Your Foreign Affairs Office
Why Study Chinese
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How large is the city of Linfen?
Linfen and its surround areas have upwards of 4 million residents but the number of city residents is considerably less.
2. What fast food restaurants are in Linfen? (See Map)
Linfen has several western style restaurants including a McDonalds (6789200*), KFC, Dicos (2013288*) (fast food), a couple of coffee shops, and a Korean Restaurant, a Brazilian BBQ and a Pizza Buffet (2698333*). Several restaurants will deliver to your residence Be prepared to order in Chinese or get help from someone.*
3. Is travel from Linfen to other destinations in China easily accomplished?
Linfen has both a train (searchable). The Linfen schedule is here: (Linfen schedule) and bus stations. Staff in the The Foreign Affairs Office will assist in purchasing tickets if the teachers desires to travel. There is also a high speed train to get you from Taiyuan to Beijing.
4. What is there to do in or around Linfen?
There are several cities, parks or mountains that can be reached all within a days travel by bus or by train. The Foreign Affairs Office plans from time to time to help teachers get a first hand taste of China. Linfen as many small shops for those who enjoy shopping. There is also a movie theater, which occasionally shows English language films. There are often cultural/art programs at the university as well.
There are several full-service gyms in the city. At the current exchange rate it will cost you about 1300 RMB ($170 U.S.- check exchange rates) for a years membership. Because the Chinese have a habit of using their long lunchtime break to take a nap, the gym is empty during lunch time. This is also a good time to do any shopping if you want to avoid crowds.
Yao Temple (named for the first Emperor) is a short taxi ride from campus and boasts buildings which identify the area as the birth of Chinese culture. The temple area includes an aquarium, as well.
5. What is the typical salary of a foreign teacher?
Typically teachers who hold a BA or BS, earn 4500 RMB monthly for 16-18 hours of class work. Working less than 16 hours will decrease your salary working more than 18 will increase your salary. Typically it is a 1000 RMB increase for an additional 4 classes per week.
6 What is the university's policy regarding airfare reimbursement?
The university will reimburse the teacher for the cost of one roundtrip air ticket the teacher's home country upon the completion of a one year contract.
7. What does the apartment come equipped with?
Teachers are provided with a modern, clean apartment in the apartment building behind the library on campus. The apartment is equipped with a small kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room and balcony where clothes can be hung to dry. The apartment has an air conditioning unit and is heated with boilers between Nov. 15 and March 15 (according to Chinese law). Portable heaters are provided as needed. The apartments have a television with cable TV and a full complement of furniture. The kitchen has a washing machine, counter/sink area, gas stove and refrigerator. Teachers are also provided with a computer in their apartments.
8. Do the apartments have an internet connection?
The teacher can have an internet connection in their apartment but will be responsible for monthly, semi-annual, or annual fees. The current rate is approximately 50 RMB a month for an always on connection with download rates at around 200 mbps. The internet is paid along with your phone bill.
9. What is the cost of living in Linfen?
While this has not been precisely calculated, the cost of food is considerably less than it is in the United States. The cost of clothing and electronics comparable to costs in the United States. Housing and utilities are included with the teacher's contract. There is a monthly base telephone fee of 15 RMB, plus any additional calls are the responsibility of the teacher. On campus calls (to other teachers, for example) are not charged. The cost of a movie is approximately 30 RMB. The typical salary of a teacher at SXNU is more than enough for the teacher to live very comfortably. A taxi ride is 6 RMB to most locations in the city. A loaf of bread is 3-5 RMB. A bottle of coke is 2.5 - 3 RMB.
10. What is shopping like in Linfen ? (See Map)
Within 2 minutes walking from the Foreign Teachers Apartment there is a restaurant, a branch of the Bank of China, an office supplies store, a mobile phone branch office, a farmer's market type fruit/vegetable stand, a barber shop and an optometrist.
The city has a wide variety of small stores as well as two large supermarkets (Wongef in four locations, and Milky Way in one location) which sell groceries, clothing, appliances and electronics.
11. How large is the student body at SXNU?
The student body has approximately 20,000 students.
12. How large is the campus.
SXNU main campus is on 50 acres (See Map) with two smaller campuses in another part of Linfen.
13. Does SXNU have weekend classes?
No. Occasionally the English Promotion Society or some similar organization will conduct an "English Corner" discussion opportunity on the weekend. Students will invite you to attend these events, typically 2 hours long. Otherwise, there are not any weekend teaching requirements.
14. What areas does the university train in?
The University includes a variety of schools including:
School of Economics
School of Foreign Languages (English, Japanese, Chinese)
School of Fine Arts
School of Educational Technology
Research Institute of Chinese Opera and Relics
School of Biological Technology and Engineering
15. What courses to the foreign teachers typically teach?
Subjects taught by the foreign teacher include:
|Survey of American and British Culture||American Literature||British Literature|
|English Composition||Oral English||Selected Readings|
|History of America||History of Britain||Extensive Reading|
|Listening Comprehension||Essential Japanese||Japanese Grammar|
|Japanese Reading||Japanase Composition|
Prospective Student Questions?
Are you a prospective, new or current undergraduate student? If you have a question about Shanxi Normal University Foreign Affairs Office is the best place to look for an answer.
Prospective Teacher Questions?
Are you a prospective teacher? Come join the faculty of Shanxi Normal University. You can contact the Foreign Affairs Office about openings. You can send your resumes/CV to Mrs. Guo Xibian, along with any additional relevant information for consideration.
The general mailing address below should be accompanied by additional information, such as a faculty or department name, or an individual's name.
中国 山西, 临汾
Learning Chinese in China
What is easy for westerners?
- no subject/verb agreement
- no plurals
- no conjugations
- no tenses
- simple numbering system which is applied to dates and time expressions
- simple conditional sentences
- simple prepositions
- word order is very similar to English
- no articles, and certainly not masculine and femine as in French
What is difficult for westerners?
- Writing and reading the characters is challengin to be sure
- The tones (speaking) are difficult for second language learners to master
- Challenges with tones also affect listening on some level
Some pretty good reaons to study Chinese:
- The rise of China presents new economic, political and social realities that demand greater U.S. engagement at every level. As the foundation of that engagement, we urgently need to raise the number of Americans who can demonstrate a functional proficiency in Chinese.
- As a business person you do not want to have to rely entirely on a translators work. Have some idea of what is being said before turning to the translation can make you a smarter person.
- There are approximately 915 million speakers of Mandarin (or Putongua, the primary dialect of Chinese) compared to Spanish, the fourth most widely spoken language in the world with around 400 million speakers.
- You don’t have to learn Chinese characters to learn to speak Chinese. Pinyin is a method of writing Chinese in the roman alphabet. Hanyu pinyin spells the sound, and includes tone marks to help give the correct pronunciation.
- Although you do not need to learn to read Chinese characters to speak the language, by doing so you open the door to an enormously diverse and rich literature. In fact, the earliest record of writing was in Chinese characters although very different in form from modern characters (of which there are many thousand).
- The Chinese economy is the fastest growing economy in the world and if only because of the sheer size of the population, it will become the world's largest economy in a matter of years. So in the work environment even speaking a little Chinese will give you a competitive edge, if your company invests in China or is considering doing so.
- Language and culture are linked and learning something of the Chinese language will help give an appreciation of the cultural heritage of China.
- China is accessible to the foreign visitor in a way that it has not been in the past and travel to and within China is becoming easier, but to make the most of this opportunity for travel, language at a basic level is important. Mandarin is spoken throughout China.
- Food. You can eat in the tourist restaurants in hotels but for a genuine experience you need to try local restaurants for a culturally different and sensory eating experience.
- Like any other language, it is possible to learn a few words and phrases in Mandarin, enough to be polite without spending years in further education.