Today I will write a review of the ‘Survive in Chinese’ videos on FluentinMandarin. The website comes from the very admirable vision of 25 year old Chris parker to “share with everybody the message that fluent Mandarin is within (their) reach”.
- All of the videos are short and focused on specific, practical needs of people living in China. Chris really focuses on conversations that actually occur when living in China.
- The course is very thorough ensuring that each topic sticks to its main point, and striving to cover everything you could possible need within the stated objective.
- While he guides the viewer through the videos, the actual speaking and demonstration is done by a native Chinese speaker, which helps the viewer with listening.
- The course asks questions in a way that allows viewers to put things together for themselves without directly giving us the answers.
- Timely pauses to allow the viewer to practice along with the video.
- Character translations of everything covered in the video. These are also duplicated below so that viewers can take notes later.
- The course practices reading, speaking and listening skills giving you all the characters you need to practice writing as well if you wish.
- Electronic flashcards available for extra practice after watching the videos.
- The package is not free, so if you are on a budget, you will still be able to learn many of the same things from the huge amount of resources available online.
- Requires VPN inside of Mainland China, and therefore it can only be studied prior to arriving here.
- After the payment, there is a chance that only some of the lessons are relevant to your specific experiences in China. However, you are required to buy the complete package.
The best attributes of ‘Survive in Chinese’ are that it allows you to practice all your Chinese skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as well as the fact that it focuses on very practical Chinese. For the vacationing foreigner, as well as the determined student, this course provides a natural and easy progression into Chinese. It is much more dynamic, detailed and multi-faceted than learning straight from a textbook.
‘Survive in Chinese’ gets a strong recommendation from me simply because it wholly delivers on what its primary focus is – to give a linguistic foundation for people to survive here. The only minor concern is that it cannot be used in Mainland China without a VPN, and therefore if you cannot make that investment, it is best to complete this course before you arrive in China.