1. Saying a Chinese word multiple times before someone understands you.
2. Feeling Confident in your Chinese until a random conversation or misunderstanding obliterates your confidence.
3. Labeling your Chinese as okay no matter the level or time you have spent studying Chinese. If you say your Chinese is pretty good, you’d better speak like Dashan!
4. Being able to write really complicated characters but forgetting simple ones like 国 or 美。
5. Meeting a Chinese person from a different area of the country and have a difficult time understanding them. You are unable to tell whether it’s their accent that is strong or your Chinese that is weak.
6. Improving as a Beginner then hitting a Tibetan size plateau as an Intermediate student. It’s going to take you 40 years to get to the Promised Land that is advanced level Chinese.
7. Going through different periods of extreme motivation to extreme laziness.
8. Forgetting to say ma at the end of a question or saying it too late 你是美国人。。。。。。。。吗？Or using 你是不是美国人吗？ Both ways are wrong.
9. Ordering the wrong dish and eating it because explaining the situation is just too much work.
10. Messing up your tones on a pretty consistent basis
11. Saying 对，对，对 or 是，是，是 too many times when someone is speaking even though you have no idea what they are saying.
12. When someone tells you shouldn't say something in a certain way because it is "written Chinese" and not "spoken Chinese"
13. Taking a Chinese class outside of China that focuses on reading and writing but leaves you useless in speaking and listening.
14. Unknowingly coming across a Chengyu and having no idea what it means or how to use it.
15. Studying for your HSK test so you prove all the struggles were worth it
Kristen Carusos is from Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a major in International Affairs and a minor in French. She studied abroad in China for the first time in Shanghai in 2010 and again in 2011 at Beijing Language and Culture University. She graduated and moved to Beijing in 2012 and has been studying Chinese since then. She works in the Marketing Department at the Sinology Institute.