Why is Chinese language fluency important for non-Chinese learning Chinese?
Usually, the first important reason to be fluent is to talk to Chinese people. You want to have a conversation in Chinese with your clients, univ professors or this pretty girl down the street. Once you master fluency, it shows that you have pretty good language skills and, as Paul mentions, that you can make strong commitment to tackle something difficult (like learning Chinese).
Then, I see a second reason. I make a difference between the talking fluency and what I will call “listening fluency”. You learn Chinese because you are willing to understand what is happening with China and the Chinese, that is to listen and pay attention to what people have to say.
Of course, the second is much rarer. I thought for a long time that learning a language, eating the food and travelling around was enough to understand another culture. Now, I think the contrary. Some people just need ways to access what they need. Being fluent does not prevent you to be largely ignorant about what is happening to the people you talk to.
This text was originally published in quora.