When most people finish Intermediate Chinese II at NYU Shanghai, they tend to stop learning Chinese. However, I think that it is important to continue learning through the rest of your time at NYU Shanghai. 

It is understandable that when juniors leave for study away, they tend to focus on their major classes rather than continue learning Chinese. Like every language, immersing yourself in the environment and being consistent is important. I went back to Thailand for winter break, not speaking Chinese for a month, and I already felt like I was losing it.  

Whether it is a conversation with a taxi driver or grannies at the park, they are always excited to talk and learn more about you. It can be very difficult to make a meaningful conversation with them if you do not know what they are talking about. 

NYU Shanghai Advanced and Post-advanced Chinese classes can help you. When students complete Advanced II, they have opportunities to take specialized classes based on their interests. For example, I often struggle with Chinese pronunciation and wanted to learn techniques that would improve my speaking skills, so I took Introduction to Chinese Phonetics with Professor Li Qing. Throughout the course, I had the chance to compare my mother language to Chinese. It made me realize that it was the effect of speaking Thai that made me struggle with some consonants. Yet, I also got to share my favorite Chinese poems and literature with my classmates. I see how these pieces of art are crafted and how some of them can be helpful for me as a tool to practice my pronunciation. 

Some classes like Professor Jinghong Bi’s Discovering Contemporary China through Documentary Films class also collaborate with different organizations like Shanghai Urban Archaeology. Not only will you get to explore Shanghai and its history, but you will also get to talk to government officials and listen to local’s stories. 

These post-advanced classes are not easy but the Chinese department here will help you reach your full potential if you are willing to push yourself. When I took Classical Chinese for Advanced Mandarin Learner with Professor Lian Jiani, I struggled very much but by consistently going to my teacher during office hours, I ended up doing pretty well in the end. Translating classical texts based on your interpretation of the world can be rewarding especially when you discover new insights and perspectives that were previously hidden or overlooked. By bringing your own experiences and understanding to the text, you may uncover meanings and themes that resonate with you personally and deepen your appreciation of the work.

As I am pursuing an advanced track in Global China Studies, the advanced undergraduate research courses: Professor Chen Jian’s Reading and Viewing Modern China and Professor Zhao Lu’s Foreign Societies in Classical Chinese Writing became available to me. These courses are taught in Chinese and they can be very frustrating, but with the help of advanced Chinese courses, I felt more grounded and learned to believe in myself as I gained greater proficiency in the language. Through Post-Advanced Chinese courses, I was able to tackle more complex topics and communicate with greater fluency and accuracy. As a result, I became more confident in my abilities and my frustration with Chinese started to diminish, and I began to see the beauty and richness of Chinese culture and literature with greater clarity and appreciation.