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Can I get by even if I cannot speak Chinese?

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edelweis

You only need one English program, the one you will apply for.

You can search for programs on google or on commercial websites such as http://www.cucas.edu.cn/.

Afterwards, you can either apply through commercial websites (for a fee) or contact the universities directly.

 

I think your question could be reframed as:

can I get by in daily life in town XXX without speaking Chinese?

did anyone attend the English program YYY at university ZZZ?

were all courses really in English?

could you understand the teachers?

were the admins helpful and could they speak English?

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Shelley

I wonder why you would want to get by without speaking chinese. Go and plan to learn while you are there.

 

What a waste of an immersive learning situation.

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889

Of course it depends a bit, but all sorts of people in all sorts of places manage to get by without speaking Chinese these days.

 

But the real question is whether you want to go to China cocooned by your language limitations. Night becomes day once you can communicate.

 

 

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DavyJonesLocker

Probably 9 /10 foreigners I know here don't speak a word of chinese and "get by" fine here for 10years and more. I daresay the proportion of foreign people in china that can't speak chinese is very high

 

as @889 says it opens open new world to you if you can speak and having tried (and failed) learning chinese in my home country and china, its an immense opportunity to learn (as @Shelley noted)

 

I see a marked difference in lifestyles between people who

1) never learn a word of chinese and permently live  a tourist in china 

2) people who study and can speak some chinese but don't immerse themselves into chinese way of life

3) people who speak chinese to some degree or other but make an effort to appreciate Chinese lifestyle

 

The 3rd makes a huge difference. Your level doesn't have to be that high. Being able to use Chinese shopping apps like 京东 (JD) 淘宝 (Taobao) means daily food and essentials are much cheaper. Things like renting a car is very cheap if you fancy a day trip but everything will be in Chinese . Chinese people love to introduce you to different foods but often concern that you won't like it so select something bland and/or sweet.  So being able to communicate with the 老百姓 (average man/woman on the street) opens up make experiences. 

 

As an example,  a good friend of mine is like the type 2 above, he recently spent $14k on medical treatment at the american hospital here in Beijing. If he went to the Chinese hospital it would have been $1k - $2k. They are chaotic but efficient 

 

Things like PLECO OCR can be a lifesaver at times 

 

 

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Flickserve

I guess you can but the lower the socieconomic level you are, the harder it will be.

 

Like, how many volunteers will have the patience to help a person in daily life who can't get around even with a bit of Chinese?

 

Whereas, if you have a job and there are objectives that need to be met, yes, you can get by without Chinese.

 

3 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

As an example,  a good friend of mine is like the type 2 above, he recently spent $14k on medical treatment at the american hospital here in Beijing. If he went to the Chinese hospital it would have been $1k - $2k. They are chaotic but efficient 

 

But highly variable standard of care.. I once saw a boy with a hand fracture - the splint from the Chinese hospital was on his forearm.

 

You pay for that security and I guess the American hospital charges American prices.

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DavyJonesLocker
1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

 

But highly variable standard of care.. I once saw a boy with a hand fracture - the splint from the Chinese hospital was on his forearm.

 

You pay for that security and I guess the American hospital charges American prices.

 

Indeed, the hospital in Haitian here in Beijing is very good but some are a disaster. 

 

Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, shenzhen are pretty manageable to live in without Chinese in my view. If you work in a company they will always have some form of assistant to foreigners. 

 

Venture out further afield and it's a different story.

 

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Christa

You can live but it will be an expat life not a local life. So you get to be something like a long-term tourist. So not knowing the language should not stop you going but the type of experience the long-term expat has is not a Chinese experience, it's an expat experience. You end up knowing what it's like to be an expat in China. That can be a fun thing but it's also most definitely a missed opportunity, so I hope you get a chance to begin learning the language once you're there.

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HuayangAcademy

There are many good English language university programs. 

As the above said give Chinese a chance as it is a great language and opens many doors 

 

We have students looking at Chinese university courses but just note Cucas/Chinese scholarship/university websites can be difficult to open at the moment

 

Best of luck 

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gwr71

I have browsed many programs in Beijing for  master's program in my field and most, if not all  of them are in English.  I could not find a Master's program in Mandarin.  Only undergraduate degree in Mandarin.  Very frustrating.  But as part of the study in these Master's programs, you will have to attend classes in Mandarin. It seems that the Schools believe that if you are studying in China you must have some understanding of Mandarin.  That makes sense.

 I don't see how  a person can studying in China for a year without learning the basics of the language. It may just be a waste of opportunity.  

I hope you make the best decision.

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