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zhouhana

Private Mandarin language schools in Xiamen?

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zhouhana

Hi guys,

My family is moving to Xiamen in August and I'm wondering which is the best private language school for learning Mandarin in Xiamen for us adults. We'll all have part-time distance work or studies so we'd appreciate flexible hours and part-time classes, and good, modern teaching material. From what I've read, the university course falls short on all these points (although if you feel the university is a better choice anyway, please tell why). We'll probably live in or close to the university area, or at least in Siming.

Update, May 22, 2012: We've now attended Mandarin FUN for ten months and are very pleased with the teachers, teaching materials, and price. Below is updated information on the private Mandarin language schools we know of in Xiamen.

厦门汉风堂汉语学校 Xiamen Mandarin FUN School

Website: http://www.mandarinfun.cn/

Street Address (Binbei): Room 2304, Wei Ye Na Building, Century Bay/Shiji Haiwan, Hubin Bei Road, Siming District (思明区湖滨北路世纪海湾维也纳楼2304室) It's in one of the high-rise building behind KFC. See the picture on the website. It's on the 23rd floor.

Street Address (Xiada): No. 9 Nan Hua Road, Siming District (思明区南华路9号) Although the address is 南华路 (Nan Hua Road), the entrance is really from 思明南路 (South Siming Road). From the 理工学院 (Ligong Xueyuan) bus stop, walk down 思明南路 southwards until you see the orange/red Mandarin Fun sign on the east side of the street. If you reach the Pizza Hut house on the same side, you've walked just a bit too far.

E-mail: [email protected]

MSN: [email protected]

QQ: ?

Skype: mandarinfun

Facebook: [email protected]

Telephone Number: +86-592-5118287, +86-13606012790 (mobile)

厦门汉语窗培训 ("Xiamen Hanyu Windows Training School") Easy-mandarin school

Website: http://www.easy-mandarin.com/

Street Address (Binbei): Room No. 18A, Building A, Zhongxin Plaza, Hubin Bei Road, Siming District (思明区湖滨北路中信广场A栋18A室)

Street Address (Xiada): Room No. 102, Nan Hua Garden, No. 26 Nan Hua Road, Siming District (思明区南华路26号南华苑102室)

Street Address (old): No. 820 Xiahe Road (厦禾路820号), Jimei District (集美区)

E-mail Address: [email protected], [email protected] (old)

QQ: ?

Telephone Number: +86-0592-5500550 (Xiada), +86-0592-5811122 (Binbei)

厦门柏林语言培训中心 Modern Chinese Center (previously known as 厦门柏林汉语培训中心 Xiamen Bonnie's Language Training Center)

Website: http://www.xmlearnchinese.com/

Street Address: Room No. 2508, Building No. 2, Century Bay/Shiji Haiwan, No. 27 Hubin Bei Road, Siming District (思明区湖滨北路27世纪海湾2号楼2508房间) It's in the same building as KFC, on the 25th floor. Close to Mandarin FUN.

E-mail Address: [email protected]

QQ: 1241810710

Telephone Number: +86-0592-8018826

The school below is probably the same as one of the above – when I asked them the name of the school I got this reply: "Unfortunately, we do not accept walk-ins. ... We will send you the school name and school address as soon as we receive your application." The prices on this site are also higher than on the others.

Mandarin Chinese Language School

Website: http://www.studyabro...ina_Xiamen.html

Street Address: ? ("Our Mandarin Chinese Language school is located close to the North Hubin Road and Jian Ye Road intersection, in the heart of Xiamen's financial and entertainment district.")

E-mail Address: ? (Contact form: http://www.studyabro...en_Contact.html)

QQ: ?

Telephone Number: ?

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abcdefg
I'm wondering which is the best private language school for learning Mandarin in Xiamen for us adults.

I spent a couple weeks in Fujian last summer, mostly in Xiamen. Main purpose was sightseeing (Tulou round houses, Gulangyu Island, etc.) Liked the city very much and wanted to investigate possibilities of studying Mandarin there without going the university route.

Like you, I only found a couple places listed on-line. That was surprising and disappointing since I had figured there must be more options in a city that modern and that large. I've been watching this thread hoping to get some leads for my own use, but so far that hasn't happened.

Good luck in your quest. And if you find some leads from other sources, I hope you will be kind enough to post.

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zhouhana

Thank you for reminding me about this thread. :)

It's always nice to hear from someone who's been in Xiamen and liked it -- makes us long even more for our move, which is now only one and a half weeks away.

I should add here that I ended up choosing Mandarin Fun after someone told me it was good. Unless I'm really satisfied with it I will also try to visit one or more other language schools in Xiamen for comparison. I'll be sure to write up a review of Mandarin Fun when I've gotten to know it. I'll also write about our first impressions with it in our travel blog at http://www.nodeworthy.com/xiamen-blog/

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zhouhana

After some heavy research with the help of Google translate I managed to hunt down information about the third school mentioned here in the forums, namely 厦门汉语窗培训 ("Xiamen Hanyu Windows Training School"). It was hard to find because its English name on the website, which apparently hasn't been search engine optimized at all, is "Easy-mandarin school". I also found a fourth school in the process! I've added the contact information of all the schools to my original post above for easy overview.

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putonghua73

Hi zhouhana,

Please keep up the good work in discovering private language schools in Xiamen. Like abcdefg, I'm looking for an alternative to Kunming when I return to China in Autumn 2013 (spent 6 months in Kunming last year, largely down to abcdefg's postings on Kunming).

My criteria:

1. Relatively temperate weather (dislike cold and humidity)

2. Relatively clean / little air pollution

3. Green spaces / countryside

4. Private language school (or small e.g. 3-5 classes)

So why not Kunming again? Split up with my ex in May due to distance (you live your lives in parallel - 3rd LDR too much!); although we are still friends, I no longer have any real ties. Besides, I want to explore and live somewhere new. Thought I mIght end up in Shanghai as I hooked up with a Chinese girl here in London - but that went horribly horribly wrong ...

Don't mind smaller than Kunming, but not Yangshuo size (too small).

Unless I happen to win the lottery or transfer companies to offices in Asia-Pacific, I have 2 years and a bit of research.

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zhouhana

I strongly suggest Xiamen! I've only been here for three weeks and I love this city. My whole family does. It seems to fit your criteria well, too, except that the weather is a bit humid sometimes now during summer. I hear the fall and spring weather is great, though, so I look forward to that. :)

I've had a little more than a week's experience with the Mandarin Fun school now, so I guess it's time to share. It has two locations. I go to the XiaDa branch, near the university. I really like the area. Just on the other side of the street is a popular quarter with restaurants and cafés perfect for studying. Although the address is 南华路, the entrance is really from 思明南路. Don't make my mistake and go down 南华路, 'cause you won't find it there. However, if you're going down 思明南路 from the north you will eventually see the red Mandarin Fun sign on the left side of the street. When you see Pizza Hut on the left, you've gone just a bit too far. The name of the nearest bus stop is 理工学院.

First we went to the Binbei office to meet Anne, who runs the school. The Binbei office wasn't that easy to find since it's not located on street level, but Anne picked us up at the nearby KFC. She gave me some placement tests and was nice and professional. The office seemed clean and quite small; if I'm not mistaken there is only one classroom. I was then placed in a class with one other guy, but it turned out we weren't on the same level after all so now I've switched to private lessons instead. My boyfriend David and our friend Anna are both beginners, so they didn't require a placement test. Our teacher, Ellie, is good at English, is easy to get along with and knows how to teach; she quickly identifies our problems and gives good explanations. We've learned a whole lot in just one week and a day and I see no real reason for us not to continue at this school. However I might check out the other ones later out of curiousity.

The XiaDa branch is located in an older building and doubles as an English language school for Chinese children and adults. It's got seven classrooms, but I've gotten the impression that only one is used for Chinese language teaching.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

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putonghua73

Thank you very much for replying, Zhouhana. Have you read Joshuawbb's wonderful write-up of Xiamen? It was that write-up that piqued my interest; subsequently, I have received a number of glowing recommendations, including more recently from an Italian friend of a Chinese girl I briefly dated a few months back, who dissuaded me from considering either Chengdu or Fuzhou.

The only sticking point, up until now, has been the lack of good language schools offering 1-2-1 tuition (or very small groups).

I've bookmarked your blog and look forward to reading your reports, as well as your impressions and observations of your new life in Xiamen. Could I ask if you could feedback your impressions on the time-table, lesson structure, teaching, study material, other students you may meet at the school, as well as costs, please? When I was in Kunming, myself and my teacher devised a lesson structure that suited as both and made the lessons interesting and informative. One technique that I picked up from a friend and incorporated into my lesson was to explain to my teacher new grammar that I had learned, with her asking me questions (all in Chinese). Difficult but very, very rewarding because you definitely know whether you have really understood a grammatical point or not!

Cheers!

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zhouhana

I'm glad to help!

Thanks for the link! I actually read through all of joshuawbb's Xiamen posts before moving. :) Some very good information there, although things seem to change fast here just like everywhere else in China. (Xiamen now has at least three Starbucks, of which one is the largest in mainland China! And as a Swede I will just have to attend the grand opening of the city's first H&M on Friday ....)

If you pick Mandarin Fun (or I guess any other private language school), you will probably have at most two classmates and not meet any other students. The school building always seems very empty when I'm there (it's not big), but it could be because the fall semester hasn't really started yet. Anyway, if socializing is important to you the university course would probably be better, but as you say, you're looking for a small group or private lessons.

Maybe it depends on the teacher, but Ellie has been quite flexible when it comes to our time schedule. When I was first placed with that other guy I guess they had already agreed on a time that he was happy with -- I asked the school for morning lessons but had to go in the afternoon. As soon as I switched to private lessons I got to choose more freely, though. I started with two hours a day, then as I started taking private lessons I changed it to one hour a day, and now (since I have other studies as well) I'm down at one hour Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I think two hours a day is too much if you take private lessons.

How much and what you learn depends a lot on yourself. We use the same book as joshuawbb wrote the university is using (the revised edition) -- Hanyu Jiaocheng. (My boyfriend's son who goes to an international school here is also using it, so it's a common book that's easy to get hold of.) It doesn't have a fancy cover or colorful pictures, and as such may not be so inspiring, but it's not a bad book and I like that it's cheap (24元). My boyfriend and our friend who are more interested in acquiring only basic conversational skills are using another book called My Chinese Classroom. It looks a little bit more "fun" (just a little!), but is more expensive and more basic. Not for me! :) I'm currently studying at quite a high speed and go through two or three chapters a week. Ellie would slow down if I asked her to, though. She often asks if the homework is too much.

Ellie's teaching, as I wrote in my last post, is of high standard. It's obvious that she has a university degree in teaching Chinese as a second language and she understands all my questions in English very well. We're all very pleased with her and I've heard others speak well of her, too. I assume the other teachers have university degrees as well.

The cost varies. If you buy 40 group lessons they cost 40元/hour. My private lessons cost 80元/hour, although since I've slowed down to three hours a week now I guess I will have to start paying even more.

As a sidenote, Jimei University in Xiamen (Jimei is the area just northwest of Xiamen Island) has a program specifically for CSL teachers. I've been told that one can get cheaper private lessons from the students there. (And also from students at Xiamen University, like joshuawbb wrote.)

Could you give an example of your technique with the grammar?

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putonghua73

I remember when I first travelled to China in 2007 (the travel-bug hit me late in life - mid 30s - but better late than never, eh?), I met a group of older travellers whilst waiting for the sleeper from Shenzhen bus-station at Lo Wu (what an absolute hole - I hate that place and Shenzhen with a passion) to Yangshuo. They were all old China hands and commented that everytime they come back, the country is almost unrecognisable. So am not surprised by the pace of change re: Starbucks and H&M!

Oh, oh, oh! That reminds me, Zhouhana. Could you be a sweetie and provide a commentary on Xiamen fashion? For any affidavit, I'm not that into clothes and fashion, but I do need to exercise my inner Gok Wan from time to time and Kunming men's fashion was a misnomer. I remember window shopping with my ex-girlfriend and was appalled at the fashion that consisted of a really bad version of Arnold Palmer golf casual! Yet my ex did manage to find me a nice shirt from Zara and a lovely pair of trainers, which she posted to me as a present at the start of this year. But I digress.

I have seen Hanyu Jiaocheng but never used it. I finished Chinese in Steps 3 (official SOAS book, here in London), then switched to the BOYA series (准中级 - blue cover) as I wanted more 书面语rather than 口语。

I did laugh when you mentioned that you found 2 hours quite tough because I was doing 4 hours 1-2-1 a day (with a 30 minute break). That said, I did end up falling asleep from time to time and towards the end of my time in Kunming hit total saturation point. So despite me gently poking fun at you, I absolutely agree that you should study for a time-period in which you can achieve peak performance. For me, I think 2 hours 1-2-1, supplemented by an hour or two with a private teacher (Chinese language / linguistic grad) would be reasonable.

Costs are comparative - give or take - with options in Kunming, if you factor in the extra costs for living on the Eastern coast as opposed to West / South-West China.

An example of my grammatical technique? Less an example and more a method. When we ran across a new piece of grammar, my teacher would initially explain and provide examples. Then I would have to compose a different example (usually writing the example of the blackboard) and explain to my teacher [in Chinese] how to incorporate it into my example and why e.g. 被 (passive construction), I would have to explain why the object proceeds 被, and explain the position of both the verb and subject in the construction [in Chinese]. Really difficult, but gets you really thinking about Chinese sentence construction and whether you truly understand a grammatical point - as well as improves your linguistic vocabulary / idioms.

You do realise, Zhouhana, that I'm totally jealous and envious of the fact that you're studying Chinese in Xiamen, don'tcha? ;) So I'm going to live vicariously through you! In all seriousness, I hope that you and your family really enjoy your time in China :). I really do miss China (and the women, especially the women).

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zhouhana

I'm afraid fashion is a bit of a black hole for me, so I'm unable to fill you in on that. (I'm more interested in seeing if H&M will attract a stampede or not. ;) )

Sure, everyone has different needs. This is my first day without class since I started at the school and it feels a bit like a waste of time. On the other hand now I have the time to really learn my homework and impress my teacher. :) We'll see how I feel about it after a couple of weeks.

Sounds like a good technique. Thanks for the tip!

When I've returned to Sweden I will look back at these posts and be jealous of myself, too. ;) Xiamen really is fantastic. Welcome!

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madams2000

Zhouhana:

Enjoyed reading your posts about Xiamen. I am planning to go there over christmas with my family and wanted to find a mandarin school for my kids. My two boys speak Mandarin fluently (4 & 5th grade) because they go to an immersion school. I wanted to bring them to Xiamen to experience speaking Mandarin with the local children.

Does anyone know -- is it possible to "visit" the local public schools? How would you arrange that?

Is there a school you would recommend for kids?

Thanks vm

Madams

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zhouhana

Hello Madams! Sorry for not replying sooner. I'm glad you've enjoyed my posts!

I think you'd better contact the school(s) as soon as possible, since I think sometimes it has to go through a couple of people before you get a go-ahead. As I understand it, to get the best kind of reception it might be best to make it appear as if the principal (or other person in charge of this kind of decisions) has personally invited you to visit the school, and for that to work you have to give them time to react. I'm unsure if just walking up to a school would work well -- they often have a locked gate and sometimes also a guard.

Here's a list of most of the schools around here, first lower schools, then middle schools. Most schools seem to have a website or blog (I have listed a few). Try to see if you can find their contact details there. Otherwise search for them on http://ditu.baidu.com or maps.google.com, or google a school name combined with 地址 (address), 电子邮件 (e-mail), QQ (for their QQ chat number), or 电话 (phone).

Good luck!

厦门市康乐小学(http://www.xmedu.cn/klxx/)

厦门市滨东小学(http://www.xmbdxx.com/)

厦门市鹭江新城小学(http://www.ljxcxx.com/)

厦门市滨北小学(http://www.xmbinbei.net/)

厦门市金山小学

厦门市金尚小学

厦门市东渡小学

厦门市演武小学

厦门市思北小学

厦门市公园小学

厦门市集美小学

厦门市蔡塘小学

厦门市园南小学

厦门市金鸡亭小学

厦门市后江小学

厦门市故宫小学

厦门市大同小学

厦门市乐安小学

厦门市安兜小学

厦门市寨上小学

厦门市华昌小学

厦门市吕岭小学

厦门市莲龙小学

厦门市莲花小学

厦门市仙岳小学

厦门市梧村小学

厦门市民立小学

厦门市莲岳小学

厦门市嘉滨小学

厦门市湖明小学

厦门市槟榔小学

厦门市曾营小学

厦门市乌石浦小学

厦门市高林中心小学

厦门市集美第二小学

厦门市江头第三小学

厦门市海沧延奎小学

厦门市福建省厦门实验小学

厦门市西郭小学

厦门市阳光小学

厦门海沧实验中学(http://www.xmsyzx.cn/)

厦门市湖里实验中学 (http://178155.temp.cn21edu.com/)

厦门海沧实验中学

厦门市湖里中学

厦门市大同中学

厦门市莲花中学

厦门市科技中学

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厦门市金尚中学

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厦门市松柏中学

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厦门市湖里中学

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厦门市海沧中学

厦门市莲河中学

厦门市大嶝中学

厦门市彭厝中学

厦门市逸夫中学

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abcdefg

#9 --

I have seen Hanyu Jiaocheng but never used it. I finished Chinese in Steps 3 (official SOAS book, here in London), then switched to the BOYA series (准中级 - blue cover) as I wanted more 书面语rather than 口语。

I used Hanyu Jiaocheng in the past, plus several others, including the "Speed Up Chinese" series 速成汉语. This year switched to BOYA at the lower intermediate level.

The second book at that level, definitely stresses shumian 书面语 constructions instead of 口语, though the first one does not. It was quite a difficult and large step to go from 博雅, 准中级1 to 博雅, 准中级2. Suddenly there was lots and lots of completely unfamiliar material. Not at all a smooth transition. I'm still struggling with it.

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Nicki

Hello Zuhoana,

 

thank you for your great information below. it was very good.

 

I searched Mandarin FUN after your recommendation and they look cool. Now I am planning to study there. However I found out that China Embassy doesnt accept all the invitation letters from language courses. and the visa agency told me that if I can provide the example of invitation letter, they can check if it is valid or not.

 

so what do you recommend me to do?

 

would be great if you help me on that.

 

thanks 

  • Good question! 1

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abcdefg
11 hours ago, KeenfrmZA said:

Hi did you ever get any further on this?

 

The post you are asking about is 4 years old. The person who posted disappeared long ago. You should start a new thread asking what it is that you want to know. 

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zhouhana

I still follow the thread, I just forgot to answer the last question about invitation letters. Like abcdefg says, it's been a long time since I was in China and active here. I'm not sure if " China Embassy doesn't accept all the invitation letters from language courses" means they don't accept ANY invitation letters of that kind, but I'm sure a lot of things have changed. I still keep in touch with Anne Xu, the owner of Mandarin Fun, though, and I'm sure Mandarin Fun is still a great private language school. Anne is the one who sent us invitation letters when we applied for our first visa. I think you'd better contact her (or the owner/administration of the school you're interested in) directly. Any school will know, or is able to ask, what their latest or current students did to get to China and their school. Click the link "E-mail" in the header at http://www.mandarinfun.cn/en/Contact.asp to get Anne's address.

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