I am going to China for two years to learn Mandarin and experience the culture to prepare myself for what I hope will be a graduate degree in China Studies.
I originally planned to go to Beijing because I want to specialize in Chinese foreign policy when I go to graduate school and thought I might make some good connections there.
I am wondering if I should spend at least one of my years in a provincial city so I am forced to learn the language and have complete immersion. In Beijing, I fear that I can get by too well without learning the language. I am very disciplined, but foreign languages have not historically been my strongest subject.
Just to clarify, I know there are lots of opportunities to learn Mandarin in Beijing as English speakers are a tiny minority, I am just afraid it will be too easy for me to get by without mastering Chinese because there is that cocoon of the expat community I could retreat into. Is this a reasonable fear?
If anyone has any advice on how much success they, or people they know, have had learning Mandarin in Beijing vs. provincial cities please let me know.
28 March, 2012 at 6:42
Total posts: 18
Reply To: Is Beijing a good city for Mandarin immersion?
Beijing is a good place to study Mandarin because the original form of the language has been kept. The other hand, I’m sure there’s some validity to your concerns about the expat cocoon. A second or third tier city would defintely be a more intense immersion but it’s tough to say if that is absoulutely neccessary.