Learn Chinese Through Immersion with 5 Beginner Courses in China

Learning Chinese through immersion is arguably the best way to learn a language. It’s how I learned (and continue to learn) Mandarin. It’s also the way many immigrants learn the language of their new country.

Discover five excellent immersion programs in China, suitable for beginners (and up) so you can get started right away.


1. LTL Mandarin School Immersion Program


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 the Qing-dynasty emperor Kangxi. It’s a very scenic and historical destination.

Traveling from 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 course duration ranges from 4 weeks to a whole year and is priced accordingly starting at around $3300.

2. Chinese Language Institute (CLI) Immersion Course


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 one-on-one intensive or small group classes. 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 $1,490 to $40,460.

3. Academic Programs International (API) Chinese Language Studies


API’s programs are 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. You can choose between the semester or full-year program, ranging from $11,500 to $28,500, depending on financial aid and housing decisions.

This course is especially great because the school handles all the pre-departure and re-entry issues involving visas. No need to stress!

All levels of Mandarin speakers qualify, but you must be at least a second-semester freshman in college to apply.

4. That’s Mandarin Immersion Courses


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 becoming fluent in 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 many long-term courses are also 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.

5. Mandarin Rocks Shanghai Mandarin Chinese School


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 $695 and increases based on the duration of your course. Housing placement can also be included for an additional fee.

Why 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 throughout the course. While it may feel like a vacation, it’s important to remember that you’re also going to be very busy during your studies.

In addition to taking a trip to China, you can also use FluentU to learn the basics of the Chinese language.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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This immersive program turns clips from authentic Chinese media—TV shows, movies, news segments and more—into personalized language lessons.

With videos made by and for native speakers, you can learn the language the way it’s actually used. If you can learn a little Mandarin from home before you travel abroad, it’ll make the experience just a little bit easier!


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!

And One More Thing...

If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.

FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.

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.

FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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