Learn something new this summer. Spend four weeks learning Chinese language (Mandarin) while experiencing one of the world’s most important economies. The levels we teach include absolute beginner, elementary, low intermediate, high intermediate and advanced.
Our four-week summer school runs from:
Classes will take place Monday to Friday, lesson one: 10am to 1pm. Each week will be comprised of 15 hours of classroom-based language lessons and four hours of cultural understanding lessons. There will be plenty of opportunity to use the language you are learning on the street and in social situations.
This is the course for you if you:
- have never studied Chinese before and want a kick start into this fascinating and vital language
- have already studied some Chinese and want an effective refresher course
- want to quickly accelerate your level
- are thinking of doing the official HSK exam.
We create our own teaching materials when it is the best for you and also keep an eye on the emerging course book market in Chinese language teaching. At the moment we are using a series of course books aimed at maximising the spoken aspects of learning Chinese, called “Meeting China”, which is available on Amazon.
Within close walking distance to class, accommodation is a single room in a 4 or 6 bedroom apartment. Each apartment has a living room, kitchen (electric hob, kettle, fridge and microwave), ensuite bathroom (in each bedroom), air-conditioning, heating, safety locker, colour TV (in the living room), telephone and internet access. There is a washing room on each floor provided with a washing machine and a dryer.
Summer school staff will book your room for you when you confirm your place.
Why join us on this Summer School?
Good for your CV
Employers and university admissions officers widely report that some knowledge of Mandarin and understanding of Chinese culture is highly attractive and will make you stand out from the crowd.
Tailored to your level
As part of our unique model of instruction there are five study levels and you will be enrolled into the appropriate level for your needs. All four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) will be taught with a focus on useable, everyday language that you might expect to use if you are visiting, living, working or travelling in China.
Take the opportunity before or after your studies to explore this continent-sized country and try out your language skills! Suzhou is a wonderful place from which to base yourself - check out our Suzhou life pages for more information - and you'll be offered the chance to join full day trips at the weekend to places of interest nearby, such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wuxi. Suzhou is also only a few hours from Beijing by high-speed train and you can fly to Hong Kong and Taiwan, among other destinations, from Shanghai Pudong airport in around two hours.
Chinese cultural activities
Classes take place twice a week (2 to 4pm) and are a key part of the summer school. They provide the opportunity to practice your new language, learn more about China and have lots of fun.
Chinese martial arts
Tai Chi is a type of Chinese Martial Art and it is the application of the Taoist philosophy concept of Yin Yang（阴阳) in the human body. The concept of Yin Yang is about opposing energies in unison, balance, motion and flow. Tai Chi uses this concept to form a meditative state for the mind and body. It is for anyone interested in relaxing their body, gaining a stronger mind/body connection, improving their health and achieving high levels of fitness. Chinese people believe that Tai Chi benefits the body, mind and spirit. You are welcome to experience this calm and peaceful form of Chinese martial arts with us.
Calligraphy is the traditional art of writing Chinese characters. The local name for calligraphy is Shūfǎ 法 in China, which literally means, "the way of writing". After centuries of creation and evolution, calligraphy has become a unique artform. Chinese scripts are generally divided into five categories: the seal script (zhuàn), the official script (lì), the regular script (kǎi) the cursive hand (cǎo) and the running hand (xíng). The ancient art of Chinese calligraphy can strengthen your mental powers through a meditation on art and beauty. A Chinese brush, ink stick, paper and ink stone are the necessary tools and materials for writing. To learn calligraphy, the first step is to learn how to use a Chinese brush. And that is where we will start. Learn the basics such as posture, brush holding and layout and explore different styles of calligraphy.
Paper cutting is a popular Chinese folk art with a history of more than 2,000 years. In the hands of an artist, a piece of red or other coloured paper can be turned into any of a wide variety of patterns with the help of a knife or a pair of scissors. Chinese paper cuttings are traditionally created by women in rural areas. The designs are close to their daily life, such as fowls, domestic animals, crops, flowers, birds and auspicious symbols, etc. They are used at the Chinese Lunar New Year and other festivals, usually pasted on windowpanes, door lintels and walls. Chinese paper cutting has been listed as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Now we have the paper and scissors ready here, please come and try paper cutting!
Chinese Cuisine enjoys a great reputation for its colour, scent, taste and design, as well as its variety. Suzhou is the centre of our eastern catering culture. It is the cradle of Su Cuisine. As a result of hundreds of years of culinary experimentation, Suzhou cuisine has developed a unique flavour and a famed reputation. Each course is individually prepared and its emphasis is on the use of quality ingredients, tender meat, fresh vegetables and the care in its preparation. The result is a selection of fabulous dishes that are unique in colour, aroma, shape and taste. Suzhou cuisine is often sweet to the taste and beautifully presented. We’ll go to the kitchen of a local restaurant, watch the chef cooking and learn to cook a Suzhou dish.
Traditional Chinese costumes
Chinese traditional clothing has varied greatly by region and time. As a vital part of Chinese civilisation, traditional costumes have played an important role in the country’s history and culture. Their basic features are cross-collars, wrapping the right lapel over the left, tying a sash at the waist and a form of blouse plus skirt or long gown. These features have been preserved for thousands of years, even until the time of the Republic of China (1912 – 1949AD), when the Chinese Tunic Suit (the Mao Suit) and the Cheongsam prevailed. During our Traditional Chinese costumes session, you will see the a variety of Chinese traditional costumes, learn a lot about Chinese customs, and have the opportunity to wear traditional Chinese costumes.
Embroidery is a renowned traditional Chinese handicraft with a history of more than 3,000 years. On a piece of silk or cloth, people embroider all kinds of beautiful pictures and patterns with threads of silk, wool or cotton. Suzhou embroidery, which is called Su Xiu in China, has a history of 2,000 years. Suzhou artists are able to use more than 40 methods of needling and 1,000 different types of threads to make flowers, birds , animals and even a garden on a piece of cloth. We’ll visit a local embroidery workshop, watch Suzhou embroidery and hold a needle to embroider by yourself. If you want to take home a souvenir, prices start at around USD 10 and can go as high as many thousands of dollars.
A social activity coordinator will arrange fun things to do every day in your free time. You will have the option of joining a number of activities including meals out, visiting UNESCO protected gardens, going to the cinema, seeing the famous Shanghai acrobats and many more.