Chinese Language Programs

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Instead of spending the next few years taking 1-3 Chinese classes per week and progressing very little, make the time investment NOW to move to China and enroll in one of China Study Abroad's Chinese language programs. You (and your language skills!) won't regret it!

Program Snapshot

  • Varied availability across Beijing, Dalian, Tianjin and Shanghai.
  • Duration options include semester, year-long, 12 weeks and short-term.
  • Special programs operate in the summer and winter seasons.
  • Character learning potential: 100-4000 characters (Holy moly!).
  • You control the costs! See our program planner to design your perfect program today.
  • Check out the tabs above to find more details.

What course levels are available as I learn to speak Chinese?

Courses are available for all levels of Mandarin speakers, from beginner students to advanced. However, each Chinese university utilizes a different system for assigning course placements to new students. You will typically participate in an entrance exam to better determine which class suits your current Chinese language capabilities. Universities in China often tier their classes within levels, i.e. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels are further split into additional sub-levels. In this way, every student is placed into an even more accurate Chinese class level from the very beginning.

student learning chinese characters

Placements are by no means binding. In the first few weeks of your courses, if you're feeling like you want to kick your studies up a notch and advance to the next level, you're more than welcome to. On the flip side, you can also attend a lower level class if you're feeling overly challenged in your Chinese classroom.

We always encourage students to do honest assessments of their current Mandarin skills and play an active role in deciding which course level is best for them. Students should evaluate their goals and motivations for moving to China to study Chinese.

The best universities in China for international students (and consequently, our most popular programs!), include BLCU, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tsinghua University, and Fudan University.

How many students can I expect in my Chinese classes?

Generally speaking, class sizes at our partner universities will not exceed 20 students. Students interested in the Beijing Mandarin Academy can expect even smaller class sizes, around 10 students. If you opt to sign up for one-on-one tutoring, your class will be a whopping 2 people.

Your classes will be comprised of international students from all over the world. Many CSA students cite the friendships borne of their classrooms to be one of the best-unexpected highlights of studying abroad in China.

What's an average day like for international students in China?

On the whole, students can anticipate waking up from a good night's sleep, quickly getting dressed / making themselves presentable and heading to class on campus. Depending on which accommodation you opt to stay in, your commute to your classroom can range from 10-30 minutes. If you have time, grab some steamed dumplings, soy sauce and tea soaked eggs, or a pork-filled bun along the way.

Depending on the level of Chinese you have tested into, you will either have 4 hours of Mandarin courses in the morning block (8am - 12pm) or afternoon block (1pm-5pm). Don't worry - you'll be given a few short breaks in between your classes! Your Chinese classes will run daily, Monday-Friday, unless a national holiday falls mid-week. In this case, you will sometimes be expected to attend make up classes on the weekends. (Oh, the agony!).

Once you've wrapped up class for the day, you'll need to continue hitting the books. Homework typically consists of character repetition and grammar exercises. In addition to reviewing the content from that day's lessons you'll also want to spend time preparing for the next day's class. Generally, two hours of extra studying and revision is recommended to keep up with the pace of the course and make tangible progress while in China.

For students looking to get even more out of their experience studying in China, we organize part time volunteer and internship programs. Put your Mandarin skills to good use in these unique program opportunities!

What will I learn in my Chinese classes?

studentreadinggrass_edit1 This is really up to you, the student. Studying Chinese is a time-intensive process. Each individual student’s progress is highly correlative to how much time is put in outside of the classroom to practice what is taught during class time.

As a general guide, over the course of a semester of study, we would expect the average student to learn and master roughly 800 new characters (roughly 100-200 characters per calendar month of study)

To put this into perspective, mastery of:

  • 200 characters will be enough to survive at a basic level on a day to day basis – introduce yourself, give directions to a taxi driver, order basic food and drink
  • 800 characters will allow you to hold basic conversations in Chinese, talk about the weather, your likes and dislikes, perform day to day tasks such as doing your shopping and almost effortlessly getting around town
  • 1500 characters will allow you to be able to read a newspaper without fully understanding all the characters, but allowing you to get a good grip on the context of the articles
  • 2500 - 3500 characters puts you at roughly the same level as a local Chinese high-school graduate. You will be able to fully read and understand newspapers and television programs, and be able to hold detailed conversation on a variety of topics
  • 4500 – 5500 characters puts you at roughly the same level as a local Chinese University graduate. At this level you could be expected to operate fluently within any situation, both professional and private, translate high-level documents and engage in conversations at all levels and for all intents and purposes operate as a well-educated “local”
  • 20,000 – 30,000 characters puts you within a very small group of linguistic academic experts who command a very rare knowledge of all obscure vocabulary and subtleties contained within the Mandarin Chinese language. Not many people, foreign or local, ever reach this level – but there’s no harm in trying!

How do course credits work?

Studying in the library All of the Chinese universities* that China Study Abroad works with are accredited directly by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

At the end of each university program, the university issues an academic transcript. This document lists the courses each student has taken, the number of hours they attended class, and their final grades. Grades are largely based on the final exam, with some weight given to a midterm, homework, and attendance. Most students interested in transferring credit to their home universities will need to get the program approved in advance. Our best advice is to start this conversation with your academic and study abroad advisors early on in the application process.

Because the programs are 20 hours of class per week, they are considered full time study (really, more than full time study by western university standards!). A four-week program is approximately equal to a one semester Chinese course at a western university; a semester is several courses and should be awarded 12 to 15 credits in the US (a full semester's worth of classes). 

Learn more about our Mandarin Language programs in Beijing, Dalian, Tianjin and Shanghai!

*Universities have the right to cancel visas if students do not adhere to university rules and attend the required number of classes.

 

CSA Tip! Browse different cities and universities in our Program Planner now to compare prices and courses available!

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Semester and Year-Long Mandarin Chinese Language Programs

Have a few months or even a year to dedicate to studying Chinese in China? You're in luck! Many Chinese universities offer programs specifically for international students who are able to spare more than a summer or a few short weeks. You'll be in the company of other students from around the world, not to mention enjoy the buzzing campus life of all of your Chinese peers!

Read on for more information about China Study Abroad's semester and year-long Mandarin Chinese language programs in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Dalian.

Program Snapshot

  • Spring or fall semester programs available.
  • Programs operate in Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, or Tianjin.
  • Accessible for all levels of Chinese study.
  • Character learning potential: 1500-2000 characters (Wow!).
  • Costs vary. See our program planner to design your perfect program today.

When do these Mandarin programs run?

Chinese universities follow a two-semester system to comprise a full year of study. A year-long course consists of two consecutive semesters; either Spring followed by Fall, or Fall followed by Spring. The fall semester typically runs between September and early January. Spring semester starts in late February/early March and runs through mid to late June.

Each semester lasts about 20 weeks (whoa!), and follows the Lunar calendar. With that in mind, the course start/end dates depend largely on the timing of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. Students in China enjoy an extended winter break in January and February, as well as a long summer break in July and August.

Exact start and end dates vary depending on the Chinese school. See our Dates and Fees section for exact start dates for each of our partner universities in China.

Program Add-On's

Students wanting to kick their Chinese studies up a notch might consider coupling their school work with an internship, a volunteer project, or private tutoring. For our slightly more nomadic friends, we also offer excellent travel options to tack onto your studies - who said all of your learning had to be in the classroom, anyway?!

How much do these Chinese language programs cost?

CSA Programs fit any budget. Using our customizable Program Planner, you have full flexibility to choose from our list of options to plan your perfect Chinese language program. Wanting to organize your own accommodation? You got it. Prefer to spend more time in the classroom with a private tutor? No problem.

Tailor-made programs are special in that you won't be just another student shuffling along a pre-determined way of life in China; instead, you can play an active part in designing a program that best fits your academic goals and needs. We encourage our students to play an active role in customizing their ideal China Study Abroad program!

What are the perks of studying abroad for a semester or an academic year?

Studying abroad for a shorter period of time, such as a month or for the summer, affords students the opportunity to get a taste of life abroad. But just as they're getting situated, they're more or less getting back on the plane and heading home. Instead of feeling like a perpetual tourist, students who commit to studying in China for a semester or a year are essentially in less of a rush to experience all that China has the offer. You'll be able to get situated, make your new city feel more like a home, and get to know the local culture without your nose stuck in a guide book.

And that's not even mentioning the wonders that staying for a longer amount of time will do for your language skills! Studying for a semester or year in China allows you to develop a rhythm for your classes, and acclimate to the different expectations in the classroom. You'll be properly tested for your skills (think: midterms at week 10 and a final at week 20!), which gives you a benchmark that is more tangible to work towards.

The cons of studying abroad for so long? They're hard to name. Of course, studying in China for longer will end up costing you more, but you'll certainly get a higher return on the investment. You might also battle culture shock and miss football season or mom's home cooking, but you'll be learning a ton, having adventures everyday, and gaining self-awareness to a degree you'd never experience back at home.

To sum it up, our students typically only cite a single regret upon leaving China - they wish they had stayed longer. Heed their advice!

Where in China can I study abroad for a semester or year?

The paradox of choice, our friends! Semester and year long Chinese language courses are available at the following universities in China:

Beijing Shanghai Dalian Tianjin
Mandarin Academy Fudan University DLUT TFSU
BLCU Tongji University    
Peking Unversity Shanghai Jiaotong    
Tsinghua University      

More information

Find more program details and get in touch with your trusty ground staffers Dave and Jules via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Apply Now Sign up for a CSA program with a friend and you both receive a 5% discount!

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Summer Chinese Language Programs

You *could* spend this summer hanging out with your college friends at your old haunts, working a dead end job, or binge watching Netflix. OR... You *could* spend your summer studying abroad in China, learning the most widely spoken language in the world, gaining a competitive edge in the job market, and growing in ways you never thought possible- all in the company of futuristic sky scrapers, ancient temples, interesting international friends, and, of course, delicious, authentic Chinese food.

Read on for more information on how you can spend your summer studying abroad in China.

Program Snapshot

  • Programs available for 4-12 weeks.
  • Programs operate in Beijing and Shanghai.
  • Accessible for all levels of Chinese study.
  • Character learning potential: 200-800 characters (Wow!).
  • Costs vary. See our program planner to design your perfect program today.

When do these Chinese language programs run?

Our summer programs, as you might have guessed, are run every summer! In terms of length, there are a variety of options open to you, ranging from 4 weeks to 12 weeks. If you choose to study at one of our partner universities in Beijing or Shanghai, the start and end dates of the program are fixed. Be sure to check out our Dates and Fees section to see exact program dates for studying abroad in China in the summer of 2015.

For more flexibility, students may choose to study abroad at the Beijing Mandarin Academy. This program is fully accommodating to your preferred travel dates, with new programs starting weekly.

So, uh, how much is this Chinese program gonna cost me?

CSA programs can fit any budget. Using our customizable Program Planner, you have full flexibility to choose from our list of options to plan your perfect program. These options, including accommodation, cultural activities, and private tutoring are fully customizable, so at every point you will know exactly what is included in your program and how much it is going to cost you. Budgeting FTW!

The Perks of Studying Abroad in the Summer

Especially for first-time travelers, studying abroad for a semester or a year can seem overwhelmingly daunting (and a little bit scary!). Why not dip your toes in the travel-addict water by committing to a short-term summer program for your first go at it? These programs are still heavily focused on mastering Chinese, despite the shorter length of time. With the right attitude and commitment to their studies, students can walk away from a summer program with the equivalent of a semester of Chinese study under their belt.

What's more, you'll be able to spend your free time exploring the local neighborhoods or taking weekend trips to nearby cities. It'll be a busy trip, no doubt - there's much to see and do (and eat!) around Beijing and Shanghai.

Study in China over the summer and avoid the high costs of long term programs - you'll still have a life changing experience abroad. You won't feel too much FOMO, and will still be able to upkeep your regular on-campus commitments and academic schedule at your university back home. In short, if you've only got a few weeks to study abroad next summer, just do it. Your only regret will be not bringing bigger pants for after every mealtime. 

Where in China can I study abroad for the summer?

Summer Chinese language courses are available at the following Chinese universities and language schools:

Beijing Shanghai
Mandarin Academy Fudan University
BLCU Jiaotong University

More information

Learn more program details and get your questions answered! Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Apply Now Come and join us in the fabulous Beijing summer!

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Winter Chinese Language Programs

Instead of laying around your house in a post-Christmas-sweets coma for the better part of your winter break, why not head to Beijing and squeeze in a Chinese boot camp over your holidays?

While it may take a bit more convincing for our friends Down Under enjoying the summertime, there are few ways to have a more productive, exciting, and interesting winter break. You can experience the hustle and bustle of the holidays in China (and we don't mean Christmas - Spring Festival is EPIC!), play on and marvel the frozen Houhai Lake, and eat copious amounts of dumplings without feeling guilty about it.

Do something more with your break than simply bumming around. Come to China for a winter Mandarin Language program!

Program Snapshot

  • Programs available for 4-8 weeks.
  • Programs operate in Beijing ONLY.
  • Accessible for all levels of Chinese study.
  • Character learning potential: 200-800 characters (Awesome!).
  • Costs and start dates vary. See our program planner to design your perfect program today.

When do these language programs run?

Those south of the equator might think we're a little backwards, but our winter programs follow China's seasons. A 5 week winter course is available in Beijing at the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and runs from mid-December to mid-January. Please see our Winter Break Program or Dates and Fees section for exact start dates of this program at BLCU in the coming year.

If your availability doesn't align with the BLCU program option, you can also opt to attend courses at the Beijing Mandarin Academy (BMA), our private language school affiliate. As our most flexible program offering, Chinese courses at BMA start weekly and can last for any length of time. Also check out our Short Term Intensive Program that works any time of the year!

This sounds good and all, but what is the price tag?

CSA winter programs are a cost-effective option for those who can't commit to studying in China for an entire semester, summer, or academic year. Courses can cost as little as a few hundred dollars depending on the length of time you'll be studying. Using our customizable Program Planner, you take the wheel - choose from our extensive list of winter study abroad options to design your perfect Chinese language program.

Key takeaway: it's up to you!

The Benefits of Studying in China over the Winter

You've spent all semester cramming your brain with more and more knowledge (and hopefully a couple hundred Mandarin characters!). Why let all that good work go to waste by lazing around between semesters? You can avoid that whole transitioning-back-to-school-life thing and minimize your review process, so you'll never miss a beat and jump back into the semester ready to go. Studying Chinese is a marathon, not a sprint, and regularly invested time and energy into your studies will be rewarded in the long run.

Besides, there's not much else to do around town once you've exhausted your favorite old hangouts, caught up with all of your old friends, and finished counting down from 10 for the New Year. Scratch the whole holidays-at-home lifestyle altogether, and share it with us in Beijing!

Where in China can I study?

Winter courses are available at the following Chinese universities and schools:

Beijing
Mandarin Academy
BLCU

More information

Learn more program details and get your questions answered! Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Apply Now Come chill out with us in the cool Beijing winter!

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12 Week Mandarin Chinese Language Programs 

Have 3 months to dedicate to learning Chinese? You (and your Mandarin language skills!) won't be sorry! Read on for more details on this mid-length program for studying in China.

Program Snapshot

  • Programs operate in Beijing only.
  • Programs offered year-round at BMA or spring/fall at BLCU.
  • Accessible for all levels of Chinese study.
  • Character learning potential: 1200-1500 characters (Suh-weet!).
  • Costs vary. See our program planner to design your perfect program today.

When do the programs run?

The 12 Week Chinese language program is available only in Beijing, and can be completed at the Beijing Culture and Language University (BLCU) or at the Beijing Mandarin Academy (BMA). BLCU's program is run twice annually, with one program beginning in September and ending at the beginning of December, and one program beginning in March and ending in mid-June. The program start dates coincide with the semester Chinese programs at BLCU. BMA's 12 week language course is more flexible. Please see our Dates and Fees section for fixed start dates for this program at BLCU in the coming year, or to get the ball rolling on your BMA program.

What's the difference between BLCU's Chinese language program and BMA?

BLCU and BMA cater to two very different types of learning methods and students, while still maintaining an incredible and comprehensive learning opportunity. Chinese courses at BLCU are typically larger, with class sizes ranging from 15-25 students. These programs are on a university campus, and come with all the bells and whistles therein - a campus cafeteria, dormitory accommodation options, and a large international student population to boot. Classes at BLCU are 4 hours per day, 5 days per week and are typically held in the morning or afternoon block. You will be expected to complete a final exam upon exiting the program.

BMA's programs are much smaller in size, rarely exceeding 10 students. The BMA program offers more flexibility, and the small-group learning method can be highly beneficial. The smaller cohort means more undivided attention from your teacher. Comparatively, BMA places a higher emphasis on mastering spoken Chinese; students who are keen to focus their studies on this specific aspect of the Chinese language will be happier with a placement at the Mandarin Academy. BMA's courses are 3 hours per day to account for the intensity of the small-group learning.

Regardless, both programs provide a well rounded introduction to the Chinese language, covering speaking, writing, reading, and listening regularly. Both programs require a placement test to determine which level is most suitable for your current language skills. As well, both BLCU and BMA boast teachers who specialize in teaching Chinese as a foreign language to international students. No matter what, you are going to walk away from the program with an increased understanding of the Chinese culture and quite a number of new characters under your belt!

How much do the programs cost?

CSA Programs fit any budget. Using our customizable Program Planner, you have full flexibility to choose from our list of options to plan your perfect program. At every point, you will know exactly what is included in your Mandarin program and how much it is going to cost you (no silly hidden fees here!).

Where can I study in Beijing?

12 Week courses are available at the following schools in Beijing. BLCU's programs follow fixed program dates, whereas the Mandarin Academy's programs can start any week of the year! Click on the links below to learn more information about each of these exciting program options.

Beijing
Mandarin Academy
BLCU

More information

To find out more information on this exciting opportunity to study Chinese in China, follow the links above or pop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'll see you soon!

Apply Now Don't have time for a full semester of study? Not a problem, come and experience 12 glorious weeks in Beijing!

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Short-Term Mandarin Chinese Language Programs

Have you always felt drawn to travel in China, but are gun-shy to commit to a program longer than a few weeks? Is your schedule jampacked, or your vacation time from work limited?

If you only have a few weeks to commit to studying Chinese in China, you've come to the right place. We've got a program just for you. Actually - on second thought - we've got programS just for you. Check out the number of short-term Chinese language program options we have available for those who don't have months and months to frolic around China.

Program Snapshot

  • Available year round.
  • Programs operate in Beijing ONLY.
  • Accessible for all levels of Chinese study.
  • Character learning potential: 100-1000 characters (Wow!).
  • Costs vary. See our program planner to design your perfect program today.

When do the programs run, and where are they offered?

Our short-term language programs' availability varies from program to program, and are offered at the Beijing Mandarin Academy and BLCU.

The Beijing Mandarin Academy (BMA) is our most flexible short-term Chinese language program option. BMA provides courses year-round, ranging in length from two weeks to one year, with start dates every Monday. This is a great option for students whose schedules do not align with BLCU's short term course options. Also check out our Short Term Intensive Package for all inclusive discounted prices. 

BLCU offers the most short-term Mandarin courses of any Chinese university. At BLCU, you can enroll in 4, 5, 6, and 8 week courses, depending on the time of year. Start dates are year-round, but adhere to a preset schedule. For more information, please visit our Dates & Fees page.

Tell me more about the BMA program.

BMA's flexible course offerings are an attractive element for students on a tight schedule. BMA courses are held Monday through Friday for 3 hours at a time, and class sizes rarely exceed more than 10 students. Many of our short-term language students cite the small group atmosphere as positively affecting their overall knowledge gain while studying abroad in China. BMA's Chinese classes emphasize speaking and listening Mandarin skills, but also have high expectations for students' ability to read and write in Mandarin.

BMA's teachers specialize in working with foreigners who are studying Mandarin. For those ultra-keen students who'd like to bulk up their classroom hours, consider adding on our private tutoring option for 5 or 10 hours each week.

What about BLCU's short-term Chinese language program?

BLCU's short term Chinese programs are a good fit for students who succeed in a traditional learning environment. All courses are offered on campus in a formal classroom, and class sizes typically range from 15-20 students. BLCU's short term programs come with all the goodies of university life, including access to a library, cafeterias, student events and even dormitory housing.

BLCU's Chinese classes are very comprehensive, with balanced attention given to practicing spoken and written Chinese. BLCU hasn't become a world-renowned Chinese learning university by accident. As our most popular program, students who can align their availability with BLCU's course offerings won't be disappointed!

How much do these Chinese programs cost?

Short term language programs vary in price dependent on your goals and needs while studying in China. For example: our private apartments cost more than our dormitory housing, or you might opt to scratch accommodations from your program altogether. To get a more concrete idea of what you're in for before you bust out your checkbook, craft your very own program using our Program Planning Tool.

Are short-term Chinese language programs really worth it? 

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! Short-term programs, especially those that operate out of the "Motherland" of your target language, provide gripping foundational benefits. For beginners in particular, there's no better way to tumble into the world of learning Chinese than by learning under native speakers and living out the language in your everyday life.

Short-term programs also allow you to hyper-specialize. If you're keen to learn a particular subset of the Chinese language, such as business Chinese, you'll be able to efficiently and effectively build your skills. If you'd rather focus on spoken Chinese over written, you're in luck.

For those students who already have a jumpstart on studying Chinese, it is a good opportunity to check in on your skills. Are your tones up to snuff? Can you get from point A to point B without wanting to rip your hair out? Do the locals understand you?

Short-term programs allow you to dial in on your current capabilities and set real goals for where you want to be in 2-8 weeks. Don't miss out on this opportunity to travel in China and learn Chinese while you're at it!

Remind me again where I can study in China short-term?

Short-term courses are available at the following schools in the beautiful, bustling capital city of Beijing:

Beijing
Mandarin Academy
BLCU

More Information

Still have a few questions needing answering? Not a problem. Reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get the info you need, or submit your application today!

Not quite what you're looking for? Check out our sister site here specializing in short term study only.

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  • Beijing

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    3610 Capital Mansions,
    6 Xinyuan Nan Road, Chaoyang
    Beijing, 100027
    Phone: (+86) 10 8468 3799 
  • London

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    154 Bishopsgate
    London EC2M 4LN
    United Kingdom
    Phone: (+44) 0207 377 84 
  • Hong Kong

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    Rm 604-7 Dominion Centre
    43-59 Queen’s Road East
    Hong Kong
    Phone: (+852) 800 968 924 

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