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Summer in China! Learning while having fun!
Summer Experience 2012
Laura (20) and Mª Luisa (16) Alcocer, from Spain, have come to Mandarin House Shanghai School to spend six weeks of their summer vacation learning Chinese. "After taking the exams back home I thought it might be too much to come to China and continue learning, but I found that it is totally fun," Laura says.
She is studying medicine back in Spain, and as her sister, she s fluent in 4 languages. They both came to China in 2008 and again in April 2012 to travel around the country, when they decided to come back to study at Mandarin House.
"For me Chinese is a challenge. It is so different from any other languages! It really motivates me and opens my mind in many ways," Laura continues.
They agree that more and more people are coming to China to learn Chinese, and are surprised to find that many European people in Shanghai. "We started Chinese lessons back at home with a private teacher last October, and as we began we decided that if we wanted to improve the language we had to come to China to practice. I think lots of people are in the same situation, but we weren't aware of this trend," explains Mª Luisa.
Both sisters agree that they won't use Chinese at a professional level, but they think it is important to know at least some basic skills to show respect in front of Chinese people while doing business. "We may speak English at a meeting, but during the dinner it is a plus if you can communicate in Chinese with your colleagues or partners, I think they will respect you more," declares Mª Luisa.
"Actually, when you speak some Chinese at a restaurant, fake market or simply on the street, they sympathize much more with you and are more open. I think this is the way to create cultural bridges," Laura says.
Laura will go back to Spain to continue her medicine studies, but she might come back to learn more about traditional medicine. Mª Luisa will finish school next year and will enroll in a university in the USA. Who knows how will they use their Chinese?
"We recommend this experience to everyone. It is not study for need, it is study for fun!," they conclude.