How do you practice your Chinese skills while on Beijing busses, subways or taxis? 

While listening to Mp3 lessons or reviewing what you learned in class with ChinesePod are great ways to practice your Chinese.  If technology is not an available option, you can always try to use old school flash cards.

After morning Chinese lessons you can dedicate a few minutes to write down the most important characters of the day on flashcards, especially those you are having trouble remembering. In a reasonable amount of time you can create your own mini lesson plan which will be useful whenever you are stuck in Beijing traffic (which unfortunately will happen quite a lot!).

How does a flashcard work?  For those who are not familiar with this technique, it is basically a square piece of paper structured like this: on one side you can write the Chinese character and on the back Chinese pinyin, tone and meaning.

Once you have your own deck of flashcards, you can challenge yourself everyday trying to guess more and more Chinese words. A tip, try to make sure you write them down yourself, rather than making photocopies.  Although photocopies can save you time, they are less effective in the long run.  Did you know that everything you write can be remembered 10 times more easily than things that you read or listen to?

So, flashcards are simple, fun, useful and they will be sure to attract Chinese people’s attention…  Who knows, perhaps in the morning on the way to Hutong School, you will make new friends or find a valid Chinese language partner!