As an intern in China, opportunities to discover a rich culture along with exciting travel opportunities await. You also have the chance to study Mandarin Chinese, the language widely spoken in China. Whether you do an internship in Shanghai or an internship in Beijing, Getin2China can arrange Mandarin classes through our Chinese Language Program.
Mandarin is growing in popularity worldwide, with students from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia scrambling to learn a language spoken in the world's second largest economy.
Mandarin is spoken on mainland China. Most provinces have their own dialect(s), and so Mandarin allows the diverse people of this vast land to communicate with one another. Mandarin is the official language of the Chinese central government and is spoken in newscasts like on CCTV.
Mandarin is callled putonghua, or common language. Beijingers like to boost that biaozhun putonghua, or standard Mandarin, is spoken only in the capital, although Chinese in the northeast think otherwise.
In Taiwan, which is not considered part of mainland China, Mandarin is also spoken, although with a much different accent than on the mainland. In Hong Kong, another economy separate from the mainland, Cantonese is spoken, the same language spoken in Guangdong province to the immediate north. These days, an increasing number of Hong Kongers are learning Mandarin.
Tough to learn?
Mandarin is often considered the most difficult language in the world to learn. At Gi2C Group, we believe otherwise. Like with any language, all you need is practice.
Mandarin is quite different from Latin, Germanic and other Asian languages. Two key characteristics of the language stand out: tones and characters.
Mandarin has five tones: a high flat tone, a rising tone, a falling-rising tone, a falling tone and a neutral tone. Mix up your tones and you'll convey a different meaning.
For instance, the sound ma said in the first tone (high flat tone) means mother. Ma in the third tone (falling-rising tone) means horse. With this simple example, you can see how two tones convey a completely different meaning. You don't want to call someone's mother a horse!
Fortunately, although it's important to get the tones correct, if you do get a few tones wrong in your sentence, most Chinese will understand you because of context.
Characters. Learning Mandarin is like learning two difference languages. You have the spoken aspect and the written aspect. But unlike in English, for example, the two aren't closely linked. English has 26 letters in its alphabet, and most people can learn the sounds of the alphabet and their exceptions in little time.
Mandarin has no alphabet. Instead, the written language is compromised of tens of thousands of symbols, or what are called characters. And because the language has evolved tremendously over thousands of years, guessing the meaning of a word by looking at a character(s) is unlikely.
But don't fret - you only need to know about 3,000 characters to be able to read a newspaper.
To recap: tones and characters are the two features that differentiate Mandarin Chinese from most other languages. But generally speaking, a Chinese sentence needs fewer words to convey meaning than say an English or French sentence. That's because grammar rules aren't as complicated as with European languages.
Proficiency in Mandarin - whether high or low - is not necessary for an internship in China with Gi2C. Still, we encourage all aspiring interns to enroll in Mandarin classes to pick up the basics. Having some knowledge of the language will help you navigate the ins and outs of life in Beijing and Shanghai.
Although English is widely spoken among educated young people in both cities, that isn't the case for those in the service industry (except for high-end hotels). Mandarin skills go a long away while bargaining at the markets, ordering food at a restaurant or giving directions to a cab driver. Not to mention starting a friendly chat with your neighbor.
Best of all, we can arrange class to suit your work schedule. Some of our interns take class a few of times a week in the morning and head to work afterword. Others opt for nighttime courses.
Not to mention how impressive your resume will look with Mandarin language skills included alongside your work experience in China.
So, while you won't master the language during your internship program in China, you'll acquire a solid foundation in reading, writing, speaking and listening for further study, whether you stay on in the country or return home.