It’s Laura again, and this is my last blog about my China Homestay experience : How my host family helped me learn mandarin, enjoy!
When you arrive to China, at first you may feel kind of disoriented. Most Chinese people only speak the Mandarin language and don’t even have a basic understanding of English. Whether you go to the bank, to the supermarket or to the restaurant, the result is the same. You feel completely misunderstood. You really have to be resourceful to find the things you need or the places you have to go to (this improved my body language). If you want a special Chinese dish but you don’t know the name of it and there isn’t any picture of it, you will just give up because you know that they won’t understand you. It can sometimes be really frustrating.
Overcoming the fear of Learning Mandarin language with my Chinese family
Living with a Chinese family can be really helpful. They can teach you some words in order to help you in many challenging situations. They are like your own family always there to help and you can ask them a lot of things not only for help, language but about Chinese life itself. When I arrived here in Qingdao, I didn’t even know how to pronounce my address to the taxi driver. So, one day, the mum decided to write on a paper all of my “important addresses” so I would never get lost. This a small example of the small things your Chinese family would be happy to do for you (which I can tell you goes a long way!). Living with a Chinese family will allow you to hear a lot of mandarin every day, to live and be surrounded by it. You will start to memorize some of them and will have the possibility to ask your Chinese family what they mean, how they express themselves and explore the very mind behind the mandarin language. With time, you will be able to count, to say what you would like to eat, to understand when it’s time to eat or small words here and there (and this is just me without attending class). I’m sure it would be really useful to live in a Homestay if you are taking a Mandarin language course.
Personally I am 100% sure that the Homestay combined with a Chinese classes is the best way of learning mandarin language fast and effective.
Here are pictures of me and my schoolmates from the language course.