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Advanced Madarin students / classes in London

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I completed an advanced Chinese language course in China previously and am now living and working in London. I really want to continue my studies here, so I don't forget everything that I've put the effort into learning so far. However, I'm absolutely terrible at self-study - I won't pick up a textbook or read a newspaper article unless there's some kind of pressure to do so (I chastise myself about this shortcoming regulalrly, but don't seem, to be able to change!). I'd ideally like to take an advanced course in London, but SOAS and LSE are out of my price range and the course at Westminster couldn't go ahead due to lack of students, so I'm now looking at other options.

Does anyone know of other schools running advanced courses now? Alternatively, are there are any other advanced students in London who would like to create a small tutor group with a private teacher? I can't afford the £25 an hour rate that seems to be the norm in London.

As a guide to my level (although not necessarily a very accurate one considering the style of the exam...), I got HSK 7 about 18 months ago, but probably haven't progressed much since then. My speaking/listening/reading abilities are about equal.



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Well, sorry I'm not in London, but maybe this will give you some ideas. I'm a low-advanced level; my real problems are chengyu and identifying characters when reading the news. I can't self-study much either, so I'm always searching and trying to new things. So far here are things that I like and the degree to which they 'work' for me:

- I listen to Chinesepod for fun while jogging or on the subway -- only the advanced lessons truly introduce new vocabulary (usually slang or chengyu) for me.

- I found someone to speak with a few times per week, entirely in Chinese. We discuss news items and stuff, sometimes specific questions I have from ChinesePod lessons, new movies, ETC. We meet for two hours at a coffee shop 2-3 times per week.

- I took some Skype lessons through one-on-one mandarin. They need material to work off of, but the teacher only spoke Chinese with me, and helped corrected my grammatical patterns when speaking, and explain things I didn't understand. Kind of like the person I meet at the coffee shop, but more focused in a lesson/classroom-like setting, with someone trained to help foreigners. It was cheap and I liked the teacher, but I got busy and stopped scheduling. I'll start it again when I have more time; they're fairly flexible even with a 6 hour time difference.

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I am in a very similar situation Morningthunder.

Finding advanced Chinese classes in London is really quite difficult, because, as you say, they are often advertised but not run, due to lack of numbers. The high price is an issue too.

Personally, I am planning to attend the advanced class at the Confucius Institute for Business London ( 伦敦商务孔子学院 ) which is on the LSE campus. It is run by a small and very friendly group of teachers, many on secondment from Tsinghua University in Beijing. It is slightly cheaper (on an hourly basis) than SOAS and the courses are often run for a smaller group of students. I have studied with them for a year now, including 3 weeks at their summer school at Tsinghua University and have really enjoyed it. Their courses begin from November 1st.

I also study with a chinese teacher 1-to-1 using Skype, which is slightly cheaper than travelling up to London to attend class.

The lowest cost thing I do however is chatting to my language exchange partner over Skype, which is free, although obviously we do spend half the time speaking in English...

If you find a more cost-effective way to study at the advanced level in London let me know... I'll probably join you!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies.

Amanda: I also use Chinesepod, but I even find that difficult to stick to. I often just listen to tunes when I'm on the tube/subway etc. I really am that bad at motivating myself to study! I will try to get back into a routine of doing that though. I also meet with / chat with Chinese friends occasionally, but I find I'm only ever using vocab that I've known for a long time and not really progressing or increasing my vocab.

Elliott: Thanks for the info about the course at LSE, but even that is a bit out of my price range at the moment. It is something I may look into in the future when I find better employment. I only know of one other advanced course, which is run at Ming Ai right in the north of London. They're running it now and will continue into next year, so I might well give that a go after Xmas as well (again, dependent on finding better work).

Well, I suppose I'm just going to have to dig in and improve myself as a student for the time being!



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