In a large country such as China, people are always moving around for work. In a number of cases, sometimes their families go with them, meaning that many children change schools or educational facilities—and lose touch with classmates and friends. Still now and then, it’s possible to meet up with some old school friends as you make way in your career—and won’t it be nice if you can talk with them about your past times together?

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(i) How to discuss which educational facilities you attended

(ii) To explain where you studied and recall some people from the past


Two old classmates meet up after some time:


(zài kā fēi tīng)

(at the café)


Dà xué nǐ shì zài nǎ gè chéng shì shàng de?

In which city did you go to university?


Wǒ shì zài Běi Jīng shàng de běn kē, bì yè hòu wǒ qù yīng guó dú yán. Běn lái xiǎng zài nà er zài dú gè bó shì, dàn hòu lái wǒ jué dìng hái shì huí guó hǎo.

I went to Beijing for my undergraduate studies. After graduation, I went to UK for my Masters. At first, I was going to get my PhD there, too. But later, I decided that it was better to come back to China.


Nǐ liǎ yuán lái bù shì tóng xué me?

Weren’t you two classmates before?


Òu, wǒ liǎ shì xiǎo xué hé chū zhōng tóng xué. Dàn shàng gāo zhōng hòu jiù méi lián xi le.

Oh yes, we were primary and middle school classmates. But we lost contact with each other when we were at secondary level school.


Bù guò xiàn zài wǒ mén yòu chéng tóng shì le, duō yǒu yuán fèn a!

However, we are now co-workers. It must be fate.

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

小学:primary school (six years in China)

初中:middle school (three years)

高中:secondary school (three years)

高考:the university entrance exam (the most important exam in China)

大学:university (four years)

研究生:a graduate student

博士:a PhD student

上大学:go to university





研:short for ‘研究生’, a Master’s degree student

本来:at first


回国:come back to the country





Cultural/Grammar note:

‘I am an undergraduate student’ in Chinese is:


Wǒ shì běn kē shēng.

‘Nine-year compulsory education’ in China:

China promulgated “Compulsory Education Law of the People’s Republic of China” in 1986. Since then, all citizens must attend school for at least nine years, known as the ‘nine-year compulsory education in China’ which the government funds. Nine-year compulsory education contains primary school(‘小学’) and junior secondary school (‘初中’) (or middle school). Primary education in most schools lasts six years. Both junior high school (or middle high school) and senior secondary school (or high school) (‘高中’)last three years in China.

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

Italki LogoUsing Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!

 Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.

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