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Date: Mar 10th 2014 12:46p.m.
Contributed by: cityweekend

At Yew Chung International School of Beijing, the international curriculum includes an extensive Chinese Language and Culture programme. This focus on Chinese as the key second language is part of the YCIS Philosophy & Objectives of becoming bilingually competent in English and Chinese, the two major World languages of the future. In order to get an idea of what it is like for a Western student to study Chinese, we interviewed YCIS Beijing Year 13 student Sydney Hoskin from the US.

Why did you decide to learn Chinese?

I'm from the USA. My mom started learning Chinese in high school, and my dad learned it a little later on. When I was 2 we lived in Beijing for 6 months and found one of my three younger sisters in an orphanage. All are adopted from China, whereas my brother and I were adopted in the states. My parents speak to them in Chinese, so I picked it up by listening to them. My mom also spoke to me in Chinese when I was little.

When I was 9 we moved to Shanghai, and when I was 13 we moved here to Beijing. So at every school I've attended I've been given the opportunity to relearn what I knew as a child and more, so that I can communicate with our ayi at home and to make living in China easier. It only makes sense to learn the native language, especially when it comes to reading signs and using public transportation systems, like Taxis, Buses and the Subway.

How do you learn the language at school as well as outside school?

At school, I typically use it in Chinese class, but that's a given. I don't often use Chinese at school outside of Chinese class, but sometimes ...


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