"A different language is a different vision of life." - Federico Fellini
Learning Chinese is the stepping stone to experiencing the Chinese culture fully. However, some of us only want to get by and be understood easily, especially on business trips. Depending on your intention and length of stay in China, you may opt for a short two-week beginners' course or a longer and more intensive course. The schools recommended below are reputable for their exceptional delivery of Chinese language courses, based either on reputation or the Chinese experience offered.
First, the top 5 schools for learning Chinese in China rated by reputation...
1. Beijing Language and Culture University
This is an ordinary public university located in Beijing. For lovers of long-standing success, this school was established in 1962 and has maintained a top position in teaching Chinese as a foreign language and culture since then. The faculty is incomparable to any other school in China.
The school is recognized internationally for its top-achieving history. As the name suggests, the university is solely dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture. You are likely to get an intense cultural experience studying here. The courses vary from a short 4-week beginners' course to a full semester or year proficiency course.
Watch more videos about Chinese culture stories.
2. Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)
For prestige and quality, this is the school you're looking for. SISU has a long-standing international reputation for teaching Chinese as a second language and achieving excellent performance. The school is famous for its international standard language training facilities, interpretation systems, language research, and a digital resource center containing audio-visual resources.
It offers long-term summer and winter programs only lasting one semester or academic year. The faculty is highly qualified and friendly, with vast experience in teaching Chinese to acquaint you in the subject of your choice. The diverse student population exposes you to an international context in learning Chinese whilst interacting closely with other cultures.
3. SN Mandarin (Shanghai)
This is an urban private school located in Shanghai's Jing'an District and famous for offering quality Chinese program at the beginner level, Bachelors', Masters, and Doctoral level.
Small class sizes at the school enable the teachers to give more individual attention to each of the students and use exciting learning ideas to help you have a grasp of the language fast. The teachers also consider your goal for studying Chinese and concentrate on developing your vocabulary in the direction of your intention.
The school offers its own accommodation for students taking long-term courses with a five-star rating from students who have used them before.
4. LTL Mandarin School (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengde, and Taiwan)
Studying the Chinese language goes hand in hand with living the Chinese culture, as advocated by LTL Mandarin school. The institution has four campuses in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengde, and Taiwan. The teachers offer one-on-one classes tailored to fit each individual's language level and interests. Group classes increase interaction between students and promote fast learning.
The Chengde campus offers an intense immersion program where students only communicate in Mandarin while on campus and practice Chinese culture. This has been proven to intensify learning and fast track an understanding of the Chinese culture. This includes a home-stay program where students may live with a local family while learning Chinese.
5. Chinese Language Institute (Guilin)
Situated in Guilin, the Chinese Language Institute is ideal for a flexible Chinese learning experience both on campus and online.
The school offers a personalized immersion program in Guilin where students engage in an intensive Mandarin-rich stay to maximize language and culture acquisition. Students may choose to participate in the Pengyou Program ('Friend Program'), a direct cultural exchange program for better Chinese language outcomes facilitated by the school.
The College Study Abroad program in partnership with Guangxi Normal University earns students credits while studying at the university. Dedicated tutors offer online language tutoring even after your stay in China.
And now, the top 6 schools for learning Chinese in China rated by Chinese experience...
1. Beijing International Studies University
Beijing International Studies University is situated right in the Beijing CBD, quite close to a variety of commuter routes. The location is perfect if you have a part-time job in the city. The school offers flexible learning times for part-time classes where you get to choose the most convenient time for you. Teachers are supportive and time-conscious, ready to adjust to the needs of their students as necessary.
This school offers scholarships by the China National Government and the Beijing Municipal Government, subsidizing the overall cost of learning the language. It is ideal for students taking a parallel program at a different school for ease of access and financial support.
2. Keats School (Kunming)
Founded in 2004, Keats School is one of the largest Mandarin Chinese schools in China and offers both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats welcomes around 40% of returning students each year. Keats develops personalized exercises and materials exclusively for you to meet your learning goals and requirements. You can come to study anytime, according to your schedule. Keats offers full services including single room accommodation with private bathroom and meals, which bring you the convenience of home.
Keats School also offers online Chinese lessons, HSK Test Preparation, Chinese Language Course + Volunteer in China, Chinese Language Course + Tour in China, Children Chinese Program, and customized Mandarin course for organizations and companies.
3. That's Mandarin (Shanghai)
That's Mandarin offers a library of language training software, games to help learn the language outside class, and quiet reading rooms with natural lighting. Junior classes are available at affordable costs, making it possible for you and your children to take Chinese classes simultaneously.
That's Mandarin has two simple private schools dedicated to teaching Chinese as a foreign language. They are located within a five-minute walk of each other in Shanghai (Jiaozhou Road and Yuyuan Road, Jing'an District). Both are located close to Jing'an Temple metro station, making them perfect for you if you intend to set up camp in Jing'an District.
4. Hanbridge Mandarin School (Shenzhen)
Founded in 2006, Hanbridge Mandarin School is located in Nanshan District, Shenzhen. The school is ideal for those staying in Shenzhen for its excellent location on the Hong Kong border. The school's location is quiet and peaceful, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The school provides free internet access, free placement tests to identify your language level professionally, weekly leisure activities for students, and a welcome dinner. If you prefer a relaxed reading environment at summer school with an occasional swim and inspiring surrounding, this is the school for you, not to mention the affordable course fees.
5. Hutong School (Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, or Chengdu)
The school provides the most flexible Chinese learning classes that accommodate the needs of both short and long stays in China. Choices range from one to four-hour classes with a maximum of eight students per class. The faculty are highly qualified and adequately certified. Tutors also offer extra one-on-one sessions for free.
The variety of locations to choose from increases convenience to learn as you travel through Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Chengdu. Online classes make it easier to continue with the language classes after your visit to China if you choose to.
6. Aston Language School (Anhui)
Located in Wuhu, Anhui, Aston language school is ideal for intense interaction with the Chinese culture. Being in a small town, the school takes advantage of the local environment and encourages a weekly interaction of students with the locals, dabbed "Chinese Corner". This way, the students practice what they learn in class and pick up new aspects of the culture fast.
The school offers exposure to learning situations with a variety of cultural excursions for students to experience the Chinese traditions first hand. Furthermore, the faculty is supportive, offering flexible classes during school hours to a maximum of four students per tutor. For people who love Anhui (with its famed Yellow Mountains and picturesque villages), staying in Wuhu and this school is the ultimate choice.
Get the Help of Experts for Your China Travels
As a student in China (and a student of Chinese), you'll have plenty of know-how to visit the most popular tourist destinations in China, but you may still find you get far more out of China's sights with a knowledgeable guide and expert tour design. For a superior experience, consider our day tours.
If you want to go to more remote destinations, having local experts to plan and guide can help you save time and help you dig deeper into local culture. Get a group of friends together or let us help you plan a tour for when your family or friends visit. All our private tours are fully customizable.
- Tibet Discovery Tour by Train - 7 days - Xining–Lhasa
- Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour - 7 days - Lhasa–Shigatse–Everest and back
- Minority Discovery in Zhangjiajie and Guizhou - 9 days - Guizhou, Fenghuang Ancient Town, and Zhangjiajie
For weekend getaways, check out our shorter trip ideas.
- Chengdu Food Tour
- Charming Shanghai & Watertown Tour - 2 days - Shanghai and Zhujiajiao
- Off-the-Beaten Track Great Wall Hiking Tour - e.g. at Jinshanling
Our Train Booking Service has also helped many students in China with their travels.