After graduation, I wanted to do something new and exciting, so I decided to go to China for 4 months to have an amazing experience. As I very much enjoy learning a new language, I started looking... Laurence Provost
Home stay experience
Submitted by Ximenarias - Belfast United Kingdom Open University | April 10, 2016
I chose to stay one week in Shanghai and one in Beijing. The Beijing experience was enriching due to a home stay arranged by the school. Nothing beats the total immersion in the language and culture.:)
Submitted by Laurence Provost - Bruges | March 07, 2016
After graduation, I wanted to do something new and exciting, so I decided to go to China for 4 months to have an amazing experience. As I very much enjoy learning a new language, I started looking for options to study Mandarin in China and stumbled upon Hutong School's website and I basically contacted them immediately. From there, everything went really fast and before I knew, I was in Shanghai!
I followed the Intensive Chinese Program which includes 4 hours of Chinese, everyday from Monday to Friday. I was pleasantly surprised by how much we saw in one day and how our vocabulary expanded so quickly. My Chinese really improved on a daily basis! My teacher's English was really good and she taught in a very structured way. She also gave us homework everyday and from time to time we had a small test, something I definitely appreciated because this really encourages you to study and practice your Mandarin after school hours.
Besides teaching Mandarin, Hutong School also organizes weekly activities, ranging from cooking classes to tai chi, movie nights or even trips to other cities in China. Like this, you meet a lot of new people and you're constantly immersing yourself in the Chinese culture.
From my trips to Huangshan, Hongcun and Beijing to learning Mandarin in a fun way with nice people, I loved everything about my stay in China and I would definitely want to go back! Highly recommended :)
You won't regret it. 8 months in ShangHai
Submitted by Nick Botham - London | March 07, 2016
Taking an extended break from work due to an industry downturn, I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and have a go at learning Mandarin. I'd been to China a few years earlier so it seemed a good opportunity to come back, see a bit more and try to figure out exactly what all those little pictures actually meant! Being a native English speaker I am stereotypically terrible at learning languages.
I spent time before and after summer 2015 in ShangHai, having whittled down a number of the private language schools to the Hutong School. I was happy with the reviews I had read, and the initial simple and straightforward answers I got to my queries when I began emailing the school. The school gave good guidance on applying for the visa, even down to which of the embassies in the UK to apply to for a quicker service! Arriving for the first time at Pudong airport, I was met by one of the school staff and taken to my apartment, shown around the local area and then taken to the school on first day. The apartments all vary in size and style, but despite being fairly basic and well used (they are student places after all) are comfortable and there's always someone to call when something stops working. One good thing is that they are in real Chinese areas, not expat land, so you have to get good at saying SOMETHING, or reading a few things that are on those menus. A visit to the Tesco supermarket is an experience in itself. Live eels is something we don't have in Tesco in the UK...
The school is in a lovely traditional lane area in the French Concession of ShangHai, a short 3-4 station ride from where the school's apartments are. I took group classes for the first 3 months, and then had the same teacher for private classes on my return to ShangHai in the autumn. I found group classes to be a good way to start as you can all help each other out, but after a while people's interests and skill levels diverge so it's possible to split away from your group and take private classes using the "hours" you've already paid for. When you have private lessons you can focus more on things you want to learn as well as following one of the text books. The school now has their own beginner's level text book which looks a lot better than the Beijing University one we used.
After 7 months I am pleased with my progress, and can have basic conversations ('basic' mainly due to me not remembering some of the more complicated grammar!), read about 500 characters, and write (most important to type messages on WeChat!). Though along the way I have made some interesting mistakes, not least I now know that “duck” doesn’t always mean the delicious roast dish served with pancakes, sliced spring onion and HoiSin sauce….. Never invite a group of Chinese people for “Be3iJi1ng Ya1”, it means something completely different to “Bei3j1ing Ka3o Ya1”…. Or write a story and introduce the girl as being called Spring (Chu1n) using the words: jia4o chu1n.... Causing amusement aside, another big achievement was passing the first 2 HSK exams, which you can take every month at the school.
Outside of class the school organise a lot of cultural and social events, from TaiChi or KungFu on the roof of the school, to traditional painting or dumpling making, sightseeing in or out of town and of course the monthly Welcome parties and trips to various restaurants (hot pot in winter, grilled oyster in summer or regular visits to Polo, a famous Shanghainese place a few blocks from school). So there's plenty of opportunity to meet people outside of your class. Plus ShangHai has loads to do, and the cheap flights and fast trains make it so easy to get away for weekends or public holidays.
So in conclusion, I have no regrets about my time at the Hutong School and 100% recommend it to you too!
Best idea ever!
Submitted by Paz neira - Buenos aires | February 24, 2016
Going abroad to China (all the way from Argentina!) was my all time dream, I planned my travel with lots of anticipation and choose Hutong not only because I've had heard it was a very good school but because they had a very good package service ( they pick you at the airport, provide the accommodation, they have a 24/7 emergencies service, etc) and God it was a good idea! They were always there, their team is so nice, always willing to help and make their students experience as great as possible!
I wouldn't think twice if I had the opportunity to go back!
Submitted by Emily - Perth Australia University of Western Australia | January 13, 2016
I was located at the Beijing School for 5 weeks studying 3 hours of Chinese a day (2 hours group classes, and 1 hour of privates.) The classes I had were small and very effective, and I managed to learn a lot in my short time there, I also met a great group of people there (staff and students,) and the staff were always very friendly and willing to help. The location of the school is also amazing, located right in Salitun. Would highly recommend, and hope to come back soon!
Activités et encadrement hors cours
Submitted by Expérience Pékinoise - Calvi France | April 27, 2016
Peu d'activités proposées en dehors d'une soirée au restaurant ou autour d'un verre, je pense qu'il serait bon par exemple pour le Nouvel An chinois, d'organiser un repas le soir dans un quartier animé et voir les feux d'artifices etc, j'y ai passé les vacances seule, alors qu'une proposition d'un petit séjour dans une autre province aurait pu y être proposé afin de mieux connaître la Chine