my pursuit of happiness - studying chinese

This is the story about a German guy who went to Taiwan to make his lifetime dream come true - mastering the Chinese language.

Montag, 6. September 2010

The Mandarin Project is Back!

Hello world!

Yes, it is true...The Mandarin Project is BACK! After a 3 year hiatus this blog is alive again! I am back in Taiwan and back at studying Chinese! And most importantly: back telling you about it!

In the last three years a lot of things happened. Before I start to tell you about what is going on NOW, let me just summarize what happened in the last three years... ;)

I earned my Master of Science degree, which was a big success: my thesis was published as an IEEE paper on a big conference! However, life had different plans with me than working as an engineer...I left Taiwan to start my own online business in Singapore. It was a good decision, I built up the business and I am still working on it :) In my private life, there were some big changes as well. The pretty lady that you saw in my previous blog entries is not my girlfriend anymore, but fortunately we are very good friends again by now :)

The time in Singapore was productive. However, it did not at all help me with my Chinese. Instead I learned how to append an "ah" after every English sentence and when to use "lah", "leh" or "Alamak!!!"... ;) Since everybody speaks English/Singlish there, I did not have to use my Chinese at all. It was really sad!

And I missed Taiwan dearly! Not just because of the Chinese language! The people, the food, the happy chaos...Taiwan is a very special place! And here I am, back in Taipei writing this article!

So let's talk about now. I am happy to be part of a great two year MBA program at the National Chengchi University in Taipei! And I have a new goal that I will pursue with all my energy: be totally fluent in Chinese by the time I graduate! This blog will accompany me on this exciting adventure!

I have signed up for a quite intensive Chinese course at NCCU as well. The Chinese Language Center there has a very good reputation as well and today was my first class!

Once I found my classroom and sat down next to my new classmates, all the memories came back! I had been in this situation before at ShiDa 3 years ago, and it just meant pure happiness for me...studying Chinese with people from all over the world, making great new friends, learning about this wonderful language and the Chinese history in the process.

And this first lesson was just fantastic! I directly liked my new teacher when I saw her. After just the first few minutes I knew that we will all have a great time in this semester! Just like my teacher at ShiDa, she is a very happy person and the first three hours went by like nothing. This time around, my classmates are from Korea (3), America (1) and from France (2 - cute accent).

I had so much fun in class...we were laughing away all the time. Looking forward to my next class tmr!

And this concludes my revival premiere blog posting of The Mandarin Project! :)

Looking forward to tell you more about my Chinese learning experiences!

Bye, Sebastian

P.S.: Here is a current pic of me, three years later! Caught in the Taiwanese rain! :)

Dienstag, 31. Juli 2007

Next semester hopefully same teacher!

Hello world!

My second semester is coming to an end! And yes, it was as good as the first one. Why? Again, my fantastic teacher Xiao Laoshi (蕭老師)gave the most motivating classes that you could think of. This woman is so full of energy, you really don't want to miss just a single class. ShiDa can be really happy and proud to have such a teacher. I could not think of a better teacher, if you come to Shida to study Chinese and if she teaches your level, do try to get into that course!

For the next semester, my third one at Shida, of course I really want to have her as my teacher too. The thing is just that a lot of my classmates will leave Shida to go back to their homecountries and to make sure you get the same teacher, Shida has the rule that you need 8 people to form a class on your own and make sure you get the same teacher. We are only 4 people now, but we really don't want any other teacher, we really want Xiao Laoshi!

So, I will ask Shida's office tomorrow if we can still get her next semester. I mean we pay a lot of money and I do think that should be possible. Actually, I think Shida's office will help us. They have been very cooperative whenever I had some problems! I will keep you updated if they are willing to help us students or not!

Bye, Sebastian

Mittwoch, 18. Juli 2007

Still learning!

Hi there!

It has been over a month since I last posted. This is just to tell everybody that I am still at Shida studying Chinese and that it is still great!

I just feel I am the busiest person living in Taipei. Now since I got a final deadline for my master thesis in Electrical Engineering, I have to work on that everyday after my Chinese class. That deadline is really a huge motivating factor. Next to Chinese and my master thesis, there is still - room rental for Singapore, that also keeps me busy. Actually had to upgrade to a dedicated server for that website since traffic was becoming crazy. The Taiwanese version is offline right now since I will implement all the improvements for this version as well (RSS, statistics, tooltips and so on).

So I guess it will take some more time until I will post more regularly again!

In the meantime, you can check another video of my trip to Germany. This is again the Castle Neuschwanstein. In the recent "New 7 Wonders" election it made the place, what a pitty! (Audio sucks....too windy!)

Bye, Sebastian

Dienstag, 12. Juni 2007

2nd semester

Hello world, I'm back in Taiwan!

After a great Germany trip I am back here in Taipei where my second semester of Chinese study at Shida University already has begun!

I arrived here in Taipei on sunday night at 11pm and was sitting in my classroom monday morning at 8am. I absolutely didn't want to miss another day since I had already missed the whole first week.

It was a great feeling to be back and do the thing I enjoy the most: study Chinese. I felt a bit funny at first because I had not spoken or heard any Chinese the whole 3 weeks I was in Germany but after a while I got the rythm back. ;)

For the 2nd semester I have a new strategy. First semester was already very successful, but in the end of the first semester when it came to the test I found out that I had not really studied at home after class which meant that I was not so well prepared for the test at all. This semester I will change that. Directly after my class at 10am in the morning, I will directly go to the library and sit down for at least one hour to study on my own. Did it these first two days and it was really nice. In the first sem I just went to Taida directly after my Chinese course and did nothing but surf the web and wait for lunch, that time will be spent much better in this semester!

Will keep you updated about my efforts... :)

Here some pictures of my Germany trip...

Went to see the famous castle Neuschwantstein:

Castle Neuschwanstein

Of course that is not the only place we saw. Here are some pictures of the absolutely stunning city called "Rothenburg". A romantic city that takes you back to medieval times...


Oh yeah, and there was lots of beer when we visited the world's beer capital... MUNICH!


Sonntag, 20. Mai 2007

1st semester is over!

Hello world!

The first semester is over, at least for me! I am writing these linese from Dortmund, Germany, where I arrived on Saturday already! I am back for a 3 weeks vacation before my second semester starts.

Last thursday we had our semester achievment test. Some test were the school checks how well you can recall everything that you learned in the past 3 months. And you have to get a score higher than 60% to go to the next level. I passed. Was really interesting to sit for the exam, I liked it. :)

Here some video greetings from my home in Germany:

Bye bye, and cu next semester!

Samstag, 12. Mai 2007

I dreamed in Chinese...

Yeah, the subject of this blog post says it all: I dreamed in Chinese! I never thought that this was really possible but I guess all the Chinese everyday in class and here on the streets in Taipei did have an impact on my subconsciousness...

In the dream I talked to a blond girl in Chinese. And she also spoke Chinese back. And after a while we both laughed because we realized that we could as well speak in English, but we kept on speaking Chinese. I cannot remember what we were talking about though but it was Chinese and I felt I was quite my dreams!

Mittwoch, 2. Mai 2007


There has been a new development in the BOCA issue that I reported about some time ago. I was personally called by the boss of the visa section at BOCA today...

Read more here in the original posting: At your service...