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Study mandarin in beijing in winter for 4 weeks

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Hi Everyone,

I have read lots of interesting information about studying mandarin in beijing in your threads and have also been reading quite a few websites from companies / universities offering mandarin courses, but I haven't been able to find any advice specific to my problem which i'll outline below. Any help would be fantastic.

I will finish university in australia at the end of this year and have what I guess is an elementary level of chinese (reading, writing, listening and speaking) as I have completed about 6 semesters of reading/writing and 6 semesters of listening/speaking mandarin, although I have no undertaken any courses for almost 12 months now. Before I start work as an engineer back in australia in february 2007, I would like to come to beijing to study for 4 weeks in january 2007. I have found that the universities don't really offer programs of this duration at this time (which is fair enough), and so i am left with a myriad of private schools which all say they are great and you should study with them. However i am a bit sceptical and am trying to locate some (relatively) unbiased advice. Schools I have looked at on the web include:

PRC Study

Academy of Chinese Language Study (also through world link education)

World Link Education

Campus Earth


First Step World

Languages Abroad

I have heaps of questions, but the main ones are:

Are these programs at all worth the money you pay for them?

Are there any alternatives?

Is the quality of teaching any good?

What is the make-up of students like (where from, level of chinese)?

Will there be many students at courses in January?

As I said previously, any help that you could give would be most appreaciated!


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try the CET intensive January term, its just what you want, 4 weeks for Jan.

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To choose where to study Chinese is a daunting task. For a 4-week study starting in January, it's better that you study in a language school, as you may have realized. My advice is ask for the contact of former students and write to them to ask about the school, quality of teaching, etc.

Also, try to write to the schools and gauge how friendly and responsive they are.

There are some advice in this personal blog about how to choose Chinese language schools in China. I find it helfpul: http://annatam.com/category/study-chinese-in-china/

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I would also check out hiring a private tutor for that duration, whether or not you enroll in any uni.

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Hi Jaffacat (and anyone else that reads this)

We're (my wife and I) are also in Beijing in January for four weeks to learn Mandarin. I've posted some questions here: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/9462-has-anyone-been-to-prcstudy

Currently we're tossing up between PRC Study and the Academy of Chinese Language Study. Both have a four-week course for about the same price with four-hours a day with small class sizes. The Worldlink website also give some details about the ACLS course, they have a level where you need 300 characters, which will (hopefully) be about my level. I'm not a complete beginner, but won't make the 800 character level.

Have you made any decision yet? Any further thoughts?


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gilbert elliott

Can you really not come a little earlier?

If so, you can do the 5 weeks at BCLU from mid december to just after mid Jan. Of course you know about that. The advantage I see about that is principally the convenience of being able to arrange it, and also the large number of students, and hence a wide range of levels where they can place you.

How confident are you about arranging your own accommodation etc? If so, then just go for a holiday (L Visa) and go to Diqiu-whatever (which also seems to have the advantage of numbers: I think this is important so you can find the right level class). But stay away from the commercial schools aimed at well-heeled expatriates unless you are feeling well-heeled yourself.

I went to BLCU last winter and am planning to return, as it is the only time i can conveniently get away.

The CET course is more jan-feb (so has the opposite defect to BCLU), but at USD $3,290 seems rather luxurious.

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hi jaffacat

i have had friends who have gone through some of the companies you mentioned and they all came back and told me they're way too overpriced.

im at beijing's BLCU this sem for 12 weeks and i enrolled through enough plugs for that company, thanks. they were the cheapest i found on the internet, their prices are great for the value you get. and they dont charge margins on their programs, you pay at local prices. they have service packages which you choose from, depending on what you think you need while in beijing. because im staying for 12 weeks, i chose their standard service package, which includes a bike and cellphone! really really good, they truly do take good care of you, no kidding. have no complaints thus far, am a happy jan!

hope it helps

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