Students show keen interest in learning Mandarin

POSTED: 05/11/15 5:32 PM

St. Maarten -Students enrolled in the new Mandarin Course offered by the University of St. Martin are said by course facilitator Steven Huang to be showing a keen interest in learning the new language.

The new Mandarin course began last week and will continue for two months initially. The course was described as “interesting” because Mandarin is said to be one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Steven and Isabella Lu Huang said that the course was planned about a year ago and during the planning stages of this they intended to get a qualified Mandarin teacher from China to teach the students. They are working with the Chinese Embassy in Curacao to have the teacher here as early as possible so that when the students complete the course they will be given a certificate.

Presently the three teachers teaching the course are not being paid to teach but using this as a gesture to “give back to the community” that have supported them in their business over the years. The teachers who are presently conducting this course are known for their hard work in their business and the community. They have decided to take the time out from work to facilitate the teaching at the university. When questioned about the way the teaching is done Steven Huang said: “when you want to give a student a drop of water one has to prepare a glass of water” which is a Chinese proverb.

The facilitators were concerned after the first evening that the students may not have returned for the next class which was done last Friday. However, they were pleasantly surprised when the entire class showed up and paid keen interest in the lesson that was taught. The question was raised about the written part of the language and it was explained that it will take some time for the students to grasp this concept. He explained that as Chinese Nationals they are taught the language from an infant stage and they are also taught to write which is like art work. “It is very difficult,” he reiterated.

With any other languages if you speak, it may be easy to write. However in Chinese even if you speak the language it does not necessarily mean that you can write it, she said. It will take some time for the students to get “the hang of it.” She pointed out that in the earlier years there were no Chinese phonetics which made the language more difficult. However, today the phonetics  are in place and is dubbed pinging, which makes the language much easier. “Once you catch the pinging of the language it is much easier to learn.”

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