We all know about the hustle and bustle of China. The business, the rapid growth and change.
People are travelling to China for a holiday, to study abroad or to learn the rich history of the beautiful temples. While a lot of westernized amenities are now available in China, it is still this raw, authentic, ancient country that is looking to be explored.
Here are 12 things you should know before coming to China to study Mandarin.
In China, the official currency is the yuan. It’s also known as RMB, and notes are available in 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB.
Businesses in China do not accept any other currency, not even the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar. If you don’t have your RMB notes, you won’t be getting anything you’re hoping to purchase.
Head to the bank and withdraw your cash because you’re going to need it.
While many businesses like larger hotel chains and upscale restaurants accept Visa and Mastercards, China likes cash. The majority of businesses and tourist attractions use cash instead of the card system.
The Chinese do not tip, which means you should not tip either while living abroad.
People in China love a good deal. Outside of chain stores, it’s possible to practice your haggling skills. You do not have to accept the market price or the first price offered.
While there are hundreds if not thousands of locally spoken languages, Mandarin is the most spoken language. Download a Mandarin translation app if you’re not fluent! Or take an online Chinese course with Keats before you come to China.
Mandarin has 4 tones in language. It’s called tonal language, which means the same word can and often does have four different meanings. To learn more about the tones, read our blog post on the Mandarin language.
If this is your first time in China, you’ll soon realize that roads in China are rather busy.
If you’re courageous, get behind the wheel of a car. China drives on the right-hand side, which may be the opposite side of the road for you. If you’re not feeling overly brave, you can walk or use public transportation.
Think this is a weird tip?
Well, some bathrooms do not provide toilet paper, and we don’t want you to be left without. Hotels and nicer restaurants will have it available, but it’s always a good idea to carry a roll with you or a box of tissues.
With Mandarin being the most spoken language, to save yourself, know a few key sentences before arriving in China. We suggest knowing the translations for:
-I don’t speak Mandarin. Can you speak [add your first language]? (Characters) 我不会说中文，你能说[ ]吗？(Pinyin) wǒ bú huì shuō zhōng wén, nǐ néng shuō [ ]ma？-Where is the washroom? (Pinyin) wǒ bú huì shuō zhōng wén , nǐ néng shuō【 】ma ?
-Please take me to [add school location]? (Characters) 请带我去【 】. (Pinyin) qǐng dài wǒ qù【 】
-How much is this? (Characters) 这个多少钱？(Pinyin) zhè ge duō shǎo qián ？
In the western world, it’s normal for us to criticize the government and the people running the government. It’s different in China.
The indoctrination in school and state media is normal in China, so if you’re planning to strike up a political conversation, know what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Depending on where you live in China, air pollution may be an everyday struggle for you.
Larger cities like Beijing have serious air quality concerns. Many people wear masks daily outside. Smaller cities like Kunming have better air quality, and masks are not normally worn.
One of the most important things to know when traveling to China is that they do not offer visas upon arrival.
This means before you travel to China, you’re going to need to apply and be approved for a study abroad visa.
China is a country whose vast landscape encompasses grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, and rivers. It’s busy with locals, tourists and study-abroad students.
With more than 1.4 billion people living in the country, it’s a great option for studying overseas and learning Mandarin, the most spoken language in the world.
To learn more about Keats School in Kunming, China, contact us today. We offer 8 different study courses, and we’ll even help you get a Chinese visa.
My name is Sarah Fish. I am 81. I knew very little Chinese when I arrived. How was I going to survive 2 weeks of intensive Chinese course? I have to laugh when I think of that now. What a positive experience this has been! I really wish we could be here a little longer. The teachers are extremely encouraging, evaluating first how much someone knows, and then starting from there.
I found Keats School and I am so glad that I did. When you learn Chinese in China at Keats, you are fully being taken care of. My teacher is really great and we become lovely friends.
I really had a wonderful experience at the school. The teachers are very very friendly. In my class, we practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We play games and other fun activities. We have trips around town. The staff at Keats is phenomenal. My teacher is one of the best teachers I have ever had in my educational experience. She comes in with a smile every day.
I found Keats to be very good, teachers are excellent and really take the students seriously. Kunming is the best place to learn Mandarin in China. The environment is awesome, no pollution. The air quality is great, good weather. The people here are very friendly. I come to take classes every day. I feel comfortable studying Chinese at Keats. I learned so many things, although I only studied at Keats for 2 months. I am really satisfied with my teacher. For us foreigners, Keats is the best Chinese school in China. Therefore, I would highly recommend Keats to all of you.
It is very convenient to come to Kunming from Thailand. I really like my Chinese class and my Chinese improved a lot in a few months. There are many benefits of learning Chinese. The best thing I like about Keats is that it is in Kunming, a city with eternal spring. There is so much to see in Kunming and you will love this city after you come.
Since last semester, we started studying Chinese at Keats. It was the best choice we can ever make. It is a really good school. The classes are a lot of fun, you learn a lot, but very interactive, so you talk a lot which means it is not just books and writing. Kunming is a really pleasant city to live in, especially if you compare it to other cities in the east. If you like to travel, if you like to study Chinese in a fun way, Keats has the best Chinese language program for you.
My first semester that I studied at another school, and the pressure there was pretty high, the classroom hour was long, and the homework was pretty tedious. Since I came to Keats, I found I have a lot more opportunities to speak in the classroom. My classmates all are fluent and love speaking and participating in the class. We have great classroom dynamic.
I have 2 teachers, and I do 4 hours a day. So I have got Dong Laoshi and Jin Laoshi. Both of them are very good. They made the experience very nice to me. They are willing to help you whenever, so if you ever have a question here, the teachers are always there to help you whether it is visas, whether it is getting around the city. Everyone wants to talk to you.