China’s bustling capital city of Beijing is the nation’s political, educational, and cultural center. From the Forbidden City to the Great Wall, you’ll be surrounded by history. As the capital, Beijing is also vibrant and modern city. Malls, movie theaters, international cuisine and a massive subway network have turned sleepy Beijing into a megacity. Beijing is also the birthplace of standard Mandarin, making practicing your language skills a breeze.
Beijing is by far the best place in China to study Mandarin. Covered in famed universities, there are almost too many language schools and study abroad programs to choose from! Beijing is also great base for exploring the rest of China. With multiple train stations and airports, visiting other provinces is easy and affordable.
Read the guide to Language Schools in Beijing on this page written by Go Overseas experts, just for you. Then choose a Chinese language program from the list below. You will be well on your way to Chinese fluency!
There are many different ways to study Chinese in Beijing. Many choose to study abroad for a semester or summer on a language immersion program. Others choose to take classes part-time at a local university or language tutoring center. Finally, some students decide to find a language partner. This is local who agrees to one-on-one tutoring, either paid or as a gesture of friendship.
Beijing is a popular place to learn Mandarin, so the city is scattered with Chinese learning institutions. These classes are fairly cheap and students can attend multiple times a week.
Many universities like Beijing Language and Culture University or Renmin University offer Mandarin courses for international students. You do not have to be a full-time student at the University to sign up for these classes, and can pay per credit.
Many language centers also offer private tutoring. This will cost roughly $15-$20 per hour. If you find a private tutor outside of an agency, you may be able to get away with paying less because the tutor will not have overhead costs.
Study abroad is the most popular way to learn Chinese in China. In Beijing you can find beginner programs that will give you about 3 or 4 credits of Chinese in one semester, all the way up to immersion programs with 15 credits of Chinese and a language pledge. There are year-long, semester and summer options, as well as short-term study abroad.
Internship and Volunteer programs:
Many internship and volunteer programs also offer language study as part of the experience. Some of these programs require basic knowledge of Chinese to apply, while others are open to all eager participants.
- Check out the crowd: Population 1.57 billion, 91% Han Chinese, Mandarin spoken by 70% of the population.
- Did you know...? The world’s first paper money was created in China 1,400 years ago.
- School’s out, let’s have some fun: Beijing is full of places to see and things to do. The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and Wanfujing Night Market are just a few of the many historical places you can visit. Have a long break? Take the bullet train down to Shanghai or an overnight train to Sichuan, Yunnan or Xi’an!
- Wow others with an idiom! “Ru xiang sui su” is the Chinese version of “When in Rome do as the Romans do”.
The most popular place in Beijing to study Chinese is Haishu District. This district is home to most of the universities in China. Packed with foreign students studying Chinese, there is no shortage of programs, tutoring centers and language classes.
While Haishu is the place to live if you want to study abroad or take Mandarin university courses, language schools are scattered all over the city. Some popular locations are the Central Business District and Sanlitun shopping area.
Many study abroad programs offer cultural immersion and travel. Weekend trips to nearby historical sites, calligraphy and kung fu classes, and week-long travel to a faraway province are just some the opportunities offered by study abroad programs. Many programs also provide a language partner, Chinese roommate or Chinese buddy.
Why study in Beijing?
Beijing is the epicenter of Chinese culture, history and politics. It is by far the best place in China to learn Mandarin, one of the most important languages to learn in today’s world. Explore temples, hike the great wall, eat fried scorpions, make new friends and learn Mandarin in Beijing.
While some intensive immersion programs require prior knowledge of Chinese, most study abroad programs are open to any language level. Most study abroad candidates are undergraduate students, but many English teachers and expat workers take language classes at tutoring schools in their spare time. To study Chinese in Beijing you will need a student visa from your host school. You are also welcome to take language classes on a tourist or work visa as well. Keep in mind; the longest tourist visa is three months.
Studying Chinese in Beijing can be cheaper than living and studying at home. With the low cost of living, cheap university education and affordable food and healthcare, living in Beijing can save you money. If you want to learn Chinese while working, consider getting a job teaching English in China. In your spare time you can take language classes at a local language center, or even learn from your Chinese coworkers and students!
Those studying in China should consider applying for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). A government-funded scholarship, recipients can study all expenses paid in China for a summer. The Confucius institute also offers many free opportunities to study Chinese in Beijing, as well as scholarships for study abroad programs.