Language Schools

Where to Study Chinese Abroad: Top 8 Language Programs in China

If you want to study Chinese abroad but don’t know where to start your research, look no further. Check out our top 8 Chinese language programs in China and begin your adventure today!

If you’ve fallen in love with the Chinese language and you want to take your studies to the next level, the best next step is to study Chinese in China!

In a country as massive as China, you will no doubt have thousands of options when it comes to language schools. Choice is a good thing, but too much choice can be overwhelming. To help you decide, we’ve narrowed down the top 8 language programs in China that have been rated highly and reviewed by real students like you. Take your pick, you can’t go wrong!

P.S.Though there are a range of different dialects of Chinese, Mandarin is the most widely spoken and will be the variety of Chinese we focus on in this article!

Benefits of studying Chinese abroad

Sure, learning Chinese on an app while lounging in your living room is convenient but if you really want to make fast gains and start speaking with confidence, studying Chinese abroad is the way to go. Here are some of the major benefits of learning Chinese at a language school in China:

  • Immersion gives you a boost: Experts agree that language immersion is one of the fastest ways to learn a language. When you study abroad in China, you surround yourself with Chinese both inside the classroom and out. This will strengthen your listening and speaking skills immensely.
  • Experience Chinese culture: China has a fascinating history and time-honored traditions that persist today. Understanding culture is the missing piece to being a well-rounded Chinese speaker and more empathetic person overall.
  • Increased motivation and commitment to learning: Immersion propels you into endless opportunities to use your new language every day. From asking a stranger the time to buying groceries at a local store, the little things in life can become big learning experiences. When you need to use your new language to get things done, you’ll be more motivated to learn quickly!
  • Access to experts: If you make an error while learning Chinese on an app, you often don’t know where you went wrong. Having experienced and knowledgeable Chinese teachers at your disposal will ensure you understand the ins and outs of the language fully. Your instructors are there to support you and are invested in your success!
  • Make Chinese friends: Many Chinese language programs allow you to engage with local people through things like language exchanges and cultural activities. Making Chinese friends will not only give you more opportunities to practice your skills with native speakers but will also give you a window into intercultural communication and social cues and norms.
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1. LTL Language School

Best for small class sizes

Four women stand smiling and holding certificates.

Location: Beijing, Shanghai, Beihai, Xi’an, Chengdu, or Chengde
Program length: 1-52 weeks
Starting price: 355 USD for 1 week
What's included: 20 hours of lessons a week, all textbooks and learning materials, organized social events

Pros:

  • Classes are small, averaging 3 students but never more than 6, so you’ll receive personal attention.
  • All teachers are highly qualified and experienced so you will get the most out of your class time.

Cons:

  • Accommodation is not included, so you’ll need to set aside an additional $400-$850 USD a week depending on whether you choose a homestay or private apartment through the school.
  • Extras like a SIM card, airport pickup, and help registering with the local police are available in a survival kit but you must pay extra.

LTL Language School offers a highly personalized and customizable program for Chinese language learners. Whether you want to be in the bustling megacity of Shanghai or a more laid-back beach town like Beihai, you can choose from 6 great cities across China.

Your classes run Monday through Friday with a minimum of 4 hours of group classes a day if you choose the standard package, or 30 if you choose the intensive. The intensive course includes 2 extra hours of private 1:1 instruction a day so if you’re looking to progress at rapid speed, this is it! The majority of time in class is focused on improving your speaking level but attention is also given to reading and writing characters.

LTL is a Chinese language program that strives to cultivate a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Past students have raved about the helpful and caring teachers as well as the friendships they formed.

Program Details

Program:
LTL Language School || Learn Chinese (11 Cities)
Provider:
LTL Language School
Location:
Multiple Countries
4.91 Rating
based on 70 reviews
  • Academics 4.9
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.75
  • Housing 4.8
  • Safety 4.95
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2. That's Mandarin Chinese Language School

Best for rapid progression

Four men sit in a classroom and look at a teacher.

Location: Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Suzhou
Program length: 2-24 weeks
Starting price: $320 USD for 1 week
What's included: 20 lessons a week (45 mins each), all materials, free coffee and tea at the center, access to student lounge and computers

Pros:

  • That’s Mandarin has a system of 8 levels of proficiency and students in their intensive groups can progress through an entire level in 4 weeks.
  • Teachers focus on improving verbal communication and conduct class completely in Chinese to boost speaking and listening skills fast.

Cons:

  • Accommodation is not included but the language school can help you organize it.
  • Classes run Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to noon so if you’re not a morning person, it might take some adjustment to jump into learning early in the day.

That's Mandarin Chinese Language School offers 1:1 private classes, intensive long and short-term programs, and HSK exam preparation at their centers across China. Their highly trained teachers deliver instruction in full Chinese immersion and focus on helping students communicate effectively in their new language. All of their schools are modern and teach using their own in-house materials and learning platforms.

That’s Mandarin’s intensive programs consist of 20 classes a week. Each class is 45 minutes with a 10 minute break in between to enjoy a complimentary coffee in their student lounge. Classes have a maximum of 8 students and do not have a minimum to run – even if just one student signs up for the course, it won’t be canceled.

Program Details

Program:
Intensive Group Chinese Language Courses in China
Provider:
That's Mandarin Chinese Language School
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$21.00 USD
4.91 Rating
based on 44 reviews
  • Academics 4.85
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.65
  • Housing 4.65
  • Safety 4.95
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3. The Chinese Language Institute

Best for 1:1 attention

A man sits with his teacher and points at a book.

Location: Guilin
Program length: 2-52 weeks
Starting price: $1,490 USD for 2 weeks
What's included: 20 hours of lessons a week, housing, excursions and activities, program orientation on arrival, visa assistance, 24/7 emergency support

Pros:

  • CLI’s program is 1:1 instruction so you’ll receive personal attention tailored to your learning needs.
  • Several scholarships are offered each year based on financial need and academic merit.

Cons:

  • Long-term study can be pricey, especially if you want to live in a private apartment.
  • Small group options are generally not offered though the school may consider the possibility based on enrollment interest.

If you want an all-inclusive experience with private 1:1 classes, then The Chinese Language Institute (CLI) is a great option. They offer programs as short as two weeks to up to a year of personalized attention guaranteed to take your Chinese fluency to the next level. As a student, you’ll learn with three different qualified teachers in classes focusing on writing and reading, speaking and listening, and a final block designed to tie it all together.

Students at CLI won’t need to worry about arranging housing or figuring out the best day trips or cultural activities – it’s all included in your tuition fees. Housing ranges from a private dorm room at CLI’s learning center to homestays or private apartments. Long-term participants staying 6 months or more can even opt to live with Chinese university students to enhance their immersion and make new friends.

Program Details

Program:
CLI: Chinese Immersion Program in Guilin, China
Provider:
The Chinese Language Institute (CLI)
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$1,490.00 USD
4.95 Rating
based on 73 reviews
  • Instruction 4.95
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.75
  • Value 4.8
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4. Silk Mandarin Language School

Best for HSK Exam prep

Four people hold up HSK exam books.

Location: Shanghai or Suzhou
Program length: 2 weeks
Starting price: $1350 USD for 2 weeks
What's included: 20 or 30 lessons a week depending on chosen course,

Pros:

  • The school’s Slow Motion Technique simplifies the teaching of Mandarin to avoid confusion about grammar rules and structure.
  • If your goal is the pass the HSK exam, intensive courses are structured to teach you all you need – no extra prep classes required!

Cons:

  • For students not focused on the HSK exam, some felt there was too much of a focus on test prep.
  • Housing is not included and will cost extra to arrange.

Silk Mandarin Language School teaches intensive, part-time, and private language classes at its centers in bustling Shanghai and Suzhou, a historic city known for its beautiful system of canals. Both centers are centrally located and accessible by public transportation.

Silk Mandarin School’s goal is to simplify Mandarin learning. They’re so passionate about it that they’ve developed their own unique curriculum and teaching methodology. Teachers employ a system that focuses on learning that’s faster, fun, and flexible. Students in their intensive programs have either 20 or 30 lessons a week from Monday to Friday in groups no larger than 8 students. They also incorporate test prep into their lessons so if your motivation for learning Chinese fast is to pass the HSK exam, then this school is perfect for your needs.

Program Details

Program:
Chinese Programs in Shanghai&Suzhou with Silk Mandarin
Provider:
Silk Mandarin Language School
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$1,350.00 USD
4.92 Rating
based on 222 reviews
  • Instruction 4.95
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.9
  • Housing 4.75
  • Value 4.65
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5. RISH Chinese Learning Center

Best for young learners

Children hold up painted fans.

Location: Shanghai
Program length: 12-31 days
Starting price: $2,800 USD for 12 days
What's included: housing, meals, excursions and activities, classroom materials, laundry service, airport pickup and dropoff, 24/7 support

Pros:

  • Students can experience living on a self-contained college campus – great for safety and convenience!
  • Tours, hikes, outdoor activities, and movie nights round out days of immersive Chinese lessons.

Cons:

  • If your child isn’t really committed to learning Chinese, the amount of study may be too intensive.
  • Days are long (8:00 am to 8:00 pm) and packed full of structured activities that may tire some kids out.

RISH Chinese Learning Center allows kids and teens aged 8-18 to get a jumpstart on their Chinese skills from a young age. All-inclusive summer camps are well-rounded and include intensive Mandarin study alongside games, sports, weekend excursions, and cultural activities. Kids excited about an action-packed summer surrounding themselves with all things China will love RISH.

At RISH, parents can get in on the action, too! Separate accommodation and Mandarin lessons can be arranged for parents or guardians interested in accompanying their child to China. This means kids can enjoy the freedom of their program while giving parents the peace of mind of being nearby.

Program Details

Program:
Chinese Full-board Summer Camp in China for 8-18 Years old
Provider:
RISH Chinese Learning Center
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$2,888.00 USD
5.00 Rating
based on 65 reviews
  • Academics 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 5
  • Safety 5
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6. Omeida Chinese Academy

Best for all-inclusive program

A group of people stand and smile with mountains in the background.

Location: Yangshuo
Program length: 1-48 weeks
Starting price: $654 USD for 1 week
What's included: 30 lessons per week, shared or private accommodation, lunch and dinner during the week, textbooks, language partner, visa assistance, culture class

Pros:

  • Your tuition covers everything you need in addition to 30 lessons a week, making it a great value.
  • You have the opportunity to connect with a language partner free of charge to practice your Chinese in the evening after class.

Cons:

  • Yangshuo is a small town so if you’re looking for a big-city experience, this may not be the right program for you.
  • Getting to Yangshuo is a bit of a trek but the school can arrange the 1.5-hour taxi ride from Guilin Liangjiang International Airport for an extra fee.

Dive into intensive Chinese study with Omeida Chinese Academy! Their course has you working in groups of 2-4 students for nearly five hours a day. If you’re a serious student, this daily investment will take you far. Omeida’s intensive package includes a shared bedroom with a native Chinese-speaking roommate as well as lunches and dinners at the school’s canteen.

The school recommends a minimum of 4 weeks of study due to all of the events they plan throughout the month. Twice a month, they hold cultural classes on topics like calligraphy, Tai Chi, and food. Thursday nights are social gatherings and Saturdays are for outdoor activities and tours in the local area. There will never be a dull moment during your time at Omeida Chinese Academy.

Program Details

Program:
Chinese Language Comprehensive Course + Culture Immersion in Yangshuo, China
Provider:
Omeida Chinese Academy
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$500.00 USD
4.94 Rating
based on 68 reviews
  • Academics 4.8
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.4
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 4.95
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7. Mandarin Zone School

Best for speaking practice

A group of people stand together and smile.

Location: Beijing
Program length: 2-52 weeks
Starting price: $852 USD for 2 weeks
What's included: 20 lessons per week, 24/7 support

Pros:

  • Class sizes are small and average around 3 students.
  • Teachers use the school’s "Communicative Teaching Method" which focuses on improving students’ ability to speak Chinese in natural settings.

Cons:

  • Accommodation is not included and costs a minimum of ~$900 USD a month for a room in a shared apartment. You can also arrange your own local housing.
  • Cultural activities and excursions are arranged by the school but are not included in your tuition.

Mandarin Zone School, located in bustling Beijing, wants you to start speaking Chinese fast. They employ the Communicative Teaching Method in class meaning students speaking time is maximized to continually practice what is learned. No sitting in silence completing grammar worksheets here! You’ll use your Mandarin from day 1 through games, discussions, and role-playing.

As a student, you can take advantage of weekend excursions and other cultural events organized by the school to allow you to further engage with Chinese language and heritage. Housing with a host family can also be arranged for an extra cost.

Program Details

Program:
Mandarin Zone School: Study Chinese in Beijing
Provider:
Mandarin Zone School
Location:
China
5.00 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Instruction 4.9
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.35
  • Housing 4.4
  • Value 4.95
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8. XMandarin Chinese Language School

Best for independent students

A group of people in aprons stand with a chef.

Location: Qingdao
Program length: 2-8 weeks
Starting price: $380 USD for 1 week
What's included: 15-28 lessons per week (depending on package), books and materials, visa assistance, cultural activities

Pros:

  • Classes are 1:1 so while the program is shorter, you will maximize your facetime with instructors.
  • Study is tailored to the needs and goals of each student, allowing you to focus on anything from exam prep to business or conversational Chinese.

Cons:

  • If you’re looking for a super intensive program, you will need to enroll in additional 1:1 classes.
  • Students without a goal in mind may struggle to direct their studies.

XMandarin Chinese Language School is a great choice for the casual student who still has rapid progress in mind. XMandarin’s intensive courses include fewer lessons per day than other schools on our list but they’re highly personalized and held 1:1 with qualified instructors. This more laid-back schedule allows you to do more travel and sightseeing during your course while also making big improvements in your language study.

This school is a great choice for independent, goal-oriented students. The mix of free time, self-study, and personal attention will best suit those who like to take the wheel in both their academic life and travel.

Program Details

Program:
Learn Mandarin in China - Group courses with XMandarin
Provider:
XMandarin Chinese Language School
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$220.00 USD
5.00 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Instruction 4.75
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 4
  • Value 5
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Where to learn Chinese in China

China is large and extremely diverse in everything from food to regional dialects. Whether you want to study in a city lined with skyscrapers by the sea or in a quiet, mountainous village, China has something for everyone.

Check out some of the favorite destinations to learn Mandarin Chinese abroad to help guide your research.

  • Shanghai: Although it is the most expensive city in China, living costs in Shanghai are still over 60% cheaper than New York City. Shanghai is packed with high-end things to do from over 100 Michelin star restaurants to luxurious clubs but that doesn’t mean you need expensive tastes to enjoy yourself. Markets, museums, gardens, and parks offer fun, free, and relaxing alternatives to the sparkling nightlife. Studying Chinese in Shanghai will never be boring!
  • Beijing: While Shanghai is an international hotspot for everything trendy and modern, Beijing has the same big city vibes while maintaining more of a focus on traditional culture and heritage. You can cross 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites off your list here including the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven and spend weekends trekking across sections of the Great Wall.
  • Hangzhou: The Chinese have a saying: "Above there is heaven; below there is Hangzhou." Even this high praise hardly seems to do justice to the waterfront serenity of this beautiful ancient city. Hangzhou is home to three World Heritage sites and countless more sites of historical and cultural significance. It also has a sizable student population due to the number of quality universities there making it a Chinese budget study abroad destination.
  • Chengdu: Known around the world as the home of the wild Great Pandas that make China famous, Chengdu is still a world away from anything you probably know. Decidedly off the beaten path, Chengdu is deep in the interior of China, far from the coastal cities of Beijing and Shanghai. The city has a laid-back, authentic vibe and has a lot of free outdoor activities that are easy on a student wallet.
  • Suzhou: Suzhou has been called "paradise on earth" and one look at its winding, tree-lined canals and traditional architecture will have you convinced. Even though Suzhou’s population of over 10 million dwarfs the largest US city, it’s considered relatively small by Chinese standards. There’s a healthy balance of old and new here – drop into downtown for your shopping while spending weekends walking through tranquil classical gardens and brushing up on vocab in a local tea shop.

Take your Chinese studies abroad!

What better place to begin your Mandarin adventure than a