If you’re reading this, that probably means you did it.
You fought long and hard through learning basic sentence structure, hanzi stroke order and the dreaded tones.
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 a Chinese 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 a Chinese intermediate course 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.
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese Course: 9 Best Options to Level Up
Intermediate Chinese Grammar – Peking University
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.
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. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve 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!
College Mandarin Chinese on Your Own Intermediate Level 1
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!
Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Learners: Part 1 – Shanghai Jiao Tong University
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.
HSK 2 Course: Level 2 Intermediate – ChineseFor.Us
Are you dead set on passing the HSK 2? Do you want to take a Chinese 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.
Chinese Level 3 (Intermediate) with ChineseClass101
ChineseClass101’s level 3 course is another great resource if you’re planning to pass an HSK exam. The course is aligned with HSK 2-3, which means you have to be sure you have an intermediate level of Chinese before you enroll in this course.
The course includes 50 lessons, 38 assignments and over 10 hours of audio.
The lessons range from bike etiquette and shopping to the Chinese perfect past tense marker and emphasis in Chinese.
Each lesson consists of a dialogue with audio that introduces the topic naturally, a vocabulary list, important notes about the topic in question, a transcription of the whole lesson and access to a comment section where you can ask questions and interact with other students.
The free version of the course gives you access to the whole transcript of the lesson (download option not available) and the comment section.
You can upgrade to Premium (prices vary depending on the type of subscription) to have access to all the course features, including a downloadable version of each lesson.
Intermediate Chinese with 17-Minute Languages
The premise of this course is pretty simple: learn Chinese for 17 minutes every day and you’ll have a B1-B2 level of the language in four months.
Of course, this can only be achieved if you’ve previously finished their beginner’s course, since the intermediate level lessons build upon the vocabulary and grammar taught in the A1-A2 course. However, you don’t have to have the prerequisite of finishing their own beginner’s course before enrolling in this one as long as you already have some basic knowledge of Chinese.
This super complete course includes over 1,800 new words and 42 lessons focused on topics such as looking for an apartment, buying a mobile phone, opening a bank account and even dealing with the police.
All in all, this course gives you all the basic conversational tools you’d need if you really moved to China.
You can buy the course individually or, for a couple of dollars more, get the Complete Chinese Package, which includes the Chinese Beginner’s Course, the Intermediate Chinese Course, the Chinese Proficiency Vocabulary Course, the Chinese Business Course Package and the Chinese Travel Course.
Intermediate Chinese with Seton Hall University
If you like listening to Chinese while commuting to work or doing housework, you’re in for a treat.
This intermediate Chinese course was created in the 1960s by John DeFrancis at Seton Hall University.
The audio contains a lot of background noise because it’s a digitalization of the original recordings, but this free podcast is amazingly complete and will work wonders if you’re looking for a way to improve your listening comprehension skills.
The whole podcast series contains around 50 hours of dialogues in Chinese, listen-and-repeat drills, questions in Chinese you have to answer out loud, lots of sample sentences with new vocabulary and grammar, monologues in Chinese and review sections. Be ready to listen to little to no English throughout the whole podcast.
Beginning Chinese and Advanced Chinese from the same collection of old audios are also available in the form of individual podcast courses.
Intermediate Chinese at the Confucius Institute at the University of Regina
The Confucius Institute is offering an online intermediate Chinese course via Zoom for all those of you who want to experience a classroom environment without leaving your home.
The prerequisite to enroll in this course is having finished their Chinese for Beginners course or any other equivalent course.
The classes take place online every Thursday, and the whole course lasts 12 weeks, during which you’ll improve all four major language skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading) through everyday conversations and learn about word formation and Chinese character categories.
If Thursdays aren’t an option for you, don’t hesitate to contact the Institute. According to their website, they may be able to help you find a scheduling solution.
The course isn’t on the pricey side if you take into account there are 12 learning sessions, but the textbook does need to be bought separately.
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 Chinese 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.
Francisco J. Vare loves teaching and writing about grammar. He’s a proud language nerd, and you’ll normally find him learning a new language, teaching students or reading. He’s been writing for FluentU for many years and has recently become one of their staff writers.
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