Meet Sean Shadbolt – Photographer and Chinese Language Learner

We recently interviewed Sean Shadbolt, who has been learning Chinese Mandarin at Euroasia for a number of years. Sean is in Elaine Wu's Advanced Chinese Class on Wednesday evenings.

Euroasia: What do you do professionally?

Sean: I am a commercial photographer. I shoot a lot of different things but mostly centered around food and lifestyle photography. Its always changing and while it has huge ups and downs as far as work and income are concerned, its always interesting with the people I meet and the experiences I have.

E: Tell me how you first got involved in photography.

S: I first got involved in photography when I managed to talk my way into a temporary job as a photographer for the Wellington city council in 1983. After that I worked as a trainee photographic technician at the tourism and publicity department for two years and after that two years of study at Wellington Polytechnic. In 1991 I started my own business.

E: What do you do when you aren't taking photos/working?

S: When I’m not planning for or doing photography I am either studying Chinese or working on my own or my friends houses. I would like to spend more time travelling but recently have been unable to but hope to go back to China within the next year.

I usually just tell people I am a photographer and not much more, technical details of what it is exactly I do can be dull and complicated, Most people’s experience of photography is wedding photography which I engage in occasionally. My family still isn’t really sure what exactly it is I do.

Euroasia client and commercial photographer Sean Shadbolt talks to us about his life journey
Euroasia client and commercial photographer Sean Shadbolt talks to us about his life journey

E: What has surprised you most about learning Chinese?

S: The thing that has surprised me the most about learning Chinese is how many Chinese speakers there are now in New Zealand. I hadn’t really noticed too much before I started although through my work I was quite aware of Chinese culture here. I also have some close friends who are either Chinese or have Chinese heritage. I also taught a number of Chinese students when I was a photography tutor.

E: What's the best thing to happen since you started mixing with Chinese people/learning Chinese?

S: I think the best thing to happen to me since I started learning Chinese is a much wider appreciation of the culture and heritage, also having a window into Chinese perspectives on life and values.

I also enjoy learning Chinese because it is a language that is spoken everyday in New Zealand, unlike the European languages I studied many years before. You can go into any Chinese restaurant or shop and get a little bit of practice.

E: What would you tell someone who is thinking about learning Chinese?

S: I would advise anyone thinking of learning Chinese to be prepared to do a lot of extra study and practice, especially at first, as progress can be very incremental, also to consider doing the HSK exams, that can really give a goal to focus on.

E: What's it like to be learning Chinese at Euroasia?

S: I enjoy the classes at Euroasia because of the after hours times. It is difficult to fit in any study during the day so it fits in with my schedules. I don’t miss too many classes. The classes are also very social and I enjoy catching up with the other students every week and also in our trips to Chinese restaurants.

E: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

S: If I wasn’t doing photography I would probably do some kind of teaching. I taught photography for a long time and also did a CELTA and language teaching course a while ago at Unitec which I thoroughly enjoyed.

__________________

Thanks Sean for sharing your thoughts.

For more details about Sean, check out Sean's website.

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UK govt says schools should teach Mandarin to all teenagers

Every teenager should have the chance to learn Mandarin due to the growing importance of China in world events, according to the UK government. One in seven secondary schools, which teach pupils aged 11-16, currently offer Mandarin and Schools Secretary Ed Balls said he wanted to extend this through language partnerships between schools.

From the BBC website this week:

All secondary school pupils in England should have the chance to learn a less familiar language such as Mandarin, says Children’s Secretary Ed Balls.

Mandarin has become increasingly popular in schools – with one in seven now teaching the subject.

Making it more widely available is an cialis order “aspiration” rather than a pledge – and could mean schools and colleges sharing specialist language

teaching staff.

Mr Balls highlighted the economic importance of learning languages.

As well as Mandarin, he pointed to the growing importance of Portuguese for trading with Brazil, Spanish in Argentina and Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia.

Emerging economies

“A growing number of schools are now teaching Mandarin and in the coming years I think we will see this subject sitting alongside French, Spanish and German as one of the most popular languages for young people to learn,” said Mr Balls.

“In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly-changing world,” he said.

So what is the New Zealand government’s stance?

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Cool jobs available at Shanghai World Expo 2010

Anyone keen to work in Shanghai next year at the World Expo? NZTE are looking for people at the moment. These are PAID positions, NOT internships. Key things to note: You have to speak Mandarin AND English well. Also have to have valid NZ work visa, permanent residency or citizenship. I just received this email so just thought we should share this opportunity with everyone. Those of you who did not heed our advice to learn Mandarin can still do so… we have a few spots available for tomorrow's intake or the 10-week Mandarin course starting 12 October. This is a brilliant opportunity and would suit those thinking of an unconventional OE. Spending 6 months in Shanghai during the World Expo would not just be great for your CV, but will also be a good business networking opportunity. Who knows? Maybe you'll meet a big shot who ends up offering you an expat package plus all the travel perks. That would be nice…

The World Expo to be held in Shanghai, China in 2010 will be the biggest in world history.

During the six months the expo will be open – 1 May to 31 October 2010 – it is expected to draw 70 million visitors.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is now seeking a number of individuals who are enthusiastic about representing NZ on the world stage. Positions available include;

Attendants (24 positions available)
The Attendants will be representing New Zealand with credit by making visitors feel welcome, and enhancing their experience through friendly and helpful interaction with them.

Receptionists (2 positions)
Based in the VIP entry to the pavilion, the Receptionist will be our first point of contact for guests and visitors and assist them around the pavilion as required.

Operations Manager
The Operations Manager will be responsible for managing the teams of attendants, and will co-ordinate the delivery of operational and technical support as required in order to maintain high standards of ‘host performance’ in the pavilion.

Relationships Manager
Part of the management team, the Relationships Manager will be responsible for the organisation of official visits including Ministerial and key sponsors to the pavilion.

If you are keen to be part of this landmark event, have a degree of fluency in both Mandarin and English and are available from April to October 2010 then please visit the NZTE Recruitment website for further information and to apply.

For information about New Zealand's participation at the expo, please visit http://shanghaiexpo2010.nzte.govt.nz

Please note all applicants must have the right to work in New Zealand.

Applications close Monday, 12 October 2009 and must be submitted through the NZTE Careers Centre. Late applications will not be accepted.

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101 FREE tools to learn any foreign language

The people at Online College have written an interesting article on 101 tools that can help you learn a new language. At Euroasia we believe that these tools are best supplemented by classroom time with a teacher. Nevertheless these are good resources for language learners.

Translation

With these tools, you’ll find translation and dictionaries.

  1. Xanadu: Get a free all-in-one translation wizard on your PC with Xanadu.
  2. Google Language Tools: Search across languages, translate text, and more using Google’s tools.
  3. Freelang: Check out Freelang for free dictionaries, human translation, fonts, and more.
  4. Rikai: On this page, you can enter the URL you want to go to and see translations as you move your mouse over the text.
  5. Free Online Dictionaries: Make use of these dictionaries to learn more about different languages.
  6. DictSearch: Access 265 online dictionaries using this one simple interface.
  7. Yahoo! Babel Fish: Yahoo!’s Babel Fish will translate text or a web page for you.

FREE Introductory Courses

  1. French I: Follow this course for an introduction to the French language and culture.
  2. American Sign Language: Here you’ll find lesson plans, information on deaf culture, and vocabulary.
  3. Learn to Speak Dutch: You’ll get access to language lessons, vocabulary, and more here.
  4. German I: Acquire an understanding of German through active communication.
  5. BBC Greek: The BBC’s Greek resource offers a quick fix for learning the language.
  6. Beginning Japanese I: Use this course’s interactive study materials to learn beginner Japanese.
  7. Introduction to Portuguese: Use this course to get started learning the Portuguese language.
  8. Learn to Speak Korean: These video courses offer a convenient way to learn Korean.
  9. Intermediate Japanese: Improve your fluency and learn Kanji characters in this course.
  10. BBC Portuguese: BBC’s Portuguese course offers an introduction to the language in 10 short parts.
  11. Farsi: Follow this beginner’s course to get an introduction to vocabulary, sentences, and basic phrases in Farsi.
  12. Advanced Japanese I: With the help of this course, you’ll become an expert in Japanese.
  13. Learn to Speak Russian: You can improve your Russian vocabulary and grammar using these courses.
  14. Kenyan Sign Language: You can learn about Kenyan Sign Language using this illustrated course.
  15. BBC Chinese: Get a taste for the Chinese language with BBC’s slideshows, quizzes, and more.
  16. Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: Learn about the language and culture of Europe and Latin America through this literature course.
  17. Spanish I: Watch this course’s videos to learn authentic Spanish and all about its cultural diversity.
  18. First Year Chinese: You’ll get an understanding of the basic Chinese speaking and writing principles from this course.
  19. BBC Italian: Improve your Italian skills using these resources from the BBC.
  20. Oral Communication in Spanish: Get an understanding of Hispanic culture with the help of this course.
  21. Learn to Speak Portuguese: Use these audio lessons to learn Brazilian Portuguese.
  22. Communicating Across Cultures: With the help of this course, you’ll learn how to converse with people outside of your culture.
  23. BBC German: Learn grammar, vocabulary, and more in this German Quick Fix.
  24. Spanish Conversation and Composition: Improve your speaking and writing in Spanish with the help of this course.
  25. Learning German: Find four courses in the German language here.
  26. Learn to Speak Japanese: Take these Japanese lessons, and you’ll improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.
  27. Chinese I (Regular): MIT offers a full series of Chinese language learning.
  28. Spanish for Bilingual Students: Students who are bilingual in Spanish and English can improve their Spanish skills with this course.
  29. Learning the basics of French: This beginning course offers a look at verb tenses, grammatical structures, and simple vocabulary.
  30. BBC French: You can find resources for French learners from beginners to intermediates here.
  31. English grammar in context: Learn about speech and writing in English using this course.
  32. The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism: This course will help you better understand bilingualism.
  33. Chinese I (Streamlined): This collection of Chinese courses is designed for students who grew up in a Chinese speaking environment.
  34. BBC Spanish: Get access to Spanish TV, radio, and other resources here.

Language Learning Communities

Through these communities, you’ll be able to meet other people learning a new language and find partners to practice with.

  1. Livemocha: Connect with language partners around the world for social language learning.
  2. My Language Exchange: Make friends and learn a new language on My Language Exchange.
  3. Skype Community: On this board, you can connect with others that want to learn your language, and share theirs.
  4. LingoPass: In this language learning bartering system, you’ll teach and learn new languages.
  5. Palabea: Palabea canada viagra is a social networking site for communicating in foreign languages.
  6. UniLang: You can learn languages with these free language resources, as well as learn, discuss, and practice languages in this community.
  7. italki: Use this add-on for Skype to find other users to learn languages with.

Podcasts

Follow these podcasts, and you’ll find regular entries that will have you speaking a new language in no time.

  1. English as a Second Language Podcast: Check out this podcast for more than 100 ESL lessons.
  2. Chinese Learn Online: Chinese Learn Online offers an introduction to Mandarin Chinese.
  3. French for Beginners: Get started with these lessons for French beginners.
  4. Learn Japanese Symbols: With this podcast, you’ll learn how to use Japanese symbols.
  5. Arabic Language Lessons: Through this service of the US Peace Corps, you’ll find lessons that teach you the Arabic language.
  6. Bulgarian Survival Phrases: With the help of this podcast, you’ll learn enough Bulgarian to get around.
  7. Latinum: Latinum offers language learning in podcast form from London.
  8. English for Spanish Speakers: Check out this podcast to learn English from Spanish.
  9. Le Journal en francais facile: Hear nightly news slowed down for comprehension.
  10. Maori: You can learn the language of New Zealand’s indigenous people with this video podcast site.
  11. Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk: With Serge Melnyk, you’ll get weekly lessons in Mandarin.
  12. Esperanto: Use these lessons to become familiar with Esperanto.
  13. Ta Falado: You’ll find Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation for Spanish speakers in this podcast.
  14. Hebrew Vocab Pronunciations: Find out how to pronounce words in Hebrew using this podcast.
  15. GermanPod 101: Find materials for German learners from beginners to advanced in this podcast.
  16. Learn Romanian: This podcast offers survival phrases for Romania.
  17. ArabicPod: Here you’ll get access to mp3 podcasts as well as transcripts of learning Arabic.
  18. I Speak Hindi: With this podcast, you’ll learn essential words and phrases for Indian travel.
  19. A Taste of Russian: Find real, every day life chats to learn with this podcast.
  20. Dar to Danish: Learn dirty Danish words and other daring parts of the Danish language with this podcast.
  21. Special Finnish: This podcast slows down the language to make understanding easier.
  22. Learn Hindi from Bollywood Movies: You’ll have fun learning Hindi with this podcast.
  23. Russian Literature: This literature podcast can help you improve your comprehension and vocabulary with Russian classics.
  24. German Grammar: These German grammar podcasts are designed for American students.
  25. One Minute Catalan: Get quick learning for Catalan using this resource.
  26. Let’s Speak Italian: Break Italian down into manageable 5 minute podcasts here.
  27. Cody’s Cuentos: Learn Spanish by listening to these classic fairy tales and legends.
  28. Survival Phrases Arabic: With this podcast, you’ll learn the essentials of getting around in Arabic.
  29. Laura Speaks Dutch: Prepare for travel to Holland with the help of Laura’s podcast.
  30. Insta Spanish Lessons: Students of all levels will enjoy this Spanish grammar podcast.
  31. Easy French Poetry Podcast: This podcast uses poetry as a topic for French language learning discussion.
  32. Japancast: You’ll learn from anime and everyday conversation using this podcast.
  33. LoMasTv: LoMasTv offers language immersion for Spanish.
  34. Yabla French: With Yabla French, you’ll get captioned videos, integrated dictionaries,

    and more.

Learning Tools

Here, you’ll find tools made just for language learning.

  1. Mango: Use Mango’s online language learning system, and you’ll build your conversation skills in any language.
  2. Babbel: Learn a language with the help of flash cards on Babbel.
  3. Lingro: On this useful site, you’ll find study tools, online translation, games, vocabulary lists, and much more.
  4. Tibetan Language Tools: Here you’ll find resources for the basic alphabet, vowels, and more in Tibetan.
  5. Busuu: Get writing and speaking practice with the help of Busuu.
  6. Byki: You can download language learning software, follow lessons online, and more, even on your iPhone.

Textbooks

Use these online textbooks in your foreign language studies.

  1. German: Make use of this Wikibook to learn German, or take the bite-sized German course.
  2. Belorusian: Learn the Belarusian alphabet and beyond in this textbook.
  3. Afrikaans: Check out this Wikibook to find pronunciation, lessons, and much more for Afrikaans.
  4. Scottish Gaelic: Find pronunciation, sentence structure, and grammar from this book.
  5. Polish: With the help of this Wikibook, you’ll be able to learn the basics of the Polish language.
  6. Irish: Learn the old language of Irish Gaelic using this Wikibook.
  7. Arabic: This Arabic workbook shares the Romanization system, alphabet, definite articles, and beyond.
  8. Portugese: Choose between European and Brazilian Portuguese on this Wikibook.
  9. Yiddish: This book covers Yiddish for Yeshiva Bachurium as well as conversational Yiddish.
  10. French: Check out this excellent French Wikibook for French language learning.
  11. Russian: This Wikibook presents Russian for English speakers.
  12. Albanian: Learn about the unified version of Albanian here.
  13. Textkit: You’ll find books, readers, and more for Greek and Latin learning on Textkit.
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Euroasia Christmas message – Joyeux Noël

The team at Euroasia has put together a short video message, wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. You'll have to guess who's saying what. If you're playing this at the office, try not to laugh too hard ok. We don't want to get you in trouble.

p/s:If you can

9;t see the video here, check out the youtube clip at http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=tzGqluc0kNs – Don't miss the outtakes ok

Our office closes on 19 December, and will reopen on 5 January for the 2-week intensive programme (2 weeknights + Sat half day).

At the start of next year you have 3 intakes to choose from:
5 Jan and 19 Jan for Fasttrack programmes
2 Feb for the standard courses.

Enrol online now, or talk to us about buying a gift voucher for a loved one. Looking forward to having you back next year. online canadian pharmacy

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Weiji: Crisis = Danger + Opportunity?

In the context of the current economic situation we’re in, I often hear it mentioned that the Chinese word for “crisis” (wēijī) consists of two syllables that are written with two separate characters, wēi and jī. The idea behind this is that whenever there’s a crisis, there’s an element of danger, but also an element of opportunity.

Sounds good in theory, but like many other urban myths, there’s little truth in it.  Victor H. Mair, professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a detailed article explaining the flaws in this line of reasoning, but I’ll just summarise this for you.

Chinese character wei 危
Chinese character ji1 in simplified form 机
Chinese character ji1 – in traditional form 機

Prof Mair’s contention is that the definition of as “opportunity” is flawed. While it is true that wēijī does indeed mean “crisis” and that the wēi syllable of wēijī does convey the notion of “danger,” the syllable of wēijī most definitely does not signify “opportunity.” According to Prof Mair:

The jī of wēijī, in fact, means something like “incipient moment; crucial point (when something begins or changes).” Thus, a wēijī is indeed a genuine crisis, a dangerous moment, a time when things start to go awry. A wēijī indicates a perilous situation when one should be especially wary. It is not a juncture when one goes looking for advantages and benefits.

Those who purvey the doctrine that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of elements meaning “danger” and “opportunity” are engaging in a type of muddled thinking that is a danger to society, for it lulls people into welcoming crises as unstable situations from which they can benefit.

Adopting a feel-good attitude toward adversity may not be the most rational, realistic approach to its solution.

In such perilous times, we must confront the brutal truth, but at the same time not give up hope. If Warren Buffett is buying now, surely we have to stand up and take note.

I’m a firm believer in the idea of buying when others are selling, and capturing opportunities in times of crisis. Unfortunately we can’t use the Chinese word for “crisis” (wēijī) to support this line of reasoning.

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