Hutong School: Study Chinese in China

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About

Study Chinese in China with Hutong School and discover a fascinating culture whilst learning highly sought-after language skills! Join us in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou or Chengdu where you’ll take small group classes tailored to your level, aims and interest with our experienced native Chinese teachers. Whether you’re just starting out or already know some Chinese, our quality teaching, personalised study plan and free tutorial sessions will help propel you to the next level.

Our fully supported program offers you the chance to immerse yourself in Chinese language and culture whilst making friends and connections from around the world. Alongside your classes, you’ll get to join various cultural activities, ranging from calligraphy and cooking classes to trips to major attractions to help enrich your experience and broaden your knowledge of China. When you’re not busy studying, you’ll be out exploring your host city with new friends and classmates.

Highlights
  • Chinese classes suited to your needs
  • Start at the beginning of any month
  • Learn from outstanding teachers
  • Take group or private lessons
  • Take part in additional cultural activities

Questions & Answers

There are not classes for kids

Reviews

90%
based on 57 reviews
  • Academics 8.7
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.1
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.2
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 31 - 45 of 57
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Patrizio
10/10

Incredible and unexpected experience

I have been travelling all over the world since I was 12 but I never had an experience like this. China is wonderful and Hutong School is super organized. Classes, trips, activities, welcome parties, everything in the right place! I had the chance to improve my chinese and at the same time to know incredible people from all over the world. I would recommend it to everyone!

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

Incredible teaching with an amazing experience

The teaching at Hutong School is of a really high standard, better than other schools I have experienced. They cater lessons to your abilities, and have assistance at the ready in case you have any problems. My Chinese level increased very rapidly enough for me to feel confident enough to pass the HSK level 3. The Shanghai school was perfectly located and everything I needed for my stay, I could find it around Hutong School. Extra curricular classes were a lot of fun as well, with anything from cultural visits, Chinese painting, Tai chi and my favourite dumpling making class!

How can this program be improved?
Although a bit pricey, it really was worth it.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Rhea
7/10

Living in Beijing and studying at The Hutong School

After studying Mandarin at SOAS University in London(a hilarious but unfortunate name as SOAS means STD in Dutch..) I decided to further develop my language skills in Beijing and my choice of institute was The Hutong School.

The Hutong School not only offer language classes (from beginner to advanced) but also help with accommodation, visa (which is a little more complicated when not visiting for tourism), finding cheap tickets and anything you could possibly need help with. They also organise social events, which is nice when living somewhere you don't actually know anyone.

After a 10+ hour flight with a short stopover in Helsinki I arrived early in the morning. I picked up my suitcase, made my way to the exit and looked for the Hutong School representative.

The representative in question was no less than Bruce Lee himself. No, I'm serious, 1.71m, black hair, died 41 years ago.. Well, I guess the name was just a mere coincidence. Anyways, Bruce Lee was just lovely and I would meet him quite a few times during my stay in Beijing.
He took me to my apartment and on top of being picked up by China's most famous actor,Bruce informed me that my neighbour was none other that Jackie Chan himself! I staked out but never caught a glimpse..

My apartment was located in Dongzhimen, a really nice and central location only 4 bus stops from the school, 2 stops to Tiananmen Sq. and 2 tube stops from Dongsi and Dengshikou where I usually stay when in Beijing.
The apartment was, as I guess could have been expected, not quite as "nice" as presented on the website. There were cockroaches, it was dirty and located in a building that was generally pretty run down. However, this too had it's charm and as the location was great and a proper clean improved it a lot, I called it home.

I had 4 roommates; a Dutch guy who arrived the same day I did and would be there for 4 months doing an internship at the Dutch embassy whist learning Chinese, two Columbian brothers who had been in Beijing for 7 months, an American guy who had lived in China for 2 years already and worked for The Hutong School at the time.

After settling in, Bruce took me to register with the local police, as a "resident" you need to register and always carry this form with you. He quickly showed me where the supermarket was and took me to The Hutong School to get a level assessment, arrange my schedule and to meet my teachers.
The school is, well, on the contrary of what one would expect and is implied by the name, not actually located in the Hutongs (traditional Chinese style courtyards & houses), but located on Sanlitun bar street - probably the most popular tourist street in Beijing - think Kao San Rd in Bangkok. Not to mention the school, quite opposite of a house in the Hutongs, is a massive skyscraper with The Hutong School located on the 15th floor. Obviously less charming but it did make for great views.

I had a 2 hour private class every day and my teachers were just lovely (as were the rest of The Hutong School staff my I add).Being in China and constantly being immersed in Chinese improved my Mandarin so much.

How can this program be improved?
Definitely cleaner apartments (cockroach free!), better lesson plans & guidance and more activities.
Response from Hutong School

Dear Rhea,

Many thanks for your review. As we always strive to keep improving our services, we mostly appreciate any feedback! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your stay at Hutong School and I hope you still keep speaking Chinese!

As for the apartment, cockroaches unfortunately are inevitably present in Asia. We were however aware of the problem, and the apartment has been made cockroach free.

As you mention, we can improve our lesson plans & guidance, I touched base with our education staff in Beijing, and they didn’t receive any complaints from you regarding this during your stay. We would be happy to know why you were unhappy with your lesson plan and the guidance you received so we can make improvements for our future students. Feel free to shoot us an email anytime ([email protected]).

Thanks again for the review Rhea and wishing you all the best!
-Haike

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

Shanghai branch

When i first applied online to the courses the first thought i had was "people will be cold and heartless, foreigner school in china...doesn't sound like a good deal".
I couldn't have been more wrong. The first contact with the staff was through email and since i haven't had any problem whatsoever dealing with them about anything.
I had few issue appling for my visa but i've been helped a lot by the kindness of the staff who supported me since the first email i've sent them.
I arrived in the middle of the night and there was a guy from the school waiting for and saving me from the savageness of being a new "laowai" in the airport - if you've ever been in southern Asia, it feels the same: taxi drivers touching, screaming at you and overly concerned airport staff that look a bit suspicious -.
Anyhow, as soon as i started classes i realised how it feels like home to be at hutong school, how people is always there for you.
Classes themselves are small and cozy, teachers are usually around my age or so and usually extremely friendly.
As a matter of fact my teacher was so concerned about my health she brought me straight to the nearest farmacy and dealt with the ladies at the counter - and also helped to communicate with them suggesting words -.
Hutong school is simply an extrimely good place to study in, nice people around great staff and heaps of free extra activities that make you feel they really care about you.
Such a shame i can't afford to stay more at the moment, i'd love to stay here 'till my chinese gets decent!

How can this program be improved?
Probably accommodation system could be improved.
A little minority of people, which i belong with, is financially self-supporting and i believe that there's should be a wider choice of sharing-house. I woulnd't mind to share a double room if its costed less. Simply as that, there's people who don't really mind sharing a room and save a bit of money for the everyday life as there's a lot of people asking for more privacy.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ella
9/10

My time at Hutong School

Since I started to learn Chinese in my home country, I knew I would go and visit China one day. Back then, I didn't know how quickly my wish would be fulfilled. Because of given circumstances, I took the chance and chose to take the internship program at Hutong School. I must say, I do not exaggerate when I tell you: I had the time of my life!

Starting from the beginning, I have to say, that this school was the only Chinese language school located in China that fulfilled all my wishes and needs from the beginning: not only that I had the chance to gain professional work experience, I also could decide whether I would like to take additional Chinese classes. Moreover, they offered accomodation, trips around the city, and 24/7 service was included.
Honestly, this school was the only school that offered all this (and even more) for a reasonable price.

After my arrival, I had (and still have) a great time! Of course, China is a beautiful country that is totally worth to go, with their wonderful and interesting culture, history, sights and landscapes (and food!!). However, the staff from Hutong School do their best to make my time here even better. My work from the internship placement is diverse and interesting, my colleagues are lovely and help me out whenever I messed up something (which happens a bit often, but noone complained yet and I won't complain that noone complained yet!)

The Hutong School team always tries to help me out with any issues I have and they make my time here as comfortable as possible. I heard stories from other students who told me the same so I can tell: They're really there for you!

Last but not least: My Chinese lessons. To be honest, I'm not the most hardworking student, but my teacher never loses her temper and her lessons are always varied and interesting. I learn a lot about the Chinese culture from the first hand.

The only thing I could complain would be the accomodation. I share a great apartment with two very nice roommates, a nice (but small, but the sizes varies) sleepig room and two bathrooms(!), which prevents a lot of struggle, especially when there are only girls in a shared apartment! :) Nevertheless, some of my other schoolmates (if only a few) didn't really like theirs.
Further, the kitchenware wasn't too much. At least not enough to cook a big meal. Since I really like to cook, I am not too hapy with this (though it's very cheap to buy this on your own).
However, I hear that the staff already works on both issues so I don't think, this will be a huge problem for future students.

To sum it up:
Do I like China? Oh yes!
Do I recomment Hutong School? You bet!
Would I go to Hutong School again? Absolutely!

Response from Hutong School

Dear Ella Est,

Many thanks for your nice review. I can speak for the entire team of the Shanghai office when I say it is (has been) a great pleasure having you here!

All our apartments are equipped with basic cooking utensils, but we're indeed looking to expand them.

Lazy student or not, don't give up on your Chinese language learning, whatever your next move will be after finishing your internship!

Best,
Haike

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

Beijing

I spent a month in the Beijing branch, improving my Chinese. The atmosphere is pretty good at Hutong school. The school is not that big and there are enough activities so that it's pretty easy to meet other students and spend time with them.

The majority of students are probably in their 20's, staying for 1 to 3 months and have no prior knowledge of Chinese. If you're looking for a good time in a gap year/exchange period, Hutong school is a good place to be, however for me, it was also important to improve my chinese.

If there is a group for your level (for beginners there always is), you have 2 hours of speaking class and 2 hours of character class. The groups are usually small enough (2-5) to make for an intensive experience. If you want private classes, you can have 1 hour of private class instead of 2 hours of group class as well.

What I really liked about Hutong school is that the teachers/staff are quite flexible towards your lesson program. For example: If you are somewhat advanced in speaking but neglected learning characters, you could take 3-4 hours of character class and after you catch up, change back to normal. This is extremely useful for the non-beginner student who knows in which areas he's lacking, and something you can't get in a cookie cutter course at a Chinese university.

The private classes are also excellent. It really gives you a chance to make your own lesson. The standard group classes follow a textbook approach, but in your private class you can do whatever you like, from discussing movies to conversation drills, to grammar exercises. The teachers are really great, as they are willing to try a lot of things.

How can this program be improved?
The accommodation is really not as modern as the website states. The first apartment I was put in when I arrived was quite depressing. After explaining the situation to Hutong, they showed me another apartment and let me decide if I wanted to move there. Glad I did, it was much better, looked like a home instead of a run down warehouse.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Mirjam
9/10

Great Experience

After I decided that I wanted to study Chinese, I decided to take part in the Intensive Chinese Course for 2 months at the Hutong School in Beijing. It was a great decision and was the best eight weeks of my life. The teachers are very good and it's amazing how much you learn in 8 weeks. The small groups made it very easy to learn. The employees of the Hutongschool are always there for us and they are helpful in many areas. The activities at the school outside the classroom are very entertaining and well worth your time. You meet people from all over the world and I have many friends from all over the world!

A day in the life at Hutong School: My classes were in the morning and then I met up for lunch with my classmates and roommates and then went back to class. The classes always flew by because they was so much fun! After just 3 weeks we could understand Chinese much better. After class we went to dinner and depending on the activities the school had planned; such as cooking classes, KTV, lectures or film evenings. On the weekends, we went sightseeing. A highlight of every month was the welcome party for the new students...we were always up till the early morning for those occasions. A special highlight for us was that we were experienced the Chinese New Year in Beijing and had lots of fun celebrating!

When the eight weeks came to an end it was very hard to go back to Germany, but I've already decided that in 2 years if I have to spend my compulsory year abroad, I will go back to the Hutong School in China.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jose-Miguel
9/10

Shanghai School: Very good experience

Another student noted that the biggest highlight of the program were the teachers. That they were really nice and became not only instructors, but friends as well. I agree, but I must add that, for me, the Secretariat staff was just as lovely and dedicated. I thank them all for the trouble they took to help me every time it was needed.
I didn't take an Intensive Course but a half-Intensive Course or so in order to make it affordable for me. Quite enough to make noticeable progress; I thank the staff in charge for allowing me this option.

How can this program be improved?
I agree with some comments about the living conditions being something that could be improved, although I was told they would be. The apartment was good indeed but the location less so, and when I arrived I wasn't given the apartment that I was kindly previously told and so was expecting.
There was no airport pick-up service for me because I didn't arrive on a certain Course starting date, too bad.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Heinz
10/10

Because of the quality of Hutong I am returning

When there were any difficulties or misunderstandings they were handled politely straight away.

Two hundred characters is a very long request. I prefer to write in telegram form, this saves time for the writer and the reader.

One could write a book. The more that is written the more it can be misread and misinterpreted.

There are some people who have developed the art of writing and or speaking all day and longer with out saying anything. However, this is valuable to some.

When the lock in my room malfunctioned it was repaired the same day even though it was a Sunday.

The cleaning person was polite and thorough in her service.

The teaching staff were very professional. They knew how to present learning material to foreigners.

How can this program be improved?
Make sure that there is more air in the class room.

Provide address of suitable eating places that do not cook using MSG.

Have a tourist information service fluent in English.
Yes, I recommend this program
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James
9/10

Beginner 6hr p/w

I came to Shanghai with absolutely no understanding of Chinese culture, customs or language. The staff at Hutong School were friendly and helpful, they made it very easy for me to adjust and in just a month I was already holding conversations with the locals (just about). It was a fantastic experience and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something new, a real challenge or just a change of pace. JC

How can this program be improved?
For me, it met and exceeded my expectations, I can't really say how I'd improve, I've got nothing to compare it to, I've never had an experience like it before!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Niels
8/10

Great school

Really enjoyed both times I went to Hutong School in Beijing. The teachers are highly motivated, helpful and good at activating the students when in class. Classes are kept small so you get to practice speaking the language a lot. Moreover, the school provides courses for virtually all students no matter what level one is at. The many cultural activities arranged by the school provide you with an opportunity to explore parts of Chinese culture which would be difficult to explore on your own as a tourist.

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

Wow! I can read these pictures! :-)

Very nice experience, very friendly and helpful people.
Although I was a difficult student asking a lot of questions the teacher never lost his patience.
I especially liked the writing class, the characters really help to memorize new words and meaning. Though a pure beginner after only two weeks I was able to write read and understand simple sentences using chinese characters. This was so unbelievable as few days before these were just pictures to me.. Wow! Thank You HS :-)

How can this program be improved?
I would suggest to put two short lesson units together to form a one larger one. In this way there would be enough time for a longer break to have some coffee and exchange experiences with other fellow students
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ryan
9/10

Great place to study Chinese

Hutong School Beijing was definately worthwhile. I only stayed there for 2 weeks but learned a lot of Chinese and made heaps of friends. The quality of teaching is so much higher than what I experienced back in Australia and was aimed at all levels. Staff were very helpful. Would definately recommend to anyone who wants to improve their chinese, meet new people and also travel.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing really. I just wish it were cheaper so I could afford it if I came back.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Joanie
7/10

Great experience

The Chinese language intensive program was a great experience for me. I learned a lot of useful Chinese and made a lot of great friends. For me, the biggest highlight of the program were the teachers. They were really nice and became not only instructors, but friends as well.

How can this program be improved?
The living conditions would be something I would change. The description of the apartments on the website and the amount of money I paid for "location" did not make sense.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
max
9/10

Highly recommend

Hutong school was great. My teacher was particularly caring and always available and willing to answer any questions. Staff was very helpful and the course was challenging. My mandarin improved a ton.

How can this program be improved?
none.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About Hutong School

Join Hutong School to study, intern or volunteer in China. Founded in 2005 in the Hutongs of Beijing, Hutong School has over 10 years of teaching experience. We now have locations in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Chengdu. All our programs are...