Learn Chinese in China?

I am planning on going to China next year for a couple of months to study Chinese and I'm wondering if there is anyone here who has done a trip similar to what I'm planning, is planning to do one yourself or have a friend that has done one? Who can tell me a bit about their trip, with what school they went, what they thought about the trip and so on. I really need it because I don't really know where to start planning :D

At the moment I'm looking at Omeida in Yangshuo and I think it seems like a great school, but if anyone has any tips or points I would gladly take them :)

Oh and btw, I have NO IDEA what topic this is, or if its even ok" to discuss here at Duolingo, but ill give it a try. And if not, does anyone know a place where you can discuss these kinds of topics?

April 8, 2019


Hi, Hedda!

I spent 3 months in China last year whilst on my gap year. I went without any previous knowledge of China or Chinese, but spent the first month-and-a-half with a homestay family in Hangzhou, whilst taking part in private Mandarin tuition.

Was a really great experience, huge culture shock at first and found that most people outside of Beijing and Shanghai speak very little or no English at all. But, don't let that put you off since it forces you to interact with locals in Mandarin and definitely improves your language skills at a much faster rate.

If you get the chance to, don't be afraid to explore further outside of the city that you're staying in, there is so much to see and do in China! Public transport is extremely cheap and easy to use, plus you can buy train/plane tickets all on one app called 'C-Trip' (or might just be called 'Trip' now?).

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!

Good luck with you're trip, you're gonna have the best time.

Edit: After reading comments just realised you're going with a Swedish passport, I went with a Norwegian one and had no issues at all, so don't worry about that either :)

April 10, 2019

For those who are app-challenged, should get you to the site. It's similar to other travel sites, but is a lot more focused on China than most.

April 11, 2019

Sry! I haven't went to China before. Well, I went to Taiwan before and I think that you'll get along with the people there if you're always polite. I would say that you should greet them before saying anything. BTW, are you a native Chinese speaker? Do you know anything about that place?

April 8, 2019

no, Im not a native Chinese speaker – I can barely say "Nǐ hǎo" – but id really like to learn Chinese. I live in Sweden, but I'm adopted from china so me and my family have been there twice just for a couple of weeks. I wouldn't say I know anything about china, no hahah

and thanks for the tip!

April 8, 2019

Wait, so does that mean that you're new to China and you don't even know anything about China?

April 8, 2019

uhm, yeh, pretty much hahah. am I gonna die if I got to china alone?

April 8, 2019

I don't really know China that well but I went there for fun with my family once. But I think you'll be fine as long as you say the right thing to them.

April 8, 2019

yeah, that sounds reasonable

April 9, 2019

I studied Chinese for a year in China, but that was part of a university programme. I did the intensive Chinese language course at Tsinghua University, which was an amazing experience and the teaching there was great on the whole. It was 20 hours a week, and as long as you put the effort in, you'll make rapid progress.

I think to make the best out of learning Chinese in China, you do have to be a bit gutsy. It is sometimes all too easy to live inside a bubble and end up barely communicating with any of the locals, especially if you find yourself amongst many other internationals. It is definitely a bit daunting at first, but it'll make your trip a whole lot more enjoyable in the end if you embrace the local cuisine, make friends with both locals and internationals and actively try to speak the language.

April 9, 2019

ahh, yes it sounds really great!exactly, you don't wanna be in china for five month and just speak English

April 10, 2019

I should give lessons on how to enjoy life in China while speaking very little Chinese. :-) Saying "OK" to sentences ending in "ma" can lead to all sorts of adventures.

April 10, 2019

Yangshuo in Guangxi? It's a fun place. My wife and I had our first honeymoon there. This should give you a bit more info about the town.

April 10, 2019

thank you!

April 10, 2019

Make sure to start a new thread to describe your arrival and first impressions. You get bonus points if you blog it with photos. :-)

April 10, 2019

I've been to China before for fun with my family to where most of my family were raised. Number 1 point my Mum and Dad have stressed. Be careful of thieves.

April 10, 2019

你好,Hedda! I have only been to China (more specifically Beijing) once, a couple of years ago, and my experience was quite enjoyable. My mother is an ABC and speaks Mandarin (but can’t read it, unfortunately) so it was a little easier to get around. However, most hotel workers/wait staff/cab drivers etc. spoke at least a little bit of English and our tour guide was completely fluent, so I wouldn’t worry too much about not being able to communicate.

While I was in Beijing my family and I did a lot of shopping. Name-brand electronics, purses and even clothing can be purchased for a lot less than they would here in the States and I’m guessing in Sweden as well.

We also went to the Great Wall. Our tour guide drove us out there and then dropped us off for a few hours to explore on our own before taking us back to our hotel. My father, brother and I walked a few kilometers down the Great Wall from the entry point and then my whole family rode down the side of it in a toboggan. (Here’s a video of someone doing it if you’re interested.)

The food was really great and reasonably priced. :)

A warning before you go: I’m guessing you have a Swedish passport, so you will need a tourist Visa. In the US they can be kind of a pain to get, and they’re not free, either.

I hope this helped you! With love from Lia

P.s. I’ve also been to Hong Kong once, and I would recommend doing so if you can. It can get a little expensive but you can stay up to 90 days without a Visa!

April 9, 2019

Hello Lia! thank you for all the tips! it means a lot. Me and my family have been to china twice too but both times we've had guides and interpreters which I wouldn't have this time :) I'm kina nervous about that.

and yes, I have a Swedish passport, and I'm aware of the difficulties with applying for a visa, but I believe that the school I'm planning to go through can help with that :)

April 9, 2019

As a Chinese, I think you can go to Beijing, because the "the Standard Chinese" uses the voice of Beijing Chinese. And other big cities may be your good choice, Chinese government has promoted "the Standard Chinese" decades ago. thus, Chengdu, Xi'an ,Shanghai and other cities are worth going to. Especially my hometown, Xi'an. Xi'an is a good place to enjoy Chinese traditional culture. It attracts countless tourists from home and abroad. And I hope you can study Chinese well there. The most important point, don't try to hear or study Chinese dialects. When hearing other cities' dialects, you may think them other languages (from the moon or mars)

April 14, 2019

Arrrrrre you surrrrrrre you want to sound like a Beijingerrrrrr? Go a bit farther north and you can hear standard Mandarin which doesn't seem sound like something out of a pirate movie. :-)

April 16, 2019
Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.