As soon as I arrived at the school from the airport, I was immediately getting my bearings and meeting fellow students at the school. The overwhelmed feeling I arrived with quickly subsided as I was given a lot of attention from the staff who provided a lot of help settling me in.
Learning in a class environment, the level was perfectly tailored to me, pushing the upper limits of my capability so that I was always felt challenged and motivated. Whilst the pace of learning course content daunted me at the start, my teachers were always supportive and ensured I never fell behind. In the brief three weeks I was studying at the school, I went from barely clinging on, to fully engaging with the conversation in class. It made it all worthwhile when I could speak confidently in Chinese with Beijing taxi drivers and understand them even through their thick Beijing accents, as well as keep up with conversations to a much greater extent with other native Chinese speakers I met.
I am hugely grateful to my mandarin tutor back in England who suggested the Hutong School when I expressed and interest to study abroad. I couldn’t agree more with her high regards for studying a language in its country. I found it greatly rewarding studying in the fully immersive environment provided by the school. My family were particularly grateful to the school who supported us when we applied for a visa.
I have taken away a massively increased love of learning the language, and whilst I can’t replicate the ideal learning environment I found at the Hutong School, I have a keen interest to maintain a similar momentum of learning I developed there.
It’s a great pleasure to be keeping in contact with the amazing group of friends from across the world that I met at the school. Integrating with them at school and in self-organised events outside of school made it an all round more enriching time. I couldn’t have found a more likeminded crowd to explore Beijing with. I can’t think of many other opportunities in life where it’s possible to find a crowd with so much in common and such a similar internal drive. It’s set me up with an invaluable set of contacts for the future.