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natpeel

Studying Mandarin in Chengdu

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natpeel

Hello all,

I'm a college student living in the US and I'm planning on studying abroad sometime next year, probably spring semester, in China. I have a decent background (4 college semesters and 3 years in high school) but am by no means fluent. I would definitely prefer to study in a city smaller and less Westernized than Beijing or Shanghai. I'm attracted to Chengdu because, from what I've read, it seems to be fairly culturally traditional compared to coastal cities, however it is still metropolitan enough to serve my "western" needs. I also would like to visit Tibet whilst there if at all possible, and it seems it would be fairly easy to access it from Chengdu.

However, the only thing deterring me from Chengdu is the dialect issue. As I said, my Mandarin is no where near perfect, and I'm afraid the journey would not be as productive as possible if I wasn't familiar with the local dialect, as I'd like to be somewhere near fluent by the time I leave.

How different is the dialect, really? And how much would it affect my stay, if at all? Also if anyone has suggestions of other cities that would be great to study in I'm open to all sorts of suggestions!

Thanks for your help!! :lol:

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I also would like to visit Tibet whilst there if at all possible, and it seems it would be fairly easy to access it from Chengdu.

Yes. That's not difficult.

However, the only thing deterring me from Chengdu is the dialect issue

Lots of attractive study locations have 方言 (dialect) issues. Sichuan indeed is one. This is also true of Yunnan and Hunan, as well as Fujian and of course Guangzhou (Cantonese) and even Shanghai. That does not, however, mean you cannot learn Mandarin in those places. I would not be too quick to rule them out if other factors appeal to you.

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forlsy

Maybe Beijing or Shanghai would be a better choice, there you might have much more experience for its better economy. If you`re planning to visit Tibet, take the plane, from Chendu to Tibet or from Beijing to Tibet actually is 2 or three hours difference.

As to the dialect, if you study in Sichuan university or Uestc, students here speak standard Mandarin.... the locals don`t, i mean the people over 40 seldom do that but the young people speak Mandarin if you talk with him/her in the same way.

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Prodigal Son

There's a lot of Sichuan dialect in Chengdu. But most places in China have their own local dialect - in that regard, Chengdu isn't that different. With it being a cultural and economic center of West China, there are a lot of college-educated citizens who speak clear Mandarin as well. Most of the foreigners I know speak clear Mandarin, a few speak in-between, and some speak in all Sichuan slang. Personally, I don't speak Sichuan dialect and never made it my goal to study it, although I'm reasonably proficient in Mandarin. It'll take a while to understand the Sichuan accent but I don't consider it too bad of a handicap.

Hope this helps-

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Tizburi

I are seriously considering the possibility to study in Chinese language at a university in Chengdu for a year or perhaps only one semester.

Forlsy can speak anything about UESTC university?

At moment, my first option is SWUFE? Somebody can speak about this university?

I have doubts what it is the best university for me...

Thanks in advance.

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emdog4

I/m at swufe (qingyang campus) right now. there are about 100-200 students here, and most of them are under 30 years old. there is class everyday from 9-12:30 and have extra curriculars two or three days a week. the school has also planned two trips for us that were fun. this is my first semester (ever) studying chinese. we are using the NCPR text book series. we have grammar class (yu fa) also listening and speaking (ting shuo). regarding the housing, you might not want to live in the dorms if you want peace and quiet. i do know a few students that live off campus, which doesn't seem to be a problem. good international representation (asian countries, also european, south and north america, etc) also, you should check out the new campus (guang hua).

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Tizburi

Thanks emdog4 for your sugestions.

I certainly prefer to live off campus. You know exactly where they are off-campus housing? Far away? You know how are the houses?

In your opinion, what is the level of teaching and teachers in Chinese language classes? Boring?

Xie xie.

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emdog4

the classes here are good, but for any class, i think it depends on the teacher. for the lower level classes there is L&S and Grammar class, for the upper level classes i think there are three classes L&S, Grammar, and Reading. classes aren't typically boring, but sometimes the LS classes can be because the teacher will take turns with each student. luckily, most of the time the classes are small which you have appropriate attention, and also the teachers are super nice. one of the best things about swufe is they provide a tutor for free. my tutor is excellent and super helpful. there are also tons of other chinese students on campus that will help you with your homework or practice free of charge. the staff here are also super nice.

i don't know about the housing so i can't answer that question. i know one friend lives by the South gate, which is about a 20 minute walk (through campus) to class everyday. the other students live in various places and (from the dialogue in class) i know they take the bus to school. most of the teachers live off campus as well. there are lots of houses around here, i dont think it would be hard to find one, but i dont know the price range. the jin sha che zhan bus station is literally accross the road which makes it convenient. the staff here will help you find housing if you ask. also, they would probably let you visit a class.

the classes are good, the teachers move fast, and if you want to keep up, then you need to do your homework (mainly excersises in the work book, also occasionally sentences and practice that the teacher gives you). the text book content is good, NCPR, and if you can keep up with you work, you will certianly learn alot. good community, lots of fun, nice people. i'd suggest coming here to visit around 12-12:30 and talk to some other folks after class gets out. many of the older folks (above 30) live off campus and i see them riding bikes and scooters, so they might be able to offer more information about housing. you can also talk to any teachers about the classes.

hope that helps!

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Menino80

Does anybody know of private schools in Chengdu? I have found Mandarin Club but so far that's it.

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black dragon

I don't think Southwest China(including Chengdu)can be nice place to study Mandarin. There are lots of dialects. Maybe I'm biased. ;)

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Menino80

I've already studied on my own for two years, so I have pronunciation basics down. I've alos heard that if you learn accented Mandarin, it makes listening to Putonghua easier, the only risk is that people can't understand you if you speak, which is not really a concern to me.

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Chinadoog

There are only a few places in China where people actually speak standard Mandarin at home with their families and friends. Instead of worrying about the dialect issue in Chengdu, I'd start worrying about the horrible weather! haha

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black dragon
I'd start worrying about the horrible weather! haha
Chinadoog, what's the weather like in Chengdu? You said it's the horrible weather. Could you explain how horrible it is? Thanks!

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Chinadoog

Well it's really cloudy and foggy almost every day. But other than that the weather is fine.

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Mundas

Hello,

This thread is very interesting as I too am thinking of coming to Chengdu to study.

I have spent around a year studying on my own including some certificates from Chinese University in Hong Kong. I was wondering what the process is for streaming new applicants is - can anybody advise? From what I can see, you have to apply via CUCAS as there are rarely contact details or application options for universities on their websites. This lack of contact details makes it hard for me to ask the university itself how it deals with a students who is not a beginner.

Any advice much appreciated!

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jmido8

The dialect here is defiantly noticeable and hard to understand but everyone can understand Mandarin even if they can't exactly speak it back. In my experience, almost every one can speak mandarin. Maybe 10% of the people I have ran across can't speak Mandarin at all (it's almost always old folk over 40 and taxi drivers that can't). I'v only had 5 semesters of college Chinese and even with so little Chinese, I have never had a time where I just couldn't communicate with someone because they couldn't speak Mandarin. So yeah, the dialect is rough to listen to but the city is so much more immersive and cultural here that it makes it a wonderful place to learn Mandarin Chinese. If you pick a big city like Shanghai or Beijing, almost everyone speaks English and it's 100x easier to fall back on English especially when you're in restaurants and stores and the staff won't even start to converse with you in Chinese because they'll just assume you can't.

Don't worry to much about the dialect issues in Sichuan. Unless you're trying to ease drop on Chinese people talking, they'll almost always switch to Mandarin for you. They're also super good at adjusting their speech to a level that you can understand and the people here are so nice, that they don't even care if your chinese is almost unrecognizably bad because they'll still try really hard to communicate with you and help you out.

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erikstenberg

Hi,

I am considering going to Chengdu university to study Chinese with start in sept 2013. I was in china for one month recently and spent a few days in Chengdu and simply loved it.

Mundas, I basically have the same question as you, only the other way around. Is it worth going there, indeed highly motivated, but without any chinese skills at all? Are most of the students already in to chinese or is it a bunch of rookies like myself?

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