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 Beijing has undeniable appeal. If you want to learn Chinese, though, it’s practically irresistible.
Sure, Chinese chatbots and Chinese chat platforms can get you some valuable practice, but there’s nothing quite like an intensive Chinese course to kick your Mandarin into gear.
With these seven courses, you could improve your Mandarin skills while enjoying all Beijing has to offer.
Why Learn Chinese in Beijing?
Beijing is the capital of China, so you’ll have plenty of cultural opportunities. While studying Chinese in places like Singapore will give you tons of cultural opportunities, too, Beijing is more thoroughly Chinese. You won’t have to go to any effort to find Chinese culture around every corner.
There are also tons of historical sites to keep you busy learning. You might visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square or countless other destinations that look like they were pulled straight from a traveler’s dream.
Because Beijing is such a hub, your airfare will likely be cheaper than if you study in a smaller community. Traveling to hubs usually requires fewer connecting flights, saving you valuable coin that you can put into your dim sum budget.
Plus, the dialect spoken in Beijing is very close to Standard Chinese. In fact, Standard Chinese pronunciation is actually based on the Beijing dialect. So not only can taking classes in Beijing improve your Chinese grammar, it can also help you nail down very common pronunciation.
Learn Mandarin in Beijing! 7 Programs to Kick Your Chinese into Gear
Throwing yourself into an immersive experience can be overwhelming! Before your trip, try a little immersion at home first.
No one does immersion at home better than 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!
FluentU is about so much more than videos: You also get access to interactive flashcards and vocab lists, annotated subtitles and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn. You’ll be ready to take Beijing by storm!
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 is another great school that offers lessons in Beijing, Shanghai 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.
If you need flexibility, Hutong School is a great option.
Hutong School offers classes wherever you want, whether it’s at its Beijing school, its Shanghai location or even your office or residence.
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.
Chinese Language Education (CLE)
Chinese Language Education offers results-oriented classes for students from all walks of life.
CLE has three different locations in Beijing. Presently, there are several types of courses offered, including small-group weekday courses, evening courses and weekend classes. Courses range from four hours to 30 hours per week. You’ll initially be placed in a class based on your stated proficiency level, but your proficiency will also be tested once you arrive in Beijing.
CLE also offers HSK preparation, Chinese language exchange partners, after-class tutors, excursions and special seminars on topics like calligraphy.
CLE advertises that all teachers are university graduates, have experience teaching Chinese as a foreign language and have completed an internship program prior to teaching at CLE.
Accommodations can be arranged for homestays, private apartments and/or shared apartments.
Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU)
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 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)
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 Beijing calls to you, go ahead an answer. Just be sure to do so in Mandarin!
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