Why learning Mandarin as a kid can open up a whole new World of opportunity

A while ago I was sitting at my desk reminiscing on my very first trip to China, more specifically, I remember sitting on the plane and looking at a pamphlet written in Chinese characters, I remember thinking to myself how utterly incomprehensible all those little mini-pictures looked squashed together like that in one long line with no spaces in-between. I wondered how people could possibly use them to string a sentence together. At that time I had no real inkling of studying the language itself, in my mind, like most people, I thought that studying such a foreign language would surely be an insurmountable task.

Fast forward to a few weeks into my first trip, I had made many friends, I’m ashamed to say that most of them were foreign travellers like me, but unlike me nearly all the people I met had come over to China after studying Chinese language and culture for many years. This really surprised me as I had never even considered Chinese as something you could fill a whole degree program with, how wrong I was! After spending time with people who had devoted many years of their lives to learning not just the language but also the customs, traditions, history and culture of China and the Chinese people my eyes slowly opened in wonder to all the wonderful things around me and I started to truly comprehend how much there was to learn about that fascinating place.

I learnt how opening your eyes, mind and heart to the red dragon of the east could be so much more than just a hobby, China is brimming with opportunity. It may seem like there must be lots of trade going on already between the UK and China, but in fact, it’s smaller than what you’d expect (source) but boy, is it growing! Nowadays it seems like every single sector of trade, services and manufacturing can be developed towards the Chinese market, and if companies aren’t already focusing on that, then they will be soon (source)