Shanghai Internships for Learning Chinese

Today marks the end of the summer internships at AllSet Learning. We had our first intern, Donna, last summer. That was when the company was just starting out. Since we now have quite a few more clients and a whole team of teachers, there were a lot more interesting tasks for this summer’s interns, Lucas and Hugh. And their internships were pretty cool, directly related to learning Chinese.

Some of the things the AllSet Learning interns got to do:

Lucas and Hugh

– Take demo lessons to help evaluate different teachers’ teaching methods
– Play with “Chinese character building blocks” (a children’s educational toy set), experimenting with Chinese character constructions
– Provide feedback on various types of learning materials, from comics to Communist Party doctrine to iPad apps
– Help research and compile Chinese grammar information
– Test the effect of regular tone pair drills
– Participate in game-like components of teacher training sessions
– Play Settlers of Catan (and explain it in Chinese)
– Eat 东北菜 (pictured above)

One of the things I personally gained from having the interns around the office was a reminder of the very specific early challenges learners of Chinese face. But I also saw firsthand how the new generation of learners is coming to China much better prepared and knowledgeable. One of my interns, Hugh, even has an excellent blog on learning Chinese called East Asia Student. I’ve mentioned it before, but the days of coming to China clueless and expecting to have opportunities thrown at you really are winding down (or at least moving to China’s smaller cities).

Anyway, if you’re a bright young mind looking for an internship that offers the opportunity to learn Chinese, we’ve got them at AllSet Learning.

And finally, a sincere thank you to Lucas and Hugh for their hard work this summer. You guys were great!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. maxiewawa Says: August 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Hey John, where are the learning materials regarding CCCP doctrine?

  2. Lee Hofweber Says: August 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I might want to consider giving the internship a try!

  3. A pleasure! I’m looking forward to seeing what the company gets up to in the future.

  4. Michael Norris Says: August 30, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Hi John,

    Where can I (and other interested “bright young minds”) find more information regarding internships at AllSet Learning?

    • Did you follow the links above?

      Bright young minds can also certainly figure out the appropriate email address to get in touch if they’re serious about the internship… 🙂

  5. Hi John,

    About your teaching methods: As you’re living in China, have you got a good idea of how Chinese kids first learn to read and write Chinese?

    I’m a Chinese teacher in Australia and being a second language learner myself, I’m not sure of the answer to this question. We’ve recently changed our pedagogy to reflect what we think happens. We now begin our course with a speaking and listening strand (expecting kids to recognize those characters 你好,再见 etc) and a reading and writing strand in which we build up a knowledge of radicals and components.

    You mentioned your interns played with blocks? What do you use them for? And where do you get them?


    • Cailtin,

      Yes, I’m pretty sure I understand how Chinese children learn to read and write, but I’m also sure that the same study materials and methods are not appropriate for most adult learners.

      The blocks are basically to strengthen familiarity with the various component parts of Chinese characters. You can buy them online in China.

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