Learning Chinese Mandarin with EF Chinesetown

Blake Evans

During the initial visa application process, of beginning your career with EF English First, the recruiters may promote an online class platform called EF Chinesetown. For eager learners, this is where you begin to learn Mandarin Chinese! Although this language skill is not entirely necessary to have when living and working in China, it will, certainly make your experience more immersive. Language is a simple skill that can be taught in an online classroom. Since having a connection to a native speaker is sought after, EF Chinesetown sets a good environment for international EF staff to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese.

In my induction phase back in 2021, I met great local teachers through EF Chinesetown who shared knowledge on pronouncing tones correctly, writing characters and eventually making sentences with grammar structures. My intensive studies with EF Chinestown lasted for about 5 months leading up to my flight to China. Once I arrived in China, I kept studying online for one more month. The basic skills I had learned in this period, prepared me to introduce myself and explain some of my likes and dislikes to the local EF staff. These beginner language skills support my current awareness of the Chinese language. Now, independently, I can learn from local people as I traverse through daily life experiences. The foundational skills really do support you throughout your life of learning.

The immersion experience of living in a new country gives you the opportunity to grow. From the point of view of a language learner, one could suggest that your new daily life experiences learned through a new language shape you into a new character. A local friend shared with me that we have the chance to create a new persona in this ‘new country’ matrix – one we express in the new language. His perspective is valid. , I have indeed chosen to embody a new character to express the cuteness, beauty and grace I experienced in my life in South Eastern China.

If you’re ready to start learning Mandarin Chinese or want to revive your existing language skills, then reach out. Express your worldview ~

Now in 2022, today, I live and work in Shenzhen, China at EF English First. The immersion opens doors to learning Chinese in diverse ways. Among local friends, one can practice speaking & listening, and while shopping they practice reading characters. With an intermediate level of language skills now, I can smoothly shop at the market, make reservations, and ask about the location of a place nearby.

How is it to learn Chinese? Is it hard?

The biggest challenge when learning Chinese is listening to the tones to understand the context of the expression. Once you have an ear for the tones, you’ll be able to feel the expressions and know how to respond. Using small expressions is common in Mainland China. This allows for daily practice of your vocabulary. Just learn a few expressions each time and build from there. In my neighborhood, I can practice at the market when shopping for fruits.

I would like to buy two mangoes, grapes and bananas.

wǒ xiǎng mǎi liǎng gè máng guǒ , pú táo hé xiāng jiāo


How much is that?

duō shǎo qián?


I don’t want a bag / don’t want

wǒ bù xiǎng yào yí gè bāo

我不要一个包 / 不要

Thank you

xiè xiè nín!


Advice for Beginners

Begin to learn Chinese words that relate to subjects that you like most. This way, you’ll enjoy sharing this in Chinese with your local friends. Personally, when ordering lunch, it's super fun to sit with local staff and talk about the ingredients in the dish, sharing which Chinese words you recognize.

Green vegetables

Qing Cai



Nan gua




Learning Characters

They seem complex when you first start. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Again, start with the vocabulary that interests you. When you see the characters on signs or T-shirts, you’ll jump with joy at the sight of a character you recognize. Have fun with it.

I'm happy

Wo shi kai xin



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