What course levels are available?
Our program participants and students are usually all at different levels when they first join our program. The Chinese language course can accommodate students of all levels, whether you have studied Chinese before or not. Prior to formally beginning your course, you will need to take a placement test to determine your Chinese level and then be placed in the appropriate class for you.
Usually the Chinese classes are separated into 3 main categories: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Within in these large groups for example, the beginner level might be broken down into two further sub-groups: an absolute beginner group for those who’ve never been exposed to Chinese before and a higher beginner group for those who’ve previously learned some basic Chinese but still not confident enough to converse. All in all, our students all get placed in the classes that suit their level for best results.
Where can I find a campus map of my university?
As soon as you arrive in Beijing, the Go Abroad China team will provide you with a map of your university along with other complimentary materials, help you get around the university campus, as well as getting familiar with your new neighborhood where you will stay for the duration of your program.
Where and when do I get my course textbooks?
Textbooks are all included in the Go Abroad China total program fee. The textbooks will be issued to you on your first day at school.
How many students will be in one class?
On average, there are 10-15 students per class. Normally a class size does not exceed 20 students at the most.
What is an average day like?
Most Chinese courses in Beijing, Shanghai will follow a similar model of having for example 4 to 6 hours of Chinese class everyday. Additionally; you will get homework that requires about two hours to be completed, and it usually involves practicing Chinese Characters and revision. If however you have chosen the Intensive Mandarin Program, your class hours will increase from four to six hours per class.
What am I going to learn?
Well we encourage our students to study as much as possible especially since learning Chinese is a time-intensive process. Practicing Chinese Characters and memorizing your new words will lead to faster, ideal results.
As a general guide, over the course of a semester of study, we expect the average student to learn and master roughly 800 new characters (this amounts to 100-200 characters per month).
To put this into perspective:
- Knowing 200 characters is enough to survive at a basic level on a day to day basis, that is; introduce yourself, give directions to a taxi driver, order basic food and drink
- Knowing 800 characters will allow you to hold a simple conversation in Chinese, for example talking about the weather, your likes and dislikes, shopping and almost effortlessly getting around town.
- Knowing 1 500 characters will allow you to be able to read a newspaper; although you might not recognize every character, but you will still be able to grasp the overall meaning in an article.
- Knowing 2500-3500 characters puts you at roughly the same level as a local Chinese high school student. At this stage you will be able to fully read and understand newspapers and television programs, and converse easily in a wide range of topics.
- Mastering 4500-5500 characters puts you around the same level as a local Chinese university student. At this level, you are expected to speak fluently in any situation, be able to do translation and understand & speak as a well-educated “local”.
- Getting to the level of 20 000 – 30 000 characters puts you within a very small group of linguistic academic experts who command a very rare knowledge of all non standard vocabulary and subtleties contained in Mandarin Chinese. Not many people, foreign and even local ever reach this level, but there is no harm in trying!
Can I receive university/college credit points for work completed on my Mandarin course?
Go Abroad China places the participants and students in internationally accredited universities; therefore most universities outside China accept these credit points. Most of the GAC past participants have successfully transferred the credits that they earned here to their original universities in their own country. Go Abroad China will sure assist you in transferring your credit points too, as long as you comply with each university’s pass rates and points. Still it is still important to double check with your destination university about credit transferal and requirements.
What is the grading system at the university for the Mandarin Language Program?
Short-term programs that are 3 months or less only have one final exam. Longer-term programs that are a semester or one academic year usually have one mid-term and one final exam. The pass mark is normally 50%, but each professor will also adjust your mark according to your class attendance record, so make sure you attend class everyday and participate!
Which topics and lessons will my course cover?
The lessons focus on all parts of the Chinese language: speaking, listening, reading, writing. There is also emphasis on skills that allow students to take advantage of the local environment and be able to communicate in everyday life. In the classroom, students generally go over vocabulary, practice reading, learn grammar and master Chinese sentence formation and structure, do some speaking exercises with other classmates etc. All these aspects of study will ensure tour rapid knowledge of Chinese language.
How many hours per week will I be studying?
The Chinese language classes at our partner universities and schools run from Monday to Friday with a total of 20 hours per week for a standard program. Class sessions are 40-50 minutes a period with a short break provided in between. Students taking the GAC’s intensive Mandarin program have an approximately 10 hours (unless you want something more intensive) a week provided in a one-on-one setting with an experienced tutor. Please click GAC One on One Tutoring for details. On top of normal class hours, you will have homework that you need to do most days.
What are the teachers and lecturers like?
The professors are highly experience native Mandarin speakers, with years of teaching Chinese to Foreigners and are considered as experts and highly capable in their field.
How do I know what level to start at?
Before you formally start your learning, you will need to take a placement test. This is to help the university and your teachers know which class to place you in and your current level of Chinese, regardless of whether you studied Chinese before or not.
How long does it take to be fluent in Chinese?
If you follow the course from the complete beginner level to the end of the advanced level, it should take you around 3 years to reach the level of a native speaker. Of course this includes studying during the summer and winter holiday breaks.
However everyone is different. Some people learn faster than others, and since you take a placement test in the beginner, you don’t have to be confined in that level. It is possible to skip some levels if you are a fast and hardworking learner.
Another thing to remember is that it is not necessary to go through all the levels from beginner to advanced or to speak like a native, a high and reasonable level is usually accepted to live and work in China. Students who complete the beginner level should be able to converse in simple Chinese already.
Which documents will be given to me when I complete the program?
Go Abroad China provides students with a certification upon successful completion of the program. For those who joined the program at one of our partner universities, each university will issue an additional certificate as well.
Can I arrive before my course begins?
Go Abroad China recommends that students arrive on the specified arrival dates for each program, which are selected such that you have a couple of days to settle into your accommodation, start making new friends and explore your local area! However if you need to arrive before the stipulated time, or want to extend your stay after the program officially ends, then this can be arranged for a small additional fee.
What is the advantage of private tutoring?
The intensive Mandarin Program offers one-on-one tutoring, which most students find very helpful in quickly advancing their Mandarin studies. Not everybody wants to learn in a classroom environment, this one-on-one private tutoring style is most suitable to these kinds of students. Overtime, we found that students who have difficulty with speaking and listening benefit more out of private tutoring. Furthermore, private tutoring is arranged to fit your individual schedule, making studying more convenient for you. Some students like to schedule their sessions in the afternoon, also choosing a location that they like, for example, at home, at a coffee shop etc.
How can I get a visa?
The Admission Letter from your destination university here in China and JW202 Form are both required to obtain a visa. These documents are provided by Go Abroad China in time for enrollment and when all program fees have been paid in full.
Who will be my private tutor?
We have a selection of private tutors both in Beijing and Shanghai that we have worked with for some years now. We will definitely allocate somebody with teaching experience, is fluent in both English and Chinese, flexible enough to meet your needs and will make learning enjoyable for you.
Please tell me about the One on One tutoring program
The One-on-One language program simply means that you will be appointed your own Chinese tutor to give you Chinese lessons everyday. The tutors that our organization provides are highly experienced in teaching Chinese as an additional language to foreigners, and sometimes may even be language teachers at some of the most reputable universities in Beijing and Shanghai.
What is the structure of the one-on-one tutoring?
Your own tutor will formulate a plan especially for you to help you learn Chinese faster and more efficiently. If you are a total beginner at Chinese, your tutor will make sure to focus heavily on the fundamentals of the Mandarin language. Usually your course plan will include everyday language to help you in the following circumstances: greetings, introducing yourself, shopping, traveling, asking your way around, etc. In the beginning, memorizing vocabulary and phrases will be essential to learning Chinese.
What is the benefit of choosing the One-on-One tutoring style?
- You get more specialized attention from your tutor without distractions from any other people.
- Class time is very flexible; you and your tutor can discuss a suitable time to conduct your lessons according to your schedule.
- One-on-One has time and time again proven to be helpful for people who want to learn Chinese very quickly at a high intensity level.
- You do not have to go to a normal, traditional classroom to study; your lessons can be at your own home, at a coffee shop, in a park etc. The whole point is to make the learning experience as flexible as possible to help accelerate your learning.
Who can select the One on One tutoring program?
Usually candidates who are quite busy during the day and need to work or have other commitments can choose to have a private tutor so that their lessons can be planned in accordance with their day-to-day schedules.
This format is also useful to people who do not wish to undergo the usual classroom learning style with other people, but instead prefer to have a private tutor focus on the student only.
At Go Abroad China, normally the candidates who have chosen the internship program usually pair it with these private tutoring classes.
Which Books Will I Use?
Your tutor will be responsible to select and recommend the best textbooks with regards to your initial Chinese proficiently, how quickly you wish to learn and alongside any other requirements that you might have.