Mandarin Chinese might not be your first thought when choosing to learn a new language but it should be. It is the most widely-spoken language in the world. China’s meteoric rise as a world superpower, its fascinating cultural heritage and its status as a major global economy mean it’s a great place to visit and to do business

Vivien Hom – Our Mandarin Teacher

You might think it’s difficult to learn, but according to Vivien Hom, la Academia’s Mandarin teacher, it’s really not that hard. Why? Because Chinese has no tenses, no cases, no plurals, simple numbers and simple grammar. In many ways, it’s much easier to learn than complex Western languages with their emphasis on grammar.

Interested? Vivien took time out to tell me more about herself . . .

Growing Up in China

I grew up in Ningbo, a major port city in East China’s Zhejiang province. Ningbo lies south of Shanghai on Hangzhou Bay. It’s home to the 1516 Tian Yi Ge, one of China’s oldest libraries

After leaving school, I took my first degree in Chinese Language and Literature. Then I worked for a few years before coming to the UK in 2000 to pursue an MBA at Hull University. While I was there, I started teach Mandarin to my friends. I didn’t intend to become a teacher but I am very glad I have.

A Change of Plan

Initially, my plan was go back to China and work for a major international company. However, I met my future husband in 2004 and my path took a different turn. At first, I worked as a buyer for a textile import and export company in Salford. I gave this up to look after my young family – and then focused on teaching Mandarin as my career. I gained a Certificate in Teaching Community Language from Goldsmiths University in London and things moved on quickly from there.

Favourite Students

Teaching my young daughters Mandarin Chinese and Culture has been my main inspiration. It’s been a great incentive for me.

One British couple is learning Chinese with me. They both love China and want to be able to communicate with their Chinese-English grandchildren in Chinese. Such a thoughtful and loving couple. Very inspiring.

Family Life and Teaching

When I have some free time, we watch movies as a family. Comedy and romantic movies are a favourite of mine. Last week I saw The Upside and loved it – funny and heart-warming. We play badminton as a family on Sunday afternoons and I regularly play squash.

Food is an important part of our family life. Of course, I love Chinese food the best – English, Italian and Indian are favourites too. At our house, Monday and Saturday is Chinese, Sunday is English Roast, Wednesday is Italian, Friday is American, Thursday is Indian, and Tuesday is open for anything . . .

If you’d like to learn Mandarin with Vivien you can find out more here: