Did you know that approximately 1.2 billion people speak Chinese worldwide? That’s more than any other language on Earth. In fact, Chinese is now the third most commonly spoken language in the United States, with wide populations of native speakers also living in Europe, Africa, and Oceania. You may have noticed that Mandarin courses are popping up at your high school or university, and that more and more friends have skipped out on traditional study abroad destinations in favor of the Middle Kingdom.
Perhaps you’ve been curious about this enigmatic language yourself and wondered, “Should I learn Chinese?” On behalf of all of us at CLI, we are here to guide you towards an answer — yes! Now that we have that settled, read on for our top 10 reasons to learn Mandarin Chinese.
“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”
– Chinese proverb
一 Catch On Quickly With Simplified Grammar Mandarin is a much more logical language than you might initially think. There are no tricky verb conjugations or noun declensions whatsoever. Overall, the basic grammar structure is relatively uncomplicated compared to that of many romance languages. That’s not to say that grasping the entirety of Chinese grammar is effortless, per se, but once you master just a few key points you’ll have the fundamental patterns down in no time.
二 Improve Yourself Professionally Because China is currently home to the world’s fastest growing economy, Mandarin is becoming the language of international business and communication. As a result, the demand for Mandarin speakers to fill a wide array of positions is increasing year by year. Being proficient in Mandarin will boost your resume and make you stand out among pools of less qualified applicants.
三 Gain Insight into Chinese Culture Those with experience studying Mandarin will have learned that the language itself is an intricate mosaic of history and cultural values. From everyday “chengyu” phrases — Chinese proverbs that reference stories of dynasties past — to the written character system depicting coexistence between humans and nature, the Chinese language is deeply intertwined with the civilization from which it originated. You’ll dive even deeper into the culture when you study Mandarin.
四 Study and Travel Abroad in China There are endless opportunities to study abroad and teach English or other subjects in almost every province of China, from the Muslim-majority Xinjiang tucked away in the West to the affluent Jiangsu of the far East. For those looking to explore new parts of the world, learning Chinese can be a wonderful catalyst to begin your journey. Learn more about CLI’s Immersion Program and Teach in China Program in Guilin, and the unique possibilities that await.
五 Strengthen Your Community Almost every major Western city has a rapidly growing population of Chinese residents. Being able to communicate with the newly-settled immigrants in your neighborhood and exchange students at your university will help to build bridges in your community, as well as foster lifelong friendships.
六 Keep Up With Chinese Pop Culture Open up a new world of music, movies, and television shows when you become familiar with Chinese language and society. With a growing international fanbase, popular culture from the Middle Kingdom is filled with fresh and innovative perspectives on contemporary lifestyles and social issues happening in China and across the globe.
七 Speak Mandarin Across Asia Not only is Mandarin the official language of China, but it is also commonly taught and spoken in other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Let your newfound language skills grant you access to enchanting places that you may have never dreamed of exploring as your horizons expand infinitely.
八 Utilize Tons of Great Study Resources That Already Exist Learning Chinese is more accessible than ever before with thousands of study tools being developed every year. Find a growing database of online flashcards, free iPhone apps, YouTube channels, HSK-based newspapers, and more to help you study anywhere at anytime. With this many resources available, learning Mandarin is virtually right at your fingertips.
九 Have Fun! Being able to communicate spontaneously and effectively with people from different backgrounds than your own will greatly enrich your life. Meeting new friends and traveling to exotic destinations are just a few of the highly gratifying effects that learning Chinese can have on your life.
十 Challenge Yourself Despite reason #1 on our list, Mandarin still holds a reputation as one of the most difficult languages for Westerners to grasp. In fact, many Chinese are quick to agree that their mother tongue isn’t an easy one to master. Join the thousands of learners that have broken stereotypes by accomplishing what many consider close to impossible.
“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.”
― Confucius, founder of Chinese philosophy
Of course, there are plenty more reasons to learn Mandarin Chinese — this list touches on some of our favorites. Have more ideas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Remember, an immersive environment and strong support system are key elements of learning any new language. Check out our website to find out why CLI offers a one-of-a-kind experience when it comes to learning Chinese in China. 加油！
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