Monday, August 10, 2020

Learning Mandarin Chinese for Moving Abroad

The thought of moving to a country where I don't speak the language has been a little overwhelming. I decided to self study at home and learn what I can. I have gotten my kids in on the language learning as well. Here are a few of the tools we have been using to learn Mandarin Chinese:

  1. Self Study online with Yoyo Chinese (Free to begin)
  2. Self Study book with CD: Get Talking Chinese ($11 on Amazon)
  3. Online classes for kids with Lingo Bus (Free demo class, then $13-$15 per individual classes, there are often special deals on group classes and bundles)
Yoyo Chinese Cover Photo: from Facebook.com 

Yoyo Chinese

I love things that are totally free! So the first thing I did was look for a free resource online. Yoyo Chinese has a lot of great reviews, so I started there. I watched a few videos that were included with Amazon Prime. Those videos were great! The videos explained the different tones. It was really helpful. There are free lessons through the website that are available. There are also lessons you can purchase. Here is the information directly from the YoYo Chinese website about what is free:

"We recommend you start by checking out the free lessons at the start of the Beginner Conversational Course. You’ll start speaking, understanding, and reading Chinese right away, and also experience going through the lessons, reviews, and quizzes, so you can decide if like learning Chinese with us.


The first few units of our Intermediate Conversational Course and Yoyo 300 Chinese Character Course are also available to check out for free."


I just started this program, so depending on how it goes, I may purchase some of the lessons. There are often coupon codes and discounts. I'm going to complete what is free and decide from there. What I really like about the videos I watched on Amazon Prime is that they are just a few minutes long, and really easy to understand. I like things that are short and simple!


Get Talking Chinese Book: Photo from Amazon.com

Get Talking Chinese


This book and CD combo was such a great deal, I couldn't pass it up. For $11, you get a full color language guide and accompanying CD. The book explains the tones, gives cultural tips, and is full of useful phrases. I really want to master the content of this book because it is so helpful. The book is beautiful to look at and an easy read. It's not a text book, but something I would recommend. The only bummer is that there's no online audio. You have to find a CD player or upload it to your computer (if your computer has a CD player). I have been listening to it in the car.

After I become a little more comfortable with the language, I would like to work through an actual text book. I have looked up a few different options for those, but I am not quite ready to invest a lot in a text book. I think this book is a great introduction for beginners.

Lingo Bus Cover Photo: from Facebook.com


Lingo Bus

I am a VIPKid teacher, so I get a discount on Lingo Bus classes since they are sister companies. My six year old daughter loves these classes! She has had three different teachers and enjoyed learning with each one. Recently they ran a special where students could participate in two "super group" classes and one 1:1 class for just $10. I could not pass up this deal. The super group classes were really fun and interactive. She did need some help from me to know what buttons to press and to encourage pronunciation.

I think taking these super group classes before a 1:1 class in an excellent idea. It allows children to become familiar with the words while playing games, so they can get more out of the 1:1 class when it is time. We can't always afford to take Lingo Bus classes, but when they run specials I jump on it because I do love the classes. They also offer a lot of free resources like flash cards, a coloring book, and the FREE demo class. I have a referral link if you would like to try the free demo (I get 5 free classes when someone purchases a bundle), but you do not need to purchase anything to try the demo class. Click HERE for the Lingo Bus referral link.

Will we learn enough?

I am hoping we can learn enough Mandarin Chinese to successfully communicate short phrases with people once we arrive in China. If for some reason our phones die and we need to tell someone something important, we need to be ready. I am also planning to make a few survival flashcards to carry with us in our bag. Something with simple phrases asking where things are, a card containing our new address, and anything else that may help us. We don't know yet when we will be able to travel, so I am doing my best to prepare us in every way before we leave.

Does anyone have any other tips for us? I would love to hear them! Thanks for following our adventure! -Michelle

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