"8 Tips for Learning Mandarin Chinese"
I came across the article, "8 Tips for Learning Mandarin Chinese," by Christine Tan on Matador. She grew up in Canada, speaking English and going to Chinese school once a week. She never learned Mandarin this way, but is now living in China, and is finally starting to master the language. Here is her advice on how to do it:
1. Decide between traditional or simplified Chinese characters, depending on whether you're working in Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan versus China or Singapore.
2. Invest time and money in an intensive Mandarin program for a solid foundation. Two hours a week is not enough!
3. Make friends with non-English speakers learning Chinese, so you'll be forced to use more Chinese.
4. Watch Chinese TV shows or listen to Chinese music. "Pleasant Goat & Big Big Wolf," a cute Chinese animated series, is a good place to start.
5. Practice in front of a mirror to overcome the awkwardness.
6. Surf the Chinese Internet.
7. Take the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), a Mandarin proficiency exam, to use as an end goal.
8. Live in China, but don't immerse yourself in English-speaking expat circles. Talk to the locals!
Check out the full article with recommendations for free online resources at Matador.