My advice would to be open-minded and don't let fear or comfort prevent you from taking opportunities such as this. International traveling requires that you be open to new challenges and be able to meet them with understanding and compassion. Physically going to a different country and experiencing a culture distinctly different from your own provides you with a new perspective and improves your adaptability to things unfamiliar, which allows you to grow in ways you would never have thought of before.
The Hutong School staff will offer an initial assessment of your learning goals, strengths and weaknesses in the Chinese language - this will tell them what information they need to determine what is the best program for you. You may opt for a 1-on-1 personalized instructor if you prefer or you would be placed in a small classroom with students that are comparable to your current level. Your classes will include all language basics (speech, writing, reading).
Before or after classes, depending on your availability, you have free rein to explore the city and visit any number of attractions or simply hangout with friends or study. Depending on your instructor, you can expect exams and casual conversations to determine your progression.
Every week the school will have cultural activities that range from cooking and eating exotic Chinese cuisines, traveling to famous markets or landmarks, or welcome parties for the new students.
I was initially hesitant to make such a dramatic move as this would be the farthest I have ever traveled, going to a place vastly different from where I am from and for the longest time away from everything that was familiar to me, and I was doing all of this by myself. After the weeks of correspondence, I had enough confidence in myself and trusted the school implicitly that this was going to be an opportunity I would not want to pass up.
Being active with the school and making the qualitative friendships I did while I was there helped deal with homesickness or feelings of insecurity.
The effort you put into this experience is what you will get out of it. There is an obvious impact China has on today's markets and will continue to have in the future, be it business or technology or other sectors, and having the experience of living in China and learning Chinese is a great advantage to anyone even remotely interested. By investing in this experience, you are investing in yourself and your future, so it would be in your best interest to work hard and take advantage of this opportunity as best as you can.
Hutong School provided me with the highest quality education and gave me a chance to be with people from around the world who shared the same interests and passions I had. The classmates and staff members I was with on a daily basis were the most impressive, talented, and kindest people I have ever met and I still regularly keep in touch with. The school works incredibly hard to help your experience work as best as possible so you owe it to yourself to make that same commitment.