My Survival Chinese Challenge: 3 Weeks to Revive My Mandarin

Hello again everyone!

Just to let you know, I'll be going to China in three weeks, so I'm pretty excited since I'm very interested in Chinese culture!!!

There's one thing however: I need to brush up on my Chinese and I don't have much time to do it. 

In high school I learned Mandarin during my senior year and continued studying it in university for another two years then self studied it for one year. However I learned Mandarin in the traditional classroom method of memorizing vocabulary lists and grammar rules and dialogues based around those and then being tested on it all. When I started studying Mandarin on my own, I naturally applied these kinds of methods to learn Chinese in my last year at university.

I had one additional obstacle to my fluency, however, which were those formidable characters. Unlike other languages that I've learned or have been learning so far, which all have phonetic writing systems, I didn't have an effective strategy to deal with the Chinese characters other than the traditional method of writing isolated characters a bunch of times and rote memorizing them, and like many Chinese learners I ended up remembering and forgetting a lot of characters, including unfortunately many of the most basic essential Chinese characters. 

I eventually burned out from learning Chinese in January 2014 and took a hiatus because of this major root problem: I focused on every aspect of Chinese (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) at once and I went too fast!!!! 

However I will eventually return to learning Chinese after I've taken care of learning several other languages and try to slowly learn Chinese again. 

I obviously won't be a fluent speaker of Mandarin in three weeks, but I will focus on re-learning survival phrases in Mandarin as well as a few conversational phrases and connectors in the next three weeks before the trip, in which I'll be out of the States for 10 days. 

The areas I want to focus on are:

Week 1:

- Basic Expressions

-Personal Information

-Eating Out

Week 2:


-Going Out/Social

-Hotel/Being a Guest

Week 3:

-Telephones, Post Offices, and Banks


Also I'm planning to study the Chinese conversation connectors from Benny Lewis' Fluent in 3 Months page in order to make myself sound a lot more fluent than I am. I'll share more of my strategies with you next week as I update my progress on this little challenge! 

So there you have it people!

As always,

Enhance Your Voyage, Learn a Language!