Jun 05, 2023

How to Learn Chinese While Traveling

Chinese is the language that can improve your chances on the job market. It is also strictly connected to the rich Chinese heritage and culture. While there are so many reasons to learn this language, it is also quite challenging. However, if you are interested in upgrading your skills, you might want to check for advice on how to learn this language while traveling to China.

Learn the Basics Before You Start Your Trip

If you are just starting to learn the language, you might need to verify your basics before boarding a plane. Be sure to repeat vocabulary connected with traveling, such as asking for directions, asking basic questions (when, where, how much), and so on. You might want to savor China’s many unique dishes, so be sure that you repeat the food vocabulary as well.

Do you know more advanced Chinese? You can also use the time before the trip to repeat some vocabulary and improve your language skills. Perhaps you could learn more about a particular tradition or Chinese holiday and nail the vocabulary connected to it.

Always Have a Translator on Hand

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced language user, you might sometimes forget or misunderstand a word or two. This is why it is always good to have a dictionary or online translation with you. Thanks to that, you can avoid confusion and enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Additionally, you can use a translator actively: if you just skip the word, because you don’t know it, you will never learn. On the other hand, when you check its meaning, there is a higher chance you will memorize it and use it in the future.

Use a Language App

A great way to quickly improve your vocabulary is by using apps. Many of them have interactive interfaces that were designed to resemble a game. Thanks to this, you don’t even feel like you’re studying. The best Apps for learning Mandarin Chinese can be helpful for people who already know their way around the language as well as for those who are just starting to learn Chinese characters.

Chinese lanterns

Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash

Get a Local Guide

When you learn a language, you also learn culture. While traveling in China, you can improve both by visiting with a local guide. You will not only see popular sights and hidden gems, but also immerse in the culture of the place and learn more words.

Depending on your level of Chinese, you can request a guide who will create a tour in English or fully in Chinese. The first option gives you a chance to learn more about China and practice basic vocabulary. The second can give you a great and unique opportunity to enhance your skills. It can be a perfect moment to enrich your vocabulary about traveling and Chinese customs and culture.

If you have already planned your trip and know when you will be traveling, try to book a guide in advance. Thanks to that, you can use their services from the start till the end of the trip. Whether you already speak some Chinese or not, having a local person with you can take your trip to the next level.

Try to Incorporate a Learning Course in Your Travel Itinerary

Immersing in a language in the country you are traveling to is a great way to improve your language skills quickly and efficiently. You might consider taking a language course in China. Incorporate it into your travel itinerary. The best option is to do it at the beginning of your trip.

Taking a learning course in China can prepare you to explore this country by not only improving your language skills but also by deepening your knowledge about Chinese culture. Additionally, you will probably study with native speakers who know the best idioms, vocabulary, and grammar in Chinese.

While you are taking a course in China, you will have more than enough opportunities in everyday life to practice your skills. In effect, you can learn the language much faster than while learning in your country.

Use the Language Whenever You Can

Everyday practice is the key to learn and remember the language. While in China, try to use the language as often as you can. Even if it is only ordering a coffee or a meal – do your best and don’t swap right away to English. Speaking in Chinese can not only improve your language skills, but also help you to build self confidence that, later on, you could use, for example, during a work meeting.

Try also to listen to the radio or watch TV in Chinese to get used to the sound of the language. You can also read newspapers or books. The more you immerse in the language, the more you improve your skills.

Chinese market

Photo by Clarene Lalata on Unsplash

Try to Communicate with Locals

Communicating with locals is a perfect way to practice a language and learn more about the culture, traditions, and customs of a country. Try to interact with Chinese people as much as possible. You can do it in everyday situations, for example, while in a restaurant, shopping in a market, etc.

You can also try programs such as Workaway, during which you stay with a local family and interact with people on a daily basis, helping in various tasks. For example, by babysitting, working on a farm, etc. It is an interesting way of traveling that can give you a full immersion into the culture and language, and a unique journey experience.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can learn Chinese while traveling. Remember to be consistent and get as much as you can from your trips. Keep having fun while learning, and remember that knowing a foreign language can give you a lot of advantages, both in your professional and personal life.


By Mike Anderson | A Super Chineasian

Whether it's Chinese, Spanish, or German, I'm thrilled to share my experience with language tools so that my readers would find their own way to fluency!

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