Im currently studying Chinese its one of the hardest language i ever tried to learn, even though i have been learning it for the last two years i still find it difficult to pronounce some of the tones properly. Not to mention the array of characters that i have to memorize in order to fully understand written texts its one of the language that you will really need to practice rigorously in order to master in terms of pronunciation, reading and writing its definitely a constant work in progress. What sparked my interest in the language itself is the undeniable fact that i was fascinated by the Chinese culture itself! and not to mention its one of the language with the most native speakers either than English dating from 1200 and its one of the worlds official languages in the areas of trade, commerce and diplomacy and it also happens to be the one of the official languages of the United Nations which is really useful for a polisci major with a concentration on international relations like myself.
I might not be Chinese but it doesn't take a Chinese native to appreciate the depth of a culture. Living in Indonesia the Chinese cultural influence is almost seen and evident everywhere in the cuisine, traditional regalia and cultural practices which my country assimilated this is an undeniable fact for most of the Asian countries located in the Pacific rim and Southeast Asia alike. My interest was sparked by that fact alone, that it is one of the worlds most influential cultures! whether a result of immigration or ancient exploits of the Middle Kingdom (The ancient name for China) the Chinese cultural influences seems to touch many shores (one trip to any South east Asian country or nations in the pacific rim you will realize this fact). I use to hear stories from my history teacher that the ancient Indonesian kingdoms of Madjapahit, Sriwijaya, Mataram, Kutai sent envoys to the China during the ancient Ming Dynasty and they were in awe of the vastness, technological sophistication, bureaucratic inefficiency and cultural achievement of the Middle Kingdom and of the amount of ancient scholars and government officials sent from the ancient Indonesian kingdoms to get educated in China documented in ancient texts we still have today.
As a non native which grew up around these dominant influences i choose to study the language! (also due to my ever curios nature of cultures not native to me) im looking forward in finally being fluent in mandarin Chinese and figuring out more about the culture of the nation predicted to unseat the United States from hegemonic power im hoping for a chance to learn the language in the country itself along with most of my other friends who already did so! il keep learning till then!