HSK and Harry Potter

Community Highlights Long Term Travel HSK and Harry Potter

In the four months since I last posted on my blog, I've spent a lot of time studying Chinese, all of which (sort of) culminated three weeks ago with the HSK, a standardized test for Chinese language learners. From the beginning of my program, the HSK symbolized the end goal of my Chinese studying this year, so it feels pretty strange now to be done with the HSK and have only a month and a half before I go home.

It's really exciting to learn Chinese in an environment where I'm studying fast enough and in enough different ways that I can objectively measure my own progress. When I got here eight and a half months ago, I only knew a few of the 150 words tested on the HSK 1; now I've taken and hopefully passed the 2500-word HSK 5. I remember a time around January when I thought my Chinese had reached the point where I was comfortable in my day-to-day conversations, so my progress would have to slow down significantly, but it turns out I was totally wrong, because the conversations I can have now far surpass the ones I was having in January. It's really interesting and kind of funny to be able to specifically remember the first time I learned words that I now can't imagine not knowing, but I guess that's the nature of learning a language in the span of a year. I really love learning Chinese this way, especially because it's such a hard language, and I definitely couldn't learn it nearly this fast in the US.

Today I hit a language learning landmark that was particularly exciting for me: I finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Chinese. It might not seem that exciting, but it was for me because it's the first full book I've read in Chinese and now the third language I've read Harry Potter in. I'm especially proud because I spent about seven months reading the first 35 pages, but in the last month and a half I managed to read about 150 pages. My next challenge is to read a novel originally written in Chinese, rather than one that I've already read many times in English!

Hopefully I'll be able to keep up my language learning progress over the next month and a half, because I know I'll probably never have another opportunity to learn a language like this.

For anyone not interested in my language learning (and everyone else), here are some pictures from the past four months.

1. Teaching my host mom to bake cookies
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2. Visiting Shanghai over Chinese New Year vacation
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3. Making dumplings with my host grandma
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4. Visiting Nanjing after the HSK
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5. Visiting the Terracotta Warrios in Xi'an
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This featured blog entry was written by ccole from the blog The Year Between.
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By ccole

Posted Mon, May 05, 2014 | China | Comments