Will the combat eventually develop into a manifestation of success? Learning a foreign language takes time and dedication, particularly when you are dealing with a language as intricate as Mandarin Chinese. No one said it was going to be “piece of cake,”but I doubtlessly thought it would become a phenomenal experience for me. I have been learning Mandarin for one year and whether it has unfolded a benefit or composed a challenge, it has certainly influenced my life, so let me talk to you about my remarkable experience.

First and foremost, the challenges of learning a foreign language can be many and Mandarin is no exception. At the beginning it was simple or what my friend, Rhonda, and I would refer to as “a cave man’s writing,” but time proved us wrong, and we realized it was certainly not elemental. I believe the predominant part of the challenge is based on time, which incorporates dedication, practice and fulfillment of demands; however, one must not only sacrifice time, but also be willing to learn. I used some of my time to develop a system that would assist my learning through an accelerated yet smooth approach. Then, I selected the tactics best suitable to enhance this learning. One of my tactics was to learn individual sentences then use these same sentences in my conversations. Moreover, as an undergraduate student, it is bothersome to balance time between both Mandarin and regular courses, due to the fact that Mandarin eventually becomes overwhelming. Furthermore, though having an accent is tolerable, not being understood can be an issue. I continue to be challenged with pronunciation and grammar. If you cannot construct a sentence or pronounce a word correctly, natives will have a distressing time understanding you; therefore, do not underestimate the listening process. The first step in learning Mandarin is not repetition, but listening. In order to have evident pronunciation, one must first listen to the pronunciation of a word, a satisfying amount of times, and then repeat it. This leads to practice, which is also essential; therefore, after listening to one’s pronunciation one can make comparisons with that of native speakers. I am so grateful to have many Asian friends with whom I can constantly practice my Mandarin. We try to establish a “win-win” situation through a language exchange process. Learning Mandarin demands a considerable amount of commitment.

According to author, Steve Pavlina, “The willingness to do what is difficult is like having a key to a special private treasure room.” Well, it is no different with learning Mandarin because despite of its complexities, it is still a captivating language. I have come to recognize its boundless payoffs, whether personal or professional. My fundamental attainment was basic communication with the locals, friends and other people, as a form of socialization and necessity. Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”While in Taiwan, I must regularly use Mandarin: to write my name, to order a meal, to ask for directions, to call a cab etc. Now, new opportunities have emerged. If I speak a third language, more doors will be open career-wise. I can be a translator or a teacher and so much more! It's all about the added possibilities. In addition, learning Mandarin has been a favorable form of discipline. Sounds irrelevant, doesn't it? Well, although we might unconsciously neglect it, discipline comes with all forms of learning. I discipline myself through the concentration and commitment. Besides discipline, Mandarin has also nourished me with greater understanding of this country’s culture and the “Asian mentality”. Despite that there might only be a diminutive relationship between English and Mandarin, Mandarin has also led me to a desirable appreciation of my own language and culture through a series of comparisons. I have not only become a better student or a more articulated person, but also cultivator of knowledge.

All in all, Mandarin is undeniably one of the most beautiful languages one can learn. People wonder, is learning Mandarin worth the time, money or effort? Unquestionably it is! Although the challenges are unavoidable, learning this wondrous language renders valuable benefits. Mandarin is not only enthralling, but also enchanting. The combat will fade into success!

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