Mandarin Journey - Part 1

I’ve decided to learn Mandarin! Well, I decided this last year but didn’t dedicate as much time to learning as I would have liked. My goal is to allocate one hour each day to studying the language in the hope that consistency will help reinforce my learning and eventually allow me to have conversations in Mandarin. I won’t be learning how to read and write Chinese characters but will pick up Pinyin to assist with picking up new words.

The course I will be using in this self-study endeavor is FSI Standard Chinese: A Modular Approach. It has multiple units spanning over 15 modules and over 107 hours of audio, which should help with listening and pronunciation practices. Best of all, the resource is free!

Foreign Service Institute (FSI) courses are developed by the United States government and are in the public domain, so they are free to use. In general, FSI courses are also highly rated, so that’s a plus! One thing I noticed about the Mandarin course is that the materials were published in 1979 and the course audio confirms the age. The idioms and cultural references might be slightly dated, but grammar and vocabulary rarely change, so the course should still be a good reference.

Lastly, I plan to supplement the coursework with conversation practice. Luckily, I have people I can chat with throughout this journey so that I can learn faster!

The plan was to begin studying on April 1st but I took a five-day break after the first day to go on a road trip and enjoy the outdoors. Now that I’m back, I will resume studying an hour a day and log my progress in future posts.