My journey learning Chinese started in Chengdu, China where my wife and I had just adopted two children 5 and 7, biological brother and sister. At age 45, I didn’t speak one word of Chinese and they didn’t speak one word of English. That’s when the fun began! We immediately fell in love with our adorable Su Jin and Su Jiang 苏锦，苏江。So did our two boys who welcomed them into our home. Su Jin and Su Jiang came totally equipped with Chinese language – spoken and written, Chinese culture, music, dance, and the love of Chinese food! I was committed to preserve their cultural identity and made the rash promise through our interpreter that if they would 好好 study English, Daddy would 好好 study Chinese!
Within one year they were speaking fluent English and I was on my 12th reading of “Learn Chinese in 30 Days”! I can say I have done almost everything imaginable to keep my promise. The scope of my studies are beyond this short story. However, the most effective tool for me was scheduling time to study and talk with a Chinese tutor. The biggest problem arranging this was : 1) my busy schedule, 2) the cost, 3) the requirement to enter into a restrictive long-term contract if I wanted reduce the cost, and 4) the requirement to attend a certain number of classes per week or forfeit the fees for the classes I missed. I entered into a one year contract for five hours of Skype classes a week with another company a few years ago. While I did make huge progess, the scheduling and cost were a challenge. So, when I discovered Italki offered complete flexibility, very reasonable hourly rates, wide selection in teachers I could change at any time, and high quality QQ free phone calls and text support, I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed!
I have both a female and male teacher. They are both excellent and well qualified. My requirement at this stage are that they encourage me to speak 50 minutes of the 60 minute class so I can retrieve the thousands of words already tucked away in my brain. It feels so wonderful to speak non stop about the many things going on in my life, and when I’m stumped, to have a teacher help me with the right words or phrase. Learning Chinese has changed my life. It has led to hundreds of new friendships, a unique and satisfying relationship with our dear Chinese children, and the creation of two successful businesses in China that puts me in front of hundreds of people with whom I can now share my story and my culture –all in Chinese. I hope studying with Italki tutors will help you tell your story too. 加油！
Brad has been a member of italki since September 2015.