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Interview with Ian Hayden from Mandarin House


Earlier this month, we spoke to Ian Hayden who joined Mandarin House as Business Development Manager in September 2013. Ian tells us about his experience and projects for the school.

Q. Hello Ian, you come from the UK. What brought you to China in the first place?
I came out to China in 2006, pretty much straight after I finished my degree. I’d heard a lot about China during my degree course (especially regarding China’s economy, history and current environmental practices). At that time I couldn’t speak Chinese and hadn’t gained fluency in any second language (French at school didn’t count). Gaining fluency in another language was one of my life goals and I decided at that Mandarin, Chinese would be the most useful and the most interesting.

I was originally planning to come to China for one year learn Chinese and go back to the UK. After 7 years I’m still here and still loving my life in the Middle Kingdom. I like the optimism here. The belief that things will be better tomorrow. I also like the drive and the energy that a lot of Chinese cities have.

Q. When did you join Mandarin House?
I’m new to Mandarin House, but I’ve been working in the Language training industry for over 7 years now. I joined this industry, like a lot of people by getting my CELTA qualification and starting work as a teacher in Wall Street English. I worked my up in Wall Street, first as a Service Supervisor, then a Service Manager, I then moved to a marketing and social media position abd became the National Online Community Manager before finally becoming the National Service Manager. Working in both service and marketing focused positions in one of the largest training institutes in China has hopefully equipped me with some useful experience that I can bring to Mandarin house.

Q. Why?
I decided to join Mandarin House for a couple of reasons:
The first being that I love speaking and learning Mandarin. As a former Mandarin House student I personally benefited from the materials and the teachers at Mandarin House. I found my time studying at Mandarin House was both rewarding and efficacious. As most Mandarin learners will say, the first 6 months studying mandarin (especially if you are living in China) can be frustrating. The learning curve is steep. But the encouragement and patient feedback I received really motivated me to keep studying.
Secondly, I strongly believe in promoting Mandarin study to Western countries and students. The UK for example is only just beginning to promote the importance of learning Mandarin as a second language. But to help ensure success in doing business in china, knowing the language (which then gives you a far greater understanding of the history and culture) provides a significant advantage.

Q. What are your objectives for the near future?
Over the next year, I’m hoping to increase my knowledge of the Mandarin learning market. I’m extremely excited by the potential that social media and social technology have in improving the Mandarin learners’ experience and I believe that these technologies could help lead to a significant jump in the number of Mandarin as a Second Language students.

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