Considering learning Chinese Mandarin? Read to see how my first tutoring session went!

Learning chinese alphabet "pinyin" in class room.
To see my initial reaction after my first lesson and to see what we reviewed; check out this TikTok video by clicking here!

Are you monolingual and want to become bilingual? Maybe you’re already bilingual? Regardless, languages are the keys to accessing other paradigms.

I am bilingual, meaning I speak English and I speak Spanish. That journey for me was not easy because growing up in the U.S. it’s easy to suffer language attrition, the loss or partial loss of a language, which happened to me until I decided to take charge of my bilingualism. That story is for another post, moving forward with Chinese Mandarin!

In today’s ever growing global society, language matters.

When you travel and/or live in a city, especially like NYC; using a person’s mother tongue sparks joy in their eye. You can navigate in such a meaningful way and understand life with deeper perspective. Picking up a second, third or fourth language is exciting and worth it.

Did you know Spanish is the official language of over 20 countries (471 million native speakers) and English (370 million native speakers) in over 65 countries?

Which language is just as powerful? You guessed it, Chinese! There are a 1.3 billion native speakers with 1.1 billion native speakers of the Mandarin dialect.

So I decided to start studying, I figure if I start now–I should be able to speak fluently by my early thirties and another language by my early forties. With 30 years old only 13 months away, I started my first lesson! The more languages we speak, the more folx we can communicate, connect, learn and understand with.

How did I feel right before the Chinese Mandarin tutoring session?

Nervous. I had no background in using Chinese other than hearing it in the Chinatowns of Brooklyn and Manhattan from time to time and the media. I also was afraid of learning how to vary the tones when speaking!

How did I feel after the Chinese Mandarin tutoring session?

Overall it was not easy, but fun and engaging, my tutor is encouraging and shared that, “It is so great that you are bilingual, many sounds are easier for you to catch on.”

I am learning using pin yin, which is a system that helps western folx learn using the latin alphabet. I felt grateful for this system, especially to learn the various tones. Throughout the lesson, my tutor shared this sound or “letter” doesn’t exist in English, but in my mind it existed in Spanish such as “ü”. I felt a small advantage, yet still nervous and ready for the next lesson!