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Course Review: CHIN 101

Basic Chinese I: Part 1 (Non-Heritage)

“bā lā kè  ào bā mǎ (Barack Obama)!”

Text: Integrated Chinese: Simplified Characters Textbook & Workbook, Level 1, Part 1 by  Yuehua Liu

Prof:  Lee (An-Yi) Laoshi

Lee Laoshi is super funny and passionate. The class was the most enjoyable class I took that term because of interactive nature of the lessons. It was the only class that I didn’t occasionally look at the clock to see when it was ending. She was also very helpful and understanding. Unfortunately, she was only hired as a Visiting Lecturer and will be leaving UBC soon.


The workload was a lot. Weekly quizzes, character sheets, and the occasional workbook chapter created an onslaught of homework, even when there wasn’t a midterm. Most of it was memorization, so it was just a matter of spending the time. Most of the stuff was on the computer. Unfortunately, my computer packed up on the final, so I didn’t do as well as I did during the rest of the course and I lost a letter grade.

Key Concepts

Pinyin (pronunciation) with tones

Character reading

Character writing

Understanding oral Chinese

 Hard Concepts


Recognising pinyin orally: Really hard, be sure to get a lot of practice before the final. I advise recruiting a first language speaker friend to help out.

Writing characters: Quite painstaking, especially if you are not the best artist. Lots of practice.


Fun classes, exhausting homework and worthwhile introduction to one of the world’s most widely spoken languages.