When did you start learning Chinese? What inspired you to take up the language?

Growing up in Vietnam, Chinese has a great influence on my country. I grew up watching a lot of Chinese Tv Shows, listening to a lot of Chinese Music, and reading many Chinese books. That's where I started to pick up the language from, I could only communicate in Chinese before. But this year I learnt to write and read Chinese characters.

Tell us about your Chinese language learning journey? What has been the most unexpected or rewarding part of the experience?

The most unexpected part of my Chinese learning experience is that I can understand Chinese after watching Chinese tv shows. I have to say Vietnamese and Chinese language have quite a lot of words in common (pronunciation) which support me during my learning journey.

What opportunities have opened up for you as a result of your Chinese speaking ability?

I have learned so much about Chinese culture, just like the language, the diversity in Chinese culture is fascinating to see and experience. It brings me from Calligraphy, traditional dance to many other aspects. Besides, I have a chance to experience the Chinese Speech Competition. I have to say it was a big challenge for me but also a valuable experience. Calligraphy is also a skill that I have developed during my Chinese learning journey.

What do you like most about the Chinese culture? 

I find Feng Shui, Chinese geomancy, really interesting. Chinese people really believe that the order of the things around them really matter, for example, when they build a house, the door should face the south, which is good for light, chi absorption and family harmony. I personally believe in that too.

What are the most striking differences between Chinese and Kiwi culture?

The Chinese festival is the biggest difference. Chinese people celebrate the festival in a really exciting and traditional way. For example, Chinese New Year, this is the most important and biggest event of the year where family's reunion and we decorate the house for the new year. Chinese people also make Jiaozi, tangyuan, for new year dinner. The kids also receive lucky money on the first day of new year. For New Zealand, we celebrated Christmas as our new year, and the way we celebrate it is quite different but it's still a family reunion dinner.

Why do you think other New Zealanders should learn Chinese? Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of taking up the language?

If you are interested in learning about a language, it will bring you close to Chinese culture in specific and Asian culture in general. One tip I think is really useful for me is to watch Chinese tv shows and movies. It really helps to develop your listening skill and support your understanding of the Chinese language.