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Mandarin Aspirations

The Mandarin Aspirations Project

The aim of the BCI's Mandarin Aspirations Project is to encourage and celebrate the learning of Chinese by sharing the motivations (why study Chinese), study experiences (challenges and rewards) and study outcomes (employability, confidence and intercultural skills) of Chinese language learners.

This video shows some highlights from guest lectures and interviews covering these three themes. On this page you can find lots more blog posts and video clips to browse!

This project provides a platform for Chinese language learners, from beginners to old hands, to share their Mandarin learning journey through different media, such as short videos, profiles or stories.

We hope that these Mandarin Aspirations stories will encourage those of you already studying Chinese, and inspire new learners to join a growing and supportive community of Chinese language enthusiasts in the UK.

Look out for updates in our emails, on Twitter and Facebook, and here on our website.

Blog posts

Reflections on my BCI Project Assistant Internship

Our 2023-2024 intern, Émilien Luigi looks back at his time as the Leeds Business Confucius Institute (BCI) Project Assistant.  An exciting opportunity to develop various...

Mischa Wilmers on the evolution of his Mandarin-learning approach

Mischa Wilmers started learning Chinese in our evening classes as a way to meet people when he first moved to Leeds. Six years on he...

Apply now: Business Confucius Institute Project Assistant

We are looking for our next Project Assistant! This flexible, part-time internship is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience and contribute to the work of...

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Mandarin Aspirations Guest Lectures

My China Career

Watch this talk to learn about the successful career of Leeds alumnus Guy Dru Drury MBE, Chief Representative in China for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Advice for building your career and network as an expat in China

Leeds alumna Nandini Venkata was joined by a panel of women living and working in Beijing to discuss their experiences building a network and a career in China, inspiring others interested in pursuing opportunities there.

What Mandarin Means to Me

In this talk, Leeds alumnus Andrew Disbury explained how learning to speak Chinese has shaped his life, career and global outlook. Watch the recording on our Facebook page.

Learning, Teaching, and Making Chinese Characters Stick

Jake Gill, CEO of @Skritter, Jake drew from his background in Mandarin learning and teaching to provide tips and tricks to help you learn Chinese effectively in the digital age – with a particular focus on Chinese characters.

From learner to teacher: Kay McLeod on promoting Mandarin in schools

Mandarin Excellence Programme Coordinator Kay McLeod shared her journey from achieving an MA in Chinese Studies to teaching and promoting Chinese in schools.

Building a successful Mandarin learning platform: The Chairman’s Bao

Leeds alumni Sean McGibney and Oliver Leach shared the story behind The Chairman’s Bao, the most comprehensive online news-based graded reader for students of Chinese.