16 February 2018

In celebration of Chinese New Year on Friday 16 February 2018, we spoke with some former learners who studied ABC Awards Mandarin Chinese qualifications at Prince Henry’s Grammar School.

Joanna Barber, Faculty Leader, told us:

“Since delivering the ABC Awards Mandarin Chinese Qualification, for the past 10 years, we have entered 107 students from our afterschool Chinese club classes with a 100% pass rate.”

Former learner, Kathrine, comments:

“I would say that the qualification was the first step for me on the path to employment. Learning Chinese through ABC Awards qualification really sparked an interest and led me to choose to study Mandarin at University.

I now know that after graduating in summer I want to be able to use my language skills in a future profession, and this is all thanks to the initial qualification.”

Prince Henry’s Grammar School offer an afterschool club once a week in which many of their students have also taken part in their Chinese Exchange. All students have a short beginner’s course in Chinese in timetabled lessons and then can opt to continue with it in afterschool clubs which then lead to an ABC Awards Qualification in Chinese.

When speaking about his experience learning Mandarin, former learner Ruaridh, said:

“It gave me a solid Mandarin knowledge base from which to move forward at university, whilst also broadening my knowledge and interest in foreign cultures and customs.”

Katharine, who is now in her final year at university studying a BA (Hons) in Chinese and Spanish, added: “I have always had a passion for languages and China so I thought it would be a great taster into learning a new, completely different language. At that time I was considering what to study at university and had seen that Leeds University offered Mandarin and Spanish, so I wanted to have some experience learning Chinese through the ABC Awards qualification before deciding if I wanted to carry on studying it in higher education.”

We also asked Kathrine if she has always been interested in Mandarin, she said:

I’ve always been interested in China, but I would say an exchange visit to Hangzhou in 2010 with my school really inspired me to learn Mandarin. I stayed with a Chinese family for ten days, meaning I was fully immersed in the culture and I fell in love with the food and the fast-paced lifestyle. Now, having studied Mandarin for four years at Leeds University, I have had the opportunity to go back to Hangzhou twice and see the family that I stayed with. It’s amazing how learning languages can help you make long lasting friendships all over the world!”

And finally, we asked both students what they would say to someone who’s thinking about learning another language…

Ruaridh said:

“Go for it. There are few things more rewarding than being able to speak to a foreigner in their mother tongue.

Mandarin is initially difficult but eventually rewarding.”

Kathrine said:

“I would say that learning a language is the best decision you could ever make. Not only can you learn more about another country and its culture, you can also make friends all over the world. Another important point is that learning a language gives you transferable skills such as communication, team work and analytical skills. In addition to these skills, employers are increasingly looking for people who can speak more than one language, meaning that you will stand out in the job market. The list is endless!

Learning Chinese is for everyone!”

Start learning Mandarin with ABC Awards, or for more information about our language qualifications please click here. Alternatively please contact our Centre Support team by email on or by phone on 0115 854 1620.

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