Here’s an interesting video on the Defense Language Institute (DLI) from the History Channel. I attended the Chinese Mandarin Course for all of 1991. It’s so hard to believe that was twenty one years ago.
The video is interesting. We didn’t have whiteboards or the internet. We worked with photocopied articles from the People’s Daily.
Also, the narrator (the Full Metal Jacket guy) says they study their “chosen” language. Yeah, right. My recruiter told me I would be studying Russian. Imagine my surprise at the end of Basic Training when they told me I would be learning Chinese.
I can still speak Chinese and do it whenever I can—the internet helps. I’ve been to China on business where it really came in handy. Now, my kids are enrolled in a Chinese class on Saturday afternoons. It sticks with you, I guess.