools. Our student numbers are always on the rise and 40% of past students are returning for more lessons.
We have 13 years of experience as a school and over those years we have been able to create our own methodology.
It focuses on two types of programs - small group classes and intensive one-on-one instruction. Keats School adapts different teaching methods for different students, to make the Mandarin language suitable and achievable for everyone.
Within the one-on-one program, we use different methods in terms of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Our use of flashcards, which is a bit of a company secret, is one of our best tools to help students with their Mandarin language fluency.
Having a good mentality
Once you’ve decided that the best way to learn Mandarin is to study at a Mandarin language school, and you’ve picked Keats as that school, it’s time to prep your mind.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time worrying about whether you will ever become fluent in Mandarin, that is time that could be spent learning the language. Also, having that mindset will hinder your Mandarin language courses because you’ll already feel like it’s too hard to accomplish.
Finding Chinese confidence is half the battle, but once you realize that the best and only way to learn Chinese is to spend a lot of time studying the language, it will slowly become easier for you. You’re going to need to put in the time, believe you will become fluent and enjoy the process.
We don’t expect you to become fluent overnight. That’s impossible. What we expect is for you to enjoy your time studying Chinese in China and spending the time studying your course work.
Teachers are here for you every step of the way and are always willing to help you get unstuck.
Before you leave
Before you leave your home country, try to learn some basic Chinese. This will help you when you’re navigating through the airport, trying to get a taxi or ordering your favourite hot drink at a cafe.
Even if you only know how to say “你好，谢谢，再见” ("hello," " thank you," "goodbye") it shows that you’re making an effort with Mandarin and aren’t expecting everything to be in English.
Apply to Keats School
We hope this blog post helped you learn that living abroad in China is the best way to learn Mandarin. Every student at Keats is passionate about studying the language, which we hope you are too.
No matter the level you’re at in the Mandarin language, you can always find someone who you can speak Mandarin with. Plus, soon after starting your course at Keats School, you’ll gain more fluency.
To learn more about the eight different courses we offer, check out our in-depth descriptions of each course. Once you decide on your course, you can start your Keats School application online, here.