Last year, a friend recommended Silk Mandarin to me. He told me that he made great progress in learning Mandarin by attending Silk Mandarin's program and spoke very highly about this school. After almost 1.5 years of studying with Silk Mandarin, I have to agree completely with him and am happy that I started to study Mandarin at Silk Mandarin.
Felix Wendlandt is co-founder and general manager of Brander Urstoff. He is industrial engineer by education and entrepreneur by nature. Prior to his role at Brander Urstoff, Felix is partner of a venture capital holding in Munich, Germany.
Felix is based in Shanghai.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Silk Mandarin gave me an individual studying plan at the beginning, which is tailored to my personal needs: e.g. the number of weekly courses (2-3 times per week) and personal learning goals (speaking and reading). Since I had basic Mandarin knowledge, I started with a "1-on-1-HSK 2-course” and completed HSK 3 after 9 months of study. My teacher carefully prepared every single lesson and I only had to organize the learning of vocabulary and homework at home in order to achieve the individual studying plan.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Follow the advice of your teacher, although you may think you can learn faster. Try to develop a habit by learning and repeating vocabulary and doing your homework. Do not be afraid of making mistakes again and again: Sooner or later it will pay off. Overcome periods of disappointment because you see no progress. It's part of the game.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Usually, I have two private lessons (1-on-1) per week. Each lesson lasts 90 minutes. An ordinary class consists of the first contact with the new vocabulary, listening comprehension, reading, discussion with the teacher about different topics (i. a. based on the book's texts) and checking your homework.
On the other days of the week, I do my homework and check my vocabulary. I mostly learn vocabulary with learning cards and an APP, so I can do it anytime and anywhere (e.g. in the subway).
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
Actually, I wasn't afraid to move to China, as I've traveled to China several times and knew that the Chinese are very welcoming and friendly. I only regret that it took me almost two years to start learning Mandarin. I can only recommend anyone moving to China, whether for only 2-3 years or longer, to start learning Mandarin as soon as possible. Communicating with locals gives you access to a completely different experience in China.
Any other tips for any prospective traveler?
China is a fast-developing country where anything is possible. You can easily get in touch with other people and make many new friends. In addition to economic development, it is also interesting to see how society is developing and how willing young Chinese are to learn. Currently, I do not have any plans to leave China and am looking forward to staying for some more time.