Studying Chinese in Hangzhou

As I’ve mentioned before, lately I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with my progress in Chinese. I think there are several reasons for this stagnation. One reason I can’t ignore is that I’ve really been having a good time here for the past year and a half, and I’ve just plain been lazy about studying. I can’t deny that. But there’s more to it than just laziness. My spoken Chinese has reached a sort of plateau. I know most of the words for everyday life. If linguistists’ estimate of 10,000 words for a basic vocabulary is correct, then I know those 10,000 words in Chinese, and I can use them fairly fluently in conversation. Remember, though, that’s a basic vocabulary; it is an accomplishment, but it’s nothing to be exceedingly proud about. I’ve gotta keep pushing. Basic conversation is no longer sufficient to help me learn the more sophisticated vocabulary I want to work on, and basic conversation doesn’t help me with reading or writing, two skill areas I’ve definitely been neglecting. My conclusion? I need to take formal classes.

Besides a simple desire for further progress, there’s another reason I want to start taking formal classes. I’ve decided that I need to take the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi – Chinese Proficiency test, China’s “TOEFL”) in order for my progress in Chinese to be formally recognized. I didn’t major in Chinese; I just took a few courses in college, so at this point I have no official documentation to prove that my Chinese is decent. If you throw me into China it’s pretty clear that I can handle myself, but that doesn’t readily work itself onto a resume. The HSK score will provide a recognized standard that I might need for the future.

Also, I think it’s pretty clear that I thrive on competition. (Maybe that’s part of the reason I took up the study of Chinese… It’s undoubtedly quite a challenge, and there aren’t a whole lot of Westerners that can do it, so I could realistically compete with the best if I tried hard and stuck with it.) I think classroom competition in the form of other serious classmates will be a powerful form of motivation for me to excel in my studies.

I have already announced before that I plan to study Chinese at Zhejiang University for the 2003-2004 academic year. This past semester I’ve been putting aside over two-thirds of my income every month for that express purpose. Recently, though, it has come to my attention that Zheijiang University may not be the best choice for me, especially since I plan to continue living on campus at ZUCC next semester (and teaching part-time). Below is my comparison and evaluation of the three main choices for Chinese study in Hangzhou.

Zhejiang University (Yuquan Campus)

Zheijiang University Zheijiang University

  • Chinese Studies Program: Good – generally considered to be the best in Hanghzou

  • Students: 500-900, from all over (but especially Korea)

  • Campus: Pretty large, attractive with lots of trees, but classrooms are a little run-down

  • Class Sizes: medium (20-35 students)

  • Class Times: weekday mornings, beginning at 8:00am

  • Commuting Distance from ZUCC: at least 30 minutes by bicycle, at least an hour by bus (requiring one transfer)

  • Tuition: US$1000 for the first semester; US$800 for the second semester

  • Evaluation: A decent program which perhaps charges a little too much because it knows it has the reputation of Zhejiang University behind it. It would be cool to be part of such a big international community of students, but I’m afraid the daily commute (which would necessitate me waking up at 6am for a grueling daily ordeal) would kill me.

Zhejiang University of Technology

Zhejiang University of Technology Zhejiang University of Technology

  • Chinese Studies Program: Fair – emphasizes listening and reading skills and HSK prep, but doesn’t seem to have much of a clue about conducting interesting conversation classes

  • Students: about 100, mostly from Korea

  • Campus: Pretty large, unattractive, classrooms are a little run-down

  • Class Sizes: small (10-15 students)

  • Class Times: weekday mornings, beginning at 8:55am

  • Commuting Distance from ZUCC: at least 15 minutes by bicycle, at least 30 minutes by bus

  • Tuition: US$780 for the first semester; US$750 for the second semester

  • Evaluation: I’d prefer to study at a school with a more attractive campus, but I guess that isn’t the most important thing. The school’s reputation isn’t the greatest and the classes might not be the most imaginatively planned out, but as far as what I want to study, it should get the job done. The fact that it’s very close is a huge plus.

Hangzhou Teachers College

Hangzhou Teachers College Hangzhou Teachers College

  • Chinese Studies Program: Fair/poor – very personal interaction, but doesn’t seem to have an established study curriculum

  • Students: about 30, mostly from Korea

  • Campus: Pretty large, nice pond in the center of campus, some attractive architecture, but classrooms are a little run-down

  • Class Sizes: very small (1-5 students)

  • Class Times: weekday mornings, beginning at 8:30am

  • Commuting Distance from ZUCC: at least 20 minutes by bicycle, at least 30 minutes by bus

  • Tuition: US$800 for the first semester; US$800 for the second semester

  • Evaluation: I really like the campus, but I don’t think the study program cuts it. First, the classes are just too small. I’m afraid I wouldn’t get the competition I’m looking for, or much of the comraderie. Second, the curriculum is just unimpressive and seems somewhat vague for advanced students.

Hangzhou University of Commerce

Hangzhou University of Commerce Hangzhou University of Commerce

  • Chinese Studies Program: Fair – very personal interaction, established study curriculum, but doesn’t seem to go into advanced study of Chinese (although it does offer “business Chinese”)

  • Students: about 50, from all over

  • Campus: Pretty large, not unattractive, but classrooms are a little run-down

  • Class Sizes: small (5-10 students)

  • Class Times: weekday mornings, beginning at 8:30am

  • Commuting Distance from ZUCC: at least 30 minutes by bicycle, at least 30 minutes by bus

  • Tuition: US$900 for the first semester; US$900 for the second semester

  • Evaluation: The first thing that strikes me about the program is that to study for one year it’s the same price as Zhejiang University’s, and it doesn’t seem anywhere near as comprehensive. On the plus side, it’s closer and has smaller class sizes. I worry, though, that the program is not designed for higher level students of Chinese, because an “advanced” class is not even listed in the program description.

So, it looks like my final choice is Zhejiang University of Technology. Zhejiang University’s Chinese studies program application deadline is June 15th. I think I have to count out Zhejiang University primarily because of the commute, but it will also be nice to keep the money I save. Zhejiang University of Technology is a good compromise between convenience and excellence, and it should help me accomplish my goals. I can always re-evaluate the situation after one semester if I don’t like the program.

So, after three years of working full-time at ZUCC, I’m finally going to be a student again this fall. It feels good.

58 Comments to “Studying Chinese in Hangzhou

  1. Stephan K says:

    Dear John,

    what a wonderful web site, and I haven’t even seen all of it.

    The reason I am writing you is because I am currently in an application process with a new school in Hangzhou, to come work as an English teacher. I plan to be in China for a year and also want to study Mandarin.

    What I wanted to ask you now is what dialect is spoken in Hangzhou, and whether people speak Mandarin at all (sorry if I sound realllly ignorant here). I thought it would be best for me to live in an area where Putonghua is spoken on the street, but the only option I currently have in a Mandarin speaking part of China is Anshan. And I have read that the temperature drops as low as -38 C in winter… And I heard that Hangzhou is so beautiful etc. Would you recommend me to come to Hangzhou? Are there many westerners? I heard that working in Beijing makes it very hard to escape the western community and get opportunity to practise the Chinese language. Is that different in Hangzhou?

    Brief background about myself: I am 30, Dutch, have lived in Asia for 3 years for work and studies (Korea, Philippines, S’pore and Malaysia) and in London last year, for work. I have done my TEFL last Nov and will be teaching full time for the first time in my life.

    One last question for now: how long did it take you to learn those 10,000 words??

    I would appreciate any answer John!

    Thanks and enjoy your day!!

    stephan

  2. Joe ZHOU says:

    As a local resident in Hanghzou, in response to Stephan’s questions, Hangzhou has its own dialect, but most people can speak and undersand Mandarin,and currently not many westerners live in this city, but there are many international tourists. It’s not that difficult to find the chance to practise Chinese because, you are in China!

  3. Denise says:

    This is a great summary of Chinese language study programs in Hangzhou. I haven’t found anything else on the web that is as comprehensive.

    I have 2 quick questions: 1. So, what happened in the end? Did you study at Zhejiang University of Technology and if so, what is your review of that school? If not, did you go to another uni in Hangzhou? 2. Does anyone have any more up-to-date information about the programs offered in Hangzhou? I have been in China for a year and have a very basic level of survival Chinese, but now I want to improve my range of spoken Chinese and start to seriously tackle reading. The ideal situation would be a uni where I could study Chinese and teach English as I am qualified and experienced teacher of conversational and academic English. Any advice would be welcomed.

    Cheers, D

  4. John says:

    Denise,

    Thanks, and I’m glad you found it useful. I guess the follow-up entry would be Chinese Class Report.

  5. Ting says:

    Dear everyone, How are you? I am Ting. I am studying at oxford University in the UK; and Hangzhou is my hometown. Whether you have been to Hangzhou or not, I welcome you to come! I definitly think it is the best city to experience China, whether it´s about history, culture, the business environment or simply for tourist. It is such a pity that there are no really good language school in Hangzhou.

    I just did a languague course in Vienna and enjoyed it absolutly, and I would love some other people to have that experience in China as well!

    I have been considering about opening a language school in Hangzhou. And I want it to be perfect for ´leanring Chinese, experince Hangzhou´. At this moment, i really want some information about what you would like to get out of a language course in Hangzhou. If anyone can give me some suggestions, that will be great!

    Thank you very much!

  6. Jane Courant says:

    Does anyone know anything about the Manda Center in Hagzhou? (www.mandacenter.com.) It is located in the Teachers College, but apparently not connected with it. Any details would be appreciated. Thanks! Jane, Oakland, CA

    p.s. I am a beginner and am looking for conversation and pinyin study only.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I am planning to study in China this October at the Manda center. So far the school seems well organized and is much less expensive than any school in I’ve found in Beijing. I have sent Manda a few emails asking about food and transportation etc. They have answered each one quickly, with a good amount of information. When are you planning on going to China? Have you found any other interesting schools? I am always looking for other students to talk about plans with– I’d hate to miss considering something important.

    Rebecca Fairfax, VA

  8. Jeny says:

    Manda? I am not sure about it. It has not been able to provide my friend with any reference or former students to talk with. And I cannot google up any feedback from its students so far.

  9. jo says:

    I was surfing around the website and happen to see this wonderful blog.There has been lots of reports of blogs recently and it’s surely becoming very popular.As i’m not the sort of person like to write too much,so i barely visited any blog.but with this one,the very 1st one i’m impressed.I happen to be an english teacher of Zhejiang university and technology.i should say the international Institute provides good language course for international students.it is well-organised and charges fairly.Not Promoting here.I should say that here in China every city even village has it’s dialect,but almost everyone under 40 can speak Mandarine,as it is the official language we learn at school,though with accent.Although mandarine is originated in Beijing dialect,it has changed a lot.So you may learn Mandarine anywhere in China.But generally speaking,northerner’s accent is better.In hangzhou,there are more and more overseas friends right now,also numerous language training Centre,some opened by u guys.So be careful when u r choosing them.I would say those course provided by unis r better.

  10. Alia says:

    I’m an American university student and am considering enrolling in the MANDA School of Chinese. Before I do that, though, I just need a little bit of outside reassurance that this is a legitimate school. Can anyone provide that? Thanks!

  11. Anne says:

    I’m going to Manda for four weeks in july-august. I hope it’s worth the money, but i really would’ve liked to talk to someone who has been there. It looks pretty good on their website, and they reply to all e-mails within 24 hours. It seems okay, so let’s hope it is…

    Anne Aarhus, Denmark

  12. Will says:

    I am a Canadian student looking to go to the Manda Centre in August, but have been unable to find any information on the school other then their website. I would also like some reassurance that they are a legitimate school before I invest the time and money.

    Will Toronto, Canada

  13. Cindy says:

    John or anyone,

    I’m interested in learning more about your teaching experience. I will start teaching at the Zhejiang Sci-Tech University this September and all I read about is how the Chinese students are NOT interested in participating in class — they are there for the grade. Any advice on getting students involved and do you know this school? Thanks

  14. Martin says:

    I’m thinking about Manda too, in late July. Fortunately I (we, now) have a secret weapon.. I have a friend who lives in Hangzhou who is going to visit the school on Monday or Tuesday (June 26/27) to see what it is like. I’ll write again when he reports back.

    Martin Venice, Italy

  15. Martin says:

    Back again. I have decided to sign up with Manda, starting July 24. My friend visited the school and said that it had a professional atmosphere. The premises are in a new building (1 year old), in a reasonable area, and there are 5-6 classrooms with modern furnishings. Obviously this is not a “mega” environment, but it sounds quite normal with respect to my experience of language schools. Some web search turned up that they were recruiting for qualified / experienced Mandarin teachers back in March.. which sounds promising!

    Martin Venice, Italy

  16. Anne says:

    Martin,

    we will start at Manda center on the same day. Nice to know others are going there too. I am going with two of my friends from uni, we all study chinese. Look forward to meeting you :)

    Anne Aarhus, Denmark

  17. Dennis says:

    I am also interested in taking a Mandarin course in Hangzhou. I am an American business man so I am interested in learning Chinese for my business and travel use. Can anyone tell me anything else about the Manda course. Price, starting dates, etc. Any help would be appreciated.

  18. Julia says:

    I was told that manda is very new. Do ask the former students for the teaching qualities before jumping into the boat.

  19. Martin says:

    Hello Anne,

    There are three of us too, but we’re absolute beginners! We need some survival Chinese, like Dennis (Dennis: the website info seems accurate), because we will be coming to China a lot in the future. Julia thinks we are being a bit adventurous.. and she’s right! See you soon,

    Martin Venice, Italy

  20. Dennis says:

    Martin,

    Thanks for the information. I do have about 1 year of college level study in Chinese but not overly hard studying. I will probably come to Hangzhou next in September. I looked at the Hangzhou Manda website and could not find information about price or starting dates. I sent them an e-mail but have not yet received a reply. Can you tell me something about the prices. I only need tution costs as I will rent an apartment or stay with a friend while I am there.

    Regards.

    Dennis Los Angeles

  21. Martin says:

    Dennis, This is the link you need: http://www.mandacenter.com/index.php?id=programs Courses begin every Monday (better check) and start from about $325 for two weeks (five weeks costs double).

    Hope you find what you are looking for.

    Martin Venice, Italy

  22. Anne says:

    Hi Martin,

    will you be staying at the school or with a chinese family? Although my friends and I have studied chinese for a year at uni, our level is still fairly low. But hopefully higher than yours, otherwise we’ve wasted a year :) How come you plan to go to China in the future?? Are you really from Italy? Your english is really good :DAnyways, see you in 3 weeks, what airline are you flying with?

    Anne

  23. Denni says:

    Martin,

    Thanks for the information. Maybe I will see you in September if I go to the school. Fro sure I will be in Hangzhou with my Chinese friends.

    Dennis

  24. Martin says:

    Hi Anne,

    We’re flying into Shanghai on the 20th with Alitalia (uhh) and the school is finding us an apartment. There’s nothing lower than my Chinese right now but, you guessed it, I’m really English although I do live close to Venice. Is your English the product of an excellent Danish education? You can tell Danes from Brits, because Brits can’t speak proper… I like China ‘cos it’s a great place for holidays… :D No, really, I mean it, try “my” website: http://www.sanya-lifestyle.com See you!

    Martin

  25. Anne says:

    Hehe. My english is the product of Danish education and a year on exhange in Australia. Although I’ve lost most of my aussie accent, the words still stick in my head :) My friend Anne and I (two Annes…) arrive on the 23rd and our other friend the next day. How long will you be there for? We’re only there for four weeks, but hopefully it’ll help us a lot. Anyways, I’m off to the beach. Will check that website first though.

    See you, Anne

  26. Martin says:

    We’re coming for seven weeks in total, but my friend Gian Luca and I will be going to Las Vegas for a week on 5th August. Lili, his wife, will be staying in Hangzhou (with Manda) while we are away. After that, we’ll all be going to Sanya for about three weeks… to practice what we learned! I bet you had a good time downunder… I like it a lot and it’s not so far (?) from China. I’m off to Croatia for three days tomorrow, but I don’t think it will help my suntan much.

    Bye for now Martin

  27. Sean says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for the information on Manda Martin. I am also going to go to Manda this summer. I will be beginning on July 31st and will be there for the month of August. Look forward to meeting yourself and Anne in Hangzhou.

    Sean Toronto, Canada

  28. Anne says:

    Well, enjoy Croatia. It’s beautiful there. My parents and little sister are all down there at the moment. That’s the problem with you brits. You can’t get a proper suntan :) Sanya looks really nice.. Wish we were going somewhere after Manda, but school starts in september. Las Vegas is kind of out the way though, isn’t it?

    Cheers Anne

  29. Martin says:

    Yes, Croatia is just a short drive away, so it’s good to trundle along there every so often. Shame us Brits can’t get a decent tan, but with no icy blasts off the Baltic to prepare our skin for turning red… Las Vegas is just an unavoidable commitment, but it’s not going to ruin our summer… well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it :D

    Hi Sean, it looks like there will be quite a cosmopolitan group at Manda. See you there!

    Martin

  30. Anne says:

    It’s so nice to know that there are others going for it, even though we don’t know much about the place. See you soon and good night. Martin, I went to Venice for one day while holidaying in Istria… It really is a short drive :)

  31. Martin says:

    With less than a week to go (I’m leaving for China on Wednesday), it’s about time to start packing… passport, visa, hotel booking in Shanghai, cash (not much, Chinese ATMs seem to work ok), clothes (not too many, this is a good excuse for some serious shopping). Sun cream, bite cream… ice cream (no, better in Italy). Well, there’s always something that get’s left behind, but I won’t worry too much (out of sight, out of mind).

    Martin

  32. Serena says:

    Martin and Anne – I was thinking of going to study at MANDA at Hangzhou at the end of the year too so let us know how it is! Thanks =)

    Serena

  33. Ken says:

    I am planning on taking the year-long academic course next year, so I am very curious what you all have to say about Manda. Please post your thoughts and impressions!

    Ken

  34. Kevin says:

    Glad to find this blog. After a lot of research about Manda your opinions and experiences have confirmed my instincts. Manda’s business model appears similar to “mandarinhouse” in Shanghai/Beijing however they don’t expect full payment in advance. A deposit I don’t mind but full payment before I see, no way! Good for building trust. Anyways, I will be going there September leaving from Toronto. I hope to meet some of you nice people.

  35. David says:

    Hi to everyone, I am from Mexico and I will be next month in Hangzhou along with other 100 mexicans learning mandarin and taking some courses in Zheijiang university so if you here alot of partying downtown that will be us hehe… I hope I get to meet some of you guys.

  36. Ian says:

    does anyone know how good the Manda school is?

  37. Stephanie says:

    Hi!

    I read almost all your comments. I aim to start learning Chinese. I am very interested about going to Manda Center. Can you tell me how it was?

  38. Bec says:

    Any more info on Manda am thinking of going this summer?

  39. Josh says:

    hi,

    im looking at studying in china, just looking at schools at the moment. i wonder if anyone can tell me how good the manda center is??

  40. Sophie says:

    Manda no longer exists. It was formerly run by a couple with immense international exposure but they left and the school is now run by local people. The name of the school, as a result, has been changed from Manda to Chinesetown. Not sure to what extent the new management can fulfil what it says on the website, or how much of what it says on the website is true. so do more research before you take the plunge.

  41. Mary says:

    Super grateful for that last entry, but can anyone give me more information about the school? The living arrangements and the program itself look very promising, but I am not sure whether I want to take the plunge like that. If anyone can give any further information, it would be great.

    Are there any other programs? How about Zhejiang University? How are the prices? Thanks!!!

  42. Justin says:

    Hi. I am also looking for information about mandacenter I found a Blog about Hangzhou with some more information but i can not find comments from students who have been there. I think Zhejiang University would be a good choice even there classes are very big.

  43. David says:

    Hi,

    I’m just back after a month in China of which 2 1/2 weeks were at the Chinatown School in Hangzhou. My standard in Mandarin is advanced so I took 1 to 1 lessons and was very happy with the teaching. It was a recreational visit so I took 2 hours lessons a day and did a lot of sightseeing. The school is well equipped and on the 15th floor of a modern office block near the Huanglong Tourism Centre (where the buses from Shanghai/Pudong airport arrive). It is an easy bike ride to West Lake and downtown Hangzhou. I stayed with a Chinese family arranged by the school and this went very well – I’d recommend this as a language and cultural experience. The management of the school is very efficient and all arrangements went without a hitch – including registration, pick-up in Hangzhou on arrival and booking an air ticket for a week’s trip to Guilin.

    Let me know if there is anything else I can tell you about

  44. Mary says:

    David,

    If you could tell me more information about what else the school has to offer and maybe some other programs they have at the school, it would be great. I wanted to see what other type of cultural programs they offer, or if it is just mainly focussed on language.

    Why did you choose this program instead of other ones. I am wondering about whether price or name of the school should make a big difference. A lot of people that I talk to say that it is whether the university or the school is renown is most important to them, bu I am also trying to work with a budget, as I am planning to study in various locations and schools.

    Like yourself, I think my level is at least intermediate, but I am hoping to continue my learning as a group than a one-on-one.

    Did you look into Zhejiang University?

    Where are you from? I’m going to China from Canada. Thanks for your help.

  45. David says:

    Hi Mary, I’m from Britain. I was looking for a 2 week 1 to 1 course in Hangzhou with homestay to which I could add a week’s visit to Yangshuo in Guizhou Province. I considered Zhejiang University but I found that their minimum programme was 4 weeks. The Chinesetown School fitted the bill and were very flexible in meeting my needs. I arrived on 23 March, had lessons at the school from 26 March to 6 April, went to Yangshuo from 7 to 14 April then returned to the same homestay (where I had left most of my luggage) until my return to Britain on 19 April. My programme came to 6,360 RMB which was 20 hours of 1 to 1 lessons at 2,400 RMB and 20 days half board accommodation with the host family at 3,960 RMB. The school’s fees look a good deal cheaper than at Zhejiang University. A month’s programme at Chinesetown with 80 hours of group lessons and half board is 8,890 RMB – about 1,150 USD. According to the agency webpage http://www.chinastudyabroad.org/hangzhou. htm the equivalent at Zhejiang University 2,190 USD. To be honest the academic standard was not so important to me. I wanted some structured conversational practice but mainly I went to Hangzhou on holiday. However I was pleased with the programme arranged for me – with the tutor I read and discussed texts on the 10 old and 10 new sights of West Lake so it fitted in well with sightseeing. I observed some of the group teaching at beginner and low intermediate level and spoke with students and I think the standard was good. It might be more difficult though to find a suitable group class at high level, especially early and late in the year when numbers are lower. I didn’t take part in the social activities. The school arranges tours around Hangzhou, runs a Taiqiquan course and has a film evening. The students and teachers also go out for lunch together.

  46. Mary says:

    David,

    Thanks for your thorough reply. Really gives me a better feel for Chinesetown. I was also wondering how you decided on the material you were learning. You said you went to Hangzhou as a vacation, took one-on-one time with a tutor and went traveling? So, you booked a longer stay at the homestay? Could you do that with the dorms or apartments?

    Zhejiang university looks like it would be very good, but like you said, the timeline doesn’t really work. I have to wait until the end of year and I know that serves as a problem, but I am hoping it will ease myself into the culture and the environment.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  47. David says:

    Hi Mary,

    I discussed the learning programme and my needs with a senior teacher when I arrived and was happy with the result. I also had an exchange of emails (in English) beforehand with a very efficient administrator (Fiona) and if I had wanted I could have sorted out any learning needs then. For long stays the school has programmes from 16 to 48 weeks and a HSK preparation programme.

    I found Chinesetown very flexible over accommodation. I booked the homestay for an initial 15 nights to cover the 2 week course and for another 5 nights for after my return from Yangshuo. It was a quiet time of year and maybe there would be more of a problem with this sort of split stay when the school is busier – the best thing to do is ask them. If you speak some Mandarin I’d recommend a homestay for getting into the culture and language.

  48. Mary says:

    Has anyone been to or heard of Mandarin Captial school in Hangzhou. I am looking at this one and Chinesetown. I just wanted to have a better idea of the differences, as I am still keeping my options very open. Thanks.

    • L. says:

      I, too, am interested in hearing more about Chinesetown and Mandarin Capital, because I am trying to decide between those two. Really, any kind of help or opinion would be appreciated.

  49. Jorge says:

    Hi Mary, and everybody

    My name is Jorge and I’m from Costa Rica. I’m going to Hangzhou to study at ChineseTown, starting on August 6. I’ve checked almost all the options for schools in Hangzhou, including Mandarin Capital and the universities above. I’ve decided to take the option of MandaCenter/Chinesetown because of the facilities, attention (compared to the universities, they are actually helping me with the visa and the accomodation outside the school, because I want to live in an apartment and share with more people, but I have not found one yet).

    I don’t know the prices at Mandarin Capital, but I compared the two websites and seemed to me that the latter is not completely updated (2006 calendar programs), so that’s why I left this option aside.

    I will be taking the 4 months academic program, absolutely beginning with my chinese, but ChineseTown is really confortable to mee, and as David says, this girl Fiona, the administrator, is very efficient and nice if you made any query.

    When are you expecting to be in Hangzhou?

  50. Mary says:

    Hey Jorge,

    I am planning to be in Hangzhou near the end of the year. Are you going to be going to different areas of China after Hangzhou? I did find that Fiona was helpful, but after my 3rd email, she stopped replying, which was really discouraging.

    ChineseTown doesn’t seem bad, but I guess it’s the quality and effort of the website that doesn’t really compare to Mandarin Capital. The thing is that I have tried phoning, but there is bad reception and I have written various emails.

    Hopefully, when you go, you could write back and give me an idea of what it is like. Seeing as I can’t go and check out the school before I get there. Thanks so much!

  51. Jorge says:

    Hi Mary, again,

    Really? (about the attention in ChineseTown) This girl Fiona sent me an application letter and a basic fee for reserving the program, but I have not paid anything yet. The thing is that I want to be in China with my Business Visa approved; this is because I don’t want to pay twice, tourist visa and then the business one. As I told you, until now the school seems OK by me, just the accomodation price were too expensive. I’ve made a little bit of research and have found great places and prices near the school, but privately renting it. Please, write to me at this email, jarodris@yahoo.com, because I cannot find how to send a private message to you, and to give you much more personal info about me and my trip.

  52. Adam says:

    Thanks for some interesting posts. I would recommend WorldLink Education http://www.worldlinkedu.com to anyone that wants information about study in China. Yes a little expensive but they are good. If you would like to save money but still have good quality I would choose Academy of Chinese Language Study in Beijing and Shangai http://www.acls.com.cn

    Adam

  53. Ali says:

    Hi there guys, ive just moved to Hangzhou after living in Foshan in the Guangdong province for the last 2 years. I am now wanting to do my HSK but my chinese is very basic mainly due to the large volume of foreigners in the south and the fact thatmost of the chinese speak a little english at least. Does anyone know where i could find a cheap HSK course in Hangzhou. I have found a few on the net but they all seem far too expensive. Thanks for any help.

    Ali

  54. Vk says:

    I don’t understand why you think small class sizes are no good… You can get more individualized attention and more opportunities to speak (and be corrected) in class, etc. Since there are less students, less likely for all students to be able to get off without doing homework or less likely to have students who hold the entire class back. no?

  55. Hi, do you know of Zhejiang University of Science and Technology? I got in touch with a teacher there and its pretty damn cheap, 1800RMB per month of tuition for short term classes. What do you think about this college?

  56. Wlliam says:

    Nobody seems to have added to this blog for some time. But I am thinking of going to the Mandarin Capital school in Hangzhou in the winter of 2015, and I’d like to see any comments that anyone may have about it, positive or negative. Thank you.

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