learn chinese in china

The Ultimate Guide to Learning Chinese in China: 6 Quality Chinese Schools in Beijing, Shanghai and Beyond

The Forbidden City beckons you.

The Great Wall of China calls out your name.

The very thought of dumplings leaves your mouth watering.

Even if you’re not studying Chinese, the idea of traveling to China has undeniable appeal.

If you are studying Chinese, though, it’s practically irresistible.

Sure, Chinese chatbots and Chinese chat platforms can get you some valuable practice, and you’ll do a lot of learning by immersion once you get your feet on Chinese soil, but there’s nothing quite like an intensive Chinese course to kick your Mandarin into gear.

With these six courses, you could improve your Mandarin skills while enjoying all China has to offer.

Capital Mandarin

learn mandarin in beijing

Located off the Sihui East metro station, Capital Mandarin is a private Chinese school.

Capital Mandarin offers an array of options to suit any student’s needs and preferences. There are both standard and intensive options, which you can take in a group or privately. Test preparation courses can help you prepare for the HSK, BCT or YCT.

But it doesn’t end there! Capital Mandarin also offers summer camps, kung fu lessons and even teacher placements in which you can study Chinese as you teach English. Plus, Capital Mandarin can help you find campus housing, a homestay or hotel accommodations.

Don’t have time to go to Beijing? Capital Mandarin also offers online courses.

That’s Mandarin

learn mandarin in beijing

That’s Mandarin is another great school that offers lessons in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and online.

With 3,000 students each year, That’s Mandarin turns over a lot of new Chinese speakers.

That’s Mandarin advertises instructors who are university graduates with teaching experience. There are several adult course offerings, including intensive courses, part-time courses, summer programs, one-on-one courses and HSK preparation courses. There are short-term options that are just a couple weeks long in addition to long-term options.

That’s Mandarin can help you secure a suite, homestay or private or shared apartment.

Hutong School

learn mandarin in beijing

If you need flexibility, Hutong School is a great option.

In China, you’ll find Hutong School classes offered in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao, Chongqing and Zhengzhou.

You can also take classes when it’s convenient for you. Prefer morning learning? Terrific. Want to learn over your lunch hour? Great. Would you rather learn in the evening? That’s fine, too.

Regardless of your level, Hutong School can adjust to suit your needs, whether you’re looking to improve your skills or prepare for the HSK exam. Hutong School can also place you in an internship or volunteer program accompanied by language instruction.

Hutong School also provides cultural activities, such as cooking lessons, movie nights, board games and more to round out your learning experience.

Plus, Hutong School advertises that all its teachers have at least two years of teaching experience, so you know you’ll be receiving quality education.

If you can’t get to China right away but are loving this school already, check out their international options (in such diverse locations as Sydney, Brussels and Guadalajara) and online options.

Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU)

learn mandarin in beijing

Beijing Language and Culture University is a university under the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Its main focus is on language education, with a particular focus on teaching Chinese to non-native speakers.

If you’re looking for a more extensive Chinese program, BLCU is a great option because it offers undergraduate and master’s degrees, as well as intensive short-term programs.

Like most universities, BLCU offers a nice array of clubs, activities and events for students to enjoy.

Tsinghua University

learn mandarin in beijing

Tsinghua University is a big-deal research university in Beijing. If you’re into MOOCs, you’ve probably seen some of its offerings on edX. However, Tsinghua University also has great programs for Chinese learners in Beijing.

The Tsinghua University International Chinese Language & Culture Center (ICLCC) draws participants from over 50 countries around the world.

Tsinghua University offers courses for eight levels of students, ranging from beginner to advanced. Classes run for four hours per day, five days per week. Students can also take electives in the evenings, which cover special topics like calligraphy, Chinese songs and business Chinese.

Students can study for one 18-week semester or stay longer. Some students have stayed for up to six semesters! There’s also a summer program available, which lasts for one month.

Beijing Normal University (BNU)

learn mandarin in beijing

Beijing Normal University is another big-deal public research university. It currently hosts over 1,000 international students who are studying Chinese.

Beijing Normal University offers an array of study options. There are nine levels of instruction, ranging from beginner to advanced.

The school has both long-term and short-term study options.

The long-term options last for at least one semester. After a placement test, students are placed in classes of 15-20 students. Classes last for 20 hours each week. Curriculum is varied to teach history, literature, geography and more, alongside language skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking. Extracurricular activities further build on the learning experience.

The short-term study program is a summer session, which features intensive language classes during a four-week session. The course is split between Beijing and Shanghai, giving you a taste of both cities.

If you’re looking for an even longer-term option, you can also enter a degree program. Beijing Normal University offers an undergraduate major in the Chinese language, with an emphasis on Chinese language pedagogy, business Chinese or Chinese language and culture. There is also a master’s degree program in teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages.



If China calls to you, go ahead an answer. Just be sure to do so in Chinese!

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