The decision I made seven years ago to study Chinese at university changed my life. Right from the beginning I decided that I didn’t just want to learn some Mandarin, I wanted to be proficient. I wanted to speak the language to an advanced level and be able to read a newspaper and write characters with ease. It’s fair to say that I got stuck in immediately, and got completely immersed in my studies!
Seven years later, I can’t say that I’m perfect and don’t make any mistakes, or that I understand and know how to say everything. There’s still a lot of room for me to improve, but I have achieved my original goal. I can speak Mandarin fluently, and I know all the simplified and traditional characters other than the really rare ones. I speak and use Chinese every day, and it has really become a part of my life and a second language to me now.