- U.S. couple enjoy learning Chinese
2010-06-02 08:37 Shenzhen Daily - http://paper.sznews.com/szdaily/20100602/ca2932261.htm
THE Chinese language can be a big challenge for many, but American couple Andre J. Simpson and Denise Meagles have found learning Chinese a pleasure. They each have different reasons for studying the language but both love their Chinese-language classes.
Denise recalls her frustration after arriving in Shenzhen three years ago.
"When I first came here, I couldn't manage basic tasks in daily life because I could not speak Chinese. I couldn't even take a taxi," said Denise.
In an effort to "survive," she started learning Chinese by signing up for a survival course at New Concept Mandarin in Shekou.
"When I first contacted Miss Becky Fu, the senior instructor and manager, to discuss taking Chinese lessons, my initial motivation to study Chinese was just survival. But since then I have learned a great deal about the culture through idioms and phrases that are tied to the everyday life of Chinese people," she said.
Recently she has focused on studying business Chinese, which she says has really paid off.
"The Professional Business Chinese class has been extremely helpful. I recently went on a factory tour with Chinese colleagues when I suddenly found I could understand everything they were saying. At that moment, I felt a real sense of achievement," she said.
"Learning Chinese is about more than just survival now, I am able to use Microsoft Office in Chinese and even watch Chinese news at home."
"Our Chinese teachers are incredible and they not only teach the language skills but also explain the background to each word, which makes it easy for us to grasp," Denise said.
"At a recent business meeting in Shanghai, all the material was presented in Chinese. I was so excited because I could understand all of it," she said.
Her enthusiasm for learning Chinese is shared by her husband, Simpson, who arrived in the city two years ago and runs his own business.
Simpson found studying Chinese very difficult as it was the first time he had formally studied a foreign language.
"Memorizing Chinese characters was a big challenge for me and at the beginning I couldn’t understand a word," he said.
Simpson took a break after the first round of classes to absorb what he had learned. He later returned to New Concept Mandarin because being unable to communicate with Chinese people had become frustrating.
It proved to be the right decision and he gradually felt a kinship to the language.
"Becky has restored my confidence in the value of a formal Chinese-language program in a classroom setting, rather than studying on my own. Becky makes the class fun while keeping me focused on learning the essentials of the language. I am making a lot of progress in a shorter period of time now," he said.
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