China: Mandarin Language Intensive (Summer)

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About

Language in China has always been a dynamic and powerful force. As we enter a contemporary reality of emerging powers and dominant cultural influence, the voice of this great country speaks louder than ever before. Dragons’ Mandarin Language Intensive is designed to help students find their own voice, offering comprehensive instruction through formal language classes, home-stays and independent study projects (ISPs).

Chinese Language-Intensive summer program, we expertly combine in-depth and rigorous language study with out-of-the-classroom experiences. Our Mandarin-speaking instructors offer precise, relevant language guidance while also providing a vision that encompasses the broad scope of this course’s ultimate goals of cultural and personal discovery.

4 and 6 week options available.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

Highlights
  • 3-4 hours of daily Mandarin instruction, occasional, rudimentary Tibetan and Cantonese, dependent upon itinerary.
  • 10-day homestay in Kunming, cultural center of Yunnan Province, 10-day village homestay in Lashihai with Naxi ethnic minority community.
  • Language and culture, ancient, imperial and modern history, political studies, development of market economy, gender and race studies.
  • Minority issues and status, socio-economic issues, health, land-use and environment, tourism, cultural survival.
  • Learning service in cooperation with a rural community. Approximately 10 hours of service credit earned.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 3 reviews
  • Growth 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
Default avatar
Clara
10/10

Mandarin 4 Week Language Intensive

When I was looking for summer programs in China, I was primarily focused on how much Mandarin I would be learning throughout the course of the trip. I chose Where There Be Dragons mainly because it offered serious language study--3-3.5 hours of Mandarin lessons almost every day. When I got there, I realized that I learned even more Mandarin outside the classroom, just from walking around different towns/villages, talking to my instructors, and ordering food.

What I didn't realize was how much I would enjoy the parts of the program that went beyond learning Mandarin, like the rugged travel/hiking portions of the trip. I am by no means any type of hiker in the U.S., but with beautiful scenery and great friends to hike with, I made some amazing memories. Homestay was also a big component of the trip. My two homestay families were excellent care-providers and taught me so much about Chinese language and culture. They even helped me review what I had learned in Mandarin class some days, and showed me around their hometown. It was such a valuable experience to take a break from learning Mandarin out of a textbook and instead learn more terms and phrases used in daily exchanges. This allowed me to conduct smooth transactions with locals throughout my trip, as well as preparing me to take on AP Mandarin this year.

How can this program be improved?
Having a second independent study project, or a similar group project, during the second half of the trip would give another great opportunity to learn about Chinese culture.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Elise
9/10

Great Experience

I definitely enjoyed this trip. I chose it to improve my mandarin, and learn more about China, as I had been taking mandarin in school, and wanted to improve my skills. While there, I learned about mandarin yes, but so much about China and the culture there. The homestays and the Independent Study Projects let every person in the group engage with different aspects of china individually. My independent study project was learning the basics of how to play the guzheng, and as someone who plays western instruments, it was fascinating to learn eastern ideas on music.
The homestays were great, and a highlight of the trip. I enjoyed seeing how different people live, and having two separate homestays in two different places let me see different points of view. I bonded a lot with one of my host sisters there. It was nice to live in a family atmosphere, and see that despite being halfway across the world, people are people.
The instructors were great on this program. All of them were nice people who understood the difficulties of being in a foreign country. They all had their own unique perspectives to offer on chinese culture, and offered guidance, while preserving independence.
Language lessons were good, though it is a little hard trying to create lessons that are difficult but not too hard for people with different language backgrounds.
Overall, it was a fantastic program. I loved the independence offered, and how everyone could engage with China on their own level. I didn't feel held back, or left behind in the group. The trip cemented my interest in China, and I plan on going into the Asian Studies field in college.
Useful tips: Consider bringing a small english/chinese dictionary for words you might forget. Learn how to use a squat toilet. Do your best to leave your expectations behind, and embrace the experience!

How can this program be improved?
The packing requirements are different from other dragons trips, but the packing list is the same, So a more specific packing list would be nice. (Bring more street clothes than the packing list suggests because you spend most of your time in cities/villages, not trekking)

Yes, I recommend
Nick
10/10

China Language Immersion 4 week summer program

I spent an amazing month in China with the Dragons program. The highlights were two homestays - one in the city of Kunming and the other in a small village in South East China called Nan Yao. I spoke only one word of Chinese when I arrived ("Hello") and left with a growing vocabulary and a grasp of the basics of this complex language. More importantly, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in both city and rural culture.

The organization of the trip was superb. The 3 trip leaders were fun, creative, and had great in-country experience. They gave the group a great deal of independence while maintaining a high level of support and safety. Communication was excellent - Dragons kept our families well updated on how the group was doing, and the "Yak Board" communication site was excellent.

I would HIGHLY recommend WTBD as an organization that knows how to lead youth in international trips.

How can this program be improved?
Continue to expand the countries/experiences provided!
Yes, I recommend

About Where There Be Dragons

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly...