Top 6 Reasons for Learning Chinese!

Introduction

Interested about China? You are not alone.

Since the 1980’s China has developed at a breathtaking pace and became the world’s second largest economy, only trailing the United States. Experts believe that by the end of the decade the Chinese will outpace their American counterparts, this shift swiftly took them from being in the periphery to taking a central position on the international stage.

You may have noticed the large quantity of Confucius Institutes and HSK test centers being constantly opened across the globe. More than 600 CI and 1200 Confucius classrooms based in primary, secondary and university levels have sprawled across the globe.

Luckily for you, this push by the Chinese government will greatly facilitate and enhance your learning experience, whether living in China or abroad.

Enough talk already, here are my top 6 reasons for learning Chinese that shall remove any doubts and will hopefully help you embark on this fruitful journey.

1. Travel

China on World Map
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Most of us spend much of our lifetimes on the same country and even the same city, this makes travelling abroad a very pleasant experience. Getting to know a foreign culture, eating local dishes or maybe just walking around is quite enjoyable.

Visiting China and speaking the language, even if not fluently, adds a third dimension to the experience. You’ll feel more comfortable around the locals and will be able to grasp the authentic Chinese culture by talking to them.

There are hundreds of millions of people studying English in China, nevertheless, less than 1% of the population reached a conversational level. Please be sure to know at least a few basic sentences before going there. As the fourth largest country on Earth, there’s much to see and discover, enjoy!

2. Work

Business Man in Suit and Tie
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

Many companies operate in several countries and most of them have key relationships with China, which is widely regarded as the ‘factory of the world’.

Whether you want to increase the chances of getting that coveted promotion or are interested in joining a business with an international presence, knowing Chinese will help boost your CV and give you the ‘international man’ trait that firms are so willing to pay a premium for.

3. Study

Chinese Books Bookstore
Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

China hosts some of the world’s finest higher education institutions. As reported by the QS World University Ranking, Tsinghua University and Peking University hold the 17th and 18th top positions respectively. It goes without saying that attending one of those universities will boost your career prospects to a whole new level. Western colleges & universities also offer high quality education; however, on average, they are much more expensive.

 Here´s is a great website that dives deep into tuition fees and living costs in Mainland China universities.

Interested in pursuing a degree? You may be eligible for generous scholarships which may include tuition and fees, room and board, monthly stipend and even plane tickets. Click here for more information.

4. Family

Relationships are important to us all, especially family ones. Acquiring a certain level of fluency in a language spoken inside your family will greatly help you connect with them on a more profound level.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks fluent Chinese. According to him,

. . . my wife Is Chinese; her dad speaks Chinese, and her grandmother speaks only Chinese. So, I wanted to speak with them. The day Priscilla and I decided to get married, I approached her grandma using Chinese, she was extremely surprised.

Mark Zuckerberg

5. Simplicity

Simple Not Easy Photo

We live in the Information Age.

Nowadays, there are countless apps, books and websites specially designed for learning Chinese or any other topic from the comfort of your couch.

Back in the day, you would buy the Xinhua Chinese-English dictionary (新华字典) from the local foreign language bookshop and read it word after word.

Things have changed for the better and if you are serious about your Chinese studies, there has never been a better time than right now. That being said, it is quite a difficult language and no matter how many helpful resources are out there, you still will need to invest much time and effort.

The path has been paved and you’ve been putted inside a vehicle, just don’t forget that you still need to go down the road.

6. Cognitive development

People around the world communicate in more than 7000 different spoken languages.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences investigates the brain processing of two very diverse languages: a tonal language (Chinese) and a nontonal language (English).

The study was made by several leading experts in a very rigorous fashion, it delves deeply into the matter of neurolinguistics, dynamic neural networks and cortical pathways, among other interesting and quite complex topics.

This is not a Science Blog so let’s keep things simple and jump right in!

Speak Chinese? Your brain works differently than that of an English speaker, how so?
In tonal languages different pitch patterns serve to distinguish lexical meaning, while in nontonal languages pitch changes are simpler and do not convey lexical information.

The Chinese subjects in the experiment activated sections of their left and right brain hemispheres which interacted together, while the English subject mostly made use of the left side. This is groundbreaking research as it goes against established knowledge by Broca and Wernicke which states that language processing happens mostly on the brain’s left side.

Are you an avid language learner? What gets you constantly motivated?
It would make my day if you let me know! Please share in the comments section below!
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