Klaudia is from Poland. Her native language is Polish. Apart from Chinese and English, she also speaks Spanish and learning French and Korean at the moment. Klaudia started her journey learning Chinese since she was 13. She is now an undergraduate student in Amsterdam Netherlands.

Time Stamped Show Notes

  • [0:54] – Klaudia was born in Poland
  • [0:56] – Klaudia is currently an undergraduate student in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • [1:10] – In addition to Chinese, Klaudia speaks Polish (native), English, and Spanish, and is also learning French and Korean
  • [2:14] – Klaudia has been studying Chinese for 7 years, beginning when she was 13
  • [2:36] – Why did Klaudia learn Chinese?
    • [2:38] – Klaudia didn’t choose to learn Chinese, it happened almost by accident
      • [2:44] – Her parents wanted her younger brother to learn Chinese
      • [2:59] – Klaudia became interested in the language by participating in her brother’s Chinese lessons at her house
        • [3:51] – The lessons were not taught in a typically structured way, instead consisting of songs and learning characters through symbolism
    • [4:21] – While Klaudia grew increasingly more interested in Chinese with each lesson, her brother didn’t enjoy it as much and eventually gave up his Chinese study
  • [4:48] – What’s is Klaudia’s biggest motivation in learning Chinese?
    • [4:52] – At first Klaudia was motivated simply by her interest in the language
    • [4:54] – Klaudia found the characters and different forms of expression relative to Latin languages fascinating
    • [5:12] – As time went on, Klaudia became increasingly interested in the culture
      • [5:18] – Klaudia’s dad had many Chinese friends and business acquaintances, and she was able to meet many of them when they came to Poland
      • [5:36] Klaudia felt that learning more about China and its culture was only possible if she spoke the language
  • [6:04] – How did Klaudia learn Chinese?
    • [6:11] – Klaudia was very focused on learning all of the characters
    • [6:40] – While bored during her other classes in middle school, Klaudia would repetitively write characters
    • [7:06] – It was also important to listen to a lot of Chinese audio, especially to become accustomed to distinguishing the tones
      • [7:27] – Listening to teachers, or podcasts, or watching Chinese movies
      • [7:46] – Being immersed in a Chinese environment as much as possible
    • [8:31] – At the intermediate stage, speaking was more of a focus
      • [9:02] – Klaudia improved her vocabulary through writing
    • [9:27] – She maintained a focus on audio even after the beginning stage
  • [9:42] – What had been Klaudia’s biggest challenge in learning Chinese?
    • [9:51] – Remembering different phrases
      • [9:57] – There are so many 4-character-long phrases, it was difficult to keep track of them and learn how to use them
        • [10:38] – These phrases usually have stories behind them, and learning the stories helps Klaudia understand them better
        • [10:53] – She tries to use the phrases in her writing, as they are uncommon in spoken language
  • [11:27] – What was Kluadia’s experience learning the tones?
    • [11:41] – Klaudia struggled to understand the accents in Shanghai when she was in between B1 and B2 levels
      • [12:17]- She usually heard locals speaking Mandarin with a strong Shanghai accent
      • [12:34] – Even when it wasn’t easy, Klaudia was still always able to communicate
  • [13:08] – Embarrassing moment: 
    • [13:17] – Klaudia’s dad’s Chinese friends told her that when she was complimented on her Chinese she should respond “哪(nǎ)里(lǐ)哪(nǎ)里(lǐ)”
    • [13:52] – Klaudia thought this meant that she was being polite and modest/self-deprecating, and used it as such often in her Chinese interactions
    • [14:19] – She recently saw the response written down and realised that its true meaning was not as modest as she had thought
  • [14:55] – Most rewarding moment: 
    • [15:05] – This summer, Klaudia was working with many fellow international students in Jinhua Municipality on a project to make tourism more foreigner-friendly there
      • [15:38] – They were sent to a very small rural village of only 140 families, and Klaudia was one of the only ones who spoke Chinese, so she was able to be a link between the locals who didn’t speak English and the rest of her group who didn’t speak Chinese
        • [16:28] – Klaudia and her fellow international students (through Klaudia’s translation) were able to learn so much from the locals
  • [17:16] – A difference between the Chinese culture and Klaudia’s own culture
    • [17:33] – In Beijing, Klaudia witnessed how much Chinese people respect each across society, especially elders and authority figures
    • [18:35] – Klaudia sees this aspect of the culture as beneficial in having a high-functioning society
  • [19:24] – Klaudia’s favourite city in China: Chengdu
    • [19:37]- Klaudia loved having the modern architecture, and the feeling of a big city, without as many foreigners like in Beijing, Shanghai, and other big coastal cities
      • [20:12] – It’s more difficult to be fully immersed in Chinese life in cities with many foreigners
    • [20:53] – The Sichuan food is really delicious
  • [21:03] – Life before learning Chinese vs. life after learning Chinese
    • [21:20] – Klaudia is perceived differently because she was able to manage the enormous challenge of learning the language
    • [22:06] – Chinese people receive Klaudia very warmly now that she can express herself and communicate with them
    • [22:48] – Being able to speak Chinese opens doors
      • [23:08] – Klaudia was able to get an internship at the Polish embassy in Beijing
  • [23:40] – Klaudia is currently focusing on improving her Spanish
  • [23:42] – Klaudia may pursue a Master’s degree in China in a year
  • [24:02] – Klaudia will always have more to learn with Chinese; her Chinese story is never-ending

Klaudia’s Favourite Chinese Quote

  • [26:31] – 倾国倾城- A woman who is so devastatingly beautiful as to cause a city to fall
    • 倾(qīng) – to overturn
    • 国(guó) – nation, country
    • 倾(qīng) – to overturn
    • 城(chéng) – city, town
  • [26:58] – Klaudia find it inspiring that there is a phrase to express this idea

Klaudia’s Advice for Chinese Learners

  • [27:26] – Don’t give up, it is worth all of the effort
  • [27:35] – While learning Chinese, find a passion for it and appreciate the beauty in the logic of it

Connect with Klaudia

  • Wechat: kklon18

Resources Mentioned:

  • [25:03]Pleco – Chinese-English dictionary app
    • Includes characters and pinyin, and has an audio feature to hear the proper pronunciation of words. After downloading, you can use it offline
  • [25:25]Chinese Comic: Detective Conan Vol.1
    • [25:29] – Story originates in Japan, but has been converted in Chinese comics
    • [25:54] – Klaudia recommends this because it’s interesting and fun to read, but isn’t childish

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