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NZCLW 2022 PHOTO PAULA KASPER 2 - Paula Kasper (1).jpg

Paula Kasper

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

My interest has always been there however it was piqued in the 2011. This is when I had the opportunity to be an ambassador on the week long Hastings Guilin sister city teacher delegation visit to celebrate the 30th Anniversary. Since then I studied for my Master in Applied Linguistics and have had the joy of sharing my knowledge of foreign languages to school students. The opportunity to formally undertake Chinese language and culture studies with Future Learning Solutions alongside self-directed learning solidified my life long language learning desire. Now, I am in a role of facilitating foreign language and culture learning to our teachers and students in New Zealand. I am delighted that this enhances curiosity, interest and promotes global citizenship. 

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

Chinese language learning requires you to be determined, directed and diligent as it is a skill to be developed. It is quite challenging with the tonal differences that I still have difficulty attuning to, however it is a joy when I can differentiate the subtle differences. This focus enabled me to successfully undertake HSK 1 and HSK 2 testing. I was thrilled with my efforts and results. 

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

Using key salutations and appropriate phrases in our everyday life is a connecter with others. Being a role model showing how with small steps big gains can be made. This attitude with my ongoing learning of Chinese speaking shows we can be proud of our age, stage and development. 

What do you like most about the Chinese culture? 

The food and customs! Food is the essence of language and culture. Expanding my food repertoire and experiences only deepens my connection to the Chinese culture. 

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

Such a contrast begins with how to eat with chopsticks, the protocol and cultural norms that it really enlightens you to how nothing is right or wrong, just different. Being able to recognise and appreciate this is a benefit for everyone when noting the differences between Chinese and Kiwi culture. 

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

New Zealanders should learn Chinese because it is such an interesting language in written and spoken form, which develops your neural pathways, it allows you to have a special skill and interest which in turn, assists you to connect with others, and ultimately enhances possible future employment opportunities 

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