speak chinese like a native

Summer language study - Any advice?

Posted by huan9 March 17, 2008 in the Group General Discussion .

Help! There are so many places that advertise Chinese classes.  Do you Poddies have personal experience of studying Chinese in China or the USA?  I'm looking for a well-recommended school where I can study Mandarin this summer, 2008.  In Chinesepod lessons I'm at the intermediate levels.

Please let me know which language schools or universities you've studied at and what benefits and disadvantages it had.  Please tell me about the teaching style, how effective the program was, class size, the city and accommodations, price range, etc. Here's what I'm looking for: 

I 'm considering spending anywhere from 4-8 weeks studying.

I want a program that includes reading and writing as well as oral, listening, culture, grammar. I'd like a program designed to let students practice what they're learning.  I've had language teachers that introduce tons of new vocabulary, but if I don't practice using it, I don't retain it.

I'd consider programs in the US or China but the ones in the US are more expensive. So it might be worth it to fly to China and study there at cheaper prices, not to mention the immersion experience that China would offer.

I'm thinking I should avoid Beijing because I'm more interested in language study than in the Olympics and the accompanying enormous crowds of people.  But if you have experience studying in a good Beijing school tell me about it anyway in case I study again in a future summer.

I don't want to go where the food is hot and spicy.  I like Cantonese food and dialect and have contacts in the south but I'm not limiting my search to just Guangdong.

Some programs include tourism opportunities.  A little of this is fine but I've traveled a lot in China already so now I'm not interested in lots of travel if it means less time for language study.  

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