A lot of people are working from home with more free time than they expected, or stuck at home and trying to find a way to turn that extra time into something productive. Many have turned to education as a means of self improvement, especially language education. If you're trying to learn a new language from home for the first time, you may find yourself hitting plateaus or even struggling to get started at all. Here are some things for how to make learning Chinese more fun and engaging.
Now is the perfect time to try online learning. With the world more connected than ever and millions of people looking for easy work from home solutions, there are tons of companies offering one on one video tutoring in the language of your choice. For everything from Spanish to Chinese, you can now take classes online and practice conversing with a native speaker. So even if you can't get out and meet your friends and family in this time of social distancing, you can still get out and meet new people while you are stuck at home.
Travel Without Leaving Home
One of the most common reasons for wanting to learn Chinese is so you can travel there one day. While it's possible that "one day" just got a lot further away, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of the benefits of travel now. Studying a language reveals a great deal about the culture of a place. If you study the language, you will learn something about the people. Even if you never get the chance to visit in person, your horizons will be broadened right now, but if you do finally get the chance to visit, you will have a deeper and more thorough appreciation for the place and its culture.
You're probably already watching a lot of TV, so why not make that time a little more productive by watching something in Chinese? Foreign language television and movies are a great way to practice your language skills and it's entertaining all at the same time. You can even get practice gradually by watching first with English captions, then gradually weaning yourself off those subtitles until you're at a point where you can use either the foreign language subtitles or even no subtitles at all.
Some popular movies for learning Chinese are Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is spelled like 卧虎藏龙 and is pronounced Wò hǔ cáng lóng. Another popular movie is Beijing Bicycle, which is spelled 十七岁的单车 and pronounced Shíqīsuì de dānchē.
Get the Family Involved
When you first start out learning a language, adult TV and movies will probably be a little advanced and difficult to understand. Luckily there's a whole range of programs designed to help people learn Chinese, some of which are children's programs like the hit kids show Ni Hao Kai-Lan. If you have kids, this is a perfect opportunity to learn a language with your child and get the whole family involved. It's not only a way to keep your child engaged and learning outside of school, it's also a great way to give them a head start and teach them skills that will serve them well later in life.
When you need a quiet moment to yourself, there's no better activity than reading. Classic literature exists in every language, and if you're looking for a way to improve your understanding of a new language, learn about the culture and keep yourself entertained all at the same time, reading a book is the perfect place to start. Reading in Chinese is something you can practice on your own, and it's an incredibly rewarding experience. A great book to read to learn Chinese is, The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh (Tuttle Classics).
Learning a new language is rewarding both personally and often professionally. It's a great way to keep your mind active and nimble, and it's a great thing to be able to put on your resume for the future. Why not take steps to improve yourself by learning a new language or even brushing up on old language skills that you haven't worked on in a while?