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

I began learning Chinese when I was a year 9 student at Rotorua Boys’ High School. I was inspired to learn Chinese because it presented me with an opportunity to learn about another language and culture. 

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

I have found that the most rewarding part of the experience is being able to enrich my own learning with the wonders of Chinese history and culture as it is very ancient and fascinating. It allows me to appreciate the language I am learning even more. 

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

Some of the opportunities that have opened up for me as a result of my Chinese speaking ability include being able to converse with other Chinese speakers to a competent degree, and it has opened up the possibility of being able to travel freely in China without fear of getting lost as I understand the language now.

What do you like most about the Chinese culture? 

I love Chinese culture because it is very ancient and diverse. There is a lot to be learnt from it and how it has influenced neighbouring cultures, which I find in and of itself to be a very fascinating aspect.

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

One is enshrined in western values and the other is enshrined in eastern values. Furthermore, Chinese culture is significantly much older than kiwi culture and has changed to some degree over the centuries.

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

I believe learning Chinese or any other language for that matter is a very good opportunity for oneself to learn another culture and connect with other people. As for tips, remember to practice as many times as possible and engage in the language by reading or watching material in the language itself, as well as practicing the language with native speakers, so that you can understand and form a foundation in the language and it how it works.