Chinese Textbook

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Matthew's Chinese Textbook, "Huanying (Welcome): An Invitation To Chinese"
Matthew's Chinese Textbook, "Huanying (Welcome): An Invitation To Chinese"

As a Chinese American, my parents impressed upon me the importance of learning Chinese language, especially since we were living in China because of their employment there.  I took classes in middle and high school and ended up with decent confidence in my language skills.  This was not to last.  Whenever I visited home in the US, my skills were left behind on the plane and had to be relearned each time I returned to China.  Still, when I began college, I assumed six years of Chinese would allow me to study Chinese language as a minor.  After a few weeks, I realized that learning Chinese in a small, predominantly white town was extremely difficult. There was no opportunity to practice speaking Chinese. The classes were taught by repeating after teachers who were robots, without any real conversation skills!  After one semester, I tried one-on-one online tutoring, but scheduling conflicts led me to eventually stop altogether and that was the last time I tried to continue my Chinese education.  My Chinese has since declined to a near non-existent level.  My tones are awful.  I can barely make a sentence.  But, I have kept the textbook.  It reminds me of struggles to learn difficult grammar structures and vocabulary but it also reminds me about travels and linkages to heritage.  Here in America, learning Chinese is no longer part of my life.  I may revisit it in the distant future, but I’ve put Chinese learning to the side.

By Matthew

Place(s): China

– Gabriella Chu, Seoul Foreign School, 1882 Foundation Me + 3 Fellow

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant