CLI: Chinese Immersion Program in Guilin, China

Video and Photos

Just one of 1000's of tasty dishes available withing walking distance of CLI. This one was on Culture Street and cost about $1.
Guilin's famous sun and moon pagodas 'in the downtown' as the locals say.
The CLI lobby with all the alumni's names written on the pillars. Mine is there twice now!
mandarin chinese language
mandarin chinese language
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About

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.

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!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 40 reviews
  • Academics 9.8
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.8
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
  • Instruction 9.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.2
  • Value 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 40
Default avatar
Scott
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

5th time to CLI

I just returned from Guilin several days ago after spending 5 weeks at CLI. This was my 5th time at CLI! I have been studying Mandarin Chinese for about 4 years. The first time I traveled to Guilin to attend CLI's immersion program was 3 years ago. My first experience was great. Although my language skills were not very good that first time, all of my teachers were very patient with me and also very encouraging. Learning a new language does not come naturally for me. The next 4 times progressively got better and better! As my level of fluency has slowly increased over the past few years, it has literally opened up a new world for me. I can thank my teachers and the helpful interns at CLI for allowing this to happen. The teachers and interns are all native Chinese speakers. They have all been awesome, not only am I learning a language, but in the process of learning they allow me to experience their culture and history, through instruction as well as through participating in weekly organized activities. All of my teachers over these past several years have been awesome! I can tell that becoming a teacher at CLI is not easy as these teachers must be the best of the best. As the classes are all 1 on 1, your teachers can really work with you and find out what your goals are and which teaching methods seem to work best when having class with you. I have looked forward to and enjoyed every single class session that I have had at CLI. The interns who work at CLI are local college students. Each time I travel to Guilin, a car picks me up at the airport and delivers me to CLI. As I am getting out of the car door, no matter what time it is (including the middle of the night), there is always an intern coming out the front door to meet me and escort me to my room. My first couple of times at CLI, I relied heavily on the assistance provided by the interns. They took me to the bank, accompanied me to places to eat, showed me where the grocery store was and if necessary helped me order food and communicate. They were like my protective bubble as well as personal teacher and friend when I was not in class. This is really a well thought out system! Guilin is an ideal place to learn and practice your language skills. One reason is that there are very few foreigners here and most locals don't speak english. This really forces you to be immersed and you have little choice but to practice your speaking, listening, and reading. Over the years, I have not only become friends with the teachers, interns and employees at CLI but also some of the local business owners and their employees (at the restaurants and shops I frequent). Even though I am a from a foreign country, I am always welcomed in Guilin, as if I was part of the family! Two years ago after returning home, I decided to start taking the online (skype/video) classes with one of my teachers at CLI. This way I can study year round and choose the frequency of classes that works best for me. I still look forward to going back to Guilin each year, however setting up weekly online classes with my teacher has kept me moving in a forward direction while I am back home. As you can tell, I highly recommend CLI!

Default avatar
Kevin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome Choice!

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!
Default avatar
Vic
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not To Good to Be True!

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.
Default avatar
Luke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First time at CLI

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.

Default avatar
Silas
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Study Chinese in Guilin

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!

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

CLI is epic

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。
Default avatar
Sophia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CLI was good stuff

Translated by Go Overseas:

My name is Feifei. This is my fourth time to come to cli to learn Chinese.
I really like the environment and people of cli because they welcome me. I feel that my Chinese level is really getting better and I will learn a lot of new words and grammatical structures every day. I came to cli this time and they took the initiative to have a weekend event - Longsheng. Longsheng is a picturesque place, and I really like the feeling of calmness and comfort that it brings to my heart. I also like Guilin rice noodles. I always add more meat because it costs fifteen dollars, and the pork is crisp and fat. I also like my teachers very much, because I have many opportunities to discuss interesting topics in class.

This time I learned a new textbook. This textbook is about the hot topics of the current society and the phenomena of modern attention and the influence of these phenomena and topics. The title of my first text is ‘‘See’ If You Are the One, know the modern concept of marriage and love’. This article is about the theme of the discussion, the modern Chinese fast-food marriage and love phenomenon, that is, the Chinese people's concept of marriage and love. The Chinese concept of marriage and love is more traditional than foreigners. They are very concerned about the inheritance of family and culture, so getting married and having children is very important for them. On the contrary, many Westerners do not pay much attention to traditional family structure and family heritage. Chinese girls are looking for a partner who wants to 'have a car and a house, and both parents are dead.'

The second lesson is about the social hotspots of "women's rights protection". Because 'male and female inequality' is a social problem that has existed since ancient times, so the slogan of equality between men and women has been called for many years, but the problem remains presence. In today's society, gender discrimination is still very serious in some cases, and this kind of discrimination infects people's language and is reflected in various social phenomena. The good news is that modern women's awareness of rights protection is gradually increasing, and their efforts have sounded the alarm of gender morality to society.

My room in cli is also very cool and very warm. There is a bed in the room, a matching table and chairs bench, hot water, air conditioning, and a complimentary laundry and drying service. The place that I like most and satisfied is the switch next to the bed. This is because I am very afraid of going to bed in the dark. I think there will always be horrible ghosts in the dark! So overall, cli gives me a feeling of going home,

Finally, I really like this perfect place!

Original Review:

我叫飞飞,这次是我第四次来cli学中文。
我非常喜欢cli的环境和人,因为他们都很欢迎我。我觉得我的中文水平真的日趋提高,每天都会学很多新的生词和语法结构。我这次来cli也去了他们主动地一个周末活动-龙胜。龙胜是一个·风景如画的地方,我非常喜欢它带给我内心的那种平静欣慰的感觉。我也很喜欢桂林米粉,总是会加更多肉因为值十五块钱,而且猪肉又脆又肥。我也很喜欢我的老师们,因为我在课上有很多机会讨论有意思的话题。

这次我学了一个新的课本,这个课本是关于当下社会的热点话题和现代受人关注的现象以及这些现象和话题带给人们的影响。我第一个课文的题目是‘’看‘非诚勿扰’知现代婚恋观‘。这篇文章说的是讨论的主题是,现代中国人快餐式婚恋现象,即当下中国人的婚恋观。中国人的婚恋观相比外国人而言,是比较传统的。他们非常注重家庭和文化的传承,所以结婚和生孩子对他们来说是非常重要的事情。相反的,很多西方人不太重视传统的家庭结构和家庭传承。中国女生寻找伴侣是,想要‘有车有房、父母双亡’。

第二篇课文是就“女性维权”的社会热点问题而展开的,因为‘男女不平等’是从古至今一直存在的社会问题,所以男女平等的口号已经喊了很多年了,但是如今问题依然存在。当今的社会,在某些情况下性别歧视还非常严重,而这种歧视侵染了人们的语言,也反映在各种社会现象中。可喜的是现代女性的维权意识正在逐渐增强,而她们的努力向社会敲响了性别道德的警钟。

我在cli的房间也挺酷,很温馨。房间里有床,有配套的桌椅板凳,有热水,有空调,以及提供免费的洗衣干衣服务。最令我喜欢和满意的地方是床旁边的开关。这是因为我非常害怕在黑暗情况下摸黑上床睡觉。我觉得黑暗中总会有恐怖的鬼神!所以整体而言,cli给我一种回家的感觉,

最后,我很喜欢这个十全十美的地方!

Default avatar
Kimberly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic and inspiring learning experience

I had the most incredible time at CLI. It's an amazing community of learners and explorers across many countries, backgrounds, and ages. I so enjoyed learning alongside folks from ages 16 to 60+; it made for a dynamic community and so many interesting conversations. CI has really developed something special in its community; the teachers, interns, and other staff are kind, helpful, fun, an deeply invested in your success. If you push yourself to fully integrate into the program and truly take advantage of all the many in-language cultural opportunities they offer, your growth will be exponential. By the time I left, I felt I had developed true and deep friendships with the Chinese faculty and my homestay parents. Throughout my time, I participated in classes on Chinese traditional watercolor painting, paper cutting, cooking, tea, and more, and I went on two of the overnight weekend trips. The trips were an incredible way to bond with other students and the participating staff, and also to experience some beautiful and oftentimes more remote areas that you might not know how to find on your own. I highly recommend participating in as many activities as possible - they'll only enhance your stay.

I can't speak highly enough of my teachers - they were inspirational in their dedication to me and their dedication to the craft of teaching Chinese. I encourage you to take every opportunity to get to know your teachers outside of class - I made baozi, went out for meals, and shared personal stories and ideas with my teachers, and it was one of the most special parts of my time in Guilin.

I also feel that my Chinese skills grew tremendously. If you push yourself to stay in language as much as possible, you'll find that there are endless opportunities to grow; every encounter and every meal can become another opportunity to learn something new.

Can't recommend CLI highly enough - if you have the chance, go! You'll love it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of all the opportunities to learn more about the real China, and push yourself to have experiences in-language. My final two weeks I rarely spoke English and instead opted to spend as much time as possible outside of class with my teachers and homestay family, and it was the most satisfying and heartwarming part of my time in Guilin.
Default avatar
Paula
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Una gran experiencia y oportunidad.

Translated by Go Overseas:

Hello everyone! Since they are almost all comments in English, I write for the public or students of Spanish.
It has been a great opportunity, a great experience. My time there has been short, only three weeks, but for work reasons, I have only been able to go during this time. I had been studying Chinese for quite a few years, although intermittently, I saw that I was not advancing and that is why I decided to reinforce it. I read very positive comments about CLI on many sites and websites I visited.
Everything is sensational, from the moment they pick you up at the airport and you feel that you are not alone. They help you to land and not feel the shock that comes from China.
The program is intense and fantastic.
In my case I feel that I have reinforced a lot. The Chinese language is a passion, 3 weeks has been very short, I hope I can come back soon.
I recommend CLI and its program and activities.

Original:

Hola a todos! ya que son casi todos los comentarios en Inglés, escribo para el público o estudiantes de Español.
Ha sido una gran oportunidad, una gran experiencia. Mi tiempo allí ha sido corto, sólo tres semanas, pero por motivos de trabajo, sólo he podido ir durante este tiempo. Estudiaba Chino desde hace bastantes años, aunque intermitentemente, veía que no avanzaba y por ello me decidí a reforzarlo. Leí comentarios muy positivos sobre CLI en muchos sitios y páginas webs que visité.
Todo es sensacional, desde el momento que te recogen en la aeropuerto y sientes que no estás solo. Te ayudan a aterrizar y no sentir el shock que supone llegara China.
El programa es intenso y fantástico.
En mi caso siento que he reforzado muchísimo. El idioma Chino es una pasión, 3 semanas ha sido muy corto, ojalá pueda volver pronto.
Recomiendo CLI y su programa y actividades.

Default avatar
Fox (Matthew)
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Privilege to be around common minds

There's a profound & rare opportunity to be amongst like-minded people who are committed to this language. You share chats about approaches to hanyui, gain ideas, see people's paths, understand their fascination and commitment, as well as their visions for the country and the country's role in the world. Ultimately, you are given the space to reflect on your own role, and your own paths to this language.
Further, most people I spoke with achieved a sense of consolidation of all the random bits of Chinese we had been studying over the years. This place, be it the charming guesthouse next door or the neighbourhood, is the most conducive to coalescing your whole historical relationship with the language into a sharpened tool ready to channel your mind through, and to develop one more personality.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Stay nearer to the Interns and the locals... don't be tempted to pursue the familiar (I mean the Westerners who are there). Connect to the Chinese... spend your time with them. You'll learn a lot more from them.
Default avatar
Nicholas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wasn't sure what to expect - turned out great

I honestly didn't do much research before I went. I got lucky: everything was great.

My teachers were amazing, with my daily teacher (Anna) being one of the best teachers I've ever had for anything. Anna was able to use simple Chinese and body language to communicate everything with virtually no English, meaning I got a ton of actual Chinese practice. I was consistently impressed at how effective she was at using Chinese to teach despite my low Chinese level. The class adapted to my needs, and my teachers clearly communicated out of class because classes later in the day reinforced newly discovered weaknesses. The classes were the best part of the program, no doubt.

People in Guilin really don't speak English, so you quickly learn how to live in China. My Chinese was pretty bad when I first arrived, but was still able to make it day-to-day as I learned more phrases.

Housing was great - I recommend you live in CLI if you can. You can quickly get to classes, and you can make your own schedule. If you live in a homestay, you need to coordinate with your host family which can infringe on social events.

Guilin of course is beautiful - it's well known by all Chinese people for it's natural beauty and that reputation is well earned.

The activities were great to see the famous sites, but as time went on I made friends in Guilin and spent time with them instead - better to spend time with the locals instead of foreigners I figure.

Overall it was a great experience and I will always be trying to think of a way I can return in the future.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Cram more vocab before I arrived. Often vocabulary was my bottleneck, and I could have learned this before I arrived.
Default avatar
Joeri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Couldn't have picked a better programme

I did a 4 weeks immersion course at CLI in May 2019, and couldn't be happier with my experience. If I had had more time, I would probably have extended my stay by a couple of weeks. If you're considering doing an immersion course in China, CLI should definitely go on your shortlist.

First of all, I made great progress on my Chinese fluency in those 4 weeks, even though that is a relatively short time. Each week, you have 20 hours of completely tailored one-on-one lessons with three dedicated tutors (comprehensive, reading/writing and speaking/listening), moving at the pace that you need, focusing on the things you want to improve most. We used a textbook as a guide, but we did a lot of stuff outside of it, too. If you have a specific direction you want to take your Chinese in, or have a specific learning style, CLI is definitely really good at accommodating that. I arrived having studied a little Chinese beforehand, but there were also people there who arrived not speaking a word of Chinese, and people who were fairly fluent already, and they all seemed to be very happy with their individual programmes.

Outside of class, you're also in an environment where you can practice your Chinese all the time if you want. There are interns from the nearby university in the common area of the building at pretty much all hours, you can chat with them or ask them questions and they're really helpful if you're trying to do things like get a Chinese SIM-card or order things online.

Guilin is pretty laid back as a city, and because most people do not speak English, you really do get to practice "in the wild" every day. So even though it's not as vibrant as Shanghai, say, it's a better learning environment in my opinion.

Getting to know the other students was without a doubt my favourite part of the experience. Everybody's motivated, you get to meet people from all sorts of different backgrounds, and there's always people around to grab dinner with, have drinks on the roof with, or go places on the weekend.

So, definitely highly recommended, might even go again myself some time!

Paul
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Quality Language Education in a Friendly Environment

CLI provides a great learning experience. Classes are all one-on-one and are tailored to whatever the individual student needs/wants. Not only are the teachers willing to use whatever textbook the student wishes, but they are flexible as to how classroom time is spent. The faculty and staff are all friendly and helpful, making the student's time in and out of the classroom enjoyable. There are several optional programs a week, such as calligraphy or a visit to a tea house, that round out the experience of being in China. There is also the option to only speak and be spoken to in Mandarin, giving one the opportunity for a truly immersive experience. I've been a college professor for over 10 years and was a language instructor prior to that, and I wholeheartedly recommend CLI.

Default avatar
MATTHEW
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CLI-Good But Could be Better

CLI has wonderful teachers. I may well go back again for this reason alone. They really do care and they really do try to provide students with what they need to improve their Mandarin. The down side is that this is not really an immersion program. Once class is over, the students almost all speak English. And some of the teachers seem to encourage this. Moreover, the staff are even worse. One staff member repeatedly spoke English with me while I spoke Mandarin. And this happened more than once. The result is that the school has intensive classes, but the overall experience is not as transformative as it could be. Some of this is natural, given the high numbers of native English speakers in the program, but the school could do more to combat it if it really wants to provide an immersion program. See below for some specific suggestions.

What would you improve about this program?
If CLI wants to provide a truly first rate immersion program, it needs to: 1) require teachers and staff to speak only Chinese, inside the classroom and out; 2) recruit more non-English speakers by offering Japanese and Korean language websites; and 3) provide more native Chinese speakers on extra-curricular activities. I participated in one overnight activity that had one native Chinese speaker and eight native English speakers. From the perspective of learning Chinese, it was a waste of time.
Default avatar
Stephen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What I learned in 2 weeks at CLI:

If you’re serious about learning to speak Chinese, you need to spend some time in China. CLI offers a great venue, a great one-on-one format, and great teachers, staff and fellow students to join you on your journey.

CLI has a picturesque location in the beautiful tourist destination of Guilin, with its mountains, lakes, temples, and the famous Li River. Even the air is good for a city in China. Try the 7:00 a.m. tai ji class on CLI’s 6th floor roof and soak up the scenery to start your day.

Your classes will give you solid training in all aspects of the language: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing. People of many ages, backgrounds and levels of proficiency in Chinese come to CLI from all over the world. You’ll make lots of new friends, and will have a lot of fun with the many different activities, the lunches, and the weekly welcoming and farewell dinners.

Then head out into the city and strike up conversations with local people. You’ll be so glad you did.

My two weeks at CLI flew by. My Chinese improved significantly. Next time I’ll stay longer.

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About 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...