The Mandarin Chinese language is an anomaly. It’s spoken as a first language by the highest number of native speakers in the world. It’s also mooted as the most difficult language for non-native speakers to learn.

But, like learning any subject, it’s easier when you’ve got a teacher who makes lessons a pleasure rather than a chore and/or a bore.

So, we’re pleased to have collared our fabulous Vivien Hom for November’s ‘In the Staffroom’, for a chat about her love for China and bringing the Mandarin Chinese language to a broader audience.

Q. You’re native Chinese, aren’t you, Vivien? Where did you spend your childhood and what memories do you have of it?
A. I grew up in Ningbo. It’s an important port city in East China’s Zhejiang province, about a two-and-a-half hour car journey from Shanghai. It’s a very developed and also a prosperous part of China.

Q. Do you still manage to go back there?
A. Me and my three children go back China to regularly. We’d love to spend more time there if possible.

Q. Why is that?
A. It’s amazing. There’s always so much to do and see. Time always flies so fast when we’re there. Ningbo is a very cultural city, with its history rooted in Hemudu Neolithic Culture. It’s also home to China’s oldest surviving library.

Q. When did you decide you wanted a career that involved the Mandarin Chinese language?
A. I started teaching the Chinese language to my friends when I was at university. After I became a mum, I started focusing on teaching Mandarin Chinese as my career. It’s a win:win. I really enjoy it. And I’m proud to teach the language and culture I love.

Q. And what about your own time when you’re not teaching in the school?
A. In my free time, I like to watches movie with my family. I also love travel, gardening, knitting, sewing and cross-stitching. I’ve reached a crafting milestone recently; I’ve completed my daughter’s prom dress.

At La Academia, we offer Chinese language courses and tuition options at beginners, intermediate and advanced levels, plus Chinese for business, in the Manchester school or online.

If you’re interested in learning the Chinese language, the Mandarin Chinese language – or if you’re not sure what the difference is – get in touch for a chat about your learning needs and what will best suit them –

T – 0161 491 1444
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