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French student creates Chinese-language learning platform


05-02-2016 23:56 BJT

China's culture has ancient roots, but learning Chinese as a second language is still in its infancy, this according to a French MBA student, now in Beijing, who is working on a website to help foreigners who don't even know where to begin.

"My name is Timothée Astier. I'm from France. I'm studying an MBA at the Guanghua School of Management in Peking University. Learning Chinese is my biggest hobby. I like to learn more about the Chinese language everyday. I hope more international friends can have the chance to learn more about China and the Chinese culture," Astier said, founder of Chinese-Me.com.

Timothée has been learning the language for 10 years. He enjoys reading Chinese novels, such as this one, which is all about brotherhood during China's revolutionary ages.

"I was interested in the language, and especially the Chinese characters. I saw that Chinese characters are very beautiful, charming and have like a real meaning. And I want to know more about them and to explore what are behind the Chinese characters," Astier said.

He's in Beijing for an MBA program run jointly by Peking University and the ESSEC Business School in Paris. And he plans to establish an on-line platform for Chinese learners. He calls it "Chinese-Me".

"What I want to do with Chinese-me is to provide the best platform for Chinese learners, provide the best contents for people learning Chinese. So the ultimate goal for Chinese-me is to become the No.1 platform for Chinese learners. We want to establish new standards in the industry of learning Chinese as a second language,"Astier said.

He says learning Chinese as a secondary language is something very new, and teaching methods need to be developed and standardized.

"When you compare it to English, people have been learning English for several years, and now there are standard methods and some standard exams for English. But for the Chinese language, there's only one exam very famous now, which is the "Han Yu Shui Ping Kao Shi", the HSK. When it comes to studying Chinese, there's really no standard, no-one knows where to start, no-one knows what is the best way to learn Chinese. Should I start to write characters? Should I start only to focus on the Pinyin and the pronunciation? No-one knows," Astier said.

Tim says he wants to understand more about the process of learning Chinese, share his own experiences, and try to devise the best teaching methods. He came up with the basic idea of Chinese-Me.com three years ago, but it wasn't until he came back to China that he really started to work on it.

"Everything is moving so fast. Every day, I meet some new people, some new entrepreneurs. I'm part of groups of entrepreneurs, and I'm also organizing some groups of entrepreneurs to share our experience and talk about our ideas of different business models and sharing some tips, and sharing some contacts. All those things I didn't have when I was in France. I think it's a link to China's passion for entrepreneurship in the recent years. Everyone wants to start their own business. They are all very enthusiastic," Astier said. 

"For me, as I'm interested in China, when I'm here in China, I'm so different, I mean I have so positive attitude, I really like to know new people and people interested in China. And I would be much more open to people, to talk about ideas. I think this environment has a real impact on myself. I feel that every day, I'm making progress much more fast than any other environment. Because I love it so much because every day here, is like a unique day for me. I learn so much stuff. I'm very happy to be here."

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