In the MIM program everyone is required to take one of two language classes for four terms, either Japanese or Chinese. If you are a native speaker of one of these languages then you are required to take the “other” language. If you are not a native speaker but have some previous experience with the language and/or have previously studied Japanese or Chinese, you will be asked to take a placement test prior to the start of fall term and placed in an appropriate level.
I have chosen to go with Mandarin as I have always wanted to learn this language. I had a little bit of prior exposure to the language with a four-week intensive language study program at the University of Hawai’i Manoa in a special summer program for high school kids. We studied Mandarin for four hours a day, five days a week for four weeks. Following four weeks of Chinese language study a group of us traveled to China for two weeks.
After hearing from previous cohorts how rigorous the Chinese language classes are in the MIM program, I chose to do a little independent study at Effective Chinese, in Portland, Oregon, where I took night classes once a week over two terms. This was one of the best things I have done to prepare for MIM Chinese language class as Eric Grimm, the Director of Effective Chinese, and Dannie, a Chinese native instructor, did a wonderful job providing me with a foundation upon which to build. What is very nice about their classes is that they explain things from the perspective of an American/Western student trying to learn an Asian language as Eric himself has been learning and studying Chinese for about seven years now and has been teaching the language for approximately two years.
So what can you expect to cover in the fast-paced MIM Chinese classes? By the time you leave for the Asia Trip in March, you will be able to complete an assignment that requires interviewing local Chinese people on the trip by asking them (at the minimum) the 50 questions on an interview sheet. You will have studied Chinese for approximately five months in the MIM program at that point. By the time you have reached nine months into the program you will be learning to read, write and type hanzi (Chinese characters). This is where our class is now. Although reading and writing hanzi can be a challenge for some people, typing it can be quite fun! And yes, you must recognize the correct character in order to type hanzi — there is no way around not being able to at least read a little bit of it.
I am including some samples of our Chinese homework here for your viewing pleasure!
Future blogs will include coverage of the LanSu Chinese Garden Gala event tomorrow night, MIM Alumni interviews with Jack Chiu a Project Manager at LG International, and Bill Mikesell a Supply Chain Analyst with adidas. I also hope to have our other Student Ambassador write a blog about MIM’s Japanese class as she chose to study Japanese language instead of Chinese. It will be good for future students to compare the two, I think! Thanks for following MIM’s blog!