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University language instruction= looking out window

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I guess Marco Polo like this city when he came here. I suppose it is not too bad…well, as far as cities go. I am just putting together the end of my University semester. Too busy with school work to go to class. Funny, eh? Taking Chinese instruction at Zhejiang University. Real good teachers but the class structure is completely incondusive to learning a language. 30 people in a class= Wade looking out the window. I have the funny feeling that I would learn more just studying on my own. The Asian way of language learning also seems to be incompatable with my American thought patterns. I learn languages from using them, from having dialogue. There is no dialogue in any of my three Chinese classes. We just read from books (which is essential for learning characters), and fill in the blanks with the missing word. Man, I want to know how to speak Chinese, not how to fill in some ridgidly constructed blank. Right now the Chinese that I have aquired since December is still in the book. I do not own it….the book does. Languages are alive. I do not feel as if knowing how to abstractly partition fragments of sentences is going to help me to communicate any better. Oh well, back to the bars, the tea houses, and public parks. It is time to just talk.The university may not be the best place to learn language.

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Filed under: China, Language

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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