10 Reasons to Learn Chinese

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Beautiful Photos from Guilin

Guilin is beautiful. Guilin is a sightseer’s dream, a photographer’s oasis, a nature enthusiast’s playground, and for the language learner’s of the world—Guilin is an unparalleled treasure trove.

This post is a shout-out to a small handful of the many very talented photographers who have enriched the IG-sphere with their #beautiful images from Guilin. Please enjoy 18 of our favorite Instagram photos to use #Guilin and follow us @studycli on Instagram to see plenty more.


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Cover image by @searchingforthespot

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The Most Popular Foodie in China

Trevor James, a.k.a. “The Food Ranger”, is hands down the most popular food vlogger and YouTuber to be producing content in China on the Middle Kingdom’s deliciously diverse cuisine. Originally from Canada and currently residing in Chengdu, James has been living in China and exploring the country’s every corner in search of the tastiest treats it has to offer for over 8 years now. A Sichuan chef in training, James believes in the simple philosophy that in order to better understand and appreciate a culture, one needs to get closer to its food, and we certainly agree!

Here, we take a look at some of our absolute favorite Food Ranger adventures:

Top 15 Video from The Food Ranger

Chinese Street Food Tour in Xi’an, China | Street Food in China BEST Noodles


When it comes to food, few cities compare to Xi’an. Most people visit the former capital for the Terracotta Warriors, but our friend Trevor James was there for all the scrumptious food the city had to offer!

This is Rural Chinese Food. Southern Chinese New Year Food FEAST!


Ever wanted to be part of a Chinese New Year feast? Don’t worry; The Food Ranger’s got you covered! From homemade sweet and sour spare ribs to ground pork stuffed shitake mushrooms, this video has it all!

Unheard of Chinese Street Food You MUST Try | Farmers Market in China! China Cuisine


What better way to start your day than taking a morning tour through the crowded alleys of a busy Chinese market? Not only does this video have plenty of food on display, but it also offers unique insight into daily life in many Chinese cities.

Top 5 Durian Varieties | Durian Buffet | Stinky Good


Durian can be a polarizing fruit. Some simply love it, while some absolutely despise it. If you’re like The Food Ranger and just can’t get enough of this “fragrant” fruit, be sure you watch this video about the Durian buffet that exists in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia!

Chinese Street Food Tour Around China | Most Unique Chinese Street Food of 2016


Wondering what the best street food cities in China are? This video breaks down the top 15 most unique street foods the country has to offer and in which cities you can find them!

7 Chinese Foods You MUST Try In Southern China


Food in China varies significantly from the northern part of the country to the southern, and in this video The Food Ranger takes us through his 7 favorite foods in the southern city of Guangzhou.

My First Day at Culinary School in China


Like we mentioned before, James is currently training to be a Sichuan chef. His obsession with food and his love for Sichuan cuisine has led to him enrolling himself in culinary school in Chengdu for the next two years, and he wants to take his viewers along with him for the adventure! This video features some cool behind-the-scenes footage from his first day in culinary school!

Chinese Street Food Tour in Wuhan, China | Street Food in China BEST Noodles


Wuhan is known for its Hot and Dry Noodles, and is located smack in between Sichuan and Shanghai. The capital of Hubei province has a mixture of Hunan, Sichuan, and Shanghai cuisine, and many people would argue that the city has some of the best noodle dishes available in the country! However, there’s a lot more that Wuhan has to offer when it comes to food!

China Bullet Train Full Speed Street Food Noodle Tour | Chinese Noodles Adventure


Fast, clean, convenient, and comfortable – those are some of the best words to describe the train system in China. But is the food on board any good? We take a look at that and James’ first experience with Wuhan cuisine.

Chinese Street Food Tour in Guilin, China | ENTER NOODLE HEAVEN


We couldn’t possibly have a list of all the amazing food cities in China The Food Ranger has visited without including our very own Guilin! We’re glad James decided to visit this beautiful city and its surrounding areas to try everything from Guilin Mifen and oil tea to fried rice noodles 炒粉 and dishes enjoyed by minorities in Longsheng!

十一 Eating A Healthy, Non-Oily Meal in China


Finding a simple and healthy meal in China is easy. They’re inexpensive and delicious and available almost anywhere. In this video, we take a look at James’ favorite healthy, non-oily, snack in Chengdu!

十二 Mouthwatering Muslim Cuisine in Xi’An, China


Home to the famous Rou Jia Mo 肉夹馍 (Chinese hamburger), Xi’an is a meat lover’s paradise. Huimin Street in the Muslim Quarter has way too many options for foodies to choose from, making it one of the most popular food streets on the planet! Whatever it is you’re looking for, this one street has it!

十三 INSANE Durian Chicken Hot Pot in China! Disgusting or Delicious?


Love Hot Pot? Love Durian? What if we told you there’s a restaurant in Guangzhou that makes Durian and Chicken Hot Pot? We can’t decide how we feel about this one, so we’ll just let you watch the video and decide for yourselves!

十四 Chinese Street Food Tour in Guangzhou, China | Exotic Seafood, BBQ Pork, and Street Food in China


Guangzhou’s Dim Sums are world famous, but what other foods can you try there on your next visit? The answer: there’s simply too much! Watch as James tries everything from breakfast favorites like rice noodle rolls 肠粉 to the unique Cantonese way of preparing seafood. Our favorite? Definitely the barbequed pork or 叉燒!

十五 Halal Street Food Journey To Islamic China | Xinjiang HUGE CHICKEN PLATE on the Chinese Silk Road


China is a huge country and the farther west you go, the more prominent is the influence of the Silk Road cultures on the local way of life. This is certainly true of language and food as they’re both very heavily influenced by Central Asia. This is a great video to watch if you’re interested in learning more about food in China’s Far West.

Still want more delicious food? Follow @TheFoodRanger on Instagram to see photos of foods from around the globe filling your feed as he takes you on his next adventure!

10 Photo Taste of @TheFoodRanger


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Nothing like friendly locals!

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Residing in China over the last 8 years has even allowed James to explore, and try the starkly different cuisines of, neighboring countries like Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka, among many others. Do subscribe to his YouTube channel by clicking here, so you don’t miss out on his next adventure!

We hope to study Mandarin in China together some day soon. Don’t forget to follow CLI on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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