I started learning Chinese back in college when I was able to finally fit it into my schedule. I took two semesters before I left for Hong Kong to study abroad (Back story: I had wanted to study in Mainland China but my school had no program there so the closest place was HK). In Hong Kong I couldn’t really use my Mandarin, since they prefer Cantonese.
Back when I was learning Chinese, I was obsessed! I can confidently say I was the best in the class because I was always learning more by listening to Mandarin podcasts, watching videos, and talking to my Chinese friends at school. I would also text in Chinese when I could and used QQ with random Chinese people to help their English while I practiced Chinese.
Once I went abroad, I stopped studying. I wish there had been a program in Mainland China because I feel like I would have continued. I traveled to China and was able to use it a bit, but my travel partner was Chinese so he did most of the talking especially in the rural areas.
Now I am considering getting back into learning. I have the Anki flashcard app on my phone from forever ago full of decks of Chinese flashcards for words and sentences. This app is awesome! The decks I have include English, pinyin, characters, and pronunciation. I’ve been getting back into doing those when I’m just sitting around, rather than playing a game or browsing Reddit. I also have some Chinese language podcasts like Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk and Popup Chinese. I’m always listening to podcasts so having these on my phone is another way to get in some words and phrases.
I don’t plan to be fluent anytime soon. I am just studying to workout my brain and give myself something to work on besides actual work. I’ve found that besides work, I don’t do much. I will workout and watch tv, walk the dog, and hang out with my girlfriend. But none of those activities are mentally stimulating. I read a lot of articles on my phone, but that’s just reading, I don’t feel that it works my brain much.
Maybe I should set a goal to take the HSK test. I was going to take it when I studied abroad but didn’t want to pay the fee. I know I’d breeze through the HSK 1 with a little refreshing.
Yep, so that’s it! We’ll see how long this lasts :p