After making up your mind to travel to China and immerse in Mandarin learning, another problem might be put in front of you: Where should I choose to stay and study Chinese? China is such a wondrous vast land and has distinct regional diversity. Every part of the land would be worth exploring. Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, these top-tier cities, are frequently cited by the media as a tag of China. However, when you are already tired of the flash of modern city light, you would prefer somewhere else with a slower pace and where you could experience the original Chinese lifestyle.
Then the southwestern area of China may catch your sight with its milder climate, lower living budget, and richer natural sightseeing spots. Kunming and Chengdu are the two major cities that usually be considered Mandarin learner’s destinations. Kunming would have my vote as your best choice, and the followings are my explanation and comparison for your reference:
Dialectal Accent Affection
Standard Mandarin is well known as the official Chinese-speaking language; however, as mentioned previously, with its vast territory, China holds various dialects in different regions, and Beijing dialect is not Mandarin.
In Kunming, almost everyone can speak standard Mandarin because we get less accent affection than people who speak Mandarin with a strong Chengdu or Sichuan dialect accent. It’s the most important fact that you should take into serious consideration when selecting a proper destination for your Chinese learning. In addition, Kunming, as a less international capital city, has fewer foreigners, which means you can immerse yourself in a pure Chinese language environment. You speak Chinese every day with local Chinese people; you can experience the pure Chinese culture; you can live the life same as a Chinese.
Besides above, Kunming has Keats School as your solid base of Mandarin study. Keats School has a long history and rich experience in Chinese teaching practice. There are various Mandarin Chinese learning programs available that can match your particular requirements. You would have a highly individualized learning schedule delivered by professional teachers at Keats.
Both Kunming and Chengdu have plenty of communities that you could join to meet people and make friends with. Foods in both areas tend to be spicy flavored, and cheap, but all cooked with fresh materials. You would also find loads of positive reviews from foreigners about how amazing their daily meals are. Both of the two places have convenient traffic system that consists of metros, buses and express train. People from both cities are amicable and willing to help foreigners with practicing their Chinese speaking skills.
However, there is a huge difference between Kunming and Chengdu when it comes to natural living conditions. With its reputation as ‘Eternal Spring City,’ Kunming is famous for its mild climate and much less polluted air, while you can rarely see blue sky in Chengdu. Living in Kunming is more peaceful and relaxed. There are many attractions you can visit during your time in Kunming.
Located in the center of Kunming city, Keats School is easy to approach. Keats provides every student with comfortable accommodation and tasty meals. What’s more, you could always join the fun activities and events held here and get any support you need from the Keats team.
Unique Ethnic Culture and Customs
If you’re also interested in traveling and hiking after classes, Kunming would be a more attractive destination for you. Not just because of the various touring spots nearby the Kunming city, such as Dali, Shangri-la, Lijiang, and Xishuangbanna, but also because of its unique ethnic culture and customs. The population in China is classified into 56 different groups according to their own customs and traditions, which contribute to the country’s diversity and regional characteristics. Besides Han people, other 55 groups are considered ethnic minority groups due to their relatively low population base and their distinct ethnic culture. In Yunnan Province, where Kunming locates in, 25 ethnic minority groups inhabit here. You would have a great chance to explore these unique and splendid ethnic minority group cultures and customs. Out of Yunnan, there won’t be a second place in which you could have the same experience or the same precious memory out of Yunnan.
The budget would also be an important aspect to think about when you choose your destination. One of the reasons Kunming is so welcomed and popular among Mandarin learners is that Kunming is a budget-friendly city. You don’t have to pinch pennies all the time, while the cost is much more expensive in Chengdu. With a lower living cost, you could save a large quantity of money for expenses in another field. You may take Kunming as the relatively economical choice rather than Chengdu.
Keats School is also good at planning a study trip for each individual who wants to travel in Yunnan. If you’re interested in learning Mandarin and experiencing culture at the same time, Keats will help you to combine your learning schedule together with your touring plan and other advice about cultural experiencing.
I hope you find this comparison helpful and if you are curious about more details of learning Chinese in Kunming, you could find more information here in this fabulous Keats Mandarin study community.