Insert yourself into this dream.
The aroma of satay and fried noodles wafting from every alleyway.
Vibrant Hindu and Buddhist temples side-by-side in an array of kaleidoscopic colors.
Cities that never sleep with rich nightlife not unlike what you’d expect from Western cities.
All of these can be found in the enchanting city-state of 新加坡 (Xīn Jiā Pō) — Singapore. The best part? You get to have this awesome travel-abroad experience while working on your Mandarin language skills.
It’s not just a fantasy. There are tons of places in Singapore where you can enroll in immersive courses designed to help you learn the really not-so-hard language of Mandarin Chinese, at any level, for any purpose.
Not quite sold? There are even more reasons why studying Mandarin in Singapore is a great idea.
Why Should I Learn Chinese in Singapore?
You can learn Mandarin online or in a formal class wherever you live, but what if you want to travel at the same time? If you have the funds, traveling for the purpose of language education is a great idea.
You might assume the best place to enroll in an immersive Mandarin course would be somewhere in mainland China. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Singapore is a great tourist destination for those who want to enjoy an island getaway and new cultural perspectives while learning Mandarin Chinese.
Taking an in-person course in an immersive environment is also one of the fastest ways to develop your language skills. Mandarin Chinese is one of Singapore’s official languages, so you won’t just be hearing it in class but also in your day-to-day life.
Many of the courses in Singapore that we’ll cover below are intensive immersive courses, requiring some strict dedication to your coursework. It’ll take some effort but you’ll be learning quickly and effectively. (Don’t worry—you’ll have time to enjoy the beauty of Singapore and all that it offers as a tourist destination.)
If you’re a fan of immersive language learning, you can prep for your trip with FluentU.
You'll find a wide range of contemporary videos that cover all different interests and levels, as you can see here:
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up.
All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
From the description page, you can access interactive transcripts under the Dialogue tab, or review words and phrases under Vocab.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your learning, then suggests content and examples based on what you've already learned. In other words, you get a 100% personalized experience.
Try FluentU in your browser or, better yet, download the FluentU iOS or Android app today!
Learn Chinese in Singapore: 9 Totally Diverse Programs for All Kinds of Students
Okay, so the program name might be a little generic. But this group of courses can provide you with way more than just a generic education.
Private lessons can be scheduled in your home, office or at HUA JIE Language Programme’s office in Singapore. Prices range between SG$60 to SG$70 an hour, but these rates change pretty significantly if you have a group or are a student.
The Learn Mandarin Fast program is designed to get you comfortable communicating in the language in 30 hours. The primary focus is speaking abilities, with an emphasis on your personal needs (travel, work, etc.).
HUA JIE Language Programme is also a pretty awesome resource for learning Chinese in Singapore because they boast such a variety of course options. There are lessons specifically for beginner, intermediate and advanced speakers as well as those interested in business Mandarin or reading and writing skills, among others. There are even online lessons for HSK prep.
Simply contact the program organizers to find out which program is ideal for you.
Like HUA JIE Language Programme, Linda Mandarin boasts quite a variety of courses. These include private and small group classes, several options for business professionals and an HSK prep course.
Many of the courses Linda Mandarin offers are eligible for SkillsFuture Credit for Singaporean students. SkillsFuture Credit is a monetary incentive from the Singaporean government to encourage citizens to perfect skills that can benefit the economy and personal enrichment. If you’re interested in this credit, then a Linda Mandarin course may be up your alley.
Prices range pretty significantly for courses. This is understandable since there are just so many customizable options depending on your schedule and preferred class. On average, a three-month weekly class will run you about SG$600.
Any kind of learner can sign up. Linda Mandarin also offers quite a few different classes for children as well. How cool is that?
The reputable Nanyang Technological University in western Singapore is specially designed for one-on-one individual learning. If you’re not a fan of learning in a group, this would be a program to check out.
Plus, this program stands out because it puts a larger focus on understanding and appreciating Chinese-Singaporean culture along with language learning.
Along with the Mandarin language, HSK and business classes, you can sign up for diploma programs in business translation. So if you want to walk out with a certification, this university is worth looking into.
Fees for the individual courses range widely. Since the diploma programs run for a full semester, you’ll have to invest around SG$7,000 for them. And that doesn’t include travel and lodging expenses.
The Singapore Chinese Chamber Institute of Business offers a handful of courses for members, locals and visitors. However, most of these courses involve cultural education rather than language.
Luckily, the institute recently launched a certification program for elementary Chinese. Beginners and intermediate learners, this is a great bet for learning Chinese in Singapore that you can put on your resume!
SG$730 for 12 sessions isn’t half bad, either. Unfortunately, there’s not much flexibility or customization available for this course. However, the raving testimonials and lower price make this a choice worth considering.
Plus, the institute is located in Peninsula Plaza, an area known for some seriously delicious eats. Just a perk to consider.
Are you a hands-on learner? Too often, language studies forgo the experiential aspect of learning. Not Elite Linguistic Network, though.
This organization has a ton of different courses from beginner basics to credit classes, but their experiential Chinese course is truly unique.
In the Experiential Learning Program, you’ll spend your days at a breathtaking teahouse where you’ll learn the Chinese spoken language, how to converse in real time with native speakers and a ton about modern Singaporean culture.
Beginners will benefit the most from this course, but intermediate learners struggling with vocal conversations can benefit from this course as well. The flat fee of SG$480 for three months is a total steal, too.
Do you really want to focus on your spoken Mandarin? Do you want to think in Chinese and become fluent as quickly as possible?
Kirin Mandarin is definitely an option to consider. This organization has kids’ courses, business courses, HSK prep, corporate training and fully customizable courses.
So what really sets Kirin Mandarin apart? If you’re a high schooler that wants to get a leg up before heading to college, you can study abroad with their IB Chinese Preparation course.
During your summer vacation, you’ll spend your time learning Chinese in beautiful Singapore for an internationally recognized credit that can only help your chances of getting into college for linguistics. Whether you just started taking Chinese courses in high school or are in your senior year, you’ll be sorted into the appropriate IB program.
Unfortunately, Kirin Mandarin’s prices aren’t public, so you’ll have to contact them to get a rate.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? In Yi Mandarin’s case, you can get a free trial class to really help you decide if you like their courses.
The options are pretty limited (just conversation, business and professional Chinese classes are offered) but you can’t beat their enthusiastic testimonials. Like Kirin Mandarin, they keep their prices pretty secretive so filling out their contact form is necessary for a rate.
Let’s be real. Interactive classes are way more fun than just staring at a PowerPoint presentation.
Han Hai Language Studio boasts some of the best interactive classes for Mandarin with a diverse range of courses, from the basic language and business Chinese courses to learning Chinese songs and a Chinese typing program. All levels of learners are welcome.
You might find yourself getting lost in the options, which is definitely a perk of their services. However, the price is a bit on the hefty side: ranging from about SG$500 to SG$700.
Looking to boost your cultural knowledge? onePA offers a crazy number of courses including Singaporean cuisine, arts and crafts, aromatherapy, traditional Singaporean music and more.
Simply run a quick search of the term “Mandarin” on their site and you’ll see that there’s no shortage of language courses available either. You can customize your search for price, fluency, location in metropolitan Singapore and whatever other needs you’d like to meet.
There are quite a few really inexpensive courses available, so you’re sure to find a course that’s perfect for your budget.
It’s so cool that you can invest in a vacation and learn a decent amount of Chinese at the same time. With so many options out there for those who wish to travel to Singapore, you’re sure to find a program that works for you, your Mandarin level and your budget.
一路顺风! (Yī lù shùn fēng!) — Have a safe journey!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
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