Mandarin has the advantage of being a vibrant community language as well as an important international language. There are thus many opportunities to hear and practise Mandarin and learn more about Chinese culture informally in the local community. ALMA encourages its members to take advantage of these opportunities to supplement more formal programs of language education.
Meeting Mandarin speakers in the ACT region Learners can register for the free ALMA Mandarin Community Tutoring Project, which brings together native speakers of Mandarin living in the Canberra area and members of the wider ACT community. ALMA also keeps members members informed of local Chinese-related events through thsi website and the ALMA News.
For Mandarin learners outside the ACT region To find Mandarin speakers in your local community, consider contacting the International Office or ELICOS centre of a local university or TAFE, or the Director of a local English language program provider. If they do not already have a language exchange system in place, ask if it is possible to contact a native speaking Mandarin student – you could offer to help them with English in exchange for them helping you with Mandarin.
You can also try to find where Chinese is spoken in your area – there may be a Chinese church or weekend school for example. Go along and see who you meet.
Formal programs outside the Canberra area There are a wide range of Mandarin programs for children and adults in most Australian cities.
For adults: contact your local university, TAFE and other adult education institutions and program providers.