Why Study Mandarin? 02/12/11
Why is it that increasing numbers of people want to learn Mandarin Chinese? Well, let’s look at the numbers to begin with. China has the world’s largest population – 1.3 ...
Why is it that increasing numbers of people want to learn Mandarin Chinese? Well, let’s look at the numbers to begin with. China has the world’s largest population – 1.3 billion, and is the world’s most spoken language (pushing English to second place). Ok, so you may have heard it’s hard to learn; a writing system totally different to that of alphanumeric languages, over fifty dialects in a country the size of Europe, and a tonal system that catches even the most diligent of students unawares (I remember one time in a supermarket when I asked for a vegetable peeler, got the tone wrong, and was handed a tiny packed of dried shrimps). But if over one billion people can speak it, then so can you! In actual fact, if you choose to learn Mandarin Chinese, you’re unlocking the door to a whole range of possibilities. China’s economy is the second largest in the world, growing at a rate of over 10% per year, and whilst job markets in the West are being squeezed by recession, the opportunities open to you in China just keep increasing.
If you’re willing to learn Mandarin Chinese, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to really get under the skin of a fascinating culture and understand what makes China tick. Moreover, it’s just plain fun. The more you learn, the more fascinating it all becomes. For example, let’s take the simplest of characters; 好, which means ‘good’. It’s composed of the character for woman next to the character for child, because in ancient China, having children was seen as a good thing. That’s the same thing with the character for house, 家; the character for a pig under a roof! So if you learn Mandarin Chinese, your understanding of culture both modern and ancient will improve no end.
But moving away from the cultural aspects, and back to the figures; as the world’s fastest growing economy, China is destined for greatness, and those who can speak it will no doubt benefit from this. Go Abroad China not only offers the chance to study in nine different cities in China, but also gives you the chance to work as an intern in some of the leading companies in China, including Hewlett Packard, Bank of China, and Mercedes Benz. This not only gives you an opportunity to practice your Chinese in a professional context, but also provides you with concrete experience in some of China’s (and the world’s) leading companies. There’s never been a better time to learn Mandarin Chinese!