The Chinese Language Institute (CLI)

The Chinese Language Institute (CLI)


The Chinese Language Institute (CLI) is an innovative language and cultural center located in Guilin, China. Housed in its own 5-story language learning center and officially affiliated with Guangxi Normal University, CLI offers the fastest track to mandarin language proficiency through one-on-one training, constant interaction and complete immersion. With strong connections at private and public institutions throughout the country, CLI opens China to its students in countless ways. We warmly welcome you to study in China with CLI!


5516 Mountain Garland Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80923
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

I went to CLI in September for two weeks intense Chinese study. I was not sure about Guilin or CLI before I left but after being there for two weeks I can honestly say it was an awesome Choice! The school is great, the rooms are large, clean and all have AC and bathroom. I had three different teachers which was unique and allowed for different teaching styles to be experienced. Everybody was super friendly and went out of their way to help you with anything you needed. The facility itself is large and has lots of areas to socialize rather than being stuck in your room all the time. Also, you have access to washing and drying machines for your convenience. I will defitetly go back to China and CLI next year and am looking forward to another great experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Not sure what to say here as everything I experienced was excellent!
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Yes, I recommend this program

I waited to provide this review to make sure my initial reactions held. They did!

As a senior citizen, I wasn't sure this would work for me, but the staff, teachers and other students turned my two week stay into a good experience. Although I had been studying on my own for a number of months, when I arrived I realized that my aural and oral comprehension were not good. The staff and teachers adjusted their approaches to match my abilities. The teachers all worked from the same book, and, as I worked through the book, each highlighted a different part of the chapter I was working on, reinforcing each other.

There were all types of students: retirees, graduate students, college students, as well as people between jobs or preparing for a new job. Many were returning CLI students. They were interesting and helped me learn about Guilin, the area surrounding the school and good places to eat.

Four hours a day of individual classes, plus homework, was a tiring but worthwhile experience. Due to my weak speaking skills, I didn't complete the two weeks as Immersion. I spoke English outside class and sometimes in class. The teachers did encourage me to speak more. Other students had lunch together in a separate room and did speak only Chinese. I wish I had tried Immersion, as I would have learned more. Next time! And it will be for more than two weeks, which wasn't enough.

CLI organized extra-curricular activities every week. I went on a trip to the Longsheng rice terraces one weekend and attended an evening lecture on the Qing Dynasty and a calligraphy class. Although the extra activities were not included in the tuition, they were well worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
I'm not sure what I would change. CLI provided the opportunity to speak, but I needed to make the effort to speak more and get out and speak with locals. Perhaps more "push" might have helped me.
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Yes, I recommend this program

This was my first time visiting China and at CLI. I've been studying Chinese since the start of this year in my free time and decided to study for 3 weeks to boost my learning. The four hours of day study and homework afterwards is challenging but I think really helps in improving your Chinese. Overall I found the balance of speaking, writing and reading in the course curriculum was right for me and I've learnt more about how I learn language best, as well as picking up some useful tips to improve. I chose to stay with a family rather than in the college which I really enjoyed.

Outside class CLI puts on plenty of excursions and I had a great time with other students. Guilin is very beautiful and there are lots of opportunities to explore.

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Yes, I recommend this program

CLI is an overall great place to learn Chinese. Located in Guilin you are surrounded by a picturesque landscape while being in the heart of a Chinese city with a longstanding culture and tradition. Classes are tailored to your suiting. whether you would like to focus mostly on your spoken Chinese or concentrate on building your Chinese character comprehension, it is up to you. The staff at CLI have cultivated a family like community with everyone willing to lend a helping hand. CLI also gives students the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas around Guilin, including Yangshuo, rice terraces, minority villages and much more. I spent five months at CLI and my Chinese proficiency improved by leaps and bounds. I would highly recommend CLI to anyone (from no Chinese experience to a seasoned veteran) who wants to partake in a true Chinese immersion experience!

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Yes, I recommend this program

This is second time coming to CLI and I can only say that it gets better everytime. My first time I stayed here for 5 months and came in not knowing any Chinese, by the time I left I had already achieved HSK 4. This achievement would not have been possible without the friendly atmosphere and hospitality of CLI teachers and interns. It is not about how much you study, with language you need to fully enjoy your environment and what you are learning in order to retain the information. The teachers have the perfect friendship to study ratio and most of the classes fly by because we are having constant conversation while still learning at the same time. I have no regrets with my decision to come to CLI and have made lifelong friends from this experience.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking experience was when I bought my first scooter and learned how to 日ride in the busy street。


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Angela Horneber

Angela is always looking for the next travel adventure, especially the adventure of communicating with cultures around the world. She currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.

Why did you choose this program?

I learned about the program by word-of-mouth, and after looking through its website, I knew it was for me for a couple of reasons. First of all, the classes are all taught one-on-one which allows them to tailor the lesson content and teaching approach to your individual needs.

Second, they advertise a "pengyou" program, which essentially means there are always Chinese friends around to not only help you with whatever you need, but to practice communicating with, and just hang out with. I feel a social atmosphere is very important to the process of learning a language so its invaluable to also have the opportunity to communicate outside of class.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CLI provided a comprehensive packet about living in China – whether in regards to technology, culture, transportation, weather and clothing, and any other miscellaneous need-to-knows. They offer on-campus housing and home-stay, or you can choose to organize your own living arrangements.

You need to organize your travel to China, or to Guilin. You're also responsible for obtaining the tourist visa to come into the country, but they provide helpful information and assistance along the way. If your stay is beyond a certain length of time, they will arrange for you to get a student visa after you arrive at CLI. When you arrive in Guilin, they have train station or airport pickup. They offer meals on-campus, provide textbooks, and give plenty of information about getting around Guilin.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Take advantage of the immersion environment available to you, and be self-motivated in your study. CLI has plenty of foreign students, which is fantastic, so you’re able to interact with people from around the world and share your stories. However, everyone is also there for the same purpose.

To learn the language, the teachers will push you as much as you want to be pushed, and help you as much as they have the opportunity to. However, self-study and especially PRACTICE are essential.

Most students come from countries with no daily Chinese environment or Chinese friends, let alone Chinese restaurants, grocery stories, taxi drivers, coffee shops, etc. While I was at CLI, I observed many foreigners who only used Chinese in class, and spent the rest of the time using English with other foreign friends. I also observed many who consistently tried their best to communicate in Chinese at every opportunity, based on their language proficiency.

CLI won't force you to do total immersion. Part of the beauty of the program is that they will do everything to make it the experience you want. If you want to be pushed and challenged and improve quickly, push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone, make mistakes, and use the language as much as you can!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Each student has 20 hours of one-on-one classes a week, which breaks down into two 2-hour classes per day – a Reading/Writing class and a Speaking/Listening class every other day, and a comprehensive class daily. At orientation, they will tell you to expect to do about four hours of homework per day. Because all the classes are one-on-one, all the classes are at different times.

They provide a weekly schedule, with classes starting as early as 8:20 AM, and going as late as 6:10 PM, but four hours a day, so you will either be done early in the day or have plenty of breaks. CLI arranges optional activities every night – culture, physical, or just fun. We had badminton, bowling, Tai Chi, traditional tea ceremony, hot pot, and others.

It's also easy to find activities on your own. There's a nearby gym. The Chinese interns are always willing to get dinner together. CLI also arranges longer weekend trips to nearby scenic areas like Longsheng, Yangshuo, and others.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My goal for the experience at CLI was total language immersion. While it wasn't my first time abroad, or even in China, it was still a new environment and a new challenge. I was nervous I would get frustrated trying to communicate, or others would become frustrated trying to understand me. I worried I wouldn't progress fast enough.

CLI helped me develop patience with myself and reminded me that language, like most things in life, is a process, with no one setting standard for how quickly you ought to progress, and in what ways. Adjusting to new culture and new surroundings is the same. We need to have patience with ourselves and keep in mind that everyone's experience will be different. We can and should learn from others, but we won't necessarily experience what they experienced.

What does a person need to know or understand in order to survive in another culture?

Respect. Patience. Accept your own ignorance. Ask questions. Remember that your way, or your culture's way, isn't the right way, it's just your way. And there are other ways. Culture is not right or wrong; it's different. Before you arrive in the new place, prepare yourself to know nothing. Try as much as possible to erase all expectations, and expect to be surprised, challenged, amazed.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Cory Donovan

Job Title
Director of Engagement
Interview with Cory Donovan - Chinese Language Institute (CLI)

What position do you hold at CLI? What has been your career path so far?

Cory: I am currently the Director of Engagement at CLI. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a degree in Business Administration. After graduation, I worked for Incourage Community Foundation in Wood County, Wisconsin helping residents overcome the “digital divide”.

Having volunteered for many global organizations, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, I realized the important role that language plays in not only basic communication, but also in solving today’s global issues. Wanting to learn a foreign language and having desire to help the world, I decided to journey to China to learn Mandarin Chinese. I enrolled in CLI’s Immersion Program located in the picturesque city of Guilin. After four months of study, I was offered the opportunity to be a part of the CLI team as Director of Engagement.

Did YOU study abroad? If so, where did you go and what inspired you to go?!

Cory: My first experience studying abroad was a study tour of China in 2009 through my university. My teachers of course encouraged me to broaden my horizons and bolster my resume, but the true motivation came from within. I believe most who decide to study abroad are deep down an explorer, motivated to discover the world and themselves. This inner motivation also inspired me to study abroad in Ireland. I wanted to learn more about my family lineage and the history of the country my ancestors once called home. I returned to China in 2012 to start learning Mandarin Chinese, motivated by the desire to become bilingual.

What does the future hold for CLI - any new programs to share?

Cory: CLI is excited to announce the completion of a comprehensive renovation at its new 5-story language learning center located in the southern city of Guilin, China. CLI’s new and improved center is equipped with 36 dorm rooms, 18 classrooms, two public kitchens, numerous lounge rooms, and a library with over 100 Chinese language and cultural books – CLI is truly the epicenter for learning Chinese language and culture.

CLI is also excited to expand its fully customizable faculty-led study tours program. Institutions have the opportunity to design their own China study tour tailored to their specific learning needs and interests. Whether the program's focus is business and economics, art history, environmental sustainability, civil engineering, sociology, or intensive Chinese, faculty will be able to provide their students with an enriching and unforgettable educational experience.

What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?

Cory: As the world becomes more interconnected, the desire and need for students to receive a global education will continue to increase. The destinations students choose will provide the biggest shift in the international education industry. Governments have all ready identified critical or under-served languages, providing significant financial aid to ensure students have the opportunity to study these languages. Thus, Asia and the Middle East will continue to supplant European countries as top study abroad destinations.

Technology is also changing the way we think about study abroad. As technology continues to advance, there will be an increase in the amount of distance learning that takes place. One-on-one language tutoring over Skype, teachers teaching a classroom of students from halfway around the world, and the ability to listen to lectures from top professors at top institutions for free, makes one rethink the way education is delivered. Although nothing can substitute experiencing another culture firsthand, these new options may prove to be enough for some students.