Chinese is not like shooting the breeze




Well…the time has come for midterm finals and to say that I am not scared would be the lie of the century. I have improved a lot since my arrival, but both my finals are this Friday and I am still unaware what one of them is. The other final has me pretty concerned since both of them are 50% of our overall grade. But with my worry comes determination.

I have two tutoring sessions this week, and both will be spent practicing dialogues and prompts that I will be examined on. I am also bringing on the flashcards, so that readings these dialogues will be a breeze. I am going to ask my host mom for help in practicing the dialogues because the part that I struggle with the most in learning Chinese is listening and speaking. Ironically, that is also like the most important part of the language, but if I ever need to send any love letters I can definitely handle that.

During my past tutoring sessions, I have been asking for movies and music to watch. No I am not taking a nice relaxing break from my studies, I am just practicing my listening skills. I try to find the fun way to do everything. So my tutor has been giving me movies to watch and songs to listen to. It is funny because when studying my grammar structures, I asked her about music. My tutor and another teacher didn’t know Justin Timberlake, who is like my second husband. They only knew Justin Bieber. Since she only knew Justin Bieber, I asked her does she like him, and she used my double negative structure to say, “I don’t dislike Justin Bieber”. It was funny.

I have been trying to use these songs to make a “Learning through Chinese Songs” playlist. It is a work in progress, but I have a pretty long walk in the morning to school so I figured I could be practicing my listening then. I feel like every little bit of hearing the language will help. I have realized that I have an anxiety problem when being called on in class, or spoken to in Chinese. It seems whenever I am being directly spoken to my brain starts to panic and whoever is speaking to me begins to sound like the Charlie Brown teacher. I think that if I keep encouraging myself to practice with my listening skills, I will be able to get over this anxiety and perform well in the class.

I do understand that learning Chinese requires a lot more energy than most people think, so I am trying to find out how to incorporate the language in multiple aspects other than my classroom. So far I think I am doing a good job of pushing through, and understanding is becoming easier. I will be able to relax more after I pass this exam. Until then, I will be studying through music, tv shows and movies, good old flashcards, and talking to my tutor. With all this help, I think I should definitely pass this test.