06/12/12

Why to use the new Skritter app?

Skritter for iPadVideo of the app is uploading as we speak

Skritter app was launched today and there will be a lot of blog posts, tweets and status updates about the app. But why should you consider using the app yourself?

I started using the app in my iPad in the beginning of May and now it’s the time to see what use Skritter app have been for me. I’ve always thought that the website version is great, but the app is even better! Lets take a look at my learning stats. It’s easy to notice at what point I started using the app.

Skritter statsI have a table to go with my computer that allows me to use electronic pen to write, but for a lazy student like me, it felt like a huge task to get the tablet and pen ready to use. Skritter app have solved this problem as it’s very easy to just grab the iPad and start learning!

The best part is that you can use the app offline. I often take my iPad to the university and practice while waiting classes to begin or during my lunch break. At home I can lay on the couch and Skritter away! With an iPhone or iPod studying would be even easier while on the bus for example.

How much does Skritter app cost?

The first week is free so you can try the app out. After that it’s 9.99USD per month or even as low as 4.99USD per month if you buy a longer subscription. If your subscription runs out, you can still review for free. Only when you want to add new words you have to pay again!

Why would you like to use Skritter app?

  • Skritter makes managing you vocabulary much easier, it tells you what to study and when
  • With your iPhone, iPod or iPad you can take Skritter app everywhere with you, study offline in the bus, at school, during lunch break…
  • Writing with you finger or stylus is real writing and helps with your hand writing
  • With the app learning is like playing a game and you will always learn more when you feel it’s fun!
  • It works great both for full-time students of Chinese and expats who want to learn a few words while they live in China
  • The app is easy and fast to use

These are my reasons to choose Skritter and their app. Why not try the app for free for a week and see if you like it too?

Note! This blog post includes affiliate links. If you register to Skritter on their website through these links, I will get a small commission. I would really appreciate it! You can also pay through the app itself and that way Apple gets a percentage of your purchase.

More news and reviews (and a video!) will be published at my How Can I Learn Chinese website.

06/7/12

Apartment hunting in Guangzhou – The impossible hunt for cheap and good

Renting Apartment in Guangzhou

A year ago I wrote about apartment hunting in Guangzhou and how we found our dream home. Now it’s time to move to a new home. Chinese landlords usually makes one year contracts and after that they tend to raise the rent. Our landlord wants to raise the rent 300RMB and because we don’t agree, we are looking for a new place to live.

Apartments are more expensive now than year ago. Near the north gate of Sun Yat-Sen University you can find a one bedroom one living room apartment for 2700-3000RMB. For one room studio apartment you need about 2300-2500RMB. These are of course the starting prices for decent apartments, you can find something much more expensive too if you want to.

Near the south or west gate of the Sun Yat-Sen University, you can find cheaper apartments, but they tend to be really dirty and in bad condition.

Basically finding something both cheap and good is very hard everywhere. We have seen more than ten apartments already, but still haven’t found something passable. There are four important factors in the hunt: 1. allows a cat 2. price 3. location 4. cleanliness. All the factors from 2 to 4 have an effect on each other. In order to get a cheaper rent you need to move further away and have a dirtier apartment.

Our apartment hunt is still going on and we have to find something before the 13th this month, that’s next week. Gotta hurry!

06/1/12

Becoming fluent in Chinese: May Goal Check-In

Becoming fluent in Chinese

Another month have gone by and it’s time to take a look what I did during May. Now my final exams are getting closer and I have noticed that taking 5 selective courses wasn’t really that smart of a decision. Next semester I’m not going to make the same mistake. Because of so many courses I’ve been very tired recently.

Listening

Besides sitting at classes and listening to teachers, I haven’t really done any listening. Only watched three episodes of Chinese TV. Even though listening is one of my strongest skills at the moment, I still want to keep the habit  (or more like form it again) of watching Chinese dramas, because it’s great for speaking too.

Writing

I took part in an essay competition, but didn’t write well enough to get any prizes. During this whole semester I’ve written essays at my writing course and got following grades: 86, 86, 86, 80 and 90. I’m not very happy with my scores because I would like to get more than 90 points. My weakest part is that essays are too short! (Especially that one from which I got only 80 points). I have to do my best with the last two or three essays we have.

Reading

I didn’t really do any reading in May. The novel is covered in dust by now, but I’m going to pick it up again and finish it! It’s already June and after this novel I still have four books to read this year according to my goal.

Skritter

This is the only succesful part this month. I used Skritter for 20 days, average 13 minutes per day, total of 7.3 hours. I have to do a lot more skrittering during these following two weeks so I’m ready for my finals! There are about 50 words per chapter in my Comprehensive course book and it’s a lot of work to learn them.

Speaking

Didn’t make any videos this month, but I did have a presentation at the university that lasted about 10-15 minutes. Hard to say exactly because there were a lot of discussion during it. I’ve also enjoyed talking with a classmate of mine (but on a different group) who is ethnic Chinese with a Japanese passport and has a perfect accent.