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643EED14-335D-4B58-9409-A0CE534E8568 - William Sok.jpeg


Christchurch Boys’ High School

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

I began studying Chinese during my freshman year in high school, which was in year 9. Now, as a year 11 student, I have been learning Chinese for a duration of two years. I made the choice to learn Chinese due to the numerous opportunities it offers. These include study trips to China, participation in speech competitions, potential future prospects in the business world, as well as the ability to engage with individuals from diverse countries and cultures, fostering new friendships along the way.

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

I derive great joy from discovering my growing comprehension of the Chinese language. Whether I visit a Chinese restaurant or overhear conversations in Chinese, I find myself understanding far more than I had anticipated. Additionally, participating in the Chinese speech competition was an immensely gratifying experience. It offered me a valuable chance to enhance my Chinese skills, forge new connections with people, and delve deeper into the rich tapestry of Chinese culture.

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

Learning Chinese has opened up numerous opportunities for me. In the upcoming third term of this year, my classmates and I have an exciting study tour planned to China. This trip aims to provide us with valuable opportunities to practice the Chinese language, immerse ourselves in the culture and cuisine, and gain insights into the daily lives of Chinese people. Moreover, it will enable us to compare and contrast the educational systems of China and New Zealand. I am truly looking forward to this enriching experience!

What do you like most about the Chinese culture?

I have a deep appreciation for two aspects of Chinese culture that stand out as my personal favorites: its cuisine and traditions. Chinese food, particularly dishes like dumplings and noodles, captivates my taste buds with its delightful flavors. Moreover, what I find truly fascinating is the Chinese tradition of honoring their past and history. This celebration involves coming together with family, savoring delicious meals, illuminating lanterns, and exchanging gifts as a way to commemorate and embrace their rich cultural heritage.

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

Chinese communication tends to be more indirect, with an emphasis on politeness and avoiding confrontation. Saving face and maintaining harmonious relationships are highly valued. Kiwis, however, often have a more direct and informal communication style, emphasizing open and honest expression of opinions and ideas.

Why do you think other New Zealanders should learn Chinese?

I believe it would be beneficial for a greater number of individuals to embark on the journey of learning Chinese. Acquiring proficiency in Chinese opens up a plethora of novel and thrilling prospects. By engaging in Chinese language learning, one can establish connections with diverse individuals and forge new friendships. Additionally, Chinese proficiency presents advantageous business opportunities both in New Zealand and China.

Do you have any tips for anyone thinking about taking up Chinese?

If you have chosen to learn Chinese, it is important to regularly utilize the language or revise it in order to expedite your skill development.

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