I don't think I'll use this much, but since I'm here:
I got into Chinese largely because they had it at my university. I wanted to take a language again and was looking for something very foreign, something that would have a great deal of cultural background, because culture (through myths and folklore) was really my childhood playground.
Little did I know that this would turn into the class I invested the most effort into, and that I'd wind up wanting to keep on with it beyond schoolwork. I'm a complete dilettante - I do not work as hard as I could, or should, because I have at any given moment about ten thousand other hobbies I'd like to pursue - but I've begun learning faster and faster since it became a class in addition to a pleasurable pastime. I've been trying to watch movies (well, more accurately, listen to movies while doing artwork) in Mandarin with Chinese subtitles to force comprehension of sentence structure, meaning that I need to learn in some cases what terms are archaic speech - I like historical film x.x
In any case, I owe a great deal to my teachers - they've been fantastic. I've only really been studying for eight or nine months, but I feel like I'm finally getting a foothold; it takes a very long time to hear the music of a language (let alone when the music includes its own tones) and I've finally reached the point where I can pick up vocabulary and sometimes piece it into place. And that feels promising.
So that brings me here - a considerable milestone in my learning was actually caving to my desire to buy an mp3 player, which has done much for both my listening skills and my boredom when working with my hands, such as in art. ChinesePod is hands-down the best learning tool I've found, with the BBC China reports looming as a potentially useful bit of media on the distant horizon, when I've become more fluent; if one can acquire movies in Mandarin (or even Mandarin-dubbing, which isn't as cool but supplies a useful listening experience) paired with subtitles in traditional or simplified Chinese, these too can offer a lot of out-of-the-classroom practice time and often be entertaining as well.
I'd like to be more or less fluent and have learned more of the history and the culture upon my graduation, as well as having acquired potentially useful business skills and an education background in something I have a passion for. I'd also be nice to have travelled to China and gotten a certain level of immersion experience, and the comfort level in speaking that tends to come with that.
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