Economy :: China economy boom sparks local language rush

The Queensland University of Technology will introduce short courses in Mandarin Chinese in Brisbane’s CBD from February in response to demand sparked by China’s booming economy.

Dr Ingrid Wang from QUT’s School of Humanities and Human Services said she had been inundated with calls and emails from local people who wanted to learn some Chinese before heading to China on business or holiday.

She said the university previously offered summer courses to its students, but was now expanding its Mandarin program to the general public.

“There’s an increasing number of Australian companies that want to open up branches in China or send people to China on business,” she said.

“It’s very necessary for them to have some basic working language skills so that they can function in their daily lives and establish relations in Chinese while working and living there.

“I have been receiving emails and messages asking about Mandarin from people who work in Brisbane’s CBD and wand to study Chinese after work. So the new courses are responding to demand.”

QUT will offer two courses – Practical Mandarin Chinese For Beginners, Level 1 and Level 2 – that will run consecutively, beginning February 12.

The first eight-week course will involve five hours of night classes per week, from 6pm to 8.30pm on Mondays and Thursdays, at QUT’s Gardens Point campus in George Street.

The second 10-week course will involve four hours of night classes per week, from 6pm to 8pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

Dr Wang said people interested should be prepared to work hard – but also have fun.

“It is a difficult language to learn – it’s challenging but it’s also fun,” she said.

“We cover listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as aspects of Chinese culture and society.

“By the end of the two courses, students should be able to greet people, introduce people, talk about themselves and their family, bargain and negotiate, describe things in simple sentences, talk about the time, date and directions, and buy food, drinks and goods.”

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