Im back home in Canada after 7 years in Taiwan doing many things, one of which was learning Mandarin at the ICLP. At my peak I was pretty fluent in reading, speaking and typing. I could go to trade shows and talk to vendors in Chinese, understand most TV and handle day to day activities. since coming home and going to grad school for business I have found out that this was a good decision to learn Chinese and have had some good job opportunities partly because of it. Not directly involving it, but businesses like the fact I lived in Taiwan, got the business experience and learned something very difficult. I am no doubt not as fluent as I was when I was in Taiwan 7 months ago but still think I can get back to that level. My wife is there and will come to Canada in 6 weeks. Do you guys that have been in a similar situation think that with speaking only to my wife in Chinese and doing a few hours a week of self study reading and writing ill be able to progress past what I was in Taiwan, or is being in the environment all the time of up most importance? Anyone have a similar experience of going home and trying not to lose, but gain fluency in Chinese?
By the way, don't believe those that say you have to be 100% fluent or a translator to gain from your Chinese. Ive had some interviews in Chinese with international companies and they were blown away that a westerner took the time and had the dedication to get a s far as I could. Also some of the life skills and business skills of living in Asia are attractive to companies. You wont be able to get away with this with crap Chinese but if you can get through an interview and make conversation with people its good enough for a sales job apparently.