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Learn Chinese in China - Hutong School Intensive Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Shanghai - July 2016

We had a great overall experience at The Hutong School in Shanghai. We found the Shanghai HS staff to be very friendly, welcoming, and accessible. The teaching staff were very bright, energetic, and engaging which made it fun to be in class - not an easy feat, considering that the classes were four hours long and we were working through a lot of new vocabulary and grammar - somehow the time flew by each day. This might be because the instructors kept the conversation (and the laughs) going in Chinese - providing lots of useful vocabulary that we were able to reference and use while on our trip. Everyone at the school worked to help us to improve our spoken Chinese, and the staff kindly assisted us in resolving a couple of problems that we encountered, such as when DHL in China had trouble delivering a package to us. The school has dedicated activities personnel who put together fun walking tours, restaurant outings, and weekend trips. We took advantage of a couple of those outings and really enjoyed the experiences and the chance to get to know fellow students. The activities person was also very helpful in writing up an itinerary just for us when we went to Suzhou on our own for the day - great stuff. We would definitely recommend The Hutong School to anyone who is looking for an effective, economical, and fun way to improve their Chinese language skills and have a great time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Best decision I ever made

After having struggled to learn Chinese for a long time I finally took the plunge and came to China for an intensive language course. It was without doubt the best decision of my life. I improved so much that I jumped straight to HSK 4 instead of taking HSK 3 as I had planned.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Highly recommended!!!

I really enjoyed my time at Hutong school Beijing! I went there together with my wife for 1 month to study Chinese. We've improved so much!!!
While there are many language schools to choose from, I feel we've really picked the right one. The classes are small and the teachers are really good and adapt the contents of the class to the needs of the students (which for me was more listening exercises).

The thing that stands out most for me is the flexibility they offer to create the best learning experience for you. At day one they do a one-on-one assessment to determine your level, but if you feel like your class is too hard (or too easy ;)) for you it's no problem to which classes at any point in time. Also if your level is in-between two groups, or you just like the extra attention, you can also go for private class.

Aside from the classes they also help out in finding your way in China. Even before we arrived they were really responsive in answering all our questions and they advised us on how to obtain our visa. Once there, they picked us up from the airport and showed us around the neighbourhood and they organise all sorts of fun activities from cooking workshops to trips to the wall.

We've had a really great time in Beijing and our Chinese improved a lot. I would definitely sign up with Hutong school again in the future, which is the best recommendation I can give.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Intensive program in Shanghai

3 months later I am still surprised how my Chinese has improved. My teachers were amazing (and very patient) and I have to say this is a program I would recommend to any of my friends.

P.S: Special praise to the very friendly staff of the School!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • The Campus

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

Home stay experience

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.:)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • The Campus

    10

  • Academics

    10

Amazing experience!

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 :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

You won't regret it. 8 months in ShangHai

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Best idea ever!

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!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • The Campus

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Excellent stay at Hutong school

I had a very nice experience at Hutong School! Everything was well organised and the staff was always very kind and helpful. Their programme is also very flexible and can adapt to different students' need. The apartment they provided was also very nice, fully equipped and located only 20 minute walk from the school and Sanlitun! They also organize some activities every week, a very nice opportunity to meet new friends from different classes! I would definitely recommend Hutong School!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • The Campus

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

Amazing time

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!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

Would definitely recommend Hutong

I had a very pleasant stay at Hutong School in Shanghai in July 2016. The apartment was fine, I shared it with two very kind roommates who ended up being the people I spent most of my time with. It was very well located and close to the school. The classes were simply amazing. I had private lessons my first week, and lessons in a group of three the second two weeks and in both settings I felt like I had a great learning experience. The teachers were very friendly and dedicated, and the overall Hutong School approach to teaching Mandarin is very effective. Just staying here for three weeks really motivated me to continue my Mandarin studies and I am definitely considering going back to Hutong again for their great classes. The only slight thing that disappointed me a bit in the beginning that it was difficult to meet other students right away. I knew my roommates, but the activities were a bit scarce in my opinion, and the welcome party for the new July students was scheduled for the day that I was already supposed to leave Shanghai... I went to the staff to speak with them about this, and the party was scheduled to an earlier date and new exciting activities were added. This shows to me that Hutong School staff takes its students and their thoughts and ideas very seriously. Overall, a great school that I would recommend to anyone wishing to expand their Mandarin skills!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • The Campus

    5

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Activités et encadrement hors cours

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