Mandarin Learning Resources

Ben Pearce recently returned to the UK after four years living and working in Haining. He has reached an excellent standard of Mandarin and is now teaching the language to students of various ages in London. In this blog, he shares some of his top tips to help you get started with learning Mandarin.



Jitka Hruzova: A Year in Yuxi

March 29th, 2017|

Interview with Jitka Hruzova, State School teacher in Yuxi 2016-17 What made you decide that you wanted to Teach English [...]

Tattoos in China: Dispelling the Myth

March 24th, 2017|

There's a common myth that having visible tattoos in China and working as a foreign teacher is a big no. [...]

Charlotte Gray: A Year in Shanghai

March 22nd, 2017|

Interview with Charlotte Gray, State School teacher in Shanghai (2015-2016) What made you decide that you wanted to Teach English [...]


March 22nd, 2017|

By Sabrina Samra  (Teacher in Shanghai, 2015-ongoing) Ahhh… it gives me a happy shiver to reflect upon my trip to [...]

An Insider’s Guide to the Best of Chongqing Cuisine

March 13th, 2017|

Chongqing is, depending who you ask, the Mountain City, the Foggy City or the River City. These three names accurately [...]

Sheree Hooker (2013-2014 programme). Career after China: Freelance Travel Blogger

March 13th, 2017|

Sheree Hooker (2013-2014 paid teaching programme) Career after China: Freelance Travel Blogger Why China? In all honesty, I still don’t [...]

Teaching in China vs South Africa: How do they compare?

March 10th, 2017|

Many of our teachers go on to do other exciting work experience, whether it's in the UK or abroad. Natasha [...]

Why Teaching Abroad Was The Best Decision I Made

March 6th, 2017|

Everyone knows the stereotype of young adults deciding to drop everything and run away to ‘find themselves’. I’m not writing [...]

8 Weird and Wonderful Chinese Festivals You Need to Experience

March 3rd, 2017|

Holiday's and Festivals in China By Lauren Pettit, Teacher in Jinan (2015-2016) When I left the UK to live and [...]

How a Year in China Launched my Teaching Career

March 3rd, 2017|

Helena Jane (2013 summer & 2014-2015 paid teaching programme). Career After China: Teach First I remember thinking, ‘I could do [...]

The Language Barrier In China

March 3rd, 2017|

The Language Barrier in China By Eleanor Beresford, Teacher in Shanghai (2016-2017) Hello, I’m Eleanor, and I’ve been living in [...]

How to Eat Vegan in Shanghai

February 23rd, 2017|

Hi, I’m Eleanor and I’ve been learning how to eat vegan in Shanghai for the past 6 months. Before I came to China, I had no idea how easy or difficult it would be to overcome the language barrier, and therefore didn’t know if I would be able to continue my vegan lifestyle in China. This uncertainty almost stopped me from going on this adventure, but now I can say I’m so pleased it didn’t. I’ve since discovered that sticking to a vegan diet in Shanghai is far easier than I anticipated. Here are my top tips to help anyone else with the same concerns. What can I eat other than rice? Tofu is really popular in China and most supermarkets offer a huge selection of it. It’s really versatile and easy to cook, making home cooking a good choice for anyone looking to eat vegan. I often make Spaghetti Bolognese with home-made tomato sauce, tofu and vegetables. Vegetables are also widely available in supermarkets and markets and they are so cheap! If you aren’t a big one for cooking though, it’s still easy to eat vegan in Shanghai restaurants. There are places all over the city that will make vegan food for you if you ask them. One of my favourite dishes is shredded potatoes cooked in oil with vegetables, which is so simple and so good! Don’t they put meat in everything? In short, no they don’t. However, be aware that some restaurants will put chicken or fish in a dish if you ask for no meat. This is because they don’t consider chicken to be meat. One time I asked for no meat, no fish, and no chicken, and they came out with a dish that had frog in! The trick is not to assume that they know what you mean when you say you’re a vegan and don’t eat meat. You should be very specific about what you do and don’t eat. If they tell you they don’t have anything for you to eat, you can always find a restaurant that will. There are so many restaurants everywhere that you’ll have plenty to choose from. So, how can you make sure restaurant staff understand your needs? Simply save the photo below on your phone and show it to the waiter. It might take longer than usual, but this is so helpful to being able to eat vegan in Shanghai. Though this is helpful, be warned that restaurant staff in China are not as polite as in the UK. If they find your dietary requirements funny, they won’t hide it and might even go and tell their colleagues. This is nothing to worry about, it’s simply because they have not come across veganism before. They are not trying to be rude, they just don’t understand. Where will I get my protein from? Soy milk is readily available in most big supermarkets, many of which you’ll find without even trying. Walmart, Carrefour and E-mart are some of the big names that can be found across Shanghai. If you’re trying to eat vegan you should avoid Vitasoy ‘soy milk’. Although this brand claims to be soy milk, it actually contains regular milk, which I unpleasantly found out when it turned in my fridge after only a few days. As I mentioned earlier, tofu is available readily in supermarkets. This is a great addition to a stir fry and comes in many varieties. I also try to eat peanuts every day, to maintain my protein intake. British people trying to eat vegan in Shanghai will be pleased to know baked beans are available in some supermarkets. Be warned however, bread in China is often sweetened with milk and is therefore not vegan. It’s best to shop around and see if you can find a brand that hasn’t been sweetened. You might have to ask a Chinese friend or teacher to help you with the ingredients. Above: this is the soy milk that is not vegan […]