What is the best way to prepare for my Chinese course in listening & speaking?

In one and half months I will go to Xi'An for a three week speaking and listening Chinese course. I have plenty of resources such as Pimsleur Chinese and a lot of similar teach yourself audio.

I have been learning Chinese all year at a first year university level, but have grown tired of the set NPCR 1 and NPCR2 texts.

So what do you think are the best ways to prepare for my course?  Do you recommend any online Chinese courses or what do you think is best?


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Comment by Sara Jaaksola on December 4, 2011 at 10:51am

I also recommend ChinesePod, they have podcasts for every level and usually they're quite fun to listen too.

For speaking the best way to practice is to speak with native people as much as you can. I only really started to learn to speak when I had to speak with a Chinese person everyday without a choice to switch to English.

When you get to China use those three weeks wisely. Don't hang out only with your classmates if they tend to be speaking English all the time. Try to use Chinese with them too. Go out to speak with locals as often you can.

Comment by Gen on November 16, 2011 at 2:02pm

Well you're going to live in a Chinese community, if you have already mastered the basic Chinese phrases, orally. I suggest you to talk to a chinese speaking friend in Chinese, not English. Take some time to learn from them and practice your pronunciations. Preferably somebody from Xi'an or in mainland China to learn together with you, as they know local culture better and they would share the do's and don'ts with you.


Good luck and have fun!

Comment by Brandon on November 13, 2011 at 10:08pm

Hey jono - I personally paid & subscribed to Chinesepod for about 8 months & I still listen to their podcasts 1-2 times a day.  They use a conversational approach to teaching and it's very easy to either actively engage/ study as well as passive listening (which is good for me, so I can play videogames while listening to podcasts, still pretending I'm learning Chinese).

Also on the plus side they helped me a lot with speaking & pronunciation. My Mandarin teacher has told me that I have a far better accent than other students who have similar or even a little more time studying.  So yeah, I say try Chinesepod if you haven't yet.

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