My Future in Mandarin

I'm finishing my University degree at the end of this year. It will probably conclude my formal Mandarin studies. I first wanted to go the China (specifically back to Beijing) to just mission around for a year or two. However, due to some change in plans within my family and friends, I've decided to remain in South Africa for at least one year, maybe two years. The reasons for this are because of the fact that most of friends are going to continue to studying and most of them I've been friends with since early highschool. The University I go to is in the same town I grew up in. So this place, Stellenbosch, has much sentimental value.

I figured, that University is a time, not a place. Therefore, I'm going to treasure my friends and the times spent with them for just a bit longer, before we all enter the big corporate world. China and future plans can always wait. Now, however this puts me in a bit of pickle. I've not studied Mandarin on my own... ever. Yes, I watch some tv series and visit tons of blogs and run Social Mandarin, but I don't think that's enough.

Our University, however, does have its own Confucius Institute apart from the Mandarin University Department, so I'll definitely be looking into that. I want to improve my speaking. That is my main focus now. My listening has improved a lot since watching TV series. The Confucius Institute here does have speaking classes.

However, I still want to learn more. How do you guys learn Mandarin? Those not in University? Do you guys use things like Rosetta Stone? Or use online sites? I'm definitely going to pick up my Anki usage.

On another note, I'm planning on studying an MPhil in Hypermedia for Language Learning next two years. My focus area will be Mandarin. So I'm going to see how I can improve some Mandarin learning techniques online. So keep your tabs on the site. I'll probably need some testers in the future. There is also a chance that I might get into a MediaLab research department here on campus that focuses on researching new tech and ways to improve new media. So, if I get into both, you'll definitely see trying to develop some apps and sites that improve Mandarin learning on the web. I might just change the way people learn Mandarin. ;P