Learning Chinese (Part 1): My initial plan

Hello everyone,

For the major digital project in EC&I 831, I want to go for option B and learn something that is significant to my professional development.

Why I chose to learn Chinese?

As an international student advisor, my day-to-day job includes providing support to new international students and assist them in their transition into Canadian society. When I first came to Canada 4 years ago, as an international student, I found myself struggling to adapt to the new culture, new place and different learning environment. By providing assistance to international students and their families on immigration regulations, academic, personal, financial, social, and cross-cultural concerns, I am glad that I can do something that helps minor ethical and cultural groups and promote the Canadian multicultural society.


(Canadian Multicultural Society. Image from “Welcome Peterborough”)

One of my challenge as an international student advisor is to communicate with new international students and their families who only speak a little of English. At my college, the international department consists of several foreigner staff who speak another language other than English so each of the staff will assist one group of international students who share a common language. I am bilingual in Vietnamese and English so most of the time, I am in charge of assisting Vietnamese students. However, with the increase in Chinese students, we find the number of staff who can speak Chinese is falling short. We need more staff who can speak at least basic Chinese. With this reason, I have decided to learn Chinese (Cantonese) as my third language. Learning Chinese would help in my professional development. In addition to that, knowing one more language would help me reach out to a wider cultural community by interacting with international students, newcomers, and immigrants, especially with those who don’t speak English. Personally, I love traveling to different places in the world and I believe the more the languages I know, the wider the horizon I can connect to other parts of the world.

My Initial Learning Plan
I haven’t actually looked into planning my Chinese Learning more detail. Initially, I googled “Learning Chinese online” and lots of websites popped up. I know that in the upcoming time, I need to filter all the online resources to find the reliable and trusted ones. These two websites from BBC and CCTV seem like reliable websites to learn Chinese:

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 8.08.39 PM

(Screenshot of CCTV’s Chinese learning page)

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 8.00.04 PM.png

(Screenshot of BBC’s Chinese learning page)

Other than that, I would like to make my learning become handy by installing Chinese learning apps on my phone. Some of the Chinese learning apps I checked on iPhone’s app store requires purchasing, I will look into that later.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 8.47.16 PM.png

(Screenshot when I typed Chinese learning on the App Store. There was a bunch of apps, which one should I use!!!!!!)
Youtube channels are also going to be utilized for my Chinese learning. I am a visual learner so I learn better with videos, or visual projects, presentation, so Youtube is an ideal learning source for me. I am currently following some of the Chinese learning channels:

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 8.49.51 PM.png
(Over 5 million results showed up when I searched “Chinese Learning” on Youtube. It’s so overwhelming!!!!)
To practice Chinese speaking skill, I will have zoom room or Skype set up so I and my Chinese friends can practice speaking Chinese anytime and anywhere.


(Skype or Zoom for virtual face-to-face Chinese speaking practices? Image from Skype vs Zoom)

My goal
Those are just my initial plan on my Chinese learning, I believe there are much more online resources out there that I need to check out for my learning. My goal is to complete the beginner level where I can use Chinese for everyday basic communication in 4 months. As the course progresses, I will periodically post my reflections on Chinese learning on my blog and by the end of the course, I would be able to compose a comprehensive documentation of my learning.

Learning another language is really not easy, it takes time, and lots of effort. I will see how far I will go with this. I would appreciate if anyone can share some tips on how to locate resources for foreigner language learning.


4 thoughts on “Learning Chinese (Part 1): My initial plan”

  1. What an awesome learning project you have chosen, Thanh Hoang Nam Le!! Learning a language can be very difficult yet very rewarding! I am excited to follow you on your journey and wish you the best of luck! It looks like you are very organized and ready to take on this challenge! I enjoyed reading about the social media sources you intend to use to help you learn the Chinese language! My father is Chinese and he speaks Cantonese. He never taught the language to my siblings or my-self and this makes me sad. Therefore, like Sapna, I hope to learn some new things from you! Good luck with your journey throughout this semester!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Roxanne. I used to live in Chinatown in Toronto and I was surrounded by Cantonese, I developed my interest to learn Cantonese since then. I learned that Cantonese is mostly spoken by the Chinese overseas communities and also, a large population of overseas Vietnamese speak Cantonese as their second language after Vietnamese. Another reason is that I love watching Cantonese TV drama series (TVB, if you know, or probably you dad might know) since I was a kid. In my country, Vietnam, Cantonese TV drama series has been really popular for the past 20 years, many people want to learn Cantonese because of this, including me 😀 Thank you so much for your support, I hope in 3 – 4 months, I will be able to communicate basic Cantonese. In the future, I plan to visit Hong Kong and Macau so having some knowledge of Cantonese would help me when I travel there 😀


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