Mandarin Chinese class visits Boston’s Chinatown to practice language skills, learn about the culture

Two Mandarin Chinese classes extended their classroom experience to Boston’s Chinatown last Friday, immersing themselves in the Chinese language and culture.

“Students were thrilled to apply what they have learned at Beaver to real life communication with other local Chinese speakers,”  said Shanshan Xu, Chinese teacher.

Not only did they order food and drinks in Chinese at a Dim Sum restaurant, but they also learned about dining etiquette, the rich food culture in China, and the history of Chinatown.

After lunch, the students broke into groups for a scavenger hunt to further explore Chinatown. They identified Chinese characters on signs and menus, interviewed Chinese speakers, had conversations with people working in stores, and bought pastries at bakeries in Chinese. They embraced the opportunity to listen to people talk at a faster speed and with different accents. One student said, “it put me in a situation where I felt that I needed to speak Chinese and couldn’t use English.”

“Students spoke a lot of Chinese on the trip. Most of them are beginners, so it helped them establish confidence and they generated ideas for what they want to learn and need to practice themselves,” Xu said.

Coming back to Beaver, students will present their field trip experience in Chinese as an in-class assessment to demonstrate that they have mastered how to describe previous and ongoing actions.

Check out students practicing their Mandarin below:

Jack Leffel is asking the lady what her name is and Sydney Allen is asking her to write her name down in Chinese.

Pierce Adams is asking the lady at the store about a cake and how much it is.

Sydney Allen is asking Christine Bourdeau how much are the cookies that she bought and Christine says they are $3.90.

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