Jean-Michel from Switzerland

An interview with Marliese Herrmann, Marketing Manager, Mandalingua

Name: Jean Michel Zwygart
Nationality: Switzerland
Occupation: Retired, some consultant activities
Age: 62
Language Program: Private Intensive, 6 weeks

Why did you choose MandaLingua?

In spring 2012, I was first at another also well-known school in Shanghai. At this school I had the impression that only the selling was important. When I told them I would not extend my Chinese course yet, I became totally unimportant as a customer. Following from this, I started looking for other schools and then I discovered MandaLingua. When I read that the management of MandaLingua consists of Swiss and German people, this gave me more confidence right away. I went to visit this school and it made a good impression with a structured curriculum and time management plan. Additionally, I was looking through the custom-made textbooks, which have a great structure and useful examples. At the same time I met the managing director and the key account manager and both made a nice, very organized and reliable impression to me.

What do you like at MandaLingua?

I really like the interactivity with my teacher during class at MandaLingua. The lessons are always very vivid, therefore I never get bored. My teacher always uses different kinds of media like the white board, the laptop and learning cards. Sometimes she even writes on the glass walls, when we discuss a process with different steps, for instance. Even if I am not the youngest anymore, I never get tired, because class is always exciting. I do like that my teacher is very attentive and well prepared. She always knows which words I easily forget and with which grammar I struggle. The difficulties are always discussed and repeated the next day, to make sure that all have understood.

Why do you study Chinese?

I used to have good work relations from Switzerland to China. My former Chinese working colleagues were all very nice and pleasant. Additionally, I really think the Chinese scripture is exceptionally beautiful. At home, I have pictures with Chinese characters on my walls, although I cannot read them. Generally, I think that China, its culture and language are interesting.

What do you like about the Chinese language?

Like I already mentioned, I think that the Chinese characters are very beautiful. Then, I think the learning is easier than expected. The grammar is much easier than in German or French. The verbs never change according to the person or time. Additionally, half of the world speaks Chinese. When I can speak Chinese, I can communicate with half of the world in their mother tongue.

What do you think is easy in your Chinese studies?

The grammar! The Chinese grammar is much easier to learn than the German grammar.

Do you have any advice for a beginner in Chinese language studies?

I advise all beginners to reserve time for studying. If you prepare and follow up with course work, you will achieve the highest learn effect. Then, an electronic dictionary is much faster, easier and more practical in use than a dictionary in book form. Generally, I advise everyone to study Chinese to develop its career. China is the market of the future. Who speaks its language will be in demand.

What is your relation to China?

Thanks to my former Chinese working colleagues, I have always made very good experiences with Chinese people. At work they are very serious and reliable and in the leisure time they are very content, pleasant and do barely complain.

What kind of cultural differences between Switzerland and China are most obvious to you?

I have the impression that many people in Switzerland complain, although they are living a good life. In China, people are very friendly and content, even if they do not possess a lot and are dealing with a high work load. Additionally, I do not perceive any jealousy in China. I think many prejudices towards Chinese people are not true.

What impresses you most in China and its culture?

In China I am most impressed of the people here. Their contentment, working and life attitude are incredible. Of course I am also impressed about the mass of Chinese. Whenever you take the metro in Shanghai, you get an idea how many people are really living in this city. Additionally, I think it is awesome how many people go out in the late evening. In Switzerland after 21.00 or 22.00, the streets are empty, while here in Shanghai there are still many people going for a walk.

Why did you decide to study in Shanghai?

I decided to come to Shanghai because I already had some friends from my former job living here.

What do you like in Shanghai?

I think Shanghai is a beautiful city, in which you can find everything you need. In this city you can have a great life. I could imagine living here for a longer period.

What are your favorite spots in Shanghai?

I like to discover Shanghai walking. I like to go to the People’s Park and other parks for a walk. During the summer I like visiting the pedestrian zone of Xintiandi for a drink and sitting in the sun. Then, I think the Yuyuan Garden is very beautiful and I warmly recommend a visit. Furthermore, I love Chinese food, therefore I like to eat in restaurants. I do not have a favorite restaurant, because I prefer to taste a different kind of food every day.