Learn Chinese in China 2024: Best Chinese Language Programs

Learning Chinese in China is one of the best investments you can make. Whether you want to use it for academic purposes, to increase your value on the job market, or to gain a new perspective on life, speaking the most-spoken language in the world delivers many opportunities.

Learning Chinese is a process! You are probably wondering about how long you should study, how much a program costs, the best universities to apply to, and how to apply. This article gives you all the info you need in order to get application-ready to Learn Chinese in China!

Study Chinese Online

Are you interested in learning Chinese online? Check out the top Chinese programs here.

China Admissions has many resources to help you improve your Chinese from wherever you are in the world. Check out these guides:

Top Cities to Learn Chinese in China

Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and rural China are top options for Chinese learners. If you are in China, check out these wonderful language schools to get fluent fast:

learn chinese in china - rural china

How much time should I spend learning Chinese?

This depends on what your plans are and your current skill level. Most universities usually differentiate between three to four skill levels: beginner/elementary, intermediate, and advanced.

How long does it take to learn Chinese? Most experts agree that it will take around 88 weeks of full time study to learn Chinese for native English speakers. This is because Chinese is quite different compared to Germanic or Romance languages like French, English, or Spanish: Chinese has characters instead of an alphabet, it is a phonetic language, and has rather different grammar patterns.

Read More: How Long Does It Take To Learn Chinese?

Additionally, if you learn Chinese in China, the immersion into Chinese life and society will take your Chinese skills to new heights. Because you can practice using Chinese in your daily life in China, the results will be even better.

Below you can see some estimates on how much progress you can expect from studying for one semester. You can expect similar results from most universities and you can learn even faster if you study full time (30-40 hours per week).

learn Chinese in China

If you are a beginner and want to learn Chinese to get along in daily life in China, one or two semesters are surely enough to help you reach that goal. You may not be able to study a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD program in the Chinese language with that but don’t worry, our database exclusively focuses on English taught programs. If you want to study a degree program in Chinese, then you will need to reach at least the level of HSK4 or HSK5 (depending on the university). We are also happy to help you find Chinese-taught degree programs.

If you want to study in Chinese or reach a higher level of learning, a great way is to study for the HSK test. This test measures Chinese-language proficiency in simplified Chinese for international students. Learn more about preparing for the HSK here.

Read more about studying Chinese here!

The Best Schools to Learn Chinese in China!

This mainly depends on the time and money you want to invest. Most Chinese universities offer language courses, but a few stand out as the best options for international students.

If you are wondering about how Covid will affect you entering China to study, check our update here.

Beijing Language and Culture University

BLCU is one of the most popular choices! The university offers a variety of short-term programs which range between four weeks and one semester. Long-term programs range between one and four years. BLCU’s programs start at various different points each year. The application fee for short-term programs is $90 USD and for long-term programs $120 USD.

Double rooms are available for 50 RMB ($8 USD) per night, big double rooms cost 80 RMB ($12 USD) and single rooms are available for 150 RMB ($24 USD). BLCU charges a bit more but still provides an affordable, high-quality education. If you value highly professional teaching and the flexibility to choose between different programs, BLCU is the right option for you.

Mandarin House

If you have a tight schedule or very specific ideas in terms of your goals, Mandarin House is probably the best option. The school charges much more than other universities or schools but offers a big variety of programs such as business Chinese, part-time Chineseprivate tutoring, and much more. Lessons can be bought from 2190 RMB ($330 USD) per week but can also be much higher if you order private lessons for example. Mandarin House offers shared apartments with private rooms or private apartments. The prices for the shared apartments start from 1690 RMB ($250 USD) per week. You can find all programs offered by Mandarin House here.


Chinese Language Institute

Chinese Language Institute is home to a community of local and international educators located in Guilin, a beautiful and mountainous town in southern China. The institute is grounded by values of trust, openness, and putting students first. Educators at CLI are passionate about sharing the Chinese language and culture. CLI provides a welcoming and warm environment for students, ensuring that you have the best possible learning experience.

CLI has a 5-story center that includes 18 private classrooms, several study areas, and a full kitchen and dining area. The CLI campus also has 3 stories of private bedrooms (each with a full private bathroom), and a recreational room equipped with a pingpong table, electric piano, and mahjong table.

How do I apply to learn Chinese in China?

You can apply in four simple steps

1) Find the right program: You can choose programs from this article or find others in our database.

2) Apply online: Just click the “apply now” button on the program’s webpage or click here to start your application. You only need these four documents. Click the “submit application” button in the confirmation section and we will review your documents.

3) Pay the application fee: Most application fees range from $80-$150 USD. The exact amount as well as the available payment methods will be displayed in the payment section of your online application. The application fee is not a service fee charged by us, it is a fee charged by the university to process your application (find out more). Our application service is free of charge!

4) Get your visa: As soon as the university has approved your application, they will send your admission documents to you via express delivery. You can apply for a visa at your local Chinese embassy with these documents. The documents also contain clear instructions on how to apply for a visa.

Why apply with China Admissions?

We help you throughout the whole process. From finding the right program up until your arrival, we are there for you if you need us! Make sure to check out the top four reasons to start your application with us.

Some frequently asked questions: 

Savannah Billman has a master's degree in Chinese Law and Society at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She holds a B.A. from NYU Shanghai and has also written for The World of Chinese, TechNode, SupChina, and Sixth Tone.
Savannah Billman
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