Sunday, September 7, 2008

Studying Mandarin Q&A

I have been getting a lot of emails lately from people asking me different things related to studying Mandarin in China. In the beginning I answered to all of those emails but since a lot of people have similar questions I figured I could just do a "Studying Mandarin Q&A" post. If anyone has additional questions, please email them or post them in the comment field. Oh, and one more thing. Obviously my answers are based on my personal experience, meaning, there might be other ways to do things.

1. Is it hard to secure a spot at a Chinese University?

No. If you send your application and pay the registration fee in time I don't think it should be any problem to get in. Studying Mandarin in Shanghai is becoming more and more popular for every year however, so obviously it is good to apply early, and maybe follow up your application with one (or two, three, four? -don't expect to get the right person the first time u call) phone call. The spring semester is normally Feb-Jul, and the fall semester is normally Sep-Jan (out of the 3 unis I have studied at, Jiaotong, Shanghai Uni and Suzhou Uni, only Jiaotong has had a one-week Xmas break).

2. How much does it cost to study for one semester?

It depends where u study. In Shanghai I paid between 9000-10,000 rmb for one semester. This includes books, visa, registration fee and medical check.
In Suzhou it's cheaper, around 8000 rmb including books but not visa. I bet it is cheaper at other universities in other cities. It might be worth researching.

3. What about visa?

Visa is a tricky question to answer, because the application process is apparently a bit different depending where you come from, and especially, what visa you apply for. Also, the rules keeps changing so I don't want to say too much -as I might be wrong!! When it comes to the length of your STUDENT visa, however, that is decided on how long you plan to study. If you pay for 2 semesters -you'll get a one year student visa. If you pay for one semester, your visa will be for one semester. It is not hard to extend your visa when you are in China though -as long as you have a reason to be here.

The payment and the visa issue happens IN China. When you first apply for your student visa (via the Chinese embassy in your country) you will get a temporary (one month I believe) visa that you can enter China with. You have to change into a residence permit once u get to China. This is not hard in any way: some universities help with it, so just go straight to your uni and ask them what you need to do.

4. What about changing a student visa to a working visa?

It shouldn't be any problems. Once you get a job your employer should sponsor you with a working visa and they should also take care of the (somewhat tricky and long) visa process. Ask your employer about this straight away when you get a job.

5. How much Mandarin will I know after one semester?

This is obviously completely personal -it depends how much work you're willing to put in. Studying Mandrin is not easy in any way, it's nothing for the lazy bum as it requires a lot of home studies, especially if you want to master the characters. In one semester, however, I'd say you learned the basics of Mandarin, and a lot of useful phrases that you can use in your every day life. You won't be able to have deeper conversations in Mandarin however, unless you are some super smart genius.. (well at least I don't know anyone who has managed this but nothing is impossible, right?).

OK, these are the most common questions that I can think of now.. but like I said, if there's something else, feel free to ask and I will update this post.


Geoff said...

Thanks for the information. very informative.


Unknown said...

if fact ,if you can learn pin yin in your country,then you can learn chinese by internet,there is a lots of chinese friends will help you ,of couse ,they need you teach them english too.

Unknown said...

thanks jonna, once agin an excellent job, ttya

Unknown said...

thanks Jonna, excellent info there,ttya

Chris Kummelstedt said...

Thanks Jonna,

Having researched the idea of doing what you are doing now I am really impressed by your lifestyle (and quite envious too).

Could I please ask about how you came into contact with the places you have been studying? A lot of websites seem like the standard "just for tourists" 5 weeks at ridiculous rates. Can you recommend a better specific source for people that want to focus on learning the language within a intensive time frame?

Thanks again for the work you put in on your blogg, it is a really interesting read.


Chris xx