Sunday, February 19, 2023

My arrival to Shanghai & plans for the next four months

China. Shanghai for four and half months.

Is it even allowed to post on a blog after a hiatus of five years (ironically, it’s exactly five years today)?  I am not sure, but indulge me.

Five years ago, I announced I’m gonna do a Chinese mission. The execution of this one was very different from my previous language missions. Reasons? COVID, finances and trying to do several things at once. I studied at home while focusing on my career as well. I commuted to Vienna every day for work, spending four hours daily travelling, which often left me exhausted. On the top of that, in those five years, I unsuccessfully tried to kickstart two startups and one less “startupy” company. I was co-organizing a bi-weekly IT meetup. There is no way around the fact that for a European, Chinese requires more hours put in than let’s say, Spanish (especially if you have prior experience with other romance languages, which was my case). And because I didn’t set any deadlines for myself, I learned only now and then. I didn’t touch Chinese for about four years of those five. Well, at least I know I’m not that immune to the student syndrome as I thought. Being thrown in the water is definitely a good motivator to learn to swim and I am currently trying to make use of that.

Of course, COVID was another reason. Spring 2023 is the first semester China is opening up. I also got a full remote job now, which helps a bit. I came to Shanghai on the 9th of February 2023 and will stay till July. I enrolled in one-semester course at Fudan University.

What level is my Chinese now? I am almost an absolute beginner. I know tens of most common characters, but can’t make a conversation and don’t understand what people are saying. I believe it is possible to rapidly progress in Chinese, given enough effort and time, but four and half months are not enough to reach fluency, especially if one has to work full-time. So my goal is to progress as much as possible so that I can continue learning back home.

Here, a video of me speaking so that you know what I mean. The mistakes I made are marked and kept in on purpose. Make sure to turn on the subtitles.

Head kept down and ready to work. Let the fun begin.