Connecting to 1.1 Billion - Mandarin Chinese

Friday, December 02, 2022 - By: Dara M, Alexandra ‘25

With over a billion people speaking Mandarin around the world, it is easily the most popular Chinese dialect, and learning it would be great for future business interactions and making Chinese friends. Mandarin is offered as a second language course at Brentwood, at different levels ranging from Beginner Mandarin to Mandarin 12.

Students come into class ready to communicate in Mandarin, working their brains hard every minute to translate in their head in order to understand and formulate a response. This way of learning by engaging in conversation boosts confidence in one’s communication skills as well as creating stronger student-teacher relationships.

Our Mandarin teacher, Ms Yang, came from Taiwan and is in her second year teaching Mandarin at Brentwood. Ms Yang speaks Mandarin to her students in every class to train their understanding. Happiness fills her heart when she sees how far her students have come. “It is rewarding to see a student progress from not knowing any Mandarin to being able to have a conversation with me in Mandarin,” Ms Yang remarks. Weaving everyday conversation into the lessons is an important way Ms Yang teaches in order to familiarize us with the language in a casual setting.

Mandarin is certainly a challenging language to learn, but our classes are filled with students who have a passion for learning and frankly, love a challenge. Haru S, Privett ‘24 affirms this, “I chose Mandarin to challenge myself. I wanted to try a language with no similarity to English.” Students develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills over the course of the year. During Lunar New Year, the classes go to Downtown Victoria’s Chinatown to practice their Mandarin skills in the real world.

Mandarin is a highly beneficial skill that can help you communicate with more than 1/7 of the world. Students dive into the depths of ancient China to learn about the intricate history of the different dialects that have evolved over the centuries. If you want to take on the challenge of learning a new language (and to shock your Chinese friends), Mandarin is the second language for you.

Dara M, Alexandra ‘25

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