Chinese Language Learning – Tips on (re)learning Chinese and speaking naturally

I’m currently studying abroad in Japan, with Japanese as my 4th language and Chinese as my 3rd. Though fluency-wise, it is way behind my Japanese. Qualifications-wise, I passed HSK 4 back in Junior High School (around 6 years ago) and didn’t bother studying for HSK/TOCFL much after that. I went to Japan last June, passed JLPT N2 last December with a pretty good score and am planning to take N1 this July. I slacked off a lot studying Chinese back then, didn’t really practice speaking with people, and honestly kinda regret it. After taking the JLPT N1, I want to get back to learning Chinese, but I’m not sure what would be the best way for me to learn it?

The thing I want to really hone is my speaking, so I can interact with people. I know some people from Taiwan, China, and HK here so I can actually practice speaking. I learned simplified characters back then, but since I’m closer with some people from Taiwan and HK now, honestly I wanna learn the traditional ones too. Thinking of taking either the HSK 5 or TOCFL too after I’m done with N1. Not a requirement for anything, but it might be a learning motivation.

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Some BG info:

From 4th to 12th grade, I spent my life studying at a Chinese-focused school back in Indonesia. Unlike Singapore and Malaysia, I think it’s not legal for normal schools to completely run their lessons in Chinese, which is why I’m not calling it a Chinese-medium school. We still had most of our lessons in Indonesian, It’s just that we had a high frequency of Chinese language lessons (5x a week in elementary, 4x a week in junior high, 3x a week in senior high) with native teachers from China and Taiwan.

The thing is I sort of slacked off learning Chinese back then. I did get placed in the higher class and exams were ok too, but I didn’t speak much with the teachers even though it was such a good chance to practice. My pronunciation is off, I didn’t consume resources out of class like when I’m learning English or Japanese, I didn’t write in Chinese in any forms, even in social media like I do in English or Japanese.

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(Here, now) I asked this one Taiwanese classmate and she’s super welcome if I want to practice with her. The thing is my Chinese vocabulary is super limited and I’m still not used to forming sentences. I’m still at the stage where I have to think/process/translate in my mind before speaking in Chinese. Sometimes I understand 40-80% (depends on topic as well) when I hear people talking in Chinese, but then I can’t reply in the same language.

Any help/tips appreciated! Thank you! ☺️



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