The Birth of Level Up Chinese

I think with any blog you need to at least post a quick introduction of yourself, rather than diving straight in. So let me tell you a little about myself and what Level Up Chinese is all about.

I’m Simon, a twenty-something fella from the United Kingdom.

Now that’s out the way, onto the Chinese stuff.

I became interested in learning Mandarin after I began dating a Chinese girl here in the UK. For a few months it wasn’t something I put much thought into, and if being honest I just enjoyed learning insults and naughty words for the hell of it. Things got a bit more serious with said Chinese girl so I decided to take it on as a hobby.

I worked through some of the FSI course, then moved onto Pimsleur, and for some unknown reason my enthusiasm and enjoyment for learning the language took off from that moment.

Below is a photo of my notes taken throughout the Pimsleur course, got through a fair few writing pads and pens to say the least.

Around 5 months have passed since I first pressed play on that Pimsleur audio file, and not a day has gone by where I didn’t study for at the very least 2 hours (including Christmas day!).

In November last year I got to experience an unforgettable journey around several places in China which only inspired me to study harder, especially after my ego was completely deflated when realising I still couldn’t understand 95% of what people were saying. Be prepared for this to happen to you too!

Asides from that it was a fantastic opportunity to experience real Chinese culture, and I have decided I’m definitely not against living there in the future.

In just over a months time I will be going back to Hainan, an island in Southern China. Here I plan to push my studies even harder as I have enrolled on a one year Chinese language course. I consider this sink or swim time, as my girlfriend will be working in another city and very few people in the province can speak English, so no more hand holding.

I’ve made this blog to document my experiences of learning Chinese and also living in China. I’ll share my techniques, what course materials I use and any tips I pick up along the way.

I by no means consider this site a place for people to come and learn from primarily (there’s a lot better sites for that!), but I hope you enjoy reading about my journey regardless. I encourage you guys and girls to share your experiences too.

I went for the name Level Up Chinese as it reminds me of my many teenage years wasted playing online computer games, where many had the sole purpose of earning experience to advance to a higher level where your character became stronger, with no end in sight.

In many ways I feel this is similar to how learning a language is; you can always improve, but each “level” requires more and more experience to complete.

I look back on those hundreds of hours invested in online virtual worlds and shudder at the thought of how much I could have accomplished with that time instead. That’s all in the past though, now I’m making up for my mistakes.

Time for me to go level up.

If you have enjoyed reading this or found it useful, please consider sharing it to help spread the word about Level Up Chinese :)

3 thoughts on “The Birth of Level Up Chinese

  1. Reply Wes Jul 13,2015 4:30 pm

    Hi Simon,

    I just wanted to leave a message to say I enjoyed writing. I have read quite a few of these “What to Expect in China” blogs and thought about doing one myself but they are all seeming a bit similar. Yours is a little different and feels more genuine.

    I myself am a small town British guy and have lived in China (outskirts of Beijing) for 5 years now and can relate to a lot of what you say. I have had good and bad experiences that I mostly share via FB posts but may do a blog soon.

    I look forward to seeing more blogs from you.

    Enjoy China and good luck with the Mandarin


    • Reply Simon Jul 13,2015 5:31 pm

      Hey Wes,

      Thanks a lot for the kind words, appreciate it. May I ask what you do in China? 5 years is a long time!

      Be sure to let me know if you make a blog as I’d be interested in reading it.



      • Reply Wes Jul 14,2015 1:47 pm

        I am Quality Manager in a company that exports to UK. Yes, it is a long time but unfortunately I have struggled to learn Mandarin well enough. I just don’t have the time to focus on it in my free time and as its my free time I am too lazy to try :) I can get by though and that’s why your post was interesting to see how you have done.

        Will let you know and will visit yours again in future

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