Someone once asked me which is the best way to study Chinese in China and I could only think of one answer – Immersion. The answer despite being very brief holds alot of importance which I have come to appreciate. Immersion comes from the word, immerse which means to dip something wholely into another. This in context means to fully integrate yourself with the Chinese culture and life inorder to understand the language. Immersion, in my opinion can be full or half depending on time and resources at hand but whichever you choose, the results are appreciate-able.
In order to improve my Chinese speaking, early this year, I adopted immersion technique and to say the least, 4 months down the line, I am surprised. My confidence has greatly improved, vocabulary has shot through the roof and my speaking in more fluent, without running out of words. Immersion is simply adapting to your new Chinese environment and slowly becoming part of it without loosing your culture. This I did by increasing my Chinese friends and making friends especially those who cant speak English at all. Hanging out with Chinese often was hard in the beginning but with time they slowly accepted my slow speech and now we chat like natives. The weekly meetups at Bozhan Chinese Club have added also helped me. To do all this in 4 months was not easy but that was how I did it.
Today I met some Chinese preparing to go and play a game at the stadium, and it being a Saturday afternoon, my schedule wasn’t tight so after some enquiry I joined the troope. Only knowing one, who was infact not a Chinese by my Ugandan pal, Matiya, I used this opportunity to get to know the others and of-course improve my speech. Discussions in the metro ranged from how my country was to why Chinese do not like playing football. The first half of the game was a disappointment and as I stood on the side line, I hoped to play but couldn’t since I didn’t have any kit, or shoes. 3-0 was the scores at the end of the first half.
The second half was just like the second as we were thrashed another 2 goals to nil before the referee blew the final whistle perhaps to save us the shame. Despite the scores, I had a brilliant time. Any opportunity that presents itself for interaction with the Chinese, which does not clash with my studies, I take it well. I learned that all players were infact practising medicine and such times they use to relieve themselves of the tedious work. This is only held once every 6 months and I vowed to participate in the coming.
I will be sharing more about immersion and I do more of it to improve my speech, listening here in China. Incase you have another solution or want to share something, you can so so in the comment section below.