There are literally thousands of websites about learning Mandarin Chinese. Therefore, it can be quite a task wading through them all in search of the "holy grail" for learning the language quickly. However, through the several years of experience I have had learning Mandarin, I have found that quite a few sites were lacking in one of the essentials of the language. Either, they lacked sufficient information on how to learn to write the characters, lacked sound clips for pronunciation examples, or lacked some other integral piece of the puzzle.
The point? I am going to attempt to bring together, all in one place (this blog), the necessary resources for someone who wants to improve their Mandarin. Not just in one area, but in all areas (speaking, reading, writing, listening). Whether you want to go from newbie to fluent speaker, or just improve a little, this blog is for you. I will be finding the most useful materials (books, software, CDs, etc) and will hopefully save you some time in the process.
Having lived in China for several years, studied the language at home beforehand, and also having studied China at a university within China, I have had access to numerous training materials. Therefore, I have an idea of what works well, and what doesn't. Some books will be filled with unnecessary vocabulary in the early stages of learning, when all you want is survival Chinese. Some software for learning Chinese will bore you quickly, and seems to make learning feel like a chore. I will steer you to the better materials, and try to provide as much free information as possible to make a journey easier and more importantly, to make it ENJOYABLE.
Have fun learning Mandarin, and believe me, it's worth it!