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August 29, 2006


Patrick Searle

Hi Ben

Got referred here via Law blog, Im a 21 yearold undergraduate studying chinese. And its all too true what you say, too many people thinking chinese is the magic word for a fantastic job.
Currently do you live in china?

Shawn in Tokyo

You are right, learning Chinese is not the magic bullet--learning Japanese is!

Just kidding. ;-)

All of what you say rings true with my experience as well.

wen @ BJ

all i know is that my Friends are start laughing for foreigners who didn't speak Chinese and working with Chinese.
no offense.

Matthew Chester

I would say that although I strongly agree with the sentiment that the learning Chinese is not a silver bullet for career growth, it does seem that some companies especially in sectors such as marketing and PR will hire foreigners based on the mere fact that they know Chinese. I'm not sure if this has to do with the feeling that they have a better understanding of how to deal with international/foreign companies or just that companies believe that they are more creative than more qualified Chinese people. In addition, I believe that my Chinese will never be at the same level as a Chinese person, therefore I have to commit myself for a lifetime. As you said, everyday a little bit. As for China's English ability, they definitely have studied for a longer period, but I'm sometimes not sure that means actually longer in terms of time. People will tell me I've studied since I was in high school and now I'm 40, but that often means I studied in junior high school and high school for 5-6 years, college for a few years, then stopped once I started working.

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