After settling down in Shanghai, I was quickly looking for a language school that helps me to integrate not only in Daily Chinese life but more importantly also prepares me to eventually use Chinese in a professional context. As there is a large number of language school offerings, I started to do my due diligence. Many schools typically offer trial lessons which I gladly visited.
I am fortunate enough that my Chinese girlfriend understands the local language market quite well to help me figure out a first best of selection of schools which can be quite a challenge by itself in Shanghai. After a number of interviews I started to understand the differences to look for with respect to Chinese language schools:
a) A structured standardized methodology that provides a similar learning experience independent from the teacher within the school,
b) sufficient teacher capacity to accommodate my short notice teaching requests during the week
c) Quality learning materials that support self-study and have a good mix of illustration, conversation, grammar and Hanzi structured by daily life situations
d) flexible teaching facilities, ie different campuses, lesson on skype and wechat to account for my frequent traveling.
Having tested a number of schools I have found only this school, Hanyuan Language School, that could meet all the requirements. And having finished a full year of study with HanYuan and I can say that my initial impression has even been surpassed. In particular my irregular, business-driven time schedule with short notice scheduling (and sometimes rescheduling) is managed masterfully by the school for which I am very grateful as the key for any language learner is consistency and persistency. In addition, I have now experienced over 8 different teacher during my 1:1 classes at HanYuan. As pronunciation and talking style is also a bit different, I gradually got more tolerant to a broader set of communication styles which helped me adapt faster in Daily life.
From my personal experience, I can strongly recommend HanYuan to other foreigners trying to learn the language, especially if they - like myself – are already used to work in a highly professional environment and expects to find similar professional standards when learning a language. I am happy to share more of my personal experience for interested Chinese language students. Please contact HanYuan to get into contact with me.