Have an opportunity to comprehend new experiences would be a good deal in life isn’t? People moving to a new place is one of the steps to start a new journey. I agree with that opinion. In the new area, you would find many things that unexpected, and it could be a good or bad experience. However, both able to make your journal more colorful and would shape you to a new person. A few years ago, I started my journey as a university student in Singapore. It develops me into a stronger independent young adult after I graduate from university. I only can say, people who lived alone will understand what I mean :). After graduation, I got an internship experience at Bali. Internship life has taught me more about working experience and learn to work with new people for six months. I think, my experience is not enough and I want to learn more to shape myself become the best version of me. That thought made me have an idea to learn a new language. I know, learn a new language is not easy but there is not “impossible” in my dictionary. Everything is possible as long as you were willing to try and give 100% of effort to do it.
Therefore, I choose Hangzhou China to be my next destination and learn a new language here. Moving to China is a vast movement for me. In China, I will experience more challenges that make me nervous and worry more than before. Not only the new experience and environment, but I also will experience a new language here. I will stay in China for nine months in total, and I hope after nine months I will able to speak Chinese (Let’s hope I can survive).
It’s been a month since I moved here and it’s been a month after I posted my last blog. A month in Hangzhou make me realize there are a lot of new things that I learned. Moreover, I would like to update my life in Hangzhou. Here some of my experience in Hangzhou for a month.
The first and most challenging part of living in here is the language barrier. Not many people able to speak English in Hangzhou, it difficult for me in my first week living in here. For me, language is something challenging to learn. You can’t just memorize all the vocabulary, but you need to apply it in your daily life, which is so hard if that’s your third language. However, to be able to adapt to Hangzhou, ability to speak Zhongwen is a must. Therefore, I force myself to talk as much as possible to communicate in Zhongwen, not English when I’m around my friends. I know it would be awkward and uncomfortable to speak a new language, you will find a difficulty to put all grammar and vocabularies when you start to make a sentence or a basic conversation, but my friends always told me 慢慢来 / man man lai（step by step). You will get used to it! Language is something that you need to learn by doing. The more you speak, the more you will improve because language is a process which requires consistency and continuity.
Speaking about friends, quite challenging to find friends or community who speak English or Bahasa. However, that’s a good thing living in Hangzhou. I guess when you decide to learn a new language, you need to surrounded by people who able to speak like a local people. It is stressful and exhausting but believes me; you will improve faster.
My suggestion if you want to learn a new language is to have friends from that place and try to speak with them. Also, break your comfort zone is essential to improve. In here, I don’t have many friends from Indonesia who make me speak Zhongwen more. I think it’s a good thing for me to step away from my comfort zone.
As I mentioned before in Hangzhou, it is difficult to find someone who can speak English. There’s one time when I need to go by taxi, and he cannot understand me and I need to force myself to speak Zhongwen.
Taxi driver: 你会去哪里？ / ni hui qu na li?（Where do you want to go?)
Me: … 我不是中国人, 我是印尼人。/wo bu shi Zhongguo ren, wo shi YinNi ren（I’m not a local people here, I’m Indonesian) 请说慢一点。/ qin shuo man yi dian. (Please speak slowly) 我会说一点中文。/ wo hui shuo yi dian Zhongwen. (I can speak a bit of Chinese)
Lucky, he understands my bad pronunciation and able to direct him slowly to my destination. Well, I guess I’m getting used to speaking when I’m under pressure which is good.
There’s one thing I miss after a month in here. I miss speaking my language SO MUCH. Every time I heard somebody speaks in Bahasa, I would be like “OMG kamu dari Indonesia?” (OMG are you Indonesian?). In Singapore, I always have all my bestie around which make my life a lot of easier. I can come to their place every time I want and have someone to talk when I have problems. In Hangzhou, I still working on it.
Well, in the end whenever you go, you must have the ability to adapt and willing to learn something new. Set a new goal daily so you can maintain your progress and see the improvement you make.
Waiting for more new experiences ahead!