If you’re reading this, that probably means you did it.
You’ve officially graduated from beginner learner to intermediate learner! Woo hoo!
You’re probably wondering what to do next.
You may be thinking, “Should I quit classes and work on my fluency?”
No and yes. No to the quitting classes, but yes to working on your fluency.
Sometimes language learners get a bit too confident in themselves and believe they no longer need to study.
But before you go flinging yourself off into the wild blue yonder, consider whether you’re really ready to fly without a parachute.
While some super-fluent advanced Chinese learners may have this luxury, beginner and intermediate learners do not. Just because you’ve covered the basics doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to learn, especially in a language as complex and fascinating as Chinese.
So we’ve put together a handy list of some of the best online intermediate Mandarin Chinese courses for your benefit.
If you’re still on the fence about diving into yet another class, let’s look at the pros.
How Can an Intermediate Chinese Course Benefit Me?
- Taking a course tailored to intermediate learners can help you get past any plateaus you may be facing after learning beginner basics. You got tones, you got vocabulary words, you got your basic phrases… but what about grammar, sentence order, and other specifics and nuances in Chinese? You can’t learn any of that as a beginner, so an intermediate course is necessary to bridge the gap.
- A course that’s designed specifically for your level of learning can help you avoid trying out courses that are needlessly easy or too hard. You might think you can skip the “intermediate” label, but it’s there for a reason. Many of the courses we’ll be covering are designed for learners who just finished a Chinese 101 or 102 class, but are far too easy for an advanced learner to take as anything other than a refresher.
- A lot of vocabulary words you’ll encounter in intermediate courses can be found in the intermediate HSK levels. If you want to take the Chinese Proficiency Exam, you can try out the lower intermediate levels after taking one or two of these intermediate courses.
5 Intermediate Chinese Courses for Post-newbie Learners
EdX hosts this 12-week online course from Peking University.
The focus here is on intermediate grammar in Mandarin. In beginner classes, typically one will learn the basics of Chinese grammar. However, grammar can get complicated in Mandarin very quickly and it can be very different from English grammar.
The Intermediate Chinese Grammar course from this reputable university requires approximately four to six hours of class and study time per week and is 100% free to enroll in. If you’d like a graduate certificate, tack on around 50 USD.
Each week, you’ll learn an intermediate-level grammatical concept and study how it works. There are no prerequisites, but we would suggest taking a beginner Chinese class before enrolling in this course. Videos, textbooks, study guides, transcripts and worksheets are all included in the course.
This class has rolling enrollment periods that will be announced before they open.
Do you love watching online videos? If so, you can learn intermediate Chinese right here at FluentU.
Our videos are organized by difficulty. Simply select your appropriate level (either “Intermediate 1” or “Intermediate 2”) and start binge-watching real-world videos complete with hanzi, pinyin and English subtitles. You can even select individual characters within the subtitles for a more in-depth definition of the word. Best of all, you can learn through subjects that interest you, as the video library is constantly growing and you’re the one who decides what to watch.
But FluentU isn’t just about watching videos. With our Plus plan, you’ll be given customized quizzes to learn all the vocabulary in a video, and you’ll be reminded when it’s time to review a particular vocab list.
Our two-week free trial makes using FluentU as an intermediate student risk-free as well. There are no prerequisites for learning Chinese with videos from FluentU, but as with the other courses on this list, we would recommend having studied Chinese through the beginner level before trying our intermediate videos. If you’re not quite an intermediate, that’s okay, too—our beginner levels will take you there!
We mention Udemy a lot on this blog simply because it’s such a useful platform for finding inexpensive language courses! One such useful course is this one from Hong Zeng.
This course is currently less than 20 USD (prices fluctuate often on Udemy, so keep an eye out for a good deal) and has stellar ratings from previous learners. The goal here was to compress a full semester’s worth of intermediate college Chinese and turn it into a substantially cheaper and quicker online course.
Expect to spend six hours of class time within the course watching the lectures via video and allow for at least triple that outside of class for study. With your purchase you’ll also receive six articles, 29 downloadable resources and a certificate of completion at the end of the course. You’ll be studying vocabulary words, grammar structures and situational dialogue—all of which make this a great course for intermediate learners who want to be able to speak Chinese with native Chinese people.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a language course and also want to finish the course quickly, try this one out!
Shanghai Jiao Tong University is known for its study abroad courses, but you can reap all the rewards of this reputable school with an online intermediate Chinese course!
This MOOC (massive open online course) will take approximately 18 hours to complete. Each lesson focuses on a real-world experience and situational dialogue. Each lesson also includes a lecture video, with readings and quizzes. The class is free to take with additional fees for a certificate of completion.
So what makes this class so different from the rest? That would have to be the fact that financial aid is available! Coursera provides financial aid to those who qualify for many of their online courses. What do you have to lose?
Another great element of this course is the focus on reading vocabulary words, making it an excellent course to use for studying for the Chinese Proficiency Test at the intermediate level.
Once you sign up, class begins immediately and you can work around your own schedule with ultra-flexible deadlines. There are no prerequisites to take this course, but be sure you’re actually at an intermediate level of learning before enrolling.
Are you dead set on passing the HSK 2? Do you want to take an intermediate course that will get you that coveted certificate?
If so, this awesome course from ChineseFor.Us is perfect for you, but don’t take it if you don’t want to be challenged. This course includes 80 video lectures, 60 lessons and 60 quizzes that you’ll have to complete.
If you want to take this class, you’ll have to take the Level 1 Course for passing the HSK 1. If you’ve already completed the test (and you should be able to easily if you’re at an intermediate level) then you may be able to get a pass by speaking to a ChineseFor.Us customer service representative.
This class will teach you everything you need to know about HSK 2: vocabulary, grammar, listening skills, speaking skills, useful phrases, typing and much more. You’ll (digitally) walk out of class with over 200 new vocabulary words and 150 grammatical structures in that pretty noggin.
ChineseFor.Us is a monthly membership program that costs approximately between 10 and 25 USD per month.
Congratulations to you, intermediate learner! Getting over the beginner hump isn’t easy, especially if you had to unlearn everything you knew about language.
These intermediate courses will take you even further into your Chinese learning 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.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.