After almost 8 years in China, my Chinese is still not at the level that I want it to be. Of course that is totally my own fault, because I have focussed mainly on my businesses over the past years, instead of improving my Chinese. In fact, 5 years ago I spoke the language a lot better than now. I could express myself quite well, and my vocabulary was a lot bigger than it is at the moment. At that time I was even able to write 1000 different characters, right now I already have trouble to write my own Chinese name!
In 2002 I spent one semester at Beiwai (Beijing Foreign Studies University), and my plan was to continue one more semester at Beida (Peking University) right after that. Even though I was admitted to the program, I decided to skip the second semester and focus on my business instead. I had just set up my first company, because just studying only took me 6 hours a day, so there was enough time to do something else. I still regret that decision, but on the other hand I might not have been where I am right now.
Anyway, during my early entrepreneurial career I did not manage to keep up my Chinese skills. I had some good private teachers, but I did not focus enough on the language. Work always came first, and I did not give learning Chinese enough priority. I now feel that I should change that. I want to improve my oral Chinese only (listening comprehension and conversation), without spending time to learn the characters.
My idea is to find a Chinese teacher who can come to my office twice a week in the morning (before work) to teach / talk with me for 1.5-2 hours per session. I am looking for a teacher who does not speak English fluently, I prefer someone who hardly speaks English. The reason is that it is so easy to switch to English, and I want to avoid that. This person preferably should have experience in teaching foreigners and prepare the lessons in advance. Furthermore, the teacher should speak Putonghua without any accent and be able to use pinyin without mistakes (if not using characters I need to rely on pinyin).
I realize that people who fit this profile might not read this blog, but I want to give it a try anyway. Feel free to spread the word (no reward this time :-). Renumeration to be discussed, depending on qualifications and experience. Location: Spill Group Asia office in Xujiahui, next to Jiaotong University. If you are interested, or know a suitable candidate, please contact me at marcvanderchijs (at) gmail (dot) com, or by leaving a message in the comments.