The Benefits of Children Learning Mandarin Chinese

Mention actors Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, and most American students would be delighted to discuss at great length their popular box office movies, and perhaps even recite some of their famous lines.

The benefits of learning Chinese

Few would disagree with their iconic status in the United States. But the Chinese language? Not so popular!

In fact, many people, upon hearing it, perceive it to be complex and too difficult to understand. For this reason, getting students to sign up for Chinese as a language option is a hard sell. Instead, many settle for something they believe to be easier and more useful—like Spanish.

Yet, there are actually many benefits to children learning Chinese. Particularly those in school who may be embarking upon new job experiences or internships that will require language skills.

Benefits to English speaking children learning Chinese

 1. Chinese is the language of nearly 25% of the world’s population (1.4 billion people), spread around the globe.

2. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Students who can write Chinese characters score higher in mathematics.”

3. Learning Chinese can open the possibility of future career possibilities and expand student‘s marketability. According to, “China is an immense market for American growth and services, and a vital supplier to American markets and consumers.”

4. Mastery of the Chinese language can prove to be very beneficial for those who embark upon traveling and studying abroad.

5. Because Chinese is considered to be a difficult language, learning it, and establishing a level of fluency is a great way to impress friends, family, teachers and peers.

6. Studying Chinese satisfies and establishes second language credit at many high schools in the United States.

7. Studying Chinese makes English students more well rounded, as does any skill that extends beyond the basics. Additionally, students are likely to cultivate greater study skills and more discipline in the process. Research further suggests that students who are bilingual perform better at multitasking.

8. Knowing different languages typically increases one’s earning potential. Chinese, especially, is a marketable skill because China now holds the world’s second largest economy in terms of nominal GDP.

9. Chinese proficiency can be developed in ways that were not available before the internet or the iPod. Podcasts, iPhone apps, interactive websites, and other resources all make for innovative and fun ways to learn Chinese.

10. Learning the language exposes students to great literature and a rich culture. The Chinese culture is over 5,000 years old.

As these examples demonstrate, there are many reasons students should consider studying Chinese for academic or personal reasons. Doing so can greatly enrich their academic experience and open career opportunities.  As with all things, “knowledge is power.”


  1. Magnus on July 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Agreed Agreed Agreed.
    Great post and I agree with all of them.

  2. jo on July 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    ive had the pleasure of dealing with and nowing amny chinese people in a short amount of time.i must say they are all extemely sharp and smart.

  3. Charlie on August 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    11. It’s really fun! Aside from Japanese, I couldn’t imagine having this much fun learning (especially writing) any other language.

    • Thomas Aylmer on August 5, 2011 at 2:09 am

      Yah I agree, it is definitely a fun language to learn. Probably because of the characters! Talking is fun too, even though it is way more frustrating.

  4. Charlie on August 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Definitely, Chinese characters are supreme. Coolest written language, bar none.

  5. John on August 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    “1. Chinese is the language of nearly 25% of the world’s population (1.4 billion people), spread around the globe.”

    25%? Tsk tsk tsk. Its 20%. What’s with your american math? 😀
    1,339,724,852 (China’s population) / 6,938,600,000 (World’s total population) = 19.3%
    Even adding oversea Chinese populations – estimated at 40,000,000, that’s still 19.9%.

    1 in 5th (20%) vs 1 in 4th (25%) is quite a significant difference.

    • Thomas Aylmer on August 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      Why are you saying “America math?” How do you even know the guest blogger who wrote this is American? If you are going to comment on my blog, leave your anti-American feelings out of it and make a constructive argument.

  6. Rod in China on November 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I came to China wanting to learn Chinese because of many of the reasons you’ve listed. However, after achieving a decent level of fluency (whatever that means), I’ve found that many of the businesses in China would rather hire an English speaking Chinese person than a Chinese speaking American. I know someone’s going to follow up with a “No way, I know this guy who…” type comment, so I’ll add that I didn’t look TOO hard, but I did browse some forums/sites, and make some calls – anyway, just what I experienced. I think for a long time still, Mandarin won’t be more than a hobby for native English speakers, just because the number of English speaking Chinese is so great already (not just in Mainland China, but in Taiwan and The US as well)

    • Thomas Aylmer on November 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      There are an increasing number of Chinese who can speak English– but overall, its relatively very few. Not only that, they can’t speak in a native way that would be important for making personal connections with people. Natives talk in a way which is understood by each other, and cannot really be replicated by Chinese. There might be some job opportunities back home as well. I think people often make the mistake of assuming that just because you speak Chinese, it means you are guaranteed to be hired somewhere. I don’t think someone would higher on this basis alone because you can always hire a translator. But if you are skilled at other things, and a right fit for the company– also knowing Chinese could be a huge asset. So instead of seeing Chinese as your golden ticket to a job, see it as a skill you have in your back pocket that could be used at anytime to provide value to a company.

  7. Rocky on March 17, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Great post! I agree with you Thomas. Personally, I am an American who has had the opportunity to learn Chinese and study abroad. I have many secular skills that can get me a job, but speaking Chinese made me the preferred candidate when I sought out an internship in China, and a job upon returning to the United States. Speaking Chinese as an American allows you to provide a unique asset to a company looking to expand operations to Asia. I’m so happy I learned to speak Chinese and Spanish. I have made so many new friends and business contacts. I love that I am American, but can speak multiple languages. Being culturally aware makes you truly an international citizen.

  8. Walter on March 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Ni hao

    I think Chinese language will be bvery important four our kids in the future. So I have found a website dedicated to teach Chinese with online free games (so attractive for kids) . The link is

    I hope it helps

  9. marklee on June 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm

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  10. marywhite on July 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Hi, I’m from America also a Chinese learner.
    I find Chinese is interesting and not that difficult to learn.
    I use a free e-book which is amazingly great.
    I highly recommend this to you and hope you like it.

  11. joel fernandes on February 6, 2018 at 1:03 am

    if you are doing business in china or hong kong,learning chinese or mandarin is a must,else youll never survive

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