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Mainland School, Harbin


Alhazred
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I've been in Harbin for 2 years now and I've never heard of this school.

1 week RMB 2465 USD 338

2 weeks RMB 4600 USD 631

3 weeks RMB 6845 USD 938

4 weeks RMB 8910 USD 1220

And after looking at their prices, I know why.

A semester at HIT is around 5500. This covers all four of your skill-set classes (speaking, listening, reading and writing).

Also, you can rent a really nice place for less than 800 a month. My current apartment is about 45 - 50 sq meters and the rent is around 700.

Honestly, the tuition they're charging is outrageous. You're better off renting your own place, hiring a university student to tutor you for 15 RMB an hour, and walking around the city speaking to bored locals who will more than be willing to speak with you for hours on end.

Good luck!

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Sorry, but that same argument comes up every time (almost :wink:) someone asks for an opinion on a private school, and I really don't think it stands. You're not comparing like with like.

Say you want to do four weeks intensive study. The universities aren't any use. Finding a decent tutor could easily take a week of your time, even assuming you know where to look, and there's a real chance of finding one who isn't any good and not realizing until you are two weeks in. Short term accommodation in anything other than a hotel is going to be difficult to arrange.

Say a decent hotel room costs RMB 200 a night. That's RMB 6000 right there for a month. Tutor for RMB 15 an hour, twenty hours a week, four weeks (and with those hours you're going to need to find two tutors I reckon). That's an extra RMB 1200. Total RMB 7200, compared to that school's list price of RMB 8900. It's in the ball park.

I agree it would be daft to look at an option like that for the long term stay, but not everyone is willing or able to spend a semester-plus studying Chinese. For the short-term stay I don't think it's so unreasonably priced - remember, the bulk of that cost is not tuition, it's short-term accommodation. And a map of Harbin :mrgreen:

As for that particular school - no idea, sorry.

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I am assuming that they're doing something with their days other than just marketing - I also assume the student will derive some benefit from this. I found that many people on this board will just say every program is overpriced and to do it themselves - certainly possible but not always the most efficient use of your time.

I find that many people on this board will say every program is too expensive. But I'm sure they have salaries and facility costs that are fixed.

I am assuming what you did is did things yourself and donated your own working hours for your own benefit. Therefore, you didn't allocate a cost to it since you had all of the benefit. But you can't expect other people to work for free.

Also you are applying your long-term circumstances to a short-term program. We both know that short-term rents are much more expensive than what you would get with an apartment. (We are currently paying almost $700 for a month's worth of rent for short-term accommodation here in Beijing for example)

Also there are horror stories of getting ripped off with apartments and they are taking this risk on for you. (For example we are bleeding about $1000 this month in lost apartments because two people got their visa denied). When we got cheated by a housing agent in the past (unable to register people at the address) we took a hit of more than $1000 - an individual would have been stuck.

With the consumer price index rising more than 8% last month - we take the hit for our students, but you have to pay out of your own pocket. When the Yuan appreciates (more than 10% as it has) who takes the hit? These private schools do. People often forget about this kind of thing. Your landlord can come to you increase the price of your rent at any time and when you withdraw money from the ATM from the US or wherever you take the hit. But for many small schools may have to take it for the students.

Risk deserves compensation.

And of course there's always just the "bother" factor. For them to make it worth their time they have to earn enough per head. (Let's not forget the one time expenses either Visa crap, airport pickup, . . . ) I'm sure their profit margins are lower on longer term programs.

As for the value:

Universities are cheaper but the quality often varies: huge classes and underpaid teachers.

Tutors are a hit and miss proposition and we only hire one in 10 who make it past the initial screening.

Then of course there's the whole peace of mind / less stress kind of thing.

Often doing things yourself make sense but for many people it doesn't because of the risk involved and the value of their time.

For example, let's assume that you have a tutor which is only 20% less effective than what the school can provide.

Assuming a 20 hour class-week you could effectively make 9600 kuai during a semester if you were able to utilize your wasted time teaching English (assuming a rate of 150 an hour)

Consider some of our clients which value their time in the hundreds of dollars per hour and you can see why this becomes an important factor. (By the way I think an average tutor is maybe only 50% as effective as a good one)

And that doesn't even get into spillover effects of having to fix things later or having less efficient study time.

People often want the value-added of quality control that comes with a small school but don't want to pay for the competitive wage of the person organizing it nor compensate them for taking the risk. Not reasonable I say. (For example when I first started our school two years ago or so people labeled me as some wild profiteer despite the fact that even with full classes I make less than I would for someone with my experience and education. Is it unfair for me to want a competitive wage for my work - about 80 hours a week mind you by the way.)

I know nothing of this particular school, but I think lambasting it as outrageous without knowing their value proposition to a short time student is not entirely fair either.

Note: Just to note I started this before Roddy's post was there. So 2 people with similar thoughts, derived independently.

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I had a funny feeling you might post in here, s-t-m.

Alhazred, how long are you planning to study for? And would you be willing to do some organizing yourself, or do you want to just pay a set fee and have it all handled for you?

Kdavid, do you know of any other private schools in Harbin you would recommend?

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Sorry, but that same argument comes up every time (almost ) someone asks for an opinion on a private school, and I really don't think it stands. You're not comparing like with like.

This is very true. I didn't think of that before posting. The short term option would be ideal for someone looking at short term study.

Their pricing, however, does stretch out for as long as 48 weeks. That fee is a hefty 100,000 RMB. I'd ask anyone looking at doing any longer than 2 months in Harbin to review my post above.

do you know of any other private schools in Harbin you would recommend?

There is one private school here in Harbin that is quite well known. Unfortunately, it's only known as "the Korean school" because, apparently, it's flooded with Koreans. It's 500 RMB a month for 2 hours a day, Monday through Friday. Note that this only includes classes and NOT accommodation.

I'll ask around and see if I can find the actual name and perhaps a website for everyone.

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Yeah, the longer you stay the sillier those prices get. I suspect the 48-week option is up there out of optimism rather than any genuine expectation people will pay that. But you never know . . .

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Alhazred, how long are you planning to study for? And would you be willing to do some organizing yourself, or do you want to just pay a set fee and have it all handled for you?

I am planning to stay for a month and then back to work.

I can do some organizing myself to some point, arranging classes, transportation and accomodation separately, which I did last year when I went to Taipei but a complete package is interesting for the obvious reason that I won't be staying long.

Thank you for input.

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I too live in Harbin and have never heard of this place.

I have, however, met a fair few students who study at HIT university and it always seems to get a thumbs up - and the prices are a lot more respectable (plus you can live on campus).

Also, Harbin is a pretty nice place this time of year. Not too hot and cool at night ;-)

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  • 9 months later...
There is one private school here in Harbin that is quite well known. Unfortunately, it's only known as "the Korean school" because, apparently, it's flooded with Koreans. It's 500 RMB a month for 2 hours a day, Monday through Friday. Note that this only includes classes and NOT accommodation.

I'll ask around and see if I can find the actual name and perhaps a website for everyone.

Hey kdavid, any details on the Korean school? Do students need to get accommodation independently or can the school help you find an apartment?

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