It looks like I'm moving to Beijing Jiaotong University, and I'm seeking Chinese courses at my level. My reading level is around 三年级 (grade-3 level) and speaking level is probably less than that (maybe 二年级), enough to have conversations on unspecialized topics. Mostly I'm self-taught, but I feel I should get a proper education.

  • I'm seeking in-person classes, with homework and/or exams.
  • I'm seeking a class at an appropriate level.

    • If the notes use pinyin for anything other than new vocabulary, it's probably too easy for me.
    • If the teacher speaks English, it's probably too easy.
  • Ideally, the material would be what is normally taught to Chinese children.

Searching the web gives lots of courses, but they're hard to judge. Most classes I find are at the absolute beginner level, optimized for passing HSK exams, or are tailored to doing business in China. They typically minimize reading and writing, and focusing on speaking and listening, to suit "Western" tastes. I'm more seeking class for people who intend to permanently live in China. I'm not sure what to look for.

Question: How can I find a suitable-level Chinese class in Beijing?

I thought about a course while I was in Australia, but the study material is artificial and boring! For example:


I attended some classes at Nankai University when I was there; the teachers are fantastic, the material is interesting, but the level was too low (absolute beginner). I wish I could find something like that, but at a more suitable level.

I did not find this question addressed here: Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese I hope this question is of interest beyond just my personal needs, particularly since I ask about classes in Beijing.

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    If you’re finding that you’re in an awkward position with regards to learning Chinese (or any language), try courses for heritage speakers. – dROOOze Sep 18 '19 at 5:32
  • What is your budget? There are some really good courses that are also very expensive. – Marko Sep 18 '19 at 7:59
  • I don't really have a particular budget, but I'd prefer a class rather than one-on-one tutors. – Becky 李蓓 Sep 18 '19 at 8:02
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    I personally had a lot of success taking the IUP course hosted at Tsinghua University. iupchinesecenter.org I feel like you're just in the right position to take the lowest level courses they offer (or maybe even a bit higher!) – Marko Sep 18 '19 at 8:07
  • @Marko Thanks! I sent them a message on their online form. Maybe that's suitable. – Becky 李蓓 Sep 18 '19 at 8:35

To answer my own question, I'm currently taking the part-time 1-on-1 classes from the LTL Mandarin School: https://ltl-beijing.com/chinese-tutor-beijing/.

I was attracted to this because (a) I Googled it and most reviews were good, (b) the prices are clearly listed, and it's exactly what I paid (so no "tricks"---what it says is exactly what I paid), (c) the teacher comes to my office, which is incredibly convenient, and (d) I could start immediately (no waiting for semester dates, no enrollment process).

I've had maybe 7 lessons thus far (2 hours each). My comments:

  • I'm relieved that I'm not the top student; my teacher has students with better Chinese than me. She knows how to help me.

  • I currently write a diary in Chinese, which I feel is a good approach as I want to learn how to discuss topics related to me. These are not always comfortable topics. E.g. my last diary entry was about my recent visit to Iran, and the impact Trump's sanctions are having there. It's something I would talk about normally.

  • My teacher seems to understand how I feel about Chinese textbooks: they are incredibly boring, with fake dialogues. I want opinions and controversy, not "Mike picked up Li Wei from the airport"---I want something I would be interested in reading ordinarily. That being said, I still need to understand Chinese grammar, where it might be unavoidably dry.

  • My teacher is friendly and nice. The two hours seem to go very quickly!

  • 1
    Very happy you have found something useful. Might be useful to start picking up some local newspapers and seeing how local and world events are portrayed in them too. – Marko Oct 16 '19 at 6:12

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