Learning mandarin is the most enjoyable headache I have ever had, and I have Keats to thank for this. I have been studying here for ten months and it is definitely the most challenging goal I have ever taken on. But don’t let this deter you. Learning any language has it’s ups and downs, but the ups bring so many rewards that the downs seem meaningless.
Keats is a private school located in central Kunming, making it easy to get to, no matter where you live. I am in my second semester studying in the group class. In this class, there are eight students with a similar level of Mandarin to mine. My teacher is Jayden, a young, charismatic, fashionable and highly efficient Mandarin teacher who puts his heart and soul into each lesson. He prepares many worksheets for class, filled with important vocabulary to get you through everyday life in China. The group classes offer many advantages.
1) You not only learn from your teacher, but you learn from your class mates.
2) An important focus is put on reading, writing, speaking and listening, enabling you to be emerged into all aspects of the language.
3) You get to meet and become close with people who are in the same situation as yourself.
4) The price of the group class is crazy cheap that it makes no sense to study elsewhere
5) The amount of students in the class is very low, allowing you to be able to ask a question to your teacher whenever you want, no matter how stupid it is.
I am a teacher on a work visa, teaching English like so many other foreigners. The teaching life is a good one. You get decent pay to live a very comfortable life, low hours per week of work (compared to my former life), the chance to live in an awesome city with awesome weather (Kunmings English translation means “sweet weather all year round”) and a huge amount of freedom. This freedom allows me to study Mandarin in the day and work at night. A typical day in the life of Nick consists of waking up around nine thirty, jumping on the bike and cycling to Keats for my two hour lesson, going to get lunch with my classmates (usually at a restaurant or café), doing my homework then off to work for three hours. When I think about it, I can’t believe once upon a time I was working a 9-5 job. It is a very affordable city with friendly people, there is always something to do and has a very relaxed vibe.
With a life like this, there is no way I will be returning to my country anytime soon. So if your after a bit of a challenge, or you want to further your Mandarin study, move to Kunming and come and study at Keats. There will be no regrets, guaranteed.