Studying Chinese with AF Academy Cadets

Tony Barnes By Tony Barnes, 8th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>China>Beijing & Around

It was great fun studying Mandarin Chinese with future Air Force lieutenants.

Mandarin Chinese

One of the neat things about being stationed on the US Air Force Academy was the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese with the young cadets. While stationed at the Academy, it is possible to audit any course as long as military members receive permission from both their unit commander and the department head of that particular subject. Of course, it is not possible to get college credit for auditing a course. But, neither are you forced to do assignments or study.

I love studying foreign languages, but do not have the self discipline to do it methodically. That’s why I know a hodgepodge of foreign tongues, yet am not fluent in any of them. True to form, I didn’t apply myself very well. While the cadet students were required to do the homework, I didn’t do mine routinely. I bought some Mandarin language compact discs hoping to make up for not doing the homework by listening to them in my truck.

It didn’t really work. After 8 weeks or so, I spoke to the instructor and let her know I was going to drop out. I was understanding less and less with each class and found my mind wandering. I do remember a certain class date when the professor had us watch a documentary on China. I found the part about cuisine especially fascinating. It showed some of the food markets and I remember seeing bugs and wormy looking things that are considered delicacies. If those things were put on a plate in front of me, I think I would gag.

But, all in all it was a neat experience. I still listen to Mandarin language lessons from time to time. I doubt I could ever negotiate a trade treaty. But, if I were to ever make it to China…I feel pretty confident I know enough to get along okay while shopping or eating. I do need to make sure I know the phrase for “No bugs, please.”


Air Force Academy, Audit, China, Chinese, Compact Discs, Mandarin

Meet the author

author avatar Tony Barnes
I am a native Texan who spent 3 years in the Marine Corps Reserves and 25 years on active duty in the Air Force. I have been a Christian since 1985 and am an ordained minister. I am conservative politically and love to study history. I publish a mont...(more)

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author avatar M G Singh
9th Dec 2013 (#)

Interesting as China is the big question now

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Dec 2013 (#)

Very informative

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