Sure, I can read 500 textbook pages in the next two days!
I’d love to write a 25-page report on a topic I know nothing about.
Of course I don’t mind doing the entire group project by myself because my partners stopped responding to emails!
Sometimes, being a student is excruciatingly difficult.
But finding great Chinese learning videos shouldn’t be one of the hardest parts of your educational experience.
In fact, there are tons of great resources that can hook you up with awesome Chinese videos for students.
With the right strategies and resources, Chinese learning videos might be the least stressful (and most fun!) part of your education experience.
How to Select the Right Chinese Videos for You
Know what you want to work on.
Before you select a Chinese learning video, it helps to have a clear idea of what you want to work on. Most videos target specific skills. For instance, you might find vocabulary videos, listening comprehension exercises or learning tips.
If you go in without any idea of what you hope to achieve, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of videos available.
Pay attention to level.
Videos are available for any level of Chinese student, but you need to pay attention to a video’s level before committing to it. If you select a video at too advanced a level, you might be in over your head. However, if you select too easy a video, you probably won’t learn as much as you could.
Some videos are already marked with the level. If the title of the video doesn’t make the level clear, though, the focus of the video can provide a strong hint. For instance, if a video focuses on common Chinese vocabulary, it’s probably appropriate for beginners.
Look for videos you enjoy.
There’s no reason you have to suffer through learning Chinese! Finding videos you actually enjoy will make them easy to watch and rewatch, which will reinforce your learning.
How to Get the Most out of Chinese Videos for Students
Target specific skills.
As you watch videos, try to target the skills you need to work on most. For instance, if you know your listening skills are lacking, try to find videos that will help you work on your listening. Have trouble with pronunciation? There are tons of videos that provide guidance!
By targeting specific skills, you can use Chinese learning videos to fill in any gaps in your current ability level, making you a more well rounded student.
When you find a good video, look for other videos from that provider.
Chances are that if a resource offers up one stellar video, it has even more great videos on other topics. Looking up videos from the same provider can help you find quality videos that you’ll really like.
Give videos your full attention.
People often don’t take videos as seriously as other forms of studying, like reading a textbook. However, if you want to get the most you can out of a video, you should give it your full attention.
Ideally, it shouldn’t be something you have on in the background—instead, it should be your main focus.
Engage with videos.
Watching videos is often kind of one-sided. It speaks, you listen.
But developing good Chinese skills requires so much more than just listening. Luckily, you can use videos to develop multiple skills.
As you watch, simply engage with the video as much as possible. You may pause to speak, summarize what you heard, ask questions or suggest what you think the video will cover next. You might also consider taking notes. You can take notes on the content to study more later, but if you really want to maximize the learning value, try taking notes in Chinese.
Chinese Videos for Students: Learn Mandarin the Smart Way
Memrise is a language learning app with a twist. It features countless videos with native speakers to give you insight into the Chinese language. Plus, those videos are incorporated into interactive activities that help you engage with the videos on a different level.
Videos are mixed in with other content, so you if you just want to watch videos and nothing else, Memrise might not be the best choice for you. However, if you want to use videos to break up other methods for Chinese study, Memrise might be just what you’re looking for.
It’s no secret that studying with authentic content can improve your Chinese skills. But at the same time, watching authentic videos can be incredibly challenging for Chinese students.
That’s where FluentU comes in.
Each video is captioned, and the captions are annotated, so you’ll have easy access to any word’s definition, example sentences and an associated image.
If you don’t know a word, you can just add it to your vocabulary list to study more later. Wish you could see a word in a different context? FluentU will show you other videos on the site that use that word.
Want to test your knowledge? FluentU also offers quizzes that combine videos, example sentences and images into interactive activities and flashcards.
Whether you’re just starting to learn Chinese or you’re already at a near-expert level, FluentU can help you improve your skills. You choose what you watch and how often you watch, and FluentU’s algorithm adjusts to match your level and present you with questions based on what you already know.
ChineseClass101 is a member of the powerful LanguagePod101 family by Innovative Language. Like its relatives, ChineseClass101 provides tons of great video and audio lessons that students can use to advance their skills.
ChineseClass101 offers over 500 video and audio lessons, so that should keep Chinese students busy for a while! New lessons are added every week, so you’ll never run out of content.
Lessons are appropriate for beginning through advanced students and cover a wide range of topics, including learning tips, vocabulary, listening comprehension, cultural lessons and more.
If you don’t want to subscribe to ChineseClass101, you can still enjoy some of what the program offers through the ChineseClass101 YouTube channel. Beginning students might try out “Learn Chinese in 30 Minutes” to familiarize themselves with the basics.
More advanced students can watch “Learn Chinese Business Language 25 Minutes” to prepare to conduct business in China.
Muzzy BBC is a website intended to help children learn Chinese, but fun-loving adults will also enjoy it!
As you might guess from the name, Muzzy BBC was developed by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). It uses multiple forms of media, including games and songs, to teach Chinese.
But let’s get to what you’re really interested in: the videos! Yes, Muzzy BBC offers videos, including fun, animated stories. Videos are captioned in English, so if you don’t immediately recognize all the words, you can quickly see their meanings.
Muzzy covers around 1,200 phrases and concepts, so it can give beginning students a strong start on their path to full proficiency.
As an added bonus, Muzzy BBC refer to its videos as language learning “movies,” which totally seems like a valid excuse to eat popcorn as you watch.
Let your childish streak run wild! It can actually help you learn Chinese.
That’s right—DinoLingo is another learning resource intended for children. But don’t let the kids hog all the learning material for themselves. DinoLingo has a lot to offer beginning adult learners, too!
There are games, books, worksheets, flashcards and, of course, videos! Videos feature animated songs that you may find yourself humming long after you’ve stopped watching. But that’s great! If the song is stuck in your head, that means it’s probably reinforcing what you’ve learned.
PandaTree may sound like a convenient way to repopulate the dwindling panda population, but it’s actually just a convenient way to improve your Chinese skills.
Like many other beginner resources, PandaTree is intended for children but is totally usable by adults. Videos cover vocabulary, pronunciation, tongue twisters and even some songs. Plus, you can access videos for free!
Don’t forget to click “read more.” This section often features handy vocabulary lists.
In addition to videos, PandaTree also offers games, stories and one-on-one lessons, so you can still learn with PandaTree even if you don’t feel like watching a video.
21000 Videos Learning Chinese
Android users, take note! You have access to learning videos that your Apple-loving friends can’t touch, because the 21000 Videos Learning Chinese app is only available on Google Play.
The app advertises over 21,000 videos, which is super impressive. Plus, videos are organized into playlists to make it easier to find the material you’re looking for, like characters, reading practice, writing practice, speaking practice, listening practice, vocabulary and grammar.
If you like a video or playlist, you can just add it to your favorites list for easy access the next time you use the app.
Mulberry House Mandarin Education is a Mandarin immersion school with an awesome YouTube channel full of free video learning material.
Many videos focus on the school itself, but the real learning gold for Chinese students is all the practice material. The school teaches children, so these videos are more oriented toward kids, but they’re fun options for beginning adult learners, too!
Videos include storytelling, music, rhymes, poems and cartoons. For instance, Chinese learners can enjoy Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” in Chinese. The video is captioned in Chinese characters, pinyin and English, so it’s easy to read along using whatever text you’re comfortable with. Because all the texts appear simultaneously, you can even switch between them if you want.
If you want a more immersive experience, check out 親子共讀故事館 (Parent-child reading story library). This channel is intended for native speakers, so you won’t be distracted by any English.
The channel focuses on storytelling for children whose first language is Mandarin. Videos feature picture books read aloud in Chinese.
While everything is in Chinese, the channel is still approachable for beginning students because it’s intended for children. In fact, you may even be familiar with some of the books! For instance, beginning students might enjoy “我愛聽故事 – 好餓的毛毛蟲” (“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”).
Yoyo Chinese is a terrific learning channel on YouTube. Run by an experienced teacher, the channel posts videos that teach vocabulary, grammar and culture.
While the more conventional lessons are great, the videos shot on location are particularly engaging. For instance, students might enjoy “Eating Stinky Tofu,” in which the host samples the notorious dish. This video is entirely in Chinese, so it’s probably better for advanced speakers.
There are also plenty of videos available for beginning and intermediate students. For example, less experienced Chinese students could benefit from videos like “Chinese Characters 之 (zhī), 万 (wàn), 历 (lì).”
Learning from native speakers can be a great way to improve your pronunciation and learn authentic language skills. However, it can also be intimidating. How could a native speaker possibly understand all the challenges learners face?
Well, Learn Chinese Now offers the best of both worlds. While the main host is a non-native Chinese speaker, his friends who are native speakers frequently help out.
Videos include vocabulary, grammar, poetry, culture and more. There’s material for beginning through advanced students, so you can grow with the channel over time. There are also plenty of fun videos for students to improve their Chinese while enjoying a good laugh. For instance, Chinese students might enjoy “Chinese Guy Falls Asleep During Haircut, Barber Calls Police.”
Whether you’re looking for beginning videos, advanced videos or something in between, this YouTube channel has you covered.
Chinese Zero To Hero’s YouTube channel aims to provide a high-quality learning experience that provides both instruction and practical use.
One big bonus is that Chinese Zero To Hero often labels videos with Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) levels, so it’s easy to spot videos that are appropriate for your level. HSK 1 is a beginner level, while HSK 6 is the most advanced.
For instance, beginners might try “Ask “yes or no” with “吗” | HSK 1 Beginner’s Chinese Course 1.3.3.”
Songs are already great tools for learning a language, and Chinese Buddy makes them even more useful! That’s because Chinese Buddy focuses on songs designed for Chinese language learners. They’re very repetitive and catchy, which can be a super handy way to learn vocabulary.
For instance, “Chinese Bathroom Song Comp. – 20min. of Bathroom Vocab!” is a downright addictive way to learn some phrases that could be a life saver if you ever visit China. Plus, it’s pretty funny.
Most of the songs focus on beginning through intermediate vocabulary, so learners at these levels can use Chinese Buddy to expand their vocabularies in a super entertaining way.
EverydayChinese is a YouTube channel that aims to show learners authentic Chinese as it’s used every day in China.
EverydayChinese offers videos for beginning through advanced students. The channel offers videos on vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
But perhaps most excitingly of all, EverydayChinese offers slow Chinese listening practice and reading practice, which are great ways to build your practical skills. For instance, students might enjoy “Chinese Idiom Story: 掩耳盗铃” (“Chinese Idiom Story: Cover the Ear”).
The Easy Languages YouTube channel doesn’t just focus on Chinese. It actually focuses on a huge variety of languages, but there’s definitely some great material for Chinese learners!
The main focus of Easy Languages is on-the-street style interviews that feature native speakers. The Chinese videos are captioned in Chinese, pinyin and English, making it easy to read along in whatever way is most comfortable for you.
The Easy Mandarin playlist is an easy way for students to access the Chinese content on its YouTube site.
Listening practice can be hard, but with Slow & Clear Chinese, it doesn’t have to be!
Slow & Clear Chinese focuses on providing listening practice that’s, well, slow and clear. This makes listening to Mandarin less intimidating and easier for Chinese students.
Most videos are at a beginning or intermediate level. They offer English translations along with pinyin and Chinese captions, so it’s easy to read along however you’re most comfortable.
One video students might enjoy is “Slow & Clear Chinese Listening Practice – Bus Driver,” in which a bus driver describes work. First, you’ll hear the audio at a slow speed. Then, you’ll have a chance to hear it at a more normal speaking rate.
Student life doesn’t have to be so rough! These resources for Chinese videos for students are some of the easiest tools for kicking your Chinese skills up a notch.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.