China is big! There are many universities that offer intensive programs of Chinese language, but how do you choose the one right for you? Especially, considered this might be the very first time for you in China. The choice of the right place and course can become overwhelming. Somebody will probably tell you that the proper, “standard” Chinese is the one spoken in the capitel, Beijing. I also believed that, and that’s why I spent a few months in Beijing, at the beginning of my life in China. The truth is, Chinese speak Mandarin in every big town, and they also speak one dialect at least. Even Chinese from Beijing speak a slang that it takes some time to get used to. And furthermore, the “overlooked” cities have quite a few advantages.
If you don’t have any particular campus in mind, first spend some time collecting a bit of information about Chinese provinces and cities, to get an idea of which would be suitable. I’ve compiled a list so you can have a pick and get some inspiration. I have also linked to the introductory pages of Chinese language courses in different universities.
This will save you a lot of time! However, this doesn’t want to be an exhaustive list of colleges.
LIST OF CHINESE UNIVERSITIES WITH AN INTENSIVE LANGUAGE PROGRAM
Speaking in general, coastal cities are the most developed and are home to thousands of foreign citizens who push you to communicate in English rather than Chinese… This is something to consider.
Let’s start with some of the most developed, “westernized” coastal cities:
the capital, famous for pollution! Certainly worth a visit, but are you sure you want to live there for a few months/one year?
I landed a teaching job there but couldn’t bear the traffic and the extreme noise of the district the school was at. Tianjin has the same air quality issues of Beijing, plus the weather gets pretty cold in winter!
north-east of Beijing, it is said to be one of the cleanest cities in China and home to a big beer festival during summer.
my favorite metropolis in China; rents are high, compared to other cities, but maybe you will be lucky enough to be able to study there.
just one hour from Shanghai by train, a historical city with a balanced atmosphere, paths in nature and the the panoramic West Lake. This is another city which I’d love to move to, in China, together with Xiamen.
considered a “southern city” as the name which means “southern capital” suggests. It’s home to historic heritage sites, traditions, and night life.
my second home, an island-city, famous holiday destination for Chinese thanks to long beaches, a subtropical climate, and night snacks; just a ferry ride from the Taiwanese island named “Jinmen”. Unfortunately, the Chinese language Program has moved off the island.
one of the most developed commercial ports in China and also the Chinese part of Hong Kong, which is reachable by MRT.
the southernmost island of China, with tropical weather, monkeys, resorts, beaches and blue waters.
If you wish to travel and see the natural beauties that the western part of China offers, or if you prefer to study in towns with fewer foreigners, you can check out:
the capital of Sichuan province, with hiking trails, bamboo forests and high mountains.
in Yunnan province, which is home to many of the 56 Chinese ethnic minorities and one of the top destinations for nature-lovers and ethnologists in China (Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Xishuangbanna).
YOU MADE UP YOUR MIND YET 😉
I’ve gathered a bunch of handy tips on how to prepare for moving to China to study Chinese in this post! I’m a former expat to China and student of Chinese language and culture, everything I share I have learnt through personal experience in more than ten years. I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, please leave me a messge or a comment.