My experience of learning Chinese in Shanghai

I remember my first experience of connection to Chinese culture back in Dresden. On Sunday, our family often went to the palace surrounded by a beautiful park, which is now open to the public.
At that time, we have been amazed by the buildings of this magical palace and beautiful Chinese porcelain this magical palace buildings and palaces ornate with Chinese porcelain. My husband and I had a lot of opportunities to visit China after that. Needless to say, We have been to the Great Wall in Beijing, enjoyed the modern beauty of the National Opera Theatre, Took a several-day trip along the Yangtse River, visited the marvelous terracotta Army in Xi’an, immersed in the atmosphere of the Old City in Shanghai, the tremendous Wuhan ancient culture has left a deep impression on both of us. Moreover, the most impressive part of China is Chinese people. I often think back and remember the hard-working Chinese students who devoted a lot of time to learn more about the German culture.
This is how I started my Chinese studying. I seized the opportunity to get my Mandarin course in the Mandarin Spring learning center, and got taken by the excitement to take my first step with the Mandarin learning. In Mandarin Spring Language Training Center, teachers helped us to learn more about this complicated language and ancient Chinese culture. And it was very productive, because we took a first level HSK exam, and had a full preparation prior to the test, so we passed it successfully. We also had a privilege to have a wonderful studying time with the teacher, and got important basic knowledge so now I continue with my studies by myself at home and also hope that one day I will have the opportunity to take the higher level of exams with the help and support of Mandarin Spring language center.
We have classes every Wednesday and Friday morning. While we were acquiring the oral language, I found that the most difficult part was the four tones of Chinese language. This can be practiced and improved only through the constant learning, imitating their intonation, repetition, listening and oral exercises. We also had to get used to switching from pinyin to characters. Written Chinese is the easiest part or me. When I first started, I thought that the easiest part was the Chinese grammar, and I most importantly need to rely on the knowledge of vocabulary and structures. During the education process, the teacher used to different techniques to help us to acquire the different grammar points, and used the real subjects to explain the meaning of the words.
On the weekend we used to have a lot of various cultural activities in Mandarin Spring Language Center. My favorite Chinese Culture class was the one where the teacher told us about the Chinese traditional holidays and customs, I liked the Mid-term Festival and traditional Chinese stories that are connected with this wonderful holiday, my favorite one is the lady in the Moon. One day, a hero whose name was Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of them. All the people on the Earth were saved.
One day, the queen of heaven gave Hou Yi a bottle elixir that could make Hou Yi become an immortal, but the elixir was only efficacious for one person. Hou Yi did want to become an immortal, but he wanted to stay with his beautiful wife Chang'e more, so he didn't drink the elixir and asked his wife Chang'e to keep it for him.
Hou Yi was becoming more and more famous after he shot down the nine suns and more and more men wanted Hou Yi to be their master. Most of them were accepted by Hou Yi.
Not every student of Hou Yi had good morality. Feng Meng, one of his students, wanted to seize his elixir. One day, Hou Yi went hunting with his students, but Feng Meng pretended to be ill and stay at home. When making sure Hou Yi had gone he went to Hou Yi's house and tried to force Chang'e to give him the elixir. Chang'e knew she couldn't defeat Feng Meng so she drank the elixir immediately. The elixir made her become an immortal and fly higher and higher. Finally, she stopped on the moon. From then on, people often pray to Chang'e for fortune and safety. During the Mid-Autumn Festival they offer lots of foods to Chang'e.
Chinese culture is full of the beautiful and fascinating stories like this and the process of learning Mandarin is very exciting cause it is not only a tool for the international communication but it is also an opportunity and a bridge that connects you with the country’s national cultural heritage, its literature, people, their traditions and customs, their mindset and lifestyle, their habits and numerous activities. Learning Mandarin doesn’t only give you advantage in enhancing you career and developing professionally but it also develops you a lot as a person as an important part of self-improvement. It helps to adjust to the local life faster and be able to experience China as never before.
While learn Chinese in Shanghai, I got a certain knowledge about Chinese culture, traditions, life and habits of Chinese people, local cuisine etc. We cooked some Chinese meals together, and even tried singing Chinese songs, all the students were very excited by the methods that the teacher was using to keep us active and devoted to the learning process. China is no longer a distant mysterious country for me, some strange nation with unknown cultural traditions. The purpose of my Mandarin learning is to try different means to acquire the language skills and be able to understand the common daily routine of Chines people, to be able to express myself in Mandarin like in my other tongue one day, just like one of those Chinese experts. I would also expect to have some learning materials in German in the future.