You want to learn Chinese quickly but you have a low budget?
Learning Chinese, but more precisely learning Mandarin, has become extremely popular during these last 20 years, especially with China’s spectacular economic growth. Nowadays, doing business with China is almost unavoidable. Thus, because Chinese inhabitants do not master very well the English language, it is crucial to speak theirs in order to deal efficiently with them. Then, you have some reasons why you have to learn Mandarin.
We aren’t the only one who has understood this logic. Indeed, many western students are rushing to learn Chinese. Unfortunately, even though learning it gathers many fans, competent Chinese teachers able to teach in English or any other language aren’t very numerous. Therefore, the best solution for western students is to learn Chinese abroad.
Then comes another issue: the budget. We’ve all gone through that hard time when during college years you never have enough money to spend because everything was too expensive. Yes, we know. That’s why we suggest here 5 best money-saving destinations for learning Chinese, and enjoying your stay there.
Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast part of Guangxi province in the south of China. Well-known for unique topography with Karst Mountains and the “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus”, it is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations. In addition to this beautiful scenery, Guilin’s population is quite small compared to big cities like Beijing or Shanghai which slows down the path and makes it easier to live. Coupled with the elegance of the Li River, Guilin’s beauty is dreamlike. As President Richard Nixon said: "I have visited more than eighty countries and over a hundred cities. I have found that no city can surpass the beauty of Guilin.”
Apart from that, there are numerous excellent universities and language schools in Guilin, and prices for Chinese lessons are quite affordable. Not only prices for lessons but prices in general are much cheaper than in the West.
Chengdu may be famous among the “local” cities thanks to the wild Great Pandas you find there. Definitely off the beaten track, Chengdu is deep in the interior of China and gives you another perspective of China. The city is known for its laid-back atmosphere and even if there is some nightlife, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you are looking for a place that isn’t that fancy and glitzy, Chengdu is the place to go. You can easily immerse with local population.
Chengdu also has excellent universities and language schools. For example, Sichuan University has been ranked as one of the top universities in the nation and a genuine resume-builder to boost your career. Many universities there have partnerships with foreign universities and accept foreign students.
Hangzhou is a beautiful city where natural landscape and human society coexist in harmony. Home of the Chinese National Tea Museum and the Chinese National Silk Museum, Hangzhou lives around the prominent West Lake, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. It is said that the West Lake "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as in Japan and Korea over the centuries" and reflects "an idealized fusion between humans and nature". Full of temples, gardens and pagodas, it strongly confers a feeling of peace and well-being and inspired many Chinese poets and painters during millenaries.
Because of this reputation, the city’s life cost may be higher than the two previous cities, but still affordable for a “Chinese” city and lower than western city. Due to its status as capital of Zhejiang province, Hangzhou has plenty of outstanding universities with quality teaching which brings lots of students from the whole province, around China and even international students. Daily life is therefore animated and cheap for any foreigner willing to immerse and discover China’s beauty.
We talked a lot about the magnificent sceneries we can find in China, but China is above all a millenaries-long society, with the longest history in the world. If you are interested in visiting historic places, ancient monuments, preserved relics or past emperors’ palace, including the world-famous Terracotta Soldiers, then you should definitely go to Xi’an. You may think that Beijing is a better place for historical discoveries but Xi’an was the former capital of ancient China, Beijing has been capital of China only “recently”. You can find there the same antic spirit as in Beijing, without the pollution, the crowd and the high-cost of it.
Then, if you are studying history in general and you want to learn the Chinese language, Xi’an is the place to go. Even if you are just interested in China’s history, Xi’an will give you a perspective of ancient China, very different from coastal cities. Because of its historical significance, Xi’an has a number of excellent Chinese language schools with a life cost more accessible than in Beijing.
Taiwan gathers all the options. From Taipei to Kaohsiung, you have scenic landscapes, historical temples, modern buildings and everything at low budget. The Taiwanese culture is even influenced by Japanese culture, and you will really find another aspect of Chinese culture. Well-known for its night markets and its local dishes, Taiwan has a total different lifestyle that worth discovering.
In terms of studies, you need to be aware that they are using the traditional Mandarin, only the writing changes, but it still very interesting because it’s the ancestor of the Mandarin used today in mainland China.
From ancient history to modern society, from rural genuine countryside to urban developed cities, these destinations have all interesting points that worth going in addition to the opportunity to learn Chinese there. More than that, we chose destinations that won’t cost you all your pennies so that you have some left for travelling the rest of China!
To sum up, China has become one of the most popular country visited by outbound tourists. Indeed, in the fourth quarter of 2015, travel agencies organized 13.8385 million visitors to foreign countries, an increase of 29.19% over the same period in 2014. These rate represent huge opportunities for companies from overseas to reach the Chinese travel market. Moreover, China is ready to become the first outbound tourism market.