I used to teach Mandarin part-time in Hong Kong. My home town is Beijing, and my first degree is English. I lived in England for two years pursuing my master's degree in Finance. I moved to Toronto and worked in the financial industry for more than ten years.
I enjoy writing stories in Chinese, not been published yet, as well as chatting with people in both languages.
From my experience, the best way of learning a language is by talking with native speakers. The best place of learning a language is not the classroom.
Chinese is a language, same as any other language. People say Chinese characters look like pictures, difficult to memorize. I heard many times that people say pictures are easier to remember than numbers or words. The best way of learning a language is talking with native speaker, the second best way is watching TV series and movies. Going to a regular classroom may not be that exciting, however, chatting with people or watching movies are.
It depends how well you want your Chinese to be. If you don't want to be a professor in Chinese language, it won't take you too much time.
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