This is a collaborative post.
If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you may know that I’ve been studying at the University of St Andrews since the year I started writing here on WordPress. It was in the first summer of my time here that I travelled to East Asia, beginning my journey in Beijing and ending it two months later in Bali.
My first time solo travelling to the region last summer, change in personal circumstance and the overwhelming feeling of not knowing exactly what it is I want to do with my life over the next few years led me to the decision last September that I would move to one of the region’s supercities this summer once I graduate, at least temporarily.
Naturally, one of my main concerns surrounding this move is the lack of linguistic knowledge I have for any country in the region. This issue began to become more and more apparent in my job search, where many roles I would have applied for required at the very least a basic level of spoken Mandarin. I’ve heard of tools like Rosetta Stone and apps like HelloTalk from television and online advertisements, but having looked more into different options of learning tools online, I came across Listen and Learn, I discovered you can take a Free Level Test where you can gauge your grasp of the language – which for me, obviously, is none.
Since I started back at university for my final semester, I’ve been lending my hand at learning the conversational and written basics so that hopefully come time for my move in late summer, I’ll be confident enough to apply for roles that I’m avoiding at the moment. Even if I land a role where the language isn’t applicable, learning such a widely spoken language will add a valuable feather to my bow in terms of my goals to see more of China and will open up possibilities of travelling to more remote areas where English is not as widely spoken.