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New Concept Mandarin: Learning Experience Sharing From Our Student

6 Questions Answered by our Student – An Interview with Enrique

(Enrique, a Spanish native, is the managing director of a big international bank answered 6 questions raised by a Spanish organization from Barcelona. For privacy purpose we do not publish his full name and company name here.)

As a business executive, why do you want to learn Mandarin in Hong Kong?

China is the second largest economy in the world, and so from a business perspective it is quite important to understand what is going on in the country.

Whether a person is actively doing business in China, or just visiting to discover new trends and new technologies, having an understanding of the language, even if not being 100% fluent, is a huge advantage vs people that rely 100% on English or translators for communication. It allows you to understand the local thinking better, build closer connections, and have more fun.

How long did you take the course?

I did around 128 hours. My initial goal was to get a basic understanding, to slowly build from there. I did one-on-one classes, I managed a pace of around 4h a week. Depending on each person's objectives, and time availability, you can do more than this.

Why did you choose New Concept Mandarin?

I visited 3 different Chinese course centers in HK for a test lesson, and I liked NCM the most. The materials were well structured, the course goals clear, the team looked professional. A friend had also done a starter course at NCM and was happy with the experience.

How do you like learning Chinese with New concept Mandarin? 

I enjoyed it. We went through the first two full books, as well as all the other adjacent materials and exercises. Since these were one to one classes, I chose my own pace. Some days I just had a Q&A session with my teacher Freya. She is very good, very patient, and takes the job of teaching seriously (many times in the next lesson she would bring along some examples of things we discussed in the prior class, to make sure all is clear).

What are the challenges for Spanish people to learn Chinese?

There are common challenges that will apply to every foreigner, the characters, the grammar, etc. But, in addition, for Spanish speakers, the main one, in my opinion, is phonetics. Phonetically, Spanish language is very simple, there are not that many sounds, not many subtleties. Given the importance of tones and pronunciation (ch vs zh, x vs s, c vs z) in Chinese, this can be a challenge for Spanish speakers (or at least for me, as my ears are not trained to catch those levels of subtleties). There are talented Spanish people that will not have this problem of course.

Will you recommend us (in Spanish) to business people in Spain?

Si. Recomiendo New Concept Mandarin para aprender a hablar Chino, tanto básico como de negocios. He hecho dos cursos con ellos, de nivel básico a nivel medio, y me han ayudado bastante a manejar el idioma. Los libros que usan están bien organizados, los profesores están bien entrenados, mi experiencia ha sido buena. Es importante tener los objetivos claros desde el principio, ya que aprender Chino requiere esfuerzo, y mantenerlo también.

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