Where’s the best place to study Chinese?
Well to answer this question, you have to first consider what matters to you the most in your study trip in addition to learning the language.
What are you Mandarin Chinese goals?
If your goal is purely to immerse yourself in a Mandarin-speaking environment and you do not have any other requirements such as entertainment, access to imported materials, opportunities of making friends with other expatriate students or so, some smaller cities in northern China may be your best choice.
What are good smaller cities in China to learn Chinese?
Chengde, Dalian, Qingdao, Changchun, Liaoning are all great cities to earn Chinese. You will be meeting a lot fewer peers who may speak your mother tongue so that you will get to practice speaking Mandarin Chinese most of the time. Moreover, if you choose a rural place, you may even be the only foreigner or the only one who speaks your first language in the town. In this case, you can surely make the most of the environment to learn the language and culture as well as interact with the locals.
What are some good big cities in China to learn Chinese? What Chinese cities have a good climate?
On the other hand, here are some conditions that may help you decide your destination-weather, entertainment, quality of the living environment, cost, etc.
If you cannot stand the cold, you should avoid the nothern areas. Southern cities such as Hangzhou and Suzhou may be ideal. When it comes to entertainment, Shanghai and Beijing would be your first choice. You may also think about Hong Kong, while these major cities do have their cons- a huge number of foreigner employees and students, most people especially the young generation can speak good English and they are eager to find “language exchange partners” to practice their English. In Hong Kong, even though Mandarin is the “official” language, local people speak Cantonese much more than Mandarin. Shanghai also has its prevalently used dialect as Shanghaihua, but Mandarin is still the language for public use.
What about pollution in China?
You might have heard about the air pollution in mainland China and northern China is the worst compared with other regions in the country. It is particularly worsened in winter time, so you may want to avoid staying in the north then. Costs, of course, should be one of the significant factors when deciding which place to go. Without a doubt, living in a metropolis like Shanghai or Beijing (tier 1 cities), the living expenses including dining and rental costs are the highest in China. It is reasonable to think about the “tier 2” or “tier 3” cities if you have a budget concern.
Summary: Where to study in China?
In a nutshell, these are all good places for one to study Mandarin Chinese. However, each has its pros and cons. So our suggestion is that you should make a list of your prioritized features and see which city has more pros than cons for you.