Why you should make a language study trip to France

 

Study Trip France - Accent Francais

The benefits of a language stay are many: a life experience, the discovery of another culture, self-discovery and a way of traveling “smart”

If you are not yet convinced, here are some excellent reasons why to try this adventure.

  • Linguistic immersion

An intensive practice of the language: A linguistic stay means real practice in the actual country. Progress is faster because you speak French, think French and even eat French! French classes, accommodation with a French family and the practice of cultural activities are the keys to effective learning.

  • The discovery of France and its culture

Beyond learning the French language, it is the experience of a culture different to yours and an ideal way to open your mind.

  • Getting out of your comfort zone and your family circle

Working life quickly teaches you that sometimes it is necessary to adapt to unfamiliar situations. Immersion in a different country and culture is an excellent learning experience: new encounters and situations different from what you are used to forges character. This experience is often a first for teens and young adults and a new step towards self-reliance.

  • New friends from all over the world

A language study trip allows you to meet students from all over the world who have the same goal: to learn French. When one is away from home, great friendships are made and good times continue to be shared, often through a professional social network,  well after the language stay has finished.

  • A way to enrich your resume

There is no longer any excuse to miss mastering a foreign language. A linguistic stay makes it possible to value the practice of a language and knowledge of the culture. A considerable asset in the labor market.

Smart holidays: Visiting a country, meeting new friends, having fun and learning a foreign language….. are these not the ideal holidays ??

If your children are aged 16 and above, let them enjoy the best study trip to France ever: contact our partner Accent Français and enjoy a $40 discount on your stay in Montpellier!

10 Good Reasons to Learn Foreign Languages

  • Discover Oneself

There is often a language that plays a special role in a family’s history. This language is that of the local land, forefathers and roots, culture or religion, or even in-laws. You may have come across this little child whose family immigrated one generation ago. For lack of a common language, she cannot communicate with her grand-parents who stayed back in their country. As she grows older, more and more questions come to her mind. By learning her parents’ language, she will also discover the culture and the country of her ancestors, and better understand where she comes from.

  • … and discover the Other

You may be in a large city or a small village, in the desert or the jungle, in an office or on the beach, abroad or in your own country. When the Other sees how you make the effort to address them in their own language, they will turn their head towards you, stare at you and start smiling. Whether your accent is barely detectable or clearly audible, whether your grammar is already perfect or still perfectible, the Other is moved by your respectful behaviour. They relax, open up, ready to share more personal thoughts now that a psychological filter has been removed. Language knowledge is an invaluable gate-opener towards the Other.

Nelson-Mandela-on-Language

Nelson Mandela on Language

 

  • Go on a trip

Be it for holidays, a stopover or a business trip, knowing the local language can change drastically your experience. Not knowing the language, have you ever been hostage to the exclusive grip of a guide monopolizing all exchanges with the outside world? Have you ever seen foreigners fall prey to a complete misperception of the host country because they could not communicate? Conversely, has the local language never made contact with locals, planned or not, much easier? It will sometimes enable you to find your way, have dinner at night, even get your passport back or go through customs.

  • … or go for good

Between 1990 and 2010, about 160 million migrants changed countries. Do you happen to be one of them? Whatever the reason to migrate, it is life-changing. Having a good command of the host language is a pre-requisite to social and economic integration. In some countries being granted a visa –let alone citizenship- is subject to a minimum level in the host country’s language. Parents sometimes struggle and prior knowledge of the language is a decisive advantage; children usually adjust much quicker and soon surpass their parents.

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Global Migrations 2005-2010 (credit Abel, Sander et al)

Global Migrations 2005-2010 (credit Abel, Sander et al)

 

  • Be successful at one’s career

As globalization increases, there are few jobs and positions left that do not require at least one, maybe two or even three foreign languages. English has become the unchallenged lingua franca of science. In business, one of the job interviews could take place in a foreign language. Language skills will enable the applicant to stand out from multiple candidates with similar résumés, if she manages to put forward her knowledge of Japanese, Spanish or Bahasa at the right moment. As for incumbent employees, some see their career development hampered by their weaknesses in international communication.

  • … and start by succeeding in one’s studies

The role of languages at school increases as that in life. In Singapore for instance, pupils take one of the two most important exams of their lives at the end of Primary School; half of the subjects are languages –English and their mother tongue. Elsewhere in the world, language level might decide which high school students will attend, impact significantly the matriculation results or give a huge edge in a University application file.

ScreenHunter_136 Mar. 30 21.43

The language section of a resume found on LinkedIn, exceptional yet increasingly common

 

 

  • Live better, live longer

Language practice shares cerebral mechanisms with those involved in old-age neurological diseases. Thus it has been noted that Alzheimer’s disease sets off on average five years later for bilinguals than for monolinguals. Do your linguistic gym and live better!

  • … and increase your cognitive capabilities

Knowing several languages is the ability to switch from one to another by focusing on the language used while ‘inhibiting’ the others. Multi-linguals resort to this capability even in non-linguistic fields. They demonstrate a bigger intellectual flexibility, a better ability to deal with ambiguity or apparent contradiction, and can cope with information while ignoring unnecessary or spurious signals.

factorial-task (credit dimensional-overlap.com)

Bilinguals are more successful than monolinguals at classical Strimulus Response tests where the stimulus contains conflicting elements to be processed or ignored (credit dimensional-overlap.com)

 

  • Marvel at other languages

You may be amongst those passionate people for whom discovering any new language triggers jubilant amazement. What sounds has this new language produced? What ingenuity will it come up with to convey such or such concept? Will it be isolating, flectional, agglutinative? How will it address, for instance, the possessive, given that some languages will alter the possessor and others the possessed, or both, or neither, some resorting to an affix, others to a particle, and others still elegantly doing without any grammatical appendix? Isn’t it extraordinary that the French version of this post should have 5368 characters in 1006 words, the English one 4978 characters in 980 words, and the Chinese one only 2174 Chinese characters?

  • …and understand better one’s own language

One’s mother tongue remains for very long the obvious response, the one found without having to look for it, the only possible option that no one even thinks of challenging. But opening up to a second language puts things in perspective. Without a doubt an additional language enables to further one’s native language knowledge. The language structure that such and such language has adopted becomes more palatable when compared to others: the origin of words is unveiled, roles in the sentence take shape and the meaning of words is refined. If shadow and shade have the same translation in French, does it not prove blatantly that ombre has two distinct meanings? Even the infamous agreement of the French past participle when used with the avoir auxiliary can be better understood if one is introduced to the Hindi ergative.

Levels of language structure (credit glogster.com)

Various levels of language structure : Phonology – Morphology – Syntax – Semantics – Pragmatics (credit glogster.com)

 

And what are YOUR reasons?

To Read Chinese One Must Start Early

In any written language, words are subject to a triple association: sound, spelling and of course meaning. For example, the English word horse refers to the working and racing animal, is pronounced /hɔː(ɹ)s/ and spelled h-o-r-s-e. Anyone knowing how to read will be able to pronounce the word relatively correctly even if they have never seen it in writing before, as English is written in the Latin alphabetical script.

As explained by S. Dehaene, the reading process takes place here through the so-called phonological route: graphemes are mechanically converted into phonemes without resorting to deeper semantic representations.

cheval

The situation is quite different when it comes to Chinese. All Chinese languages are written in the unified system of Chinese characters. These Chinese characters are pronounced differently in each of the languages of the Chinese linguistic branch, for instance in Mandarin, the most widespread. Non-Chinese speakers often claim that the mapping of a Chinese character and its pronunciation is completely arbitrary; therefore it is said to be impossible to pronounce a character, even when knowing its meaning, unless its pronunciation has been learnt by rote beforehand.

The reality is slightly more subtle. Indeed, it is often necessary to learn simultaneously a word’s character and its pronunciation. But it must be stressed that 80% to 90% of Chinese characters are actually compound characters. They often consist of at least two subcomponents: a phonetic root (there are about 200 of them) and a semantic root (there are about 1000 of them). The phonetic root, often on the right side of the compound character, may give clues as to the pronunciation of the character. The semantic root, often on the left, tells about the word’s meaning, or at least the lexical category it belongs to. For instance, the Chinese character for a horse is马in simplified Chinese, and is pronounced  (third tone) in Mandarin.

The word for mother is pronounced mā ma (ma is doubled, the first one is pronounced with the first tone); the compound character for each ma has the semantic root of woman on its left and the phonetic root of horse on its right.

ma ma English

In a paper dated 2007, Bao Guo Chen and colleagues proved that the more arbitrary the mapping between meaning and sound or spelling, the higher the effects of the Age of Acquisition (AoA) on Chinese reading (for native speakers). Characters acquired early would be read with ease; characters acquired at a later stage would be more difficult to read if the correspondence between writing and sound or spelling was difficult to predict.

In other words, the more difficult it is to deduct meaning and spelling by reading a character, the more detrimental late acquisition is to quality and speed of reading.

Thus, within Chinese language and for native speakers, the impact of the Age of Acquisition increases with the arbitrariness of the mapping between meaning, pronunciation and spelling. What is the situation for alphabetical languages? By definition, reading an alphabetical language gives a very valuable clue as to what the pronunciation is going to be*.

Taken as a whole, the Chinese language is significantly more arbitrary than alphabetical languages in terms of mapping from character to sound and meaning. One can therefore assume that for Chinese even more so than for other languages, there is benefit in learning the language early so as not to be negatively impacted by the enhanced effects of the Age of Acquisition on reading.

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Chinese learning :
Chen, B. G., Zhou, H. X., Dunlap, S. and Perfetti, C. A. (2007).Age of acquisition effects in reading Chinese: Evidence in favour of the arbitrary mapping hypothesis. British Journal of Psychology, 98: 499–516. doi: 10.1348/000712606X165484

Stanislas Dehaene (2007). Les neurones de la lectureEditions Odile Jacob

 

Note : * The situation varies quite significantly from language to language. Italian or Turkish, for instance, are very easy to pronounce when reading a text, while a given spelling in English can be read in multiple ways (refer for instance to  toughthroughthorough, etc…)

Spamish songs

Hola! Let’s Sing Together!

Five Spanish songs to inspire your little ones

What is your first impression of Spanish language? Passionate, mysterious, artistic…it could be a mixture of feelings.

With 329 million native speakers, Spanish ranks as the world’s No. 2 language in terms of the number of first speakers. Spanish is also the the fourth most widely spoken language around the globe, with at least 3 million native speakers in each of 44 countries.

But…maybe all these numbers are nonsense to the young ones. What they want from learning a new language is purely fun! Here we have gathered five Spanish songs from VivaLing coaches, let’s explore them together:

Numbers 1 to 20 ( Contar hasta 20)

Family members ( La familia dedo)

 

Parts of the body ( Cabeza, hombros, rodillas, pies)

 

Days of the week ( aprendiendo los dias de la semana)

 

The weather ( Que Llueva)

10 Popular Beliefs on Bilingualism and Bilingual Education

There are still many beliefs and cliches about bilingual education and bilingualism. This argument deconstructs the 10 most popular beliefs.

bilinguisme

1. Monolingualism is the norm and bilingualism is the exception.

Not true. We estimate that more than half the people on the planet are bilingual and 40% speak more than one language on a daily basis. Bilingualism is a phenomenon that exists throughout the world, on all continents and in the majority of countries. There are different ways of being or becoming bilingual: plurilingual family situation, living near a border, schooling in foreign language, working abroad, etc.

2. Being bilingual means mastering two languages and two cultures.

Mastery of two languages is rarely perfect and balanced. We estimate that only 20% of bilinguals are as at ease with one language as they are with the other. Being bilingual is first and foremost about being able to communicate easily in two languages, and being able to switch between languages depending on the situation and the tasks at hand: bilingual people develop and use their languages in different and varied social contexts, for distinct purposes. What’s more, we can speak a language without actually knowing and mastering all of the cultural values and practices associated with it: a bilingual person is not strictly bicultural.

bilingue

3. You will never be bilingual if you learn a second language too late in life.

There is no age limit when it comes to learning another language. The quality of exposure to the language and its teaching, along with motivation, are essential to successful learning. If an adult can learn quicker than a child, he or she will, however, find it more difficult to lose their accent.

4. One language must be mastered before learning another.

Mastering one language is an illusion, as we continue to learn it throughout our lives. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to be able to rely on past achievements in your primary language to develop skills in another language. In the same way, studying another language enriches the knowledge and mastery of the primary language.

5. A child who has a bilingual education must have at least one bilingual parent.

Bilingual teaching applies to all children. It is an educational device and not a school that is just for children from bilingual families. The academic success of children who attend bilingual institutions therefore does not depend on the linguistic skills of their parents. However, if they have the benefit of being exposed to the language outside of school, it means that their learning is enriched and consolidated.

enfant bilingue

6. You have to be a good student to undergo bilingual education.

Whether or not certain bilingual educational institutions decide to select only the best students, bilingual education applies to all children without discrimination. All students find added value in bilingual education, regardless of their level of learning. Switching to another teaching language can even sometimes help to relieve educational difficulties and encourage better learning.

7. The use of different languages must be avoided in the classroom.

On the contrary, bilingualism can complement the development of both languages: the teacher can then build on this observation to develop adapted teaching strategies, taking the linguistic level of students into account. Alternating languages from one activity to the next and exchanging points of view by comparing ideas and documents in the original language encourages reflection, memorisation or even conceptualisation.

8. You can’t study a subject correctly in a foreign language (history, mathematics, sciences, etc.) without mastering this language.

Not true, it all depends on the strategies adopted by the teacher, who must take the linguistic level of students into account. With beginners, for example, it is fluent and efficient to deliberately draw on the students’ native language. Additionally, studying a subject in a foreign language allows students greater and different practice of this language, and to be enriched by it.

bilingue

9. Educating a child in two languages increases the risks of difficulties in their learning.

Bilingual children have no greater difficulty in learning than monolingual children. The only situation that could lead to a bilingual child having difficulty in their learning is if they have not sufficiently mastered any of the languages before starting school.

10. The benefits of a bilingual education are purely linguistic.

Bilingual education allows students to deepen their knowledge of languages and cultures associated with them, which invites them to think and understand the world differently. Furthermore, it motivates students by offering an authentic and dynamic linguistic practice within the framework of different academic disciplines. By approximating language and knowledge, we encourage students to exercise mental flexibility, which translates to being better able to resolve problems in various situations, as well as making them more selfsufficient.

Source: Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques – www.ciep.fr

 

learn english vivaling

Sing It When You Learn It, and Love It!

Discover six songs that bring your kids closer to English language

Music training speeds up brain development in children, especially in the sound processing function. For very young children, music has more power and meaning than words. Moreover, when children are exposed to music from other countries and cultures, they are able to learn about a different part of the world.

Singing is also one of the important tools that VivaLing coaches use to engage our young learners. If your kids learn with us, you must have heard some lyrics that are familiar, “if you’re happy happy happy clap your hands”, “how many fingers on one hand?”, “what are you wearing?”.

Here are six more fantastic English songs, recommended by our creative coaches. Learn them with your young ones, let them sing these songs with their coaches next session. The objective is clear – to make your children’s learning journey more fun!

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Recommended by: Coach Chloe L

“I love this one as it is a great way to reinforce the vocabulary for naming parts of the body. It is uncluttered and only uses the target language. The repetition and strong rhythm means it can be learnt by even very young learners. The actions and mimes support the development of the language and also improve memory.”

Old Mcdonald had a Farm
Recommended by: Coach Chloe L

“This fun song is great because it includes the animal sounds to associate with the vocabulary. Not only is this entertaining but it encourages word association in the mind of the learner. It is an opportunity to do some acting – pretending to be each of the animals! It encourages the learner to develop listening skills as they have to listen carefully to which animal is next so they can make the right sound.”

Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream?
Recommended by: Coach Hannah

“Sometimes students are used to having ‘right answers’ and ‘wrong answers’ but when we look at things we like, we all have different answers! This song is very simple, catchy and shows us that we can like and not like different things.”

Yes, I can!
Recommended by: Coach Hannah

“Sometimes understanding ‘can’ is difficult at the beginning. This song is also very simple and shows exactly what animals can or can’t do.”

Baby Shark
Recommended by: Coach Hannah

“To introduce family members for young students can be a little difficult sometimes so this song shows a family of sharks with a very catchy, fun tune!”

Going on a Lion Hunt
Recommended by: Coach Hannah

“This is a great adventure song! We follow a boy and a girl who are looking for a lion. We can act with them on their journey and it is also a song that is used with native kids. This song is for slightly older children.” A quick note, this song is more suitable for children over five years old.

French vivaLing

Do You Speak French?

This week is the “Semaine de la Langue Française et de la Francophonie” (Week of French language and cultures). A great occasion to give you more information about this international language spoken on the 5 continents.

French vivaling

A language spoken on all five continents

French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese (over a billion speakers), English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic. There are currently over 220 million French speakers worldwide, including 72 million so-called partial French speakers. Europe accounts for 39.87% of the French-speaking population, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean for 36.03%, North Africa and the Middle East for 15.28%, America and the Caribbean for 7.66% and Asia/Oceania for 1.16% (OIF, La langue française dans le monde, 2010).

As a result of population growth, the OIF estimates that the number of French speakers will rise to over 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa. This would take the proportion of French speakers in the world population from 3% to 8%.

French is unusual in that it often exists alongside other languages in multilingual contexts. In Europe (excluding France), the largest populations of French speakers are essentially to be found in Belgium (45% of the population), Switzerland (20% of the population) and Luxembourg. French is Europe’s second most widely spoken mother tongue with over 77 million speakers, after Germany (around 100 million) but ahead of English (around 61 million). Demographers forecast that France’s birth rate will make French the most widely spoken mother tongue in Europe, ousting German, by 2025. French is an official language of 29 countries, second only to English in this category.

French vivaLing

A language taught throughout the world

French shares with English the distinction of being taught as a foreign language in the education systems of most countries around the world. French is thus the second most widely learned foreign language in the world, with almost 120 million students and 500,000 teachers.

An estimated 2 million school pupils in some 50 foreign countries are enrolled in bilingual sections with French as one of the languages of instruction.

French is also taught at establishments run by France’s cultural network abroad (Instituts Français and Alliance Française schools), which provide courses for close on a million language students, and in the 481 establishments of the French school network abroad, which provide an education based on the French national curriculum for 310,000 pupils, half of whom are foreign nationals, in 133 countries.

French vivaling

An international language of reference

French is one of the working languages of the United Nations alongside English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese.

French is one of the three procedural languages of the European Union, along with English and German, and the sole language used for the deliberations of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

French is the sole official language of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

It is one of the working languages of many other international institutions: the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Council of Europe, the African Union (AU), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

It is also one of the preferred working languages of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

French plays a special role in international sporting life as an official language of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and hence of the Olympic Games. The inauguration in 1989 of the Francophone Games has underscored the existence of a real international French-speaking sports community.

France and the French-speaking countries play an active part in the world economy, accounting for some 20% of world trade in goods.

A study entitled “The global economic importance of the French language” conducted by the Foundation for International Development Study and Research (FERDI) in 2012 shed useful light on the positive correlation between a country’s membership of the French-speaking community and its trading position. Sharing a common language would appear to boost trade flows by some 33% on average, mainly by bringing down export costs, making it easier for businesses to penetrate a new export market and helping to sustain existing flows.

Membership of the French-speaking community, which accounts for 15% of the world’s wealth and one tenth of its agricultural land, is thus a source of great potential, particularly in periods of economic crisis, and particularly so for our partners in the Global South who stand to benefit the most.

French also has a role to play in global communication, thanks to international media channels TV5Monde (55 million weekly viewers), France 24 (45.4 million weekly viewers) and RFI (40.1 million listeners).

French also accounts for 5% of Internet pages, ranking between sixth and eighth of the languages most widely used on the Internet.

Over 100 million young people are learning French/learning in French at schools and universities around the world. Primary and secondary education in French is delivered in primary, secondary and high schools approved by the French Ministry of Education, collectively known as the French international schools. There are 481 such schools in over 133 countries with a total of 310,000 pupils, over half of whom do not hold French nationality.

What are you waiting for? Let your child join our French classes with our amazing French coaches! 🙂

To Learn More: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/francophony/events/article/french-language-and-francophonie-week-18-20-03-17

 

 

For Victor and Aude, the World Tour Is a Family Project

Victor, Paris entrepreneur and founder of (soccer center company) Urban Football, and his wife Aude, manager at BNP Paribas, decided to take a year out  to  travel the world with their 4 children: Candice 8, Georges 6, Maxime 4 and Emile, 1. They packed a few bathing suits, travel guides, toys and … VivaLing!  Staying in Singapore for a few months, they  share the story of this fantastic family adventure with us.

Victor Augais VivaLing

  • What was the trigger and what is the purpose of your World Tour?The arrival of our last son, Emile, and the Victor’s decision to start a new entrepreneurial adventure, gave us the occasion to take this year-long trip.We wish above all to live a different year, together as a family, and to discover cities that we believe are nice, staying for a few months in each of them. This is the opportunity to do homeschooling for our two eldest children (year 1 and 3), to take time to have a break and think about our priorities in life. This journey is also an opportunity to discover different cultures, and to educate our children in this cultural diversity. We hope that our children will make progress in English, and will want to speak several languages ​​in the future. For Victor, the trip is an opportunity to find  innovative ideas for the launch his a new business when we return to France.

Victor Augais VivaLing

  •  What is your itinerary?We are alternating short stays in different countries, with longer stays of several months in large cities. Our program includes traveling the West Coast in a camper van, San Francisco, Mexico, Singapore, Bali, and finally New York.
  • Why did you decide to go as a family on this adventure?Because neither of us could imagine travelling the world alone :). The adventure with the whole family is the real goal of our journey

Victor Augais VivaLing

  •  What events and / or encounters have affected you most so far?We’ve liked everything: seeing the beautiful West Coast landscapes by campervan, the fireside evenings in the national parks, the energy of San Francisco and its provincial appearance, the calm of the Yucatan beaches and the perfect organization of Singapore in a green environment. Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve  been warmly welcomed by families settled there.
  • How is your children’s schooling going on during this year?Victor gives classes to our 2 eldest kids in the morning, via remote education courses while I take the 2 little ones out –  otherwise there would be no possibility of concentrating at home.
  • What is the importance of languages ​​in your journey?We try to educate children in speaking English and different cultures.  They also take lessons, especially with Vivaling. In San Francisco, we enrolled them in a public “afterschool” to meet young Americans, and we will do the same in New York in the spring.

Victor Augais VivaLing

  •  Why did you choose VivaLing for your children?The service proposed by Vivaling seems to me to be excellent, and very suitable for a year of roaming.  With online courses, there’s the possibility of keeping the same teacher and the children can also take advantage of our  trips to review the language.
  • What do you like most about VivaLing?Children are able to review the language taught in the sessions, and parents are able to check the children’s progress.

Victor Augais VivaLing

  • What qualities do you think children and young people today will need to succeed in their professional lives tomorrow?They’ll need to be curious and adaptable, to take nothing for granted, to have the discernment to make their own choices and the courage to put them into practice. And to speak English!
  • “And after the tour of the world?”Back in Paris, for a new entrepreneurial adventure for Victor.

Victor Augais VivaLing

You can follow Victor and Aude’ s adventures on their blog ( in French) : https://ensemble-autrement.com/

mandarin teacher

Meet Jing, Mandarin Coach at VivaLing: “I’ve never felt the sense of fulfillment, that teaching gives me, from any other job”.

Who are you?

My name is Jing, which means calm and peaceful. I am from Baoding in Northern China,, Hebei province.

Now I am living in Haarlem, in the Netherlands.

I graduated from the Hebei University with  a degree in Economics and then went on to get a degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language in the East China Normal University,  Shanghai (2011). I also have the Certificate for teaching Chinese to Foreigners from the Confucius Institute.

How long have you been a Chinese teacher for?

I became a Chinese teacher in 2011.

Why have you decided to be a teacher?

Since I was very young, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Unlike other kids, I loved to stand up in front of people and was always super-excited to get the chance to “act” like a teacher. I really loved to go to the front of the classroom and explain the things I’d learned. I think I just burned to be a teacher.  I’m always able to put myself in my students’ shoes and I love to think about how I would like my next class to be. I’ve never felt  the sense of fulfillment, that teaching gives me, from any other job.

mandarin teacher

I especially love to work with children, I feel naturally able to speak and enjoy the “kid’s language”. I am never shy to act silly or crazy with my students. I feel awesome when I realize that  I can help to make kids love Chinese, that because of me, learning is fun!

Why do you like teaching online?

I am obsessed with incorporating technology into my teaching, I love to explore all kinds of tools to help engage and involve my students, and make my classes more fun and efficient. On top of this, teaching online gives me so many possibilities; I can teach students from around the world and  take my job with me anywhere.

chinese teacher

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling and singing. I also love all kinds of interactive games that can be played in groups,, like the board games or outdoor activities.

What food/dish do you prefer? ( best to choose a typical dish from your country)

I love Chinese food. Even though I live in Europe now, I want to eat Chinese food all the time. I love the Donkey burgers from my hometown Baoding.  They’re made of dough stuffed with donkey meat- delicious!

What is your favourite Chinese movie or book?

My favourite Chinese book is 围城 “Fortress Besieged” by Zhongshu Qian

What is your favourite place on earth?

My favourite place is home

DSC03014

What would you say to a friend to convince him/her to learn Mandarin?

Currently, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world.  That’s about one-fifth of the global population.  Each year more and more non-native students from all around the world, choose to study Mandarin, and are doing so  with enthusiasm and success. With a good teacher and good pedagogy, I am sure that you can do it too!

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Jing, Mandarin Coach at VivaLing

What is your best Chinese New Year memory?

Most of the time, I celebrate Chinese new year with my family: we sit and watch the new year gala and cook dumplings together. But in 2013, I started working in Thailand, where I experienced hot tropical weather, a different culture and had no family around. I was a bit sad and missed the Spring Festival’s atmosphere from my hometown.

The good thing is that my local Chinese friends suddenly put up a gathering of more than 20 people from all over the world, and we started making dumplings together. So I did not feel lonely any more! We had so much fun and ate all different shapes of dumpling made by all  people from different countries. This experience was quite unique to me and I will remember it during my whole life.

Nouvel an chinois VivaLing

How do you usually celebrate CNY at your place?

I was born in Northern China, in the Hebei province. Northern Chinese love food made with wheat flour, like dumplings, noodles, steaming buns etc. And Northern Chinese take this Spring Festival celebration really seriously. It can last for a month.

In my family, on the 24th of December of the lunar calendar, my family is getting ready for New year. We sweep the whole house, including the roof, and every corner in every room. We really want to make sure that our house is spotless before Chinese new year’s eve .

When I was young, my family used to buy live Chicken and fish to be cooked for the new year feast. On the 25th, we usually buy Tofu and we fry it. On the 26th, we buy a lot of meat and stew then put salt on the meat to keep it longer. On the 27th of the Lunar calendar, it’s time to kill the Chicken. I always used to hide away from this event. The only memory I have is the chicken feathers floating around the yard.  Four days before the new year’s eve, the cooking show was ready to start. Now we don’t buy live Chicken anymore, but I always remember this scary yet exciting feeling from my childhood.

On the 28th, it is time to put on the red ornaments to scare the “nian” – which means the scary monster – away. We then hang a couple of lanterns on the door step and we prepare the firecrackers. On the 29th, the whole family usually gather at  the grand parents’ place, starting to prepare the biggest feast in a year. The 30th is the D-day with a big dinner, the gala, everyone is wearing red clothes, and close and far relatives get together. On this special day, small kids also can stay late at night and eat unlimited quantity of candies! I always try to stay up until the new year countdown, then we wish each other happy near year, we light up the firecrackers and fireworkds, then go to sleep. On the next morning, we wake up early to go and visit our relatives and neighbors to with a prosperous new year. Children can can get a lot of red envelopes —with money inside! Nothing is more exciting than this. 🙂

Nouvel an chinois vivaling

 

Nouvel an chinois VivaLing

What are your favourite dishes for New Year?

There is a lot of food you can eat during Chinese new year, but two dishes are my favourites. We call them “Niangao” and “xioamihuangzi”.  Niangao is made of sticky rice with Chinese date, and “xiaomihuangzi” is made of millet flour. They are not fancy food, on the contrary, they are quite cheap to make. But for me they are really related to Chinese New year and to my my grandmother who cooks very well. 

Nouvel an chinois VivaLing

Which expression with your teach your students for CNY?

I will teach them 吉祥如意 and  年年 有余 (Ji xiang ru yi, nian nian you yu)

These two sentences both contain a similar animal sound.

“Ji Xiang” means auspicious, but “Ji itself” means Chicken. As this year is the year of the Chicken,  it means a lot. “You yu” means “to save more”, and “yu” also means fish. It means that, by the end of a year, you will get money and wealth.