willow zheng mandarin
The Bund on Shanghai on National Day

The Bund on Chinese National Day
"十,一" 在外滩

2005 Shanghai Kitchen

Shared kitchen at my apartment in 2005
2005年公寓的公共厨房

Laundry Room - Before

Workers preparing to tear down my laundry room
工人们准备拆除我的洗衣房

Laundry Room -- After

The aftermath
后来

Laundry Room -- Reconstruction

Reconstruction begins
重建开始了

My New Laundry Room

My new laundry room!
我新的洗衣房!

Kai Hong Hotel

Kai Hong hotel
凯虹宾馆

Home Inn

Home Inn
如家酒店

Students in China - Ron in Shanghai

学生在中国-史荣在上海

This is an account of my three trips to Shanghai to study Mandarin. Originally just in English, I later decided to translate it into Chinese. Below are the results. If nothing else, the translation should provide entertainment for native Chinese readers. -Ron

In 2004 I spent a month in Beijing studying Mandarin, liked the experience, so decided to go back to China to study again in 2005. I wanted to try out a different city, go when it was warmer, and spend half as much money. I ended up spending October in Shanghai.

2004年我住在北京一个月学中文。我很喜欢那个经历,所以2005年决定回中国学习。这次,我想试试去别的城市学习,在暖和的时候去,还有花一半的费用。我最后花了我的十月住在上海。

Shanghai isn't a city that comes to mind when thinking of going abroad to study Mandarin. Those are Beijing, Dalian, or Kunming. Several friends warned me that "You will only hear people speaking Shanghai hua" or "Shanghai people are unfriendly"... So I decided to find out for myself.

你一想到去中国学汉语的时候,你不会先想到上海,你先想到的城市常常是北京,大连,或者昆明。几个朋友警告我,说“你只会听到人门讲上海话”,还有“上海人不太友好。”所以我决定自己去看看。

I ended up going to Shanghai three different years to study, 5 - 6 weeks each time. During those times I came to really like Shanghai and its people, and heard enough "standard" Mandarin spoken to dispel the myths about Shanghai. The following is an account of the three trips there along with some suggestions, if you are thinking about going there to study.

最后,我去了上海三次,每次五,六个星期。在上海的时候,我开始渐渐的喜欢上海这个城市和上海人,再说我可以听到很多人讲普通话,我不再相信那些关于上海的说法了。下面是我三次住在上海学习的经历,还有如果你考虑键来住在上海学习的话,这里有一些建议。

Schools and Teachers / 学校和老师

In the fall of 2005 I studied at the iMandarin Language Training Institute in Shanghai (see http://www.imandarin.net/). I chose iMandarin because they were recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide, and flexible with schedules and durations.

2005年秋天我去上海的中国语教室(iMandarin Language Training Institute,http://www.imandarin.net/)学汉语。我选择中国语教室是因为Lonely Planet Guide推荐它,还有中国语教室课程表和时间都很灵活。

iMandarin has six locations scattered among the commercial areas in Shanghai. The location I attended was on the 17th floor of a modern office building, and had a boutique-ish atmosphere, as it was small but well-appointed. My classroom was very comfortable, and its large window afforded a great view of Shanghai. This made my 3-hour class very tolerable. Though relatively expensive, the quality of teaching was very good, and my time there was well worthwhile.

iMandarin有六个分校,分布在上海的各个商业区。我选的分校在一栋高级办公楼地17层。那里的风景看起来非常好,虽然小一点,但是设备齐全。我的教室很舒服,还有从它的大窗户看出去上海的风景非常美丽。这些使我长达三个小时的课还受得了。学费比较贵,但是教学质量很好,所以我在那里的时间很合算。

iMandarin is rather unique among language schools in that they publish their own textbooks, the "My Chinese Classroom" series. These books are fast paced, cover interesting business and cultural topics, and do a good job of introducing vocabulary needed through the intermediate level. Grammar is introduced informally in the Notes section of each chapter. This was perfect for me, as I already had a very good grasp of the grammar from Willow's classes here in the U.S.. What I needed was lots of practice using both the grammar and vocabulary. By the time I finished the third book of the intermediate level, which is iMandarin's last in their series, I felt I had a good working vocabulary. I still keep them around and re-read their dialogues regularly.

在语言学校中,iMandarin有点独特,因为他们有自己的课本,叫“我的汉语教室”。这套课本的课文都不长,可以学得很快,包括很有意思的商业和文化的话题,还有很好地把中级汉语应该学会的生词都包括了。在每节课的注释部分,随便地介绍了很多语法。对我来说,用这个方法解释语法是很好的,因为在郑老师美国的中文课上,我已经了解了大部分的中文语法。我更需要的时,多练习用这些语法,生词。我把iMandarin中级三本书(iMandarin最后的)学完的时候,我可以很不错地使用那些词汇了。现在我还把这些书放在书架上,经常把书的对话自己读一下。

At iMandarin I chose the Indvidual Course option, since my primary goal was to improve my speaking and listening comprehension, and carry on dialogues. For 5 weeks I did this 5 days per week, 3 hours per day. This plan worked out well. The daily 3 hours were intense but fun. Any more would have been too much. This also left time each day to preview the text material for the next day's class, plus chat with the locals. I was very happy with my improvement after 5 weeks.

在iMandarin,我选择了一对一的课,因为我主要的目标是提高我说,听,和练习对话的能力。我一共上了五个星期的课,每个星期五天,每天三个小时。这个方法很好,我三个小时的课即使使我很累,可是也很好玩。要是每天上更多课的话会太多了。只有三个小时的课让我有时间复习那天的课,预习第二天的课,还有机会跟当地人聊聊天。我很高兴五个星期以后我的汉语进步的很大。

In the spring of 2008 I returned to Shanghai to study and visit friends. I liked the 3 hour / day one-on-one format, but to save money decided to not go through a school this time, but to hire a tutor. Since I liked the iMandarin textbooks, I first went to the Shanghai Foreign Language Book Store (外文书店) on Fuzhou Lu to purchase the next in the series. While there I ran into a Mandarin teacher who was there looking at new textbooks. Her regular job was teaching at another school called Mandarin House, but after we talked, she was happy to tutor me and also use the iMandarin text. After 5 weeks of 3 hour classes, we were able to cover the first iMandarin intermediate-level text.

2008年春天我回上海学习汉语看朋友。我很喜欢每天三个小时的课,为了省钱我决定这次不去一所学校,而是直接找一个老师。因为我很喜欢iMandarin的课本,为了买下一册课本,我先去了福州路上的上海外文书店,我在书店的时候碰到了一个中文老师,她在看看新的书。原来她的工作是在一所叫Mandarin House的学校教中文。我们聊天聊了一会儿,然后她说她会很高兴地教我,还有她说可以用iMandarin的课本。在五个星期的每天三个小时的课以后,我们把中级第一册课本学完了。

In 2009 I returned to Shanghai once again and with the same teacher and covered both the second and third intermediate texts, thus completing the whole iMandarin series.

2009年春天我又回上海去跟同一个老师把重级二册,中级三册课本都学完了,那样我们把iMandarin全套课本都学完了。

Housing / 住房

As luck would have it, my Chinese teacher here in the U.S., Willow, had connections in Shanghai, as she lived there for five years, and in 2005 found me an apartment, free of rent, the first year, belonging to a friend of hers, Mr. Guo. It was a single room with shared kitchen in a sub-divided colonial French mansion near the Hengshan Lu subway station. While there I was well attended to by Mr. Guo's family; different people regularly came over and prepared meals for me.

还好我美国老师,郑薇路,在上海有关系,因为她曾经在那儿住过五年,所以2005年她给我找到了一套免费的公寓,那套公寓是属于她的朋友,郭先生的。这套公寓有一个房间和一公共厨房。在衡山路地铁站附近的法国式洋房里的一个分给郭先生的一房间。我住在那儿时,郭先生家人都帮助我,他们常常来给我做饭。

Before I arrived in Shanghai, Mr. Guo had a cinder-block laundry room built in the common courtyard for me to use. Unfortunately, he didn't consult with the other building occupants.  They were very angry. Two days after I moved in I was visited by seven officials from the district city management unit, presenting me with an officially-stamped notice stating that I had 24 hours to get rid of the laundry room, else they would destroy it and charge me for the labor. I quickly called Mr. Guo's sister, who generally takes care of the house. She said not to worry about it, she would take care of it. However, the next day the same seven officials arrived along with workers with sledge hammers, and proceeded to demolish the laundry room. Later on Mr. Guo's sister showed up along with two helpers, and proceeded to reconnect the washer, which had been spared during demolition. She didn't act like it was anything unusual for Shanghai.

我到上海前,郭先生在院子里给我用炉渣砖建造了一个洗衣房。不幸的是他没有跟邻居商量一下,结果是他们一看到了洗衣房就生气了。我搬进去后的第二天,七个人从上海市区城市管理监察大队来,拿给我了一张盖章的通知书,说除非我在二十四小时之内把洗衣房拆除,否则他们会来人拆除,收房东的拆除费。我赶快给郭先生的姐姐打了电话,因为她负责管公寓,可是她对我说放心,她会处理这个情况。不过,第二天那些人又来了,可是这次,他们带了几个拿着大锤的工人,工人们很快地开始拆除洗衣房。拆完洗衣方就走了。后来,郭姐姐跟两个工人来,他们把没拆除的洗衣机根水和电子重联接起来。对房东来说,这件事在上海没有什么大不了的

In 2008 I spent my month in Shanghai at a ¥100 per night room at the Kai Hong Hotel, a 10-minute walk from the Hong Qiao Street subway station in west Shanghai. My room was small and cramped, and I had to strategically plan my showers, as they left the bathroom floor underwater for several hours, but otherwise the room was clean and quiet, and lacked the drama of men with sledge hammers. As much as I enjoyed the ambience of the Kai Hong, it didn't provide a very comfortable study environment, as my bed took up most of the room, leaving no desk space, and the hotel lobby was generally thick with cigarette smoke.

2008年花了我在上海的一个月住在凯虹宾馆,那里在上海的西区,离虹桥地铁站走路十分钟。我的房间又小又不舒服,还有得小小心心地打算什么时候洗澡,因为洗了澡以后浴室的地板上的水得下几个小时。除了这个以外我的房间又干净又安静,没有拿着大锤的工人。虽然我很喜欢凯虹宾馆的气氛,但是在房间里学习不太舒服,因为床占了大部分的房间,连书桌和椅子都放不下,还有门厅外的空气一直有很浓的烟雾。

In 2009 I again stayed at the Kai Hong for a week, then decided to upgrade to a Home Inn (如家酒店), which was ¥170 per night, but one or two stars nicer, closer to my teacher, and had a shower drain that worked. Home Inns are the Chinese version of Comfort Inns, and very popular with the Chinese business crowd. I'm pretty sure I was the first westerner to stay in this hotel, as they were not set up for handling passports at all. It was well worth the extra expense.

2009年我又一次住在凯虹兵官,可是一个星期以后决定搬到一家“如家酒店”,那里的房间一天¥170,可是一,二个星级更好,那儿离我老师的教室比凯虹宾馆近,还有淋浴的下水管道没有问题。如家酒店相当于美国的Comfort Inns,很受中国商人欢迎。我非常相信我是第一个住在那家酒店的西方人,因为前台人都不了解办护照的事。这家酒店收费高一点是很值得的。

I definitely recommend Shanghai for study abroad. Budget allowing, contact iMandarin or other language school; for 1/1 classes you can usually begin the next day after you show up. Otherwise, go to the Shanghai Foreign Language Book Store to try to "pick up" a language teacher, or search Craigslist or Google. preferably one with a Mandarin teaching certificate. For 4 - 6 week stays, consider one of the three major budget hotel chains in China. These are Jinjiang Inn, Home Inn, and Motel168.

我一定推荐去上海留学。要是你付得起,那你可以跟iMandarin或者别的语言学校联系,选择一对一的课通常可以通知后第二天上课。要不然,就去上海外文书店找老师,或者上Craig’s List或者Google找老师。 最好是有汉语教学证书的老师。要是你打算住在上海四个星期到六个星期,可以考虑住在中国的三家主要的经济型连锁酒店, 这些是“锦江之星” (Jinjiang Inn),“如家酒店” (Home Inn) 和“莫泰168”(Motel 168)。

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