As a graduate student Im trying to learn Chinese. I've been learning the language for a year or so through various ways (self study, private tutoring, did an exchange study in Mainland)

Yet my level is still intermediate and I want to step up the game.

I found this short term language program at BeiDa, which costs reasonably (4000 rmb for 1 month, only classes) and I could consider it as a nice way of improving my Chinese.

However some people have warned me of not taking the one month program too serious: how much can you improve in one month? Don't waste your time as these programs are not aimed at academic students and research purposes

My question is: What factors should I consider when applying for such a program?

What are you experiences of attending short term programs?

Did you feel any subtantial impact on your skills? What advice would you give to people like me?

Or did you feel in the end that there were better ways to use your time and money? Finding a tutor or so.

I aim ofcourse not to get super fluent in a month but dont want to have a sense of having wasted my time.

Thanks a lot!

  • 2
    This is inappropriate question. Even asking for opinion, you didn't specify your level (writing, speaking, and even books you are able to read). – mootmoot Dec 19 '16 at 17:36
  • 1
    You can't get fluent in a month. Not even close – Featherball Dec 19 '16 at 18:05
  • I definitely agree: a one month program won't get you fluent, but I'll just try it out and see how it works out. Thanks for the comments! – Rusty Dec 23 '16 at 7:26

As our people said: Haste makes waste.

The most important things, what's your original goals?

You've been learning the language for a year.Looks like not a short time.

For one thing, it is simply unreasonably hard to learn enough characters to become functionally literate.

So, if you just want to speak Chinese, learn it like a baby(like:image voice mapping),it's quick and simple.

But in usual we estimate it takes seven to eight years for a Mandarin speaker to learn to read and write three thousand characters.

My experiences is, “师父领进门,修行在个人” maybe meaning of "the ball is in someone's court." or "Master Yoda taught you some battle skill,now the stage it's yours"SO THE SHORT TERM PROGRAMS looks like helping to spark an interest in Chinese study. like an AA.

studying Chinese not a deal,So don't think about waste time or money.

If you like it, love it, just do it! you will find a new world.It's my advice.

Otherwise,Chinese does deserve its reputation for heartbreaking difficulty. Those who undertake to study the language for any other reason than the sheer joy of it will always be frustrated by the abysmal ratio of effort to effect. Those who are actually attracted to the language precisely because of its daunting complexity and difficulty will never be disappointed.

Whatever the reason they started, every single person who has undertaken to study Chinese sooner or later asks themselves "Why the hell am I doing this?" Those who can still remember their original goals will wisely abandon the attempt then and there, since nothing could be worth all that tedious struggle. Those who merely say "I've come this far -- I can't stop now" will have some chance of succeeding.

  • Thanks for your insightful answer. It does help me to think more about what I actually want. You're correct: I should stop thinking that such a training will boost my skills significantly and that I should relativise my learning trajectory. I'll sign up for the program, and just see how it works out. – Rusty Dec 23 '16 at 7:24

I assume you're considering such a program mostly because you want to improve by soaking yourself in Chinese. It is a great way - the best way - to learn a language. However, in a university, every student can speak English, more or less. They will be also very willing to talk with you in English to improve their language abilities. You may find it extremely hard to avoid the temptation to speak English, especially if their English is better than your Chinese.

My friends attended exchange programs in the US. Their primary goals were not improving English. They did not improve much technically. However, they did have more confidence to speak with other people. So if you have never been in an all-Chinese environment and are a little itimidated by such thought, you'll find it somehow worthwhile. But since you mentioned you have already done this, you probably wouldn't get anything new.

There are so many Chinese students all over the world. Make friends with them. Hang out with them. If you're looking to learn more formal/academical language, offer to proofread their English essays for class, and in exchange, ask them to proofread your Chinese essay. If you're looking to know more about informal language/slangs/pop culture, register on Chinese social media and add your Chinese friends. (Rec: zhihu.com, a Q&A&Disccusion site similar to Quora; weibo.com, similar to twitter; WeChat, similar to Whatsapp+twitter+paypal+a lot...--But this is more private, and you won't see anything public like "trending".) Ultimately, get some Chinese textbook in Chinese (语文课本).

  • Thanks for the many tips! I'll keep some of them in mind! – Rusty Dec 23 '16 at 7:25

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