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First in Class of One

Chinese as a Second Language class

Benedicte Bruun Vagner always comes first in her class when she studies Chinese with Miss Liang. That may not be a surprise when you know that she is the only student in the Chinese as a Second Language class. Even so, Benedicte is no ordinary western student at DHZH, she has the skills to read and write Mandarin that come with years of learning.

Although she is not as practiced as the local students in Mandarin, Benedicte has been learning Chinese since she moved to Zhuhai eleven years ago. Arriving from Denmark, she has witnessed the rapid changes in the city and has now joined Dulwich as a year 10 student. “I like it, I think it’s a good school. I’m already learning a lot and the people are really nice – the students and the teachers.”

Benedicte started learning Mandarin at junior school and Dulwich is continuing that education, “I think when you move to a country for a long time, you should try to learn the language. It will help you understand the people and culture.” Benedicte and her family also have a home tutor once a week and she admits that her mom is better at speaking than she is. “I’m not as comfortable speaking Mandarin, I’ve always been better at reading, writing and understanding it. That’s because I have not practiced as much.”

In year 10, IGCSE Mandarin is a compulsory subject, and Benedicte is the first student to study Chinese as second language at DHZH. She enjoys the one to one interaction with her teacher, Ms Liang, but admits it would be more fun with a few added students. Most of the time students are practicing English with Benedicte, so she does not get much chance to practice her Mandarin with them.

Ms Liang said, “Benedicte is great, very interested in learning Chinese, that is the most important thing.” With Benedicte being the first DHZH students to study for the IGCSE Chinese as a Second Language exam, Ms Liang hope that in the future the class will grow and more students will learn the language and help them gain access to the wonderful history and culture of China.

In other good news Ms Liang learned that two other students, Stella C (12L) and Windy L (12D) both gained A* in their A-level Mandarin exams. The pair sat the exam in the October/November session, meaning that from August until November they were studying four AS Levels plus a whole A-Level. An incredible achievement from both students, well done.

Chinese as a Second Language at Dulwich Zhuhai