• China
    • Guilin
2 to 52 weeks
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, Payment plans

Program Details

Language Level
Immersion Level
Class Size
Private Lessons Small Class (1-7)
Weekly Classroom Hours
Apartment Host Family


Starting Price
Price Details
Included in Tuition:
20 Weekly Hours of One-on-One Chinese
Housing Accommodations
Airport Pick-up and Drop-off
24-Hour Emergency Assistance in China
Weekly Activities

*Price is for 2 weeks with the Private Room option at CLI. You can check other options, dates and prices in our website.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Classes
Jul 27, 2023
Jul 17, 2024
8 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Immerse yourself in Chinese language and culture with CLI! Located in the picturesque city of Guilin and officially affiliated with Guangxi Normal University (GXNU), CLI provides the premier intensive Mandarin program in China.

The fastest way to reach Mandarin language proficiency is through CLI's Immersion Program. CLI Immersion includes 20-weekly hours of one-on-one instruction with three highly qualified, unique CLI instructors. One-on-one instruction provides constant student teacher interaction, immediate feedback, and accelerated language learning that is often lacking with large group classes.

Current university students can be co-enrolled at GXNU and earn college credit!

In addition to language courses, CLI offers weekly activities and monthly travel excursions, including cooking classes, game nights, tours of Guilin and much more. CLI warmly welcomes you to learn Mandarin Chinese in China!

Program Reviews

4.95 Rating
based on 74 reviews
  • 5 rating 94.59%
  • 4 rating 5.41%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Instruction 4.95
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.75
  • Value 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 74 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

1 year program at CLI

The single best thing about CLI is that they prioritize flexibility above all else. If you want a hyper specific program, be it 4 hours a day, 8 hours a day, you want to only learn to speak, or you want to use traditional characters they can do everything.

In my program I wanted to learn traditional characters and with the teachers I was able to work with them to choose a good textbook that suited me. They provided me with a tailored environment that suited me specifically.

There were students who spoke no English during their time there and were doing really intense 1 on 1 classes. I for a time asked them to give me extra classes, where i would have 1 hour of free speaking, 2 hours of reading/writing, 4 hours of comprehensive (mostly grammar and new vocab), and 2 hours of calligraphy for 5 days of the week, for dinners, I made friends with the interns, and became very good friends with them. I was getting so much immersion I honestly felt exhausted and my brain hurt from how much I learned in a day. I went from beginning HSK 1 to starting HSK 5 from August to January.

Other students mostly wanted to just get around with Chinese and more just get a feeling for China, so the program also offered a lot of weekend excursions, and daily activities. So for those who did not want a super intense experience, a very leisurely experience is also provided. Teachers really try to understand student's desires. There are many different teachers available and it's really easy to switch. In my year I ended up having 6 teachers in total.

Guilin is really pretty with its mountains, it's food is on the spicier side in China but there are also non-spicy options available. There's homestays, private apartments, shared apartments with Chinese roommates, and also CLI's own dormitory available. There's rooms catered to couples, families, and individuals. Rooms can also include a kitchenette + refrigerator if requested.

1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Welcome to Guilin

I came to CLI, Guilin, for 2 weeks with an elementary Chinese level, and with the goal of improving my speaking. Although it was a short stay, it was enough time to feel myself making progress. I am very grateful to my teachers with whom I got along very well and provided me with a lot of opportunities to speak.
I also enjoyed Guilin's scenery.
In short, CLI is a great value program, no matter how long you stay! (Recommended: at least 3-4 weeks to explore Guilin and its surroundings)After CLI, my motivation to continue learning Chinese is stronger than ever.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take a VPN, but NOT Express VPN as it was laggy.
Install Alipay and WeChat, they are a must have in China
No need to buy a textbook in advance, you can buy one on site after your first class. But if you already have one, the teacher can adapt.
  • Teachers
  • Center's location
  • CLI activities
  • Toilets in the bathroom (toilet bowl installed on a squatting toilet)
  • Occasional mini spiders: buy a spray!
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best experiences of my life

CLI is the best combination of immersive Mandarin learning while experiencing day to day life in China. Living in Guilin, a small city in Guangxi province, you are able to truly focus on your studies while gaining an authentic experience of Chinese culture. From weekly activities to weekend outside excursions, CLI makes sure that every student is able to interact with the other students and see the beautiful scenery of Guilin and its surrounding areas. Truly an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful parts of China.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Riding bikes along the Yulong river in Yangshuo with CLI over the weekend. Incredible scenery and overall great experience! Got to see where the image on the 20 yuan bill was took.
  • Authentic experience
  • Easy to focus on studies
  • Great activities
7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent 1-on-1 instruction, well worth the learning experience

I came to CLI with some basic speaking/listening skills from my family environment, and very basic (HSK 4ish) reading skills. I stayed at CLI for 7 weeks, but if I went back in time, I would have liked to stay a couple weeks longer, as when it came time to leave, I was quite sad to leave the friends I made at CLI and in Guilin and for my classes to come to an end.

Before I came to CLI, I was pretty iffy on the cost, but I now feel like the cost was well worth how much I progressed in Chinese skills, and the general experience. The other option I was considering to learn Chinese before coming to CLI was taking a semester-long course at a Chinese university. However, I couldn't find any suitable scholarships for a college course, since those seemed to have disappeared after Covid and with worsening U.S.-China relations (this may be different for college students). Considering that taking a university course wouldn't be much cheaper, and given that CLI allows you to choose any learning timeframe you want, I ended up choosing CLI.

Looking back, I believe this was the right decision due how effective I found the 20 hours a week of 1-on-1 instruction, which you can't really get anywhere else. As mentioned by other students, the instruction hours are initially split 3:2:1 (comprehensive, speaking, reading+listening), but in reality you can customize lesson time to be however you find most helpful. Personally, at least half of my lessons were simply having discussions with my teachers on any topic I wanted (general life, social issues, politics, history, etc.). My teachers would help me find words I didn't know and structure more complex sentences, to express what I wanted to say. I found my speaking skills improved very rapidly this way, which was my primary goal. The immersive environment also allowed my reading abilities progress much faster than I though they would. By the time I left I was able to read/send texts in Chinese much more easily, navigate commonly used Chinese apps to do things like make online orders, order takeout, and (slowly and painfully) read some Chinese news :).

I think the 1-on-1 instruction is maybe the best way to learn for language-learners who already have a foundation and have a good idea of what skills they want to improve in. My experience was very self-directed, and if this how you like to learn, then CLI's environment is maybe the best place to do so. I personally found many times that the learning materials that my teachers provided weren't super interesting or helpful (most likely due to my particular interests). It was most productive for me to find topics I found interesting to talk about, and have teachers help me read through things I found useful, such as news articles from the Chairman's Bao and reading material within common apps like Wechat, Taobao, etc.

The CLI teachers, interns, and staff are extremely friendly and helpful, and made my stay much easier than I imagined. I didn't realize at first that the teachers and interns could help with getting a phone number, opening a bank account, or even helping you buy things from stores, so getting help on a lot of these things at the beginning really makes adjusting to life in China a lot easier. It also made life much easier that the school's housing provided sheets, towels, hand soap, and even small packets of shampoo/body wash for when you first come. I was very surprised that the cleaning staff even cleaned rooms and changed sheets/towels weekly. The building also had a kitchen for cooking and free washers/dryers. These were all aspects I was worried about, so it was a big relief to not have to figure these out.

One of the best parts of CLI were how well the social activities and trips were catered towards student interests. For example, another student and I expressed our interest in learning traditional Chinese dance towards the beginning of our stay, and I was pleasantly surprised the next week that the interns found a nearby dance school and organized a group lesson for traditional Chinese dance. They also helped us to figure out how to attend dance lessons at this school, which I did so for the remainder of my time at CLI. Another example is that I expressed interest in seeing the Longsheng rice terraces, and it ended up being a school weekend trip a couple weeks later.

Another aspect I really enjoyed about China in general was how convenient many daily life activities turned out to be. Calling a Didi taxi for a short trip was never very expensive (although if I went back in time, I would've learned how to use the shared electric scooters on the sidewalks). Ordering takeout through the Meituan or 饿了么 apps can be cheaper and faster than going out to get food. As a vegetarian, I wished I'd done so sooner to avoid cooking or wasting time trying to find vegetarian food in restaurants. Also, returning things on Taobao turned out to be way easier than I thought, as you can just schedule door-pickup for the item you want to return, so I'd definitely recommend using the opportunity to buy clothes or other things you might need on Taobao :).

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay a couple weeks longer :)
  • Personalized 1-on-1 curriculum
  • Made great friends and memories
  • Extremely helpful and friendly teachers, interns, and staff
  • I found it hard to understand the Guilin accent, making it hard for me to get speaking practice with many locals
  • Vegetarian food is tough to find at restaurants in southern China (restaurant staff don't really understand what "no meat" means)
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Small town environment, world class instruction

I had never been to China before joining CLI. For me, it was difficult to adjust to China and Guilin in my first month. Although I had studied Mandarin for 6 years, I could not understand people's speaking. I did not know the social norms, and it felt like every restaurant had their own unique procedures. It was a gradual adjustment.

Fortunately, after one month, I felt comfortable, and I started to have fun with other students. After two months, I felt comfortable with the language, and I felt like I could handle any situation. After three months, at the end of my program, I had formed many meaningful connections with students and teachers, and I was very sad to leave.

Through 4 hours of class per day, my Chinese level improved dramatically. The teachers understand how to simplify sentences to your level of vocabulary, but they keep you talking and practicing until you're exhausted. Guilin forces you to use Chinese. People only speak Chinese, and they expect you to speak Chinese. After my program in Guilin, I traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, and I was disappointed to find that many people spoke English, so I felt a little uncomfortable practicing my Chinese with them. In Guilin, the environment is 100% Chinese. It's difficult, but it's a good learning environment.

If you want to focus on improving your Chinese, CLI is an amazing school. The city of Guilin does not have many Western comforts, but it's beautiful, safe, and comfortable. I'm happy I went to CLI, and I'd recommend it to other students with similar goals.

What was your funniest moment?
One of my teachers tried to describe the meaning of a character, 猛. Honestly, her description was terrible. (Normally, her descriptions were great.) We both knew it was terrible, and we looked at each other and started laughing. We could not stop laughing until we took a break halfway through class. I will never forget the meaning of the word (fierce, ferocious) because I have a heartwarming memory of the experience.
  • Great instruction
  • The teachers genuinely care about the students
  • The school provides class, housing, food, and activities
  • Little Western comforts
  • Classes can be tiring
  • Social life at the school is unique because students come and go frequently
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Once-in-a-lifetime Experience

My partner and I can't recommend CLI enough! After taking online classes with CLI for about two years, I couldn't wait to do their immersion program and bring my partner (a true beginner) along. We spent about two months at CLI with four hours of individual classes each day and three different teachers focused on certain aspects of language learning. This is their standard practice, which is nice to mix up the classroom experience. Aside from the high-quality custom instruction, the experience living at CLI and participating in weeknight and weekend adventures only adds to it. We got ourselves into a routine of weekly badminton and adventuring around town. It was refreshing to meet other students from all walks of life - beginners to nearly fluent individuals, college students to middle-aged and retired friends, and solo travelers to couples and small families. CLI is a place for everyone and they really support your whole experience from applying, traveling to China and back, and continuing your education after the program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
We recommend checking in with yourself before and during the program to consider your language goals and any other priorities during your time at CLI. If it's to truly grow and immerse yourself, go for it! For example, several of us leaving around the same time lamented not sitting at the Mandarin-speaking table as often as we would have liked during lunch, or being too timid to participate in earlier immersion activities. While that's normal and totally okay, if it's something you really want to get out of the experience, build a plan to make it happen. And also give yourself grace and know the fried brain feeling is real after a long day of classes. You'll get through it and realize it's a healthy part of the learning process!
  • Teachers and staff
  • Living, studying, and playing at CLI
  • Guilin and the beautiful landscape
  • If traveling in the winter, prepare for the cold outdoors and indoors and pack accordingly
  • If visiting CLI during a big holiday like Spring Festival, it may be a quieter week at CLI, which we actually liked
  • If you have food allergies, it can be tricky but not impossible. Teachers and the school's chef were very helpful and I learned what I needed to make on my own.
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The only place to learn Mandarin

As someone who studied Mandarin in school but forgot most of it, I’ve always wanted to give leaning it another shot. And this course was exactly what I needed - the one-on-one lessons with some incredible teachers and the general excitement for learning within CLI really helped to keep me motivated (something I struggle with), and kept my passion for the language alive. Another thing that greatly helped my rapid progression in the language was CLI’s location. Guilin is a city filled with friendly and approachable people who are very unlikely to know any English, giving you the perfect chance to practice your Mandarin in practical settings all the time, and never feeling judged when you stumble over your words a bit. It really helped to build my confidence, which in turn helped my passion for the subject grow. The atmosphere in and around CLI is truly an amazing one, and I would recommend this course extremely highly to anyone at any level trying to learn Mandarin - you’ll be amazed at how quickly you improve, trust me.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to be braver trying to speak to strangers from the very beginning. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at - the more you speak and listen to locals, the more confident you’ll get. That sort of thing puts me very outside of my comfort zone, but it doesn’t take long to realise it’s not as scary as you might have thought.
  • Incredible teaching
  • Delicious food
  • A welcoming environment of fellow students
  • Toilets in the rooms are a bit wobbly
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I can’t believe there’s anywhere better to learn Mandarin

We have been expertly welcomed, immersed in Chinese culture and had so much fun…and then there’s the lessons.

I am a complete beginner and I was surrounded by people who could speak Mandarin. I wondered how boring and awful it would be for the teachers having to teach someone who couldn’t pronounce even the basic words.

I was treated with absolute respect and patience - applauded for my efforts and encouraged past my safety zone.

I literally couldn’t have asked for more and on my second visit I found I was actually beginning to make progress and had the delight to see students who had been studying for six months speaking fluently with their teachers.

CLI is a fabulous place to learn Mandarin and Guilin as a city is a wonderful place to be…

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay for longer!
  • Quality of teaching
  • Being with other students of all ages
  • Guilin itself
21 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers