Monthly Archives: July 2014

How Technology Is Changing Chinese Language Learning – Distance Instruction

photo(3)When we began learning Chinese over a decade ago, online resources were incredibly scarce. One of the best,, provided an online dictionary that required knowledge of Chinese character radicals to navigate. While that particular site was and still is a good resource to learn about character genealogy and read Chinese classics like the Confucian Analects, the Internet has come a long way in making learning Chinese more accessible and more convenient than ever before.

Now, students all over Ohio and beyond are becoming proficient in Chinese through Columbus School of Chinese distance-learning courses led by our live instructors. CSC offers a variety of distance courses that are structured to fit the unique needs of each student, including 1 on 1 language instruction and cultural training for groups via freely available video conferencing software such as Skype and FaceTime.

Live instruction, coupled with free high-quality supplemental resources for Chinese language learning online, is enabling students to reach levels of proficiency much faster than just a decade ago.

Here are some of our favorite high-tech resources for learning Chinese:

Pleco – Pleco is an intuitive Chinese-English/English-Chinese dictionary app for iOS and Android mobile devices. The app is free to download, and a variety of premium add-ons such as an optical character recognizer are available for purchase on an a la carte basis.

Nciku – Nciku is a comprehensive web-based Chinese-English/English-Chinese dictionary that boasts over 3 million entries and a variety of features, including handwriting recognition, stroke order animations, discussion forums, vocab lists, memorization tests and even its very own social network where you can interact with native speakers and other language learners, called nciku Hi! All features are free, although some require a free registration.

Podcasts – A quick query on Google or the iTunes Store will yield a multitude of podcasts geared toward Mandarin learners. Among our favorites are iMandarinpod and Slow Chinese.

Why A Chinese Course Is The Right Professional Development Choice For You

IR-Stellato-Chris-02-304In order to ensure the continued competitiveness of their workforce, many companies maintain a professional development budget for their employees to participate in short-term training programs, seminars, continued education classes or other such programs. Even without an official professional development budget, many companies will support an employee who wishes to undergo training that will increase his or her professional capabilities. For those who wish to take advantage of such opportunities, a Chinese language and cultural training program can help you maximize the return for your time and your company’s dollars. Here’s why:

  • With the number of Chinese speakers throughout the world (an estimated 14% of the world’s population for Mandarin alone) and size of the Chinese economy (soon to surpass that of the United States as the largest), human resource managers from virtually every industry and sector are recognizing that their organization’s competitiveness depends on having employees with Chinese language and cultural skills.
  • Because of the high marketability of Chinese language and cultural skills, for the individual, professional development presents an opportunity for career advancement and personal development that you take with you no matter where you want to work – at no cost to you.
  • Even just 8 hours of cultural training can provide the tools you need for a successful outcome in your next Chinese endeavor.
  • No matter what your age, it’s not too late to start learning a foreign language – even Chinese. As more and more studies show, learning a new language as an adult is not only a healthy workout for the brain, it’s also possible to reach native-like brain processing and high proficiency levels with the right kind of immersive training – like the Performed Culture Method utilized at the Columbus School of Chinese.

Does your company or organization maintain a professional development budget for its employees? If so, make the most out of your time and resources with the Columbus School of Chinese. Contact our office to learn more about how we can custom-build a Chinese language and cultural training program for you and/or your organization today!

Dr. Pat McAloon to Hold Book Signing on August 24 at CSC

studying-in-china-9780804842815_lgBOOK SIGNING

We are very pleased to announce the release of Columbus Living LLC President and SABC Consultant Dr. Patrick McAloon’s new book Studying In China: A Practical Handbook For Students. Dr. McAloon will be at the Columbus School of Chinese on August 24 from 6:30-8:30pm to sign copies and discuss the new book.

Studying In China: A Practical Handbook For Students is a wonderful, comprehensive, up-to-date resource for any student going to China. It covers what to pack, how to arrive and settle in safely, how to make your Chinese instructors happy, what to expect day-to-day, how to get the most from a limited stay, and much, much more.

Please join us at the CSC on August 24, from 6:30-8:30pm. Dr. McAloon will be giving a short speech on Studying in China and will entertain audience questions. Pick up your signed copy and talk about your experiences studying abroad in China—whether they be in the past or the future!

CSC President and Students Recognized by Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks Alongside Student Delegation from Hefei, China

Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks recognizes CSC Students led by CSC President Chris Stellato and Donald Newman in the Franklin County Government Building, downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks recognizes CSC students led by CSC President Chris Stellato and Donald Newman at the Franklin County Government Building, downtown Columbus, Ohio on July 15, 2014.


July 15, 2014 — Columbus School of Chinese students and instructors were honored to be recognized by Franklin County Commissioner Ms. Paula Brooks as part of the Commissioner’s welcoming for a group of students from Columbus’ Sister City, Hefei, China. CSC President Chris Stellato was pleased to introduce some outstanding CSC students, who got a chance to interact in both Chinese and English with some of their peers from Hefei.

The strong ties that Columbus has developed with our Sister City, Hefei provide great benefit to both cities culturally, educationally, and economically. We are excited to see this wonderful relationship continue to strengthen and provide even more great opportunities for our students, citizens, and local businesses.

As our world continues to grow smaller and our opportunities to meet new friends from across the globe increase, it is all the more important that our young people have the tools necessary to engage in successful interactions with people from across the globe. This is why we at the Columbus School of Chinese are so honored to contribute to the ongoing effort to prepare our students to grow together with our Sister City Hefei, and all our friends throughout China.

Thank you again to Commissioner Brooks and our friends from Hefei for this tremendous honor!

5 Great Reasons to Study Chinese

great wall

As many parents and educators know, a growing amount of research shows that learning a second language offers many benefits to brain development. But with so many languages to choose from, why study Chinese? Here are five of our favorite reasons:

1) Chinese is the world’s number one native language (English is number three, after Spanish). In addition to China’s home population of nearly 1.4 billion people, Chinese is spoken by diaspora throughout Asia and the world. In fact, about one fifth of the planet speaks Chinese.

2) Chinese is great for your career. China is the world’s second-largest economy, and will soon be number one. As China is also one of the U.S. biggest trading partners, Chinese language ability frequently gives job applicants an extra and important edge. Not in business? No problem. China’s rising profile on the international stage is creating a growing need for Chinese proficient professionals in law, politics, engineering, education and virtually every other professional sector.

3) Chinese is a living link to the ancient world. To study Chinese, ultimately, is to study the culture and people of China. Chinese culture boasts an over five-thousand-year-old continuous history, and its rich cultural traditions permeate the modern-day Chinese language. In effect, the study of Chinese offers us an extraordinary link back to the distant past—one that is not excavated from under the ground, but is still living and thriving today.

4) Chinese is not as hard as you may think. While it’s true the writing system and tones make Mandarin look and sound much different than languages like Spanish and German, Chinese grammar itself is relatively straightforward. Whereas Spanish requires the speaker to take into account how tense, number and gender can change word usage, Chinese has none of these things (yes, that means no verb conjugations!). For example, in English we have to learn when to use “eat/ate/eaten,” but in Chinese we only need to know “chi.”

5) Finally, studying Chinese is fun! Whether you’re living in China or taking classes here at Columbus School of Chinese, studying Chinese allows you to reinvent yourself—with a new name, new ways to behave and new ways to think. You’ll establish great camaraderie with your classmates, who are all in the same boat. You’ll find yourself doing things you never thought you would (try that spicy fish dish at your favorite Chinese restaurant—or take a semester teaching English abroad!). You’ll interact with interesting people who you would have never otherwise met (your teacher who used to be a famous TV host, or the lady who runs the noodle restaurant on the corner who was the youngest of 14 children). And no matter what, you’ll gain invaluable perspective on both the great culture of China and, more importantly, yourself.

We know it will be challenging, but we’re here to help. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step–let’s take that step together!

CSC Instructors Visit The Ohio Chinese School, Speak With Students About Studying Chinese

CSC's Chris Stellato and Donald Newman pose with Principal Spring Zhang, Wang Jianmei and other teachers and students at the Ohio Chinese School on July 1, 2014.

CSC’s President Chris Stellato and Instructor Donald Newman pose with Principal Spring Zhang, Wang Jianmei along with teachers and students at The Ohio Chinese School on July 1, 2014.


On July 1, 2014, Principal Spring Zhang and Wang Jianmei of the Ohio Chinese School welcomed CSC’s Chris Stellato and Donald Newman to meet and have lunch with students and answer questions about their experiences learning Chinese. The students will soon publish a report of their interview in the Chinese-language newspaper China Press Weekly.

The Ohio Chinese School is a great asset to Columbus’ Chinese cultural landscape, and CSC looks forward to collaborating even more with the Ohio Chinese School on future projects!