Meet Aloka

Headshot of Aloka.

I enjoyed being able to reconnect with my language skills and to have a place to learn without pressure. The purpose was just to enjoy learning.”

Aloka, Mandarin student

Aloka McLean is a student in the UBC Extended Learning (ExL) Mandarin classes. She shares her story about keeping up her language skills with a community of learners at ExL.

What led you to seek out these courses?

My degree is in Asian Language and Culture, specifically Mandarin and Chinese culture. After finishing my degree, I moved to Shanghai to work for a couple of years, which was amazing. I used Mandarin for all of my day-to-day activities. I would have to think in Mandarin; my whole world was Mandarin.

Since I’ve come home, I've been working at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, but I don’t use Mandarin in my day-to-day job. During the pandemic, I realized it was a good opportunity to brush up on my language skills and looked into the UBC Extended Learning program to do that.

Why did you choose to learn from UBC ExL?

I liked the format and that the course was online once a week, which worked well with my schedule. I also trust UBC as a reputable and solid education institution. I've had good experiences in the past, so I wanted to return to UBC.

What was a highlight for you from these courses?

One highlight for me was connecting with other people who also wanted to learn Mandarin and who didn’t necessarily have a background or degree in it. That was really nice. I took the courses during the pandemic, and it was great to be able to meet new people.

For me personally, I enjoyed being able to reconnect with my language skills and to have a place to learn where there was no pressure. The purpose of taking the course was just to enjoy learning, which is not an opportunity we often get. The conversation class was very relaxed, and it was really nice to be able to brush up on my skills in that kind of environment.

Who would you recommend these courses to?

I would recommend these courses to anyone who is interested in starting to learn Mandarin, but also to anybody who has some base in it and wants to keep up their language skills. Because, as we know, learning a language requires maintaining it, otherwise you can lose it. The courses are tremendously helpful in that way, and it's such a relaxed, stress-free sort of environment to learn in.

Read more student profiles.


Stay connected

Sign up for news and updates about UBC Extended Learning programs, courses, info sessions and more. 

Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service. RSS The symbol to indicate an RSS feed. Arrow An arrowhead pointing to the right Arrow, right to bracket An arrowhead pointing to the right, into a bracket character. External Link An arrowhead pointing up and to the right, from inside a box Bars Three horizontal bars. Books Three book spines, viewed head-on, one leaning. Calendar A monthly calendar page. E-commerce Cart A shopping cart Checkmark A checkmark character Chevron A chevron character pointing to the right Checkmark A checkmark character inside a solid circle Cost A dollar sign inside a solid circle Info An 'i' character inside a solid circle Play An arrowhead pointing to the right inside of a solid circle User A silhouette of a person inside a solid circle Envelope A closed envelope Certificate A document with an award pinned to it Pen A document with a pen beside it Filter A funnel / filter silhouette Laptop Computer An open laptop computer with a blank screen Location Pin A map location pin Search A magnifying glass Minus A minus sign News A folded newspaper Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add Quote, left An opening quotation character Alert An exclamation point inside a solid triangle User A silhouette of a person Close The character 'X'