08/30/18

Chinese courses in Guangzhou – Expat Chinese Autumn 2018

Chinese courses in Guangzhou

 

Autumn 2018 is here! This time of the year is always very exciting time at my Chinese language center, Expat Chinese. Meeting new students again after Summer holidays and making new friends with our new comers. New courses are starting and all of our teachers are eager to get the Autumn rolling.

When I started teaching Chinese back in 2014, and even when I officially started Expat Chinese in January 2017, I would never have known that it would grow to be such an excellent Chinese learning center as it is now. And this is just the beginning! Expat Chinese is definitely my dream come true.

Our Autumn semester starts next week and some of our courses still have spots available. Please see the picture above for more details.

06/21/18

My first online course! Survival Chinese 101 is launching

 

Exciting news! I am publishing my very first online course 1st of July and it’s alrady accessible as a beta course right now. You can find my course at: expatchinese.teachable.com/p/survival-chinese-101

 

Who is this course for?

Survival Chinese 101 -course is for everyone who want’s to learn just enough Chinese to survive their holiday, business trip or their first weeks in China. Nothing extra, nothing too difficult, just the basics you need when communicating with the locals.

This is a course for zero beginners who want to try learning Chinese and dip their toes in the water. Have you ever thought about learning Mandarin? If yes, this course is the perfect start.

 

 

How do I study this course?

Each lecture has a video lesson to follow, quiz, PDF exercises you can print out and a comments sections where you can ask all your questions and connect with yout fellow classmates.

Survival Chinese 101 -course can be studied at your own phase, whenever or whereever you want.

 

Why to join now?

The course is open for beta testers at a reduced price of 99USD. As a beta tester you get to start the course right away, get free coaching from me and get to give feedback that will affect how the end product will look like. Help me in creating a course that fits your needs!

 

Full course launching July 1st!

Find out more at Survival Chinese 101 and check our the preview video of the course!

12/4/17

A 2-year-old learning Chinese and Finnish

When our daughter started speaking she spoke mostly Cantonese as she was home with a nanny a lot. But now Mandarin had completely replaced it and Finnish is a good second.

At home I speak Finnish with Anna and my husband speaks Mandarin. She goes to daycare where she hears both Mandarin and Japanese. Cantonese she hears once a week at the grand parents house and English occasionally when we meet friends.

Anna has now clearly entered a phase of rapid language learning. She is starting to form sentences like 佩奇睡觉 Peppa is sleeping and 佩奇哪里啊 Where is Peppa. Yes, Peppa Pig is hugely popular at our household.

In Finnish she isn’t forming sentences yet, but knows a lot of words. Some words she only uses Finnish, some she knows in Mandarin as well. Anna calls me mama (mother) in Chinese and only just today said äiti (mother in Finnish) after I told her to use that term. Not sure when she will change to äiti for real.

Anna doesn’t separate the languages yet in a sense that she would speak only Finnish to me or only Chinese to daddy. Of course she knows I understand Chinese too. And my husband have learned some Finnish from Anna as well!

Right now Anna is big on giving orders: syö (eat in Finnish), 坐 (sit in Chinese) just to name two. She had strong opinions and preferences as well.

Anna likes to look at pictures and say the names of items and animals, if she doesn’t know it she will ask us. She likes repeating what we say and is learning new words almost daily.

We feel Anna had a bit of foreign accent in both her Mandarin and Finnish, but it’s a first time for us so don’t know if that happens with all kids.

At the daycare Anna is very quiet, just saying 要 want and 不要 don’t want. Typical introverted Finnish! But at home she speaks nonstop, most of it we don’t yet understand.

I feel this is going to be super interesting this coming year to see how Anna’s languages improve. Can’t wait to communicate more with her!

08/10/17

So how easy is it for foreigners to study in China?

Sun Yat-Sen University North Gate

Recently Lena from Lenaaround shared an interesting article on Facebook: White Privilege as a Western Student in China. The article shares the experiences of foreign students and what privileges they felt they got during their studies, just because they were foreigners.

I’ve done my university education in China first as an exchange student, then as a bachelor and master’s degree student. Did I get privileges as a white foreigner?

As an exchange student

Back in 2009-2010 it was easy to come to Guangzhou as an exchange student. My university in Finland had cooperation with Guangzhou University, but no one wanted to come. Officially you could stay for 1 semester with free tuition (pay for accommodation and living expenses), but I managed to stay for 3 semesters because no one else wanted to come.

Because Guangzhou and Tampere (city in Finland where I studied) are friendship cities, everyone coming from Tampere got a big scholarship each year. I don’t remember how much it was, but it must have been at least a few hundred euros.

As a language exchange student all of my classes were with other foreign students and the teachers did check our attendance. In the end eveyone did pass their exams one way or the other. But it’s quite relaxed for non-degree students no matter which university.

As a bachelor degree student

Back in 2011 I got into Sun Yat-Sen University and their bachelor degree for foreigners simply by applying and paying the tuition. There were no scholarship for the BA available. I have heard that they are making it a bit harder to get in these days, because they are losing reputation as as the 10th best university in China if they let any foreinger in.

Again I was studying with other foreigners only and our attendance was strictly monitored. But just getting in to Sun Yat-Sen University so easily can be seen as white privilege as it’s very difficult for Chinese nationals to get in through the official exams.

As a master’s degree student

Again it’s easier for foreigners to apply and Confucius Institute offers good scholarship espeically for my degree, Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. They want to educate more foreigners to teach Chinese.

Getting in definitely took more effort than for the BA. I had a HSK6 already so that wasn’t a problem. Then I needed recommendation letters from my professors. As I was a good student during my BA, the teachers had a good impression of me so they were very helpful in getting me in for the MA degree. The final confirmation came from the Confucius Institute and I received a full scholarship that included free tuition, free dormitory (which I didn’t take) and monthly pocket money (first 1700rmb and later 3000rmb per month.)

This time I was studying both with foreign and Chinese students. Compared to my Chinese classmates, I definitely got in easier and I received a big scholarship which made it sometimes a bit embarrassing to mention to my classmates.

During our courses I didn’t feel that it was easier for me to pass them as a foreigner, I was a good hard working student in any case. I know other foreign classmates failed some of their exams and had to take them again, the teachers didn’t let them pass based on the color of their skin.

Outside the campus

In the original article they mention other privileges outside the campus like free entrance and drinks for clubs. It is true that as a white foreigner in China, I do have some things easier here, but that is for another blog post. Stay tuned for more!

08/1/17

First day at Japanese Daycare in Guangzhou

Today was our daughter’s first day at daycare in Guangzhou, a big day for all of us. The past year she has been at home with a full time nanny, but now it was time to join the kindergarten.

Why Japanese daycare then? In Guangzhou, perhaps China in general, finding a good daycare isn’t easy. First of all you need to consider if it’s safe, unfortunately violent punishments  might still happen in some daycares. On the other spectrum there are paradise like kindergartens that cost 1000 euros per month!

For us this daycare combines safe environment, nice teachers, good location and in our budget. We also had a strong recommendation from a friend of mine. 

We dropped Anna off around 8am (which requires us to get up at 6.30am). She cried when we left but soon stopped. For newcomers they appoint a designated teacher that takes care of him or her. Anna was in a close distance with her teacher the whole day, often in her arms. 

During the day we got 5 short video clips from the teacher to assure us Anna is doing okay and safe. To make us nervous parents to feel a bit better.

Unfortunately Anna wasn’t comfortable enough to nap there so she was very tired when I picked her up at 5pm. She fell asleep in the car on the way home.

At the daycare each child had a notebook where teachers will write what happened that day. It’s in Japanese, but luckily my husband is fluent in the language. (The teachers do speak Chinese too.) They also record body temperature, food eaten, bathroom visits and nap time. I believe Finland has a similar habit in the kindergartens though not necessarily recording so many details.

The teachers send daily video clips to the parents so moms and dads know what happens in the daycare. That’s especially important as our daughter can’t yet explain or tell us her self. I like to go over the day during or after dinner with her.

First day was quite nervous was us all, but we are still happy with our choice and think Anna will enjoy the daycare soon.