Posted in Studying

Hearing and Pronouncing

So that moment came. When it was revealed to my teacher and my classmates that I had some problems with certain consonants. This time it was the “z” and “j” sounds in Mandarin Chinese that could never be produced from my mouth. Since the people in my class tried so hard to help me say these two sounds correctly, I had to stop them from wasting time by telling them the truth: I basically cannot tell the difference between the (wrong) sounds that I make and the (right) sounds from them. This is not about my mouth; it is more about my ears. In the region that I was born and brought up, people don’t speak with these sounds, so I never learned to produce them when I was a kid. And probably I would not know how to do so in the future either.

There are some sounds that I never knew they were not the same until after I left my hometown. I only learned to tell the difference between the “s” and “sh” sounds in English when I was 17 years old while others may have known this since they were toddlers. This is somewhat frustrating, yet I have come to cope with it anyway.

So, the point is it is obvious that what people hear when they were babies will decide what they speak. We all know that if a kid hears no human talking during his/her childhood, he/she would grow up being mute even though his/ her ears and mouth are in perfect conditions. And if a kid happened to hear only a limited amount of sounds when he/she learn to speak, it would be hard for him/ her to learn new language with a wider range of sounds. Oh, isn’t that just my case? Hahaha ^_^There are languages with narrower and wider hearing ranges. That is why there are some people can easily learn a language and struggle with another one. Evidently, the easy-to-learn one has the same or narrower range and the hard-to-learn one has the wider range in comparison with their mother tongue. I’ve read in an article that someone with a l’oreille francophone will have trouble learning Russian while someone with a l’oreille russophone will have some advantages when taking up French classes.

I guess it is a little unfair, but still it is an interesting fact to me. I don’t force myself hard on making my pronunciation perfect. I may learn the sounds gradually after living in Taiwan for several years. And even if I may not, I will make do with it. After all, what really matters when we talk with people is our attitude and how we arrange our ideas, not for the fact that we can make perfect pronunciations of some sounds.

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Posted in Mental Health, Studying, Taiwan

These days in Taipei

IMG_0896-Photo: The sunset on Tamsui River at the North of Taipei

I do not update often these days; which is not due to any difficulty in accessing the Internet, thankfully. I just got a little too caught up in the life here and that’s it.

School stuff has been kind to me. My class consists of 7 students: 1 American, 2 Canadians, 2 Japaneses, 1 Filipino and 1 Alien Meo :)))))))). My teacher is Taiwanese and a lovely woman. I have quite a good time with them every weekday morning. Above all, I love learning Mandarin and that’s what that matters the most.

I kinda fell in love with the library in my university. Honestly I was not really interested at first. I’m a devoted minimalist and it’s always my priority to go digital with my reading. Yet it turned out that I was charmed. I’m now basically spending the whole afternoon part of my days there, even on Saturday.

I shared my house with 8 more people and my room with a Taiwanese roommate. Things are better than what it may sound and there are nothing much to complain about.

A day of mine is spent in this sequence: Get up at 6 -> study some French -> leave the house at 7:45 -> grab a quick breakfast at a Taiwanese restaurant nearby -> walk to my school where classes start at 8:20 -> get a lunch at the canteen or not -> go to the library’s study room and finish my homework there -> move to the English Literature section in that very same library and read some books of Oscar Wilde -> get back home at around 16:00 to take a shower and some idle time -> change to my night outfit and get out to discover the city -> get back and sleep at 23:00

If there is any problem with my current life, it is that I’ve been receiving too many requests/ invitations for hanging out. And I’m never an extrovert. On the utmost contrary, I’m an introvert from the very core of my being and therefore need a lot of time for myself. The maximum number of the hanging-out type of appointments that I can enjoy a week is 2. Each should not last more than 4 hours. I had far more than that in the last 14 days that I’ve been in Taipei and now I’m suffering an emotional downfall as a consequence.  It is a nice feeling to know that there are people wanting me to be with them, but I just need to be alone often. Very often.

I would love to share my tips on living in Taipei. But it should be saved for a delightful day. Now I probably need sometimes hiding myself from the world, both physically and mentally.

Posted in Studying

IELTS Tips: How To Draft The IELTS Writing Task 2

I originally write this as a small tutorial for my little sister on how to draft the IELTS Writing Task 2.

1/ Opening & Conclusion 

You will not write drafts for opening and conclusion paragraphs. You will write them like a writing machine. I will have a tutorial on the formula to write them later.

2/ Body paragraphs

These paragraphs are what you need to draft. And this is how you will do it:

  • Draft your big ideas in key words. Each of these ideas will be presented in a paragraph.
  • Each big ideas should be supported by 2 – 3 sub-points. The sub-points need to go with examples (not all of them, but most of them will need). If you have 3 sub-points, 2 examples would be fine enough, 3 are even better.
  • Note ALL the vocabularies (related to the topic) that you can think of on the top of the paper. That way, when you’re writing, you won’t have to stop to find a word. And you will not have to go through this frustration:”Oh I thought of that very suitable word when I was doing the draft but now I forget what it is!”
  • Note the grammar structures that you want to use in another corner of the paper (for example: Simple Past, Past Perfect, Present Perfect Continuous etc…)

So, in the end, your draft paper will look like this:

 

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Posted in Studying, Travel

Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 2

Okay, so we have gone through “What not to pack” in the part 1 of my Packing Tips For Studying Abroad series. Now it’s time to look at what to pack.

Part 2: What To Pack

1. Medication

If you have any prescribed medication, bring them with you.

Prepare some more for your usual sickness. Ex: I often have fevers so I have some paracetamol in my bag.

Band-aid & several first-aid items.

All of them in your carry-on.

Continue reading “Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 2”

Posted in Studying, Travel

Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 1

For one year of studying abroad, I pack a check baggage of 20 kg and a carry-on of 7kg. That surprises anyone around me. Because it is very usual for people to think of students going abroad with 2 suitcases – 40kg each, one or two back packs, one or two bags and some cartons etc… The hell! Forget that idea. I’m going to tell you how to pack your life in one suitcase of 20kg and 1 carry-on of 7kg without leaving any necessary things behind. Believe me, I’m the one that lived comfortably with just a carry-on in the mid of winter in a foreign country while my co-workers struggled even when they had brought a bulky suitcase with them.

PART 1 – WHAT NOT TO PACK

Continue reading “Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 1”

Posted in Studying, Taiwan, Travel

10 Tips For Foreign Students Coming To Taipei For The First Time

Howdy!

Are you going to Taipei soon for the new schoolyear? If it’s a yes, okay we’re on the same boat XD

It’s not my first time to Taiwan so I kinda have some experiences.

Besides, I have Taiwanese friends so they give me pieces of advice.

Among those, I guess there are things that I should share with anyone who is going to Taipei.

Continue reading “10 Tips For Foreign Students Coming To Taipei For The First Time”

Posted in Studying

French Learning: Find Yourself A Native Pen Pal

Last year I got this piece of advice from my French teacher (who is a miraculous woman, Je vous aime bien Madame :”3). I had 3 hours of French sessions with her every week, yet that was not enough to satisfy my thirst for French language. Then she advised me to get a native pen pal.

So I went to francais facile, created an account and began searching for someone to talk to.

Among numerous talks that led to nowhere [and sometimes I encountered ones that were trying to lure people into some, eh, hard-to-describe activities hahaha =))], I – fortunately – found a very nice pen pal there. We became friends later on and he is definitely one of my most amiable buddies now.

By the way, Francais facile is a good source of materials for learning French, even when you are not interested in finding someone to talk to. It offers French lessons and exercises by topics. The exercises are mostly short and quite effective.

So, if you are a French learner, give it a try.