Civil Engineering student hopes for career in ChinaMehmet Rifat has always loved languages - fluent in English and Turkish, he also has a smattering of Spanish and was a keen French student while at school
Thanks to his fascination with Chinese culture, learning Mandarin at LSBU's Confucius Institute was a natural progression for Mehmet – but he was delighted to find that his studies took in much more than just the language."
Unique teaching methods
"It was great to see the way the world is portrayed from a Chinese perspective," he recalls. "I learned a lot about the country itself, its history and what a diverse population it has. The teaching methods were very unique, and each lesson was great fun. The whole experience has made me want to look into the culture in my own time, which is something I have already started."
My advice to anyone thinking about learning Mandarin is to do it! It is not as hard as you might think.
Mehmet's existing understanding of other languages helped him to pick Mandarin up quite quickly. "Although the way in which sentences are structured is very different from English, the order is similar to Turkish and French," he says. "Getting your pronunciation right is more difficult, however, as there are lots of words that look the same but are pronounced differently, giving them very different meanings."
Excellent teachers made the experience
Mehmet has also found the calligraphy elements of the course interesting. He admits he enjoyed everything about his learning and as a creative individual with an eye for detail, calligraphy really attracted his attention. "The whole experience was so enjoyable that when the course finished, I wanted another lesson! Our teacher was great, and really helped us to improve our understanding of the language and culture."
Mehmet enjoyed learning Mandarin so much that he intends on undertaking more courses with the Confucius Institute. "The people at the Confucius Institute are very friendly and the teachers are excellent. It is a challenging experience, but a very rewarding one."
Mehmet is also aware of the importance of understanding different languages and cultures when it comes to his future employment. "I'm looking at a possible job venture in China sometime in the near future," he says. "The experiences I have gained from the Mandarin proficiency course at the Confucius Institute will hopefully stand me in good stead!"