Where you learn Chinese really depends on how you’re comfortable learning Chinese as well as your learning style. There are so many options that you can use to learn a new language. You can self study, go to a traditional class in a language school, to take up a course or dipolma in university, finding yourself a private tutor or you might even be interested in learning on the internet. However the truth is that you should go with the option that would suit your lifestyle best!
Learn Chinese by self study
Basically, there is one overarching benefit to self-studying: freedom. This is a freedom that you cannot find in any formal form of Chinese learning. You choose when, where, what to learn and how fast or slow you learn. You may try to learn some useful expressions and vocabulary on your own. There are lots of online resources out there for learning Chinese vocabulary for free.
HSK vocabulary list – One valuable resource is called the HSK. The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (汉语水平考试) is a national standardized test for non-native Chinese speakers. There are six levels, from HSK 1 to HSK 6, with the latter being the most difficult. With each level, there is an associated character and vocabulary list that you can use as a guideline.
Anki – Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it’s a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.
Youtube – there is plenty of lesson-style content to get you started in the beginning in youtube, the best thing is the countless videos containing real native speech.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba.org is a free collaborative online database of example sentences geared towards foreign language learners. Its name comes from the Japanese term “tatoeba”, meaning “for example”. Unlike other online dictionaries, which focus on words, Tatoeba focuses on translation of complete sentences.
Take a course at University
If you can commit a fix time schedule and travel to campus, there are full time award bearing and seasonal intensive programme available at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University SPACE.
Learn with a private Chinese tutor
Private learning with a tutor is ideal for anyone leading a busy life. The flexibility of a private tutor means you can arrange a lesson at a time convenient to you as well as having a learning plan tailored to your exact needs.
Deciding which option is best for you depends on your lifestyle, need and language learning level.