Learning Chinese at Sun Yat-Sem

This year i was involved in the Sun Yat-Sen University Summer Program which was a 3 week short course in Guangzhou, China. My reasons for wanting to get involved was to help motivate me to improve my current level of Chinese as i am of Chinese Cambodian
background but do not speak mandarin. During the program i would be learning the Chinese language as well as understanding China politics and culture.

I was well looked after during the program, with the organisers facilitating my pick up and return from the airport. City tours and other field trips were organised to help us experience their culture and rich history. I found this very interesting, especially to see the difference between the old historical parts and the new modern areas. China has advanced a lot over the past few years and this trend is expected to continue.

I’ve made such wonderful friends from all around the world during this program. These students were from Guangzhou, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan. They were all proficient in Chinese as well as English so i was able to learn a lot from them and it made
me realise the importance of learning Chinese.

The main challenges that i faced would probably be the language barrier. I am not a proficient mandarin or Cantonese speaker so when i got there i only went to areas which I thought people might be able to understand more English. I was very shy to use the little
Chinese skills that i knew as i was not confident and scared to be laughed at. However, as the program went on , I grew more confidence by asking and speaking to my Chinese friends and would feel great satisfaction if the locals were able to understand my Chinese at the shops. As a result of the program, i have bought many chinese language learning books in China which i brought back home with the intention of continuing my studies. I would like to bring my Chinese up to a high enough level that i would be able to go back and travel throughout other parts of China.

By Cindy Ly

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