Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does membership give me?

Membership of the Association for Speakers of Chinese as a Second Language means you become part of a large network of similarly skilled, likeminded individuals. Membership gives you networking opportunities with these peers, with potential employers, and exclusive invitation to various events. Membership means you are represented by the association as a qualified non-native speaker of Chinese language.

Q: I can speak Chinese, but cannot read or write, can I still join?

To be eligible for membership to the Association for Speakers of Chinese as a Second Language, you must be able to demonstrate advanced understanding of all aspects of the language (written, spoken, reading, and writing) through recognised methods of certification. If a potential member is visually or aurally impaired, and therefore physically unable to evidence competency in the corresponding area, may be admitted where all other criteria are met. For more information on membership eligibility, please see here.

Q: I speak Cantonese/Tibetan/Uighur, can I join?

Membership is dependent on advanced certified ability in Chinese language. For the purposes of this Association, Chinese language is defined as ‘Modern Standard Chinese’, rendered in either Full-form or Simplified Characters. Please see here for further information.

Q: I am a native Chinese speaker, can I join?

No. Sorry, this Association, by definition, is for non-native Chinese speakers that hold a recognised high-level qualification in the language.

Q: What is the purpose of this Association?

Please see here.

Q: I have just completed a course in Chinese and would like to use my skills in my work. How can I do this?

You may not be able to use your Chinese straight away, but don't worry. Your Chinese will have a long shelf life. If you haven't done so already, develop a professional skill or knowledge in a particular sector, then after several years steer yourself back into the field by seeking employment with organisations which are engaging with China. Alternatively, seek out a graduate training scheme with a large firm that does business with China, but accept that your training will be learning about the business at hand and that you may not be able to use your Chinese skills straight away. The biggest competition for jobs will often come from extremely well qualified and capable native speakers. You will need to set yourself apart by possessing a unique combination of skills and experience. Fear not, the Association for Speakers of Chinese as a Second Language is here to help through flagging opportunities to maintain and improve your linguistic skills, potential relevant employment opportunities, facilitate networking between yourself, other members, and potential employers, and by acting as a lobbying organisation to raise the profile of qualified non-native Chinese speakers.

Q: What kind of opportunities are available if I just go to China and seek work there?

You can go to China and seek work on a locally engaged basis. There are foreign firms doing business in China, and local firms doing business internationally - there are opportunities to learn new skills and gain work experience. However, be aware although there are more examples of foreigners working for Chinese firms, unless you have particular skills, remuneration tends be low. Teaching English as a Foreign Language can be rewarding and also be a means to sustain yourself until other opportunities arise should you intend on immediately re-locating to China or Taiwan.

New requirements for visas in China were introduced in 2017, there is a decent summary of them available here. Note also, since April 2018, biometric capture has been introduced in the UK (for other countries, please see the website of your local Chinese Embassy or Consulate). As ever, please see travel advice of localities you are heading to before going. Here is the UK Travel Advice for China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Q: I studied Chinese many years ago and it has become rather rusty; how can I get it back up to scratch?

Have a look at the information about language top-up courses, post-graduate courses, and other ideas in the Professional Development section of this site.

Q: How can I network with other speakers of Chinese?

The members section of the website has the contact details of other speakers of Chinese as a second language. Log In and take a look. The Association also encourages its members to meet up informally and practise their Chinese! You may be surprised at what speakers of Chinese may end up doing!

We are grateful to the following organisations for their support White Rose East Asia Centre China-Britain Business Council University of Leeds
Pearson British Council