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Taking A Language Course in HKU: Chinese for All

November 28, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

First thing I encountered after coming to HK was obviously the language barrier. Why do people start phone conversations with “why” (turns out “hello” in Cantonese is “wei”)? What are people screaming at bus drivers (“Mm Goi Yau Lok” meaning “Stop at this station”) ? And why do local floor mates always shout “Di@” and why do they laugh out when I say it back? All these questions lead me to try to learn the language and fortunately HKU offers some great Chinese language courses.


Survival Cantonese


Survival Cantonese allows you to have an one-to-one peer tutorial with a local student. It will not make you an expert of Cantonese but you will pick up some useful phrases as well as having some of your questions about the language and Hong Kong culture answered. My take on it to take it as an introduction to your Cantonese learning. Cantonese is really driven by slang and youth culture so might as well make your first Cantonese class a relaxing one while befriending a local.


Non-Credit Bearing Chinese Courses

Non-credit bearing Chinese courses are designed to help you improve your Chinese, specifically Mandarin skills, without being burdens on your academic life. Student who keeps excellent track records in the assessments will still be rewarded with a certificate approving his or her acquired skills in Mandarin. Non-credit bearing Chinese courses are usually after 6pm in the afternoon, allowing flexible scheduling for those interested. Some will be put off by the HKD$3,000 required as the payment for the course but it is still a great bargain compared to fees charged by Chinese academies in Central or Admiralty considering the university approved teaching staffs who will guide you thoroughly at your own pace through level systems. If you are not sure about taking Chinese for reasons involving GPA or due to time clashes, non-credit bearing Chinese courses are great options.



Credit Bearing Chinese Courses

Credit bearing courses are Chinese language courses you are more likely to encounter either to fulfill your language requirements or to enhance your Chinese skills. Having taken an intermediate course, I found the workloads considerably demanding yet I was satisfied with the amicable atmosphere and the presence of a helpful and ever-ready instructor. The class was medium in size, allowing a intuitive and more hands-on direct learning experience. Everyone was ready to learn and there was no frowning even when a bad joke was cracked. Fun was not the only we had with each class significantly boosting my Chinese skills. I was impressed by the sheer swiftness I was learning new Chinese characters and words and I felt more confident in my ability to converse in Mandarin. I also found the step by step approach to learning the language fruitful and even oddly satisfying since you could see where you are in the mastery of the language. If you are confident or want to validate your efforts in learning Chinese, I highly recommend taking the credit bearing course.



Certificate in Chinese Language Programs

Learning a language is like a journey ,and HKU can help you sail through with its Certificate in Chinese language program. Lasting for two years, this course takes more intensive take on the language, speeding up the progress with 15 hours per week of Chinese tutoring. Classes will focus on all four major components of the language, speaking, writing, reading and listening, while both Mandarin and Cantonese are offered. Certificate at the end of the course can only be obtained by the exam at the end of the course, highlighting the considerably dedication required for this course.



Learning Chinese and its difficulty always vary from person to person but this should not deter from giving it a try. International HKUers who are curious about the language or in realization of the significance of it should definitely try out Chinese courses. Whatever hardship or lassitude you may encounter in your path to mastering the language, remember Rome or Great Wall of China was not built in a day and 加油!