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The Harbin Mandarin School, Harbin

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roddy

Eh? Since when has Will-Excel taught Chinese? KDavid, explain yourself . . .

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kdavid
Eh? Since when has Will-Excel taught Chinese? KDavid, explain yourself . . .

Our TESOL course offers 20 (group) hours as part of the course, and an add-on of an additional 20 hours (private), but we stop there.

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bickcam

Took 2 weeks of classes May 2012 and found the school to be excellent. They were very accommodating and tailored classes to my needs e.g conversational Mandarin and were able to meet my timetable.

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Kaixinguo Billy

@bickham, Thank you for this feedback. I'm looking forward!

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Kaixinguo Billy

hello Illamesque, thank you very much for your report. Very helpfull and inspiring. I'm looking forward to study with one to one. I'll start in one week. Could you pls. name the pubs you can recommend or even a coffee house. I love to sit in a coffee house and read (not chinese yet...) Hope you had a good return to your home country and that you keep in touch with Mandarin. cheers, kaixinguo.

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black dragon

I just finished 10 weeks of 4 hours per day lessons with 1-1 Mandarin workshop in Haerbin, and like other people who have left comments on this site, I'd be happy to recommend them to anyone. It isn't cheap, but if you're really looking for progress, the 4 hours 1-1 class is how you achieve it - you can then spend the rest of the day revising, preparing, exploring etc. The facilities are excellent, my teacher was prepared, knowledgable and passionate, and the prepared lunches were fantastic. I had a great time and will likely be back if looking to brush up on my language over a shorter period of time.

Thanks,

Matt

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Kaixinguo Billy

Hello future Mandarin One-to-One Workshop-Students

As my soul and body are still in transit between Harbin and Switzerland, my still in Harbin remaining «parts» will be happy to hear, that I had a fantastic time there. (Maybe they think I'm coming back. They are right; but first they have to come back to Switzerland;-)

I can recommend this school to everybody, who is prepared to really encounter a teacher-scholar-relationship and who is prepared to surrender to everything which goes with learning Putonghua. In this context I enjoyed my 4 lessons a day (two in the morning, two in the afternoon, with a lovely luncheon-brake (the food is very tasty). My teacher, challenges included, went with my speed of learning, what I really appreciated. Her english also helped me. The setup of the school supported me in my progress and I am very thankful to everybody, who played a role in it. I felt very welcomed. Wishing you all a good decision and I'm happy to answer more questions about the school or Harbin.

cheers

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abcdefg

It's a long time since I studied there (2008), and I'm glad to see the quality is still high. If I had the supernatural ability to be two or three places at once, one of them would be Harbin.

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roddy

If you were able to write up a bit more detail on the classes - what textbooks were used, what methods were used, etc, that would certainly be useful. Basically anyone considering going there will be hungry for any information at all.

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sdd

I studied at 1to1 mandarin school last summer. I was very happy with the teacher, the lessons and the results after 3 weeks. Also the appartment is very convenient. Close to shops, restaurants and supermarket, and a short walk to the school. Since I am back I have skype lessons with my teacher, and I am going back to Harbin in spring, bringing my whole familiy with me. Looking forward to get to a higher level of Mandarin Chinese speaking.

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giusi

I have recently finished a 7 weeks period of tuition with 1to1 Mandarin Workshop in Harbin.

As many other people I am really happy with the experience. I found the teachers to be very knowledgeable and approachable. Because it is private tuition, lessons can be tailored in many ways. For example as my Chinese is a bit of a patchwork (my reading is quite good, listening just about ok, speaking very very basic and writing even worse) we started off with some basic textbook. However after two weeks I was starting to feel that it wasn't quite right for me; luckily one of the teachers picked up on it straightway and suggested that we forgot the textbook (i don't like them, i find most of the so old fashioned) and instead concentrate on speaking and listening. It was my choice that writing was not a priority. So, with my lovely teacher, I had 'free style' chinese classes where I was obliged to chat about any topic I wanted and we made flashcards as we went along. Over the weeks she would make sure to do revision sessions and I would write sentences at home to reinforce learning.

It was much more tiring than the traditional style but much more fun and relevant to what I was interested in. But it does take a lot out of you...never a moment to switch off.

Accommodation was basic but I was fine with that...I was a bit unlucky with the Internet ( I had to change room a few times) but I think most students were ok with it.

Again...I can say that all people involved in the school were so helpful...I am quite independent but I knew I could rely on them if I had issues of any sorts...something not to be disregarded when in China...

On a different note...and this has nothing to do with the quality of the school... I had no choice about what time of the year to come to Harbin...but... and it is not about the cold ( i was fine with it)... i think it can be a rather lonely experience to come in the winter...this is a small school and most people I met were here to study hard...(totally fine with me)...but if you are looking to a school as such with socializing and stuff maybe you should look elsewhere (Mandarin Workshop felt more like a private tuition service rather than a school)... but I did hear that the place gets lively during spring/summer... to me, it felt like a full on retreat of some sort...it served its purposes though as I felt like my Chinese improved quite a bit in a short period of time

Giusi

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eliaso

I spent six weeks studying at 1to1 Mandarin Workshop and can recommed them. I won't go into too much details as pretty much everything already said on this thread holds true. Classes and my teachers were fine. Accomodation was fine and as described here earlier - private studio flat in a good location close to the school with washing machine, fridge, tv with cable, basic kitchen utensils, working Internet with cable/wifi etc.

I'm pretty much a total beginner so we started with textbook stuff (Hanyu Jiaocheng), me asking questions and extra vocabulary/sentence structures and started to have simple conversations with the teachers as soon as it was possible. I had lessons with three different teachers, all good and all a bit different. This was good as all of them had a bit different teaching style making me learn different things. I'd think you can use only one teacher if that is what you want to. After finishing first text book we made some flash cards with sentence structures that I could use for various purposes as I pick up more vocabulary - this was done because I asked for it and wanted to study like this. Then we picked up some random words that I used to make up stories, my teacher corrected me, and she would tell me stories using vocabulary and sentence structures that I knew or were learning to develop my understanding of what I'm hearing. They're very flexible with how you want to study. If you'll leave it to them they'll have an opinion of what and how you should be learning and if you have your own opinion of what you want to do then that will be done as well. I didn't really study reading and writing with them because that is something I feel you can do on your own and I guess I'll be doing that a lot later on when I start studying Chinese at uni.

If someone wants to ask something specific I can try to answer.

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gundaniumdi

Oh, and I forgot to mention two very important things! These are just examples of how fantastic the staff are. One evening, our entire apartment building had a power outage. We had no idea if this was a common occurrence or not, and how long we should expect this outage to last. It wasn't like back home where we could simply report the outage to the power company. So we texted Ma Lao Shi and asked him if this sort of thing happened often, and it turned out it didn't. He called us immediately and was so kind and helpful. He said he would come and bring us a flashlight, and even offered to bring us some food from a local restaurant since the elevator was not working and it'd be inconvenient to go out and eat. We declined the food offer because we already had food in the fridge, but we still agreed to the flashlight. Within 15 minutes, Ma Lao Shi had climbed the 21 flights of stairs to our apartment (since the elevator wasn't working), just to deliver a flashlight to us. We were blown away by his kindness. Luckily, the power went back on after 5 hours and didn't go out again while we were there.

Also, there were some other small maintanence issues in the apartment. There was a leak in the kitchen once, and the washing machine needed repairing. Also, due to the way the plumbing system is designed in China, sometimes a smell rises up from the pipes. Ayi was so quick to take care of these small issues, and they were fixed in no time. In our apartment back home in the States, the landlord takes ages to get around to fixing our problems, so we were very impressed by the speed with which issues are fixed, and we really appreciated it!

So, what more can I say? The staff members are fantastic and they really treat you like family here at this school. :)

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Pendragon

I just came back from 3 weeks intensive study at 1on1 Mandarin Workshop (mid-July to mid-August). As the other people here I can recommend them a lot.

- Study experience:

My level is intermediate or advanced intermediate, though a bit unbalanced: I do lots of reading but don't get around to practising my spoken Chinese much. So my teacher and me together figured out a custom study program. We worked through a grammar book ("Practicing HSK Grammar"), studied some new vocabulary daily (I'm using "HSK 核心词汇天天学 to fill in the blanks of HSK vocab I didn't study yet) and for the rest just talked a lot to practise oral Chinese. When it turned out that my teacher (Wang 老师) has a really good handwriting I also asked her to tutor me on that (my characters look awful, but slightly better now).

Tip: Most students study 4 hours straight, either in the morning or afternoon. Some days we studied two hours in the morning (8-10am) and two hours in the afternoon (1-3pm), I found those days to be my most productive ones. It probably depends on the schedule of the teachers and of the other students whether this is manageable for them, but I'd recommend giving it a try.

- School staff:

One of the best things about this school is the really helpful staff. When you arrive you get a tour through the neighborhood, and afterwards if there's any problem they always come over to help, including during weekends. At some point they spent over two hours to help me order a package from Taobao and receive it for me at the school. I wouldn't have dared to ask them for this if I knew how much time it would cost them, but they were happy to do it for me. Also Ayi's lunch is great, and if you get sick she can even bring you breakfast at your room.

- City life and travel:

I really enjoyed Harbin in the summer. Shanghai was crazy hot, so when I arrived at Harbin I was so happy to have 20-28 degrees (celcius) pretty much every day. Harbin is not the most interesting city I've visited in China, but you can still have a good time there. I liked sitting in the park along the Songhua river, practising Chinese with some older people (they're really eager to chat and their accent is usually understandable). There are some really nice restaurants as well, including Russian cuisine, and you can get nice snacks at the night market not far from the school. I took the weekends off to see the sights around Harbin. The school took us to a zoo a few hours away from Harbin, and near the city center you can visit a Siberian tiger breeding center. I also made a trip to Yichun (about 6 hours from Harbin) to do some hiking in the forest there. The forests of Heilongjiang province are quite spectacular so I can recommend taking some time off to make trips. You probably want to have at least a long weekend (3-4 days) to make a good trip. I canceled two days of class for the trip, which I get back as Skype lessons after being back from China.

Bottom line: you get what you pay for. It's not the cheapest school I've ever been to, but just the service quality of the staff alone already makes it worth it for me.

Hope that helps, if you have specific questions you can let me know.

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Zander

Hey guys, thanks for all the people who have posted reviews here, I doubt I would have even considered this school otherwise! I am thinking of going to this school this Summer, and I was just wondering if any of you who have been there found the experience slightly lonely? Obviously being 1 on 1 has great advantages for teaching, but I would still like to meet some people who I could socialize with (hopefully in Chinese). Did you guys find it was still easy enough to meet people with similar schedules to you despite the lack of a class atmosphere?

 

Thanks,

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abcdefg

#39 -- I met lots of people in Harbin. Didn't find lonliness to be a problem.

 

It's one of the places in China where locals are spontaneously friendly to outsiders. Seems to be a Dongbei characteristic. It was not uncommon to strike up a chat with strangers in a restaurant or on the street. When eating alone it often happened that I would exchange a few pleasantries with other people at nearby tables and they would invite me over, or I would do the same to them.

 

I thought it was a plus not to have a ready-made circle of English speaking, Chinese-learner classmates with whom to socialize. That pushed me out of the "cocoon." If you are real shy it might not work as well.

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