Learning Chinese through immersion is far from a new concept.
Think about it: Immersion is the perfect way to learn a language.
It’s the way many immigrants learn the language of their new country. When you’re thrown into a totally new culture full of people who speak a foreign language, you’re going to end up learning that language eventually out of necessity.
Still, learning Chinese through immersion programs on the scene isn’t quite that simple. It means attending intense classes that are focused on teaching you as much Chinese as they possibly can, as quickly as they can.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it. We found seven stellar study abroad immersion programs that could be perfect for you.
Before we jump into the programs, let’s look into why studying Chinese abroad through immersion is such a good idea in the first place.
Why Should I Travel Abroad to Learn Chinese Through Immersion?
Not sold on studying Chinese abroad? Here are some reasons to stop what you’re doing and apply today:
- You’ll be able to travel. Let’s be real here, traveling is just plain fun. With an immersion course, you’ll be able to learn Chinese while exploring a different part of the world. What’s better than that?
- You can experience the culture firsthand. There’s a good chance you chose to learn Chinese because you’re interested in Chinese culture. Through immersion, you’ll be able to learn what the culture is really like.
Learning Chinese while living in a Mandarin-speaking country can offer a lot of cultural context for the language as well as language instruction.
- You can learn a lot of Chinese in a short amount of time. The idea behind immersion programs is to throw learners into Chinese society where they’ll have to use Chinese outside of school while teaching them a massive amount of Chinese over the duration of the course.
While it may certainly feel like a vacation, it’s important to remember that you’re also going to be very, very busy during your studies.
Get ready to hop on the fast track to fluency!
7 Courses to Learn Chinese Through Immersion for Absolute Beginners
In addition to taking a trip and learning Chinese through immersion, you can also use FluentU to learn the basics of the Chinese language.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. With the use of dual-language subtitles, a flashcard system and adaptive quizzes, learners of all levels can benefit from using FluentU to improve their Chinese.
If you can learn a little Mandarin from home before you travel abroad, it’ll make the experience just a little bit easier!
Here are seven excellent options for learners looking to learn Chinese through immersion abroad. Best of all, these are suitable for beginners (and up) so you can get started right now no matter what your level is. No more excuses!
This program is unique because takes place in two cities. You’ll begin your studies in Beijing before traveling to Chengde to complete your course.
Chengde is a beautiful resort town whose house villas have become museums and the center remains the 18th-century mountain resort palace complex of Qing-dynasty emperor Kangxi. It’s a very scenic and historical destination.
Traveling from the ultra-modern Beijing to the slice-of-history Chengde is a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture and to experience the variations in accents between the two cities.
You can choose from a small group course or one-on-one Mandarin classes. Depending on your course preference, classes are between 10 to 20 hours per week in Beijing and 20 to 30 hours per week in Chengde.
Housing usually involves a homestay or a shared apartment with other students.
The duration of the course ranges from four to 16 weeks and is priced accordingly between around $2,400 and $10,900. You can also add additional weeks and study for up to a year.
EasyMandarin Chinese Language School is a popular choice for students interested in immersion classes in Shanghai. It certainly makes sense why. This is a very customizable course!
Beginning, intermediate and advanced learners can choose from intensive group courses, small group classes and one-on-one instruction. If you’re not sure of your level, you can take a free proficiency test through EasyMandarin’s website.
The course duration time also comes in various slots, ranging from one to three weeks all the way up to 40+ weeks.
EasyMandarin’s intensive group course prices range from about $190 to $255 per week.
This program from CLI in Guilin offers a significant amount of personalized service. The school works with you every step of the way to craft the best learning experience for you from the first contact to graduation.
You can choose between one on one intensive classes or a small group. You can also adjust the duration of your course, where you’ll live, how many roommates you’ll have and even more personalization options.
Short and long term courses range from $1,240 to $33,720.
API’s semester program is perfect for students studying Chinese who want actual college credits for completing their immersion program.
The program is based in Shanghai and courses take place at East China Normal University. The four-and-a-half month semester can range from $9,600 to $19,400, depending on financial aid and housing decisions.
This course is especially great because all the pre-departure and re-entry issues involving visas are taken care of by the school. No need to stress!
All levels of Mandarin speakers qualify, but you must be at least a second-semester freshman in college to apply.
Ever wondered what it’d be like to enjoy a long-term Chinese course in Beijing? We’re talking up to a year, here. If you have the budget and want to really dedicate your time to become fluent in the Chinese language and well-versed in Chinese culture, this could be the right course for you.
That’s Mandarin courses start at two weeks in duration but there are also many long-term courses available for all levels of learners. The program boasts a variety of courses abroad, from intensive group courses and summer programs to HSK prep.
Pricing for your course depends significantly on what type of course you choose, including what housing and other bells and whistles you’d like to tack onto your tuition.
This award-winning course in central Shanghai is perfect for learners who feel a bit safer having constant contact with teachers and faculty.
We get it. Traveling to a foreign country can be scary and may even distract you from your studies. MandarinRocks helps learners get immersed in Chinese culture every step of the way and work to make your stay pleasant, interesting and safe.
All levels of learners are welcome and each class has a max size of 10 students. Tuition starts at $650 and increases based on the duration of your course. Housing placement can also be included for an additional fee.
This resource is just that—more of a resource, less of an immersion course. One World 365 is an awesome website to use in order to find Chinese immersion courses abroad.
You can easily choose where in the world you want to learn Chinese, the duration of the course and the price range. Currently, there are tons of options involving immersion and volunteering in Yangshuo, Guilin, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Shenzhen and even Mandarin-speaking areas of Bangkok.
Obviously, prices range significantly depending on your budget, but all learner levels will be able to find the perfect course for them with this tool.
Are you planning to register with one of these study abroad programs? Learning Chinese through immersion can be a totally life-changing experience that pairs language learning with cultural exploration.
Good luck and 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.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.