China is one of the most influential countries on the planet. And its robust trade practices and leadership in technology are not the only reasons the nation stands out: it also has a canon of ancient history to rival any culture and is full of art, food, and thrilling opportunities for adventure.
Working or traveling in China is easier if you are able to speak and read the language, but the study takes time. Chinese Mandarin Immersion programs usually last at least a month and surround you with the incredible opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of the language. Once you have a handle on Mandarin, you can use it in business, personal relationships, volunteering, and so much more. Here are some things to consider as you ponder embarking on a Mandarin Chinese immersion program.
Know Before You Go
Once a relative closed and communist society, China has been relatively open to visitors for the last few decades. You’ll find a lot of Western amenities throughout the country and loads of transportation. And naturally, the opportunity to practice reading and speaking Mandarin exists around every corner.
It’s true that China is a superpower in many ways. It’s also true that many rural, poor areas need aid in everything from childcare to education and medical care. If you want to combine language immersion with humanitarian work, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities.
Whether your Chinese Mandarin immersion experience will last a few weeks or a few months, there are some crucial pre-planning steps necessary for visiting China. First, your visa. China does not offer visas on arrival so you must apply in advance; you will need to apply in person at a Chinese consulate or through the mail and provide details about your plans in the country.
Once in China on your Chinese language immersion, plan to pay primarily in cash, particularly outside of big cities. You may also want to bring a mask to wear in cities like Beijing and Shanghai on days when the smog is thickest. Your new Chinese friends can advise you about other customs and traditions, but it’s generally wise to avoid tipping and bring tissues with you in case public restrooms don’t have toilet paper.