When I started out with learning Chinese in October 2006, I just joined an evening class. I attended the class every week, but I didn’t do anything else at all. So that’s one hour of learning per week. In retrospective one hour of Chinese per week is equal to no hour of Chinese per week. My Chinese learning was just to slow.
In summer 2007, I went to Chengdu for a summer course of Chinese. It was then, that I realized despite one year of Chinese learning, my Chinese still sucked. After returning from Chengdu, I did a little bit more. I took the intensive course, which was two hours a week and I also learned one hour per week by myself. Unfortunately I didn’t learn during the holidays.
In 2008 I went to Kunming and Hong Kong for several months. I could speak some Chinese then, I had some short and simple conversations then, but looking back it was all very basic. Sure I was very happy at that time about my Chinese skills, but then it wasn’t much more than elementary Chinese.
Coming back to Europe late summer 2008 I did not take any further courses, but I started learning by myself. In the beginning it was rather not so regular learning. One month of busy learning, then another month without any learning. But over the time things got better. Currently I do have a little time, because I graduated, but I did not start working yet. Right now I’m averaging 20 hours of Chinese learning per week. And hell yeah, I really see progress now. Sure I’m not pounding on vocabulary 20 hours per week. As recently stated most is reading, but I also do relaxing stuff like watching a Chinese TV show.
Bottom line is, spending more time on learning Chinese will result in more Chinese finding its way into my brain. While in year one of my Chinese learning journey my effort was roughly 50 hours total, now it is 50 hours in two and a half weeks. And I can say with definite certainty, more time invested results in better achievements, massive amounts of time invested result in massive improvements. 2010 is almost over and I’ll soon post an assessment of Chinese learned this year and plans for next year. If you want to learn more Chinese, spend more time on learning. I guess this is one of the best pieces of advice I can give on learning Chinese.
Junjie previously didn’t learn Chinese characters, but this week he started writing massive amounts of Chinese characters. His artistic handwriting style is unique and might be seen in international exhibitions soon. Buy one of his works, while the prices are still humane.