你好！Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long since I have posted but it has been crazy with finals, break, and the start of a new semester. A lot of what has made life crazy for me has been learning Chinese. As a Global Security and Intelligence (GSIS) student, I am required to take four semesters of a language. Riddle offers four different languages; Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and Spanish. I chose Mandarin, the reason for this is because I have always been interested in China and the US interest that are there so for me it was an easy choice!.
I started Mandarin this past fall on the regular track; the regular track is four semester of one class each semester at 3 credits. We have a fast track, which are 6 credits of language a semester then other Chinese classes on top of that. I opted for the regular track because as a freshman, I was not willing to commit my life to Chinese, it felt kind of like a marriage, and I was not ready for it. The regular Mandarin tracks Professor is Professor Chen, she is absolutely wonderful. She makes tackling this difficult language manageable and fun. Just this past week at our first class of the semester she said she had three questions we needed to answer, she said the questions in Chinese and waited for a response. For a particularly uncomfortable five minutes, my ten-person class just looked at each other and at her. She finally broke the silence with a laugh, said, “it has been a long break I see”, and helped us dissect what she had said. Although those five minutes (honestly it was most likely way shorter than that is just felt like five minutes) were uncomfortable she still made the class fun and helped us to feel more comfortable and able to make mistakes.
For me a typical day in Mandarin includes…
- Going through chapter dialogue
- Listening practice (work book or the chapter dialogue)
- Speaking practice (vocab, workbook, really anything)
- Sometimes writing practice
This is one of the most interactive classes I have ever been part of. The environment fostered in the classroom makes it okay to make mistakes and learn from others. We do a lot of speaking and listening in class to work on pronunciation, while the writing and character work is done mostly at home and turned in as homework. We learn around 50 words every three weeks with around a quiz a week and daily homework, but it helps. This is one of those classes that will teach you how to study but I can almost guarantee it will make you a better student, it surely has for me. Although the workload can sometimes feel like a lot, I have learned so much in just a semester and am looking forward to continuing. So if you are a GSIS student (or soon to be) don’t shy away from Mandarin, it is hard but the work is worth it.