BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
STUDYING Mandarin at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) has helped Robinson Minevaleke adapt quickly to Taiwan lifestyle and culture.
He is a recipient of the Taiwan’s International Cooperation Development Fund (ICDF) Scholarship and is in Taiwan, currently doing his first year of study at the School of Medicine, I-Shou University (ISU).
He spoke highly of the Mandarin Course offered at the SINU which he himself enrolled in the second semester of 2017.
“The Mandarin classes at SINU not only helped me communicate with the locals in Taiwan but also helped me to quickly adapt to Taiwan lifestyle and culture. Thank you SINU mandarin class (Ms. Kuei Mi),” Minevaleke said.
He said the reasons he wanted to enroll in the Mandarin Class at SINU was because it is one of the most common international language spoken by many people.
“And to be able to communicate proper, one must learn the language.”
Minevaleke said communication difficulties he faced while working in health care sector (both public and private), especially with Asian clients, motivated him to learn Mandarin.
“Having a lot of Chinese, Taiwanese and other Asian people doing business or visiting, I think mandarin language is also important for communication in the country.
“Besides being one of the recipients of the ICDF scholarship 2017, I needed to learn Mandarin to help me communicate in Taiwan. In addition, apart from being my passion to learn new languages, I often travel overseas so I need that to communicate with Mandarin speakers or impress my overseas friends.”
Reflecting on his Mandarin Class at SINU, Minevaleke said he had learnt a lot at SINU Mandarin class.
“Apart from learning the Mandarin language, I learnt about the Asian (Taiwan) culture, food, the people, the lifestyle, Mandarin songs and so forth. I learnt the common basic communication skills, Mandarin characters and the uniqueness of the Mandarin language itself as compared to English.”
What do you like the most in the Mandarin class?
Minevaleke said what he liked most about the studying Mandarin was the uniqueness of the Mandarin language itself as compared to English.
“A word in Mandarin can be represented in different characters and can be said in different tones and each time it meant different things altogether. Also, I like the fact that every day I learnt different words and different characters, their meanings and where and when to use them.
“And not only that but learning Taiwan culture and lifestyle in class was fun.”
He said Mandarin is useful because it helped him to communicate with the locals in Taiwan thus enhancing his learning and adaptation to Taiwanese culture.
“Before taking up the program, I cannot communicate in Mandarin. I used to use sign language with my clients at work. After participating in the Mandarin program, I now can be able to properly communicate with Mandarin speaker. Now I can do more talking than sign language as compared to before attending the Mandarin program. I must say I also understand better the Taiwanese (Asian) culture and lifestyle.”
Minevaleke noted that learning the Chinese characters and tone (sound) was difficult but gets better with time and practice.
“It becomes interesting once you passed that,” he added.
As such, Minevaleke recommends Solomon Islanders to take up Mandarin Class at SINU because of the benefits of this global language.
He said Solomon Islands have a good population of Chinese community and visitors thus, learning Mandarin might be helpful for communication and business purposes.
“I would encourage Solomon Islanders to take advantage of SINU Mandarin program because it is much easier to learn Mandarin back home than overseas. In SINU, you have Mandarin teacher that can communicate or teach in both English and pidgin and very thorough and patient with students in comparison to taking Mandarin classes overseas where it is usually expensive and a totally different experience.”
Now a student in Taiwan Minevaleke sees himself becoming a fluent Mandarin speaker and writer.
He said one of his favorite moments in the SINU Mandarin Class was creating and dramatizing role play in Mandarin with his classmates especially the Chinese valentine (Qiqiao festival) based on a romantic story of two lovers, Zhinü and Niulang.