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Omeida Chinese Academy

About

Omeida Chinese Academy provides quality Chinese language tuition to students from all over the world. We are located in the beautiful town of Yangshuo, China where you can experience the Chinese culture and spend your free time exploring the rivers and mountains. At Omeida we offer Chinese language programs that meet the needs and goals of students at all levels while providing you with the flexibility to study when you choose. Whether you are joining us for an intensive spoken Chinese program, enjoying a one-on-one tailor made course, or working together with us in the volunteer program, you will find that Omeida provides the perfect opportunity to be immersed in the Chinese language and culture.

Founded
2001

Reviews

Default avatar
Eric
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First of, the landscape surrounding Yang Shuo is breathtakingly stunning. It would soak up any existing stress that you might have carried along the way.

The program in Omeida is conveniently sorted out for you so it takes away any hassle of planning. As the teacher/staff here are used to interacting with a wide array of nationalities and personalities, they are open minded and have a wicked sense of humor. They are neither overbearing nor reserved and would adjust their interaction to suit your learning needs.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Treat them peeps in Omeida with kindness. They are the nicest people with heart of gold!
Default avatar
Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Firstly, Yangshuo is a remarkable area, scenery-wise. I will never forget the Karst, hill formations I saw there. The Omeida staff were friendly and helpful. I particularly remember Cecily and Wency who helped make my visit a happy and enjoyable time. The food in the Omeida cafeteria is delicious. Especially the bowls of "la" to mix with one's rice. Also, the Omeida, paid-for supper at City-On-City was great, and fire juggling show afterwards. Xi Jie, or "West Street" is a lot of fun! I will remember my experiences at Omeida and in Yangshuo forever. Oh yes, I learned a lot of Chinese there as well.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Yangshuo was my first experience with raw, sugar cane. I'd see these long, purple sticks for sale around town and had no idea what they were. Finally, one of the Chinese students bought some and showed me how to eat it. The seller slices the outer bark off and cuts the sugar cane up into lengths. You then bite off a piece and chew it until all the delicious juice is gone and then spit the pulp into a plastic bag. Very addictive and delicious!
Default avatar
Choua
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It is an experience and place that will stay with you long after you leave. Who knows, maybe you will end up going back like so many do, for the learning, the friends, the teachers, the mountains, the rivers, the caves--the good times. The small class sizes, usually around 4, are taught by experienced teachers who can teach to the class as well as the individual. You will learn about the language, the people, the culture, and most of all, meet amazing people whom you would never have otherwise met by staying at home. And being there will make you a part of this exclusive, amazing family. Yes, like all things, Omeida is what you make of it. However, what makes Omeida special is that it has all the ingredients there for you to succeed and experience something that you will never forget. So if you're looking for schools in China but don't want to be in a big city environment, then I can say after having studied there for 5 months Omeida should be one of your top choices.

What would you improve about this program?
Make available more quiet study rooms, either at the school or nearby, especially in the evenings.
Default avatar
Anne-Lorraine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you are looking for a place to learn Chinese (both in and out-of-classes), do biking and make some friends, Omeida can be the place for it!

Regarding myself, I came in Omeida for a few weeks in July and December. Both were enjoyable but different experiences - super, super hot in Summer, quite cold in Winter. Usually, the Chinese classes are small (3 to 5 students), which is great for practice. My teachers - Tommy and Yuri - were lovely & really professional teachers, able to handle students with slightly different levels. Apart from classes, you can have a Chinese language partner and/or a Chinese roommate (I was super lucky, but some people might prefer the private rooms).

And when you are not studying? Well, the landscapes are truly amazing - with hidden villages or waterfalls - perfect for biking, rock-climbing, hiking, running or simply scooter-riding. These activities will fill your weekends (or even weekdays), in addition to the activities organized by the school (e.g. pizza night, rice terraces, bamboo rafting). Speaking about the urban side, Yangshuo is not an enormous city, but you can find a decent amount of restaurants, bars and bubble tea shops.

Another word is that it is quite easy to meet people from all kinds in Omeida - University students, backpackers travelling across Asia, employees making a break, etc. Plus, the staff is really welcoming. So you won't feel alone!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
For those who like biking and stay for 3 weeks or more, invest in a bike! The pink/blue city bikes are okay, but mountain bikes are better for exploration or long distance. Some shops sell or rent bikes at a fair price (ask the students who are here since a long time), and you can also buy one on Taobao (very good deals there).
Default avatar
Andrew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was originally drawn to Omeida based on the glowing reviews posted on TripAdvisor, Workaway and GoOverseas. Unfortunately, the first two sites have since deleted Omeida, based on general policy decisions. It's a shame, as this is a wonderful school in a lovely small city.
I was at Omeida for six weeks. I took Chinese lessons half the day and spent two hours a day providing English conversation for students from China. The Academy has a brilliant set-up. There is a Chinese School, where you will find bright and imaginative students from all over the globe. Then a block away is the English School, populated by hard-working and very friendly students, many of whom have left their home, spouse and children in different parts of China. They have come to Omeida for three months, six months, twelve months, in the hopes of learning English so they can get better jobs.
Most students at both of the schools fall in the 25-35 year old range, although there are students as young as 18 and as old as 68. Students form both schools fraternize at lunch and dinner, which is held in the canteen area of the Chinese School.
Our accommodations were very comfortable. A single room with a private bathroom and space for a desk for two. It was air-conditioned, which was a real plus during the months I was there. Potable water was available from a dispenser on the staircase. It's just a two minute walk from your room to the school.
Yangshuo is a charming small city with scenes from old China - vendors setting out produce on mats on the sidewalk, pickup trucks randomly pulling into town carrying walnuts, pomelos and other edibles, traffic lazily moving through the streets. Everywhere you look there are towering karats, shaped like upside down ice cream cones.
The school has fun Chinese cultural events on Wednesday afternoons and wonderful Saturday trips, which are a great opportunity to bond with your fellow students. The Administration is responsive and does an excellent job running the school.
After our stay at Omeida, we did your standard tour of China. It paled in comparison to our time at Omeida.

What would you improve about this program?
The teachers are excellent. My only suggestion would be that they tilt the conversation in the classrooms so it is more student-based.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I checked out the reviews for Omeida Academy on GoOverseas, TripAdvisor and WorkAway. They spanned at least five years and were incredibly positive. The Academy offers free room and board (lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday) in exchange for 10 hours a week providing English conversation for the Chinese nationals who attend the Academy's affiliated English school, which is only a block away from the Chinese School. Omeida was flexible as to the length of your commitment as a volunteer.

We had two Skype conversations with school staff prior to deciding to attend. We were impressed with the professionalism of the staff.

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

The Academy's administration was very helpful in providing detailed advice on how to get to Yangshuo, which is not the most common destination in China. Through them, we hired a taxi to take us from the rail station in Xingping to Yangshuo. Upon our arrival in Yangshuo, we were met by students from the English language school, who settled us in our hostel room, helped us get a suitable SIM card and oriented us as to the city.

I not only volunteered to provide English conversation but also paid for Chinese language lessons. The first class I was placed in proved rather daunting. When I brought this to the staff's attention, I was switched into a Mandarin class that was a better fit for me.

The school provides weekend trips and activities at a reasonable cost for students at both language schools My wife and I took part in a cycling trip to the countryside, a hike up Husband Mountain before dawn (picture attached), an overnight trip to the amazing Longshen rice fields (picture attached) and other enjoyable excursions.

I study jazz piano back in the States. The school found me a place within walking distance where I could practice the piano at the very reasonable rate of $3.50 USD per hour.

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

Unlike four years ago, when I first visited China, it is no longer possible to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your cellphone or tablet after arriving in China. VPNs are necessary if you want to use Gmail or visit common websites, such as Facebook, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and TripAdvisor. Sometimes the government is successful in blocking the VPN for days. So, it makes sense to set up an Outlook account through Microsoft prior to going to China, as the government does not interfere with Outlook.

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

If you study Chinese, you can take Mandarin lessons for a half-day or a full day. My lessons ran from 9:25 in the morning until noon, with two short breaks during which students would socialize, play a quick game of foosball and get some tea or coffee. At noon, we went into the basement (see attached picture), where about 100 students from both schools would gather to take lunch together. After lunch, I would rest, then study some Mandarin, take care of email and read the news.

Some afternoons, I would meet for an hour with a Chinese language partner. We tried to split the time between Chinese and English, so both of us got a chance to practice the language we were studying. At 5 pm, I would meet with a Chinese national student for one on one discussion in English. At 6 pm, I took dinner with the other students. At 7 pm, I returned to the English Academy for one hour, providing English conversation for 3-6 English language students.

On Wednesdays at 4 pm, the school would have free cultural activities, such as a lecture about the Beijing Opera, making Chinese moon cakes, tea tasting and learning about other aspects of Chinese culture. Thursdays are Social Nights from 7-8 pm, at which time students from both schools took part in activities together at the English School.

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

I have traveled extensively for many decades, so I did not have any fears. I was concerned, however, whether I would be able to master the ability to use Asian squat toilets, as squatting in a low position is a challenge. Fortunately, there were Western toilets not only at the Chinese Language School but also in most public parks. Remember to bring your own toilet paper.

What can you tell me about Yangshuo?

Yangshuo is a small city of some 400,000. It is a throwback, a trip back in time. It has no skyscrapers. The tallest structures are apartment buildings, which are generally only seven floors. There is an open-air vegetable and fruit market. It is common to see vendors at random places in town, spreading vegetables and fruit on mats on the sidewalk. Periodically pick-up trucks appear, carrying truckloads of pomelos, walnuts, watermelons, and other fresh produce. Traffic is very light and moves at a leisurely pace of perhaps 20 mph. The city is extremely safe. For breakfast, I got most of my food - mei fun, bean pancakes, dumplings, etc. - from street vendors. It was tasty and very inexpensive.

Yangshuo is surrounded by karats, beautiful steep mountains that are shaped like upside-down ice cream cones. It has been said that the producers of the movie Avatar drew their inspiration for the movie's scenery from Yangshuo.

What type of people attend both schools? The students in the English Language school generally range from 25-35 years of age. They come from all over eastern China. In many cases, they have quit the jobs and left their spouses and children to spend three months, six months or even a year at Omeida, so they can improve their English skills and get an even better job upon returning home. They are very hard-working.

The students attending the Chinese Language school are mostly in the 18-35-year-old range, although perhaps 15% were older, with the oldest one being 68 years of age. They come from all over the world. Some are taking a gap year after high school or university. Others are studying Chinese to enhance their job prospects in the fields of engineering and finance. Then there are those with considerable job experience in one field but have stopped in order to explore other career options. There is a wonderful camaraderie between the students of both schools.

Staff Interviews

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

Ieva Bukelskyte

Job Title
Marketing Manager
Ieva Bukelskyte comes from a tiny country called Lithuania and at the moment is working in Omeida Chinese Academy as a Marketing Manager. She is a child of nature who loves adventure and everything related with outdoors. She is very excited to be in Yangshuo as it is a perfect place for that, especially for rock-climbing and biking! Her duties at Omeida include welcoming students and making them feel at home as well as spreading the word about Omeida Chinese Academy to the rest of the world.

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

I believe there is a bright future for this industry! It’s becoming more and more popular to study abroad and it’s not a surprise as there are so many benefits of living and learning in another country. This experience expands our minds and in general positively changes lives of people.

When you study abroad everyday is a new adventure full of discoveries! I wish everyone could live and study in another country at least once in their lives, even for a short time and I am guaranteed- magic will happen.

What does the future hold for Omeida Chinese Academy - any exciting new programs to share?

The list of activities to do in Yangshuo is endless. Therefore we decided to combine learning Chinese language with Tai Chi practice or rock-climbing for example. We believe it will be a very fulfilling experience for our students: not only to learn Chinese but also develop and improve their skills of Tai Chi or rock-climbing.

For example, did you know that Yangshuo is fast becoming the rock climbing Mecca of Asia?

What was your favorite traveling experience?

It is very hard to choose one, as the list is endless. But one of the most favorite would be hitch-hiking to Morocco from Spain and meeting a local student in Tanger, who then invited us to visit and stay with his family in another town called Tetouen. We spent a night in his place and it was unbelievable.

His family opened not only their arms, but their hearts to us, strangers from another part of the world. We cooked food together, drank tea, shared stories with each other. His family trusted us; wanted to share everything they have, even though they did not have a lot themselves. They even gave us gifts! Moroccan hospitality at its best! World IS a beautiful place, let’s just not be afraid to embrace it.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Omeida Chinese Academy is like a big family. There is this very warm and positive atmosphere around the school, everyone is smiley and happy, willing to help each other, share stories and laughs. Students tell me that they never feel alone here!

We (Chinese teachers and other staff) do many outdoor activities together with students. Last weekend for example we went camping to this huge cave that has a mind blowing view to the Limestone Mountains, we made a fire, sang songs and cooked food. Unforgettable memories for sure!