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Study and Learn
Mandarin Chinese
in Shanghai, China!

People of all ages and backgrounds can study and learn Mandarin Chinese in Shanghai, China.  It does not matter if your foreign language skills are beginner or advanced. You can learn and study Mandarin, Chinese with Think Abroad! We have a program for you!

Please read more about Think Abroad's Mandarin Chinese program in Shanghai, China.


In December 2008, Peter, the Think Abroad President, spent two weeks taking Mandarin Chinese courses, and engaging with teachers and students alike at our latest Affiliate Foreign Language School (AFLS) in Shanghai, China. After a thorough evaluation of school's resources, classroom instruction, and student accommodations, Think Abroad came away greatly impressed from the high-standards of education, and quality of life that are assured to all participants who choose to enroll and take classes at this world class institution.

Learn Mandarin Chinese in Shaghai!

Our AFLS in Shanghai was founded in 2003 and is conveniently located in the heart of Shanghai; a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis located in the central eastern part of China. The school serves a large, and eclectic base of international students who are united in their common interests of studying Mandarin Chinese, and learning about the Chinese culture.

The school’s philosophy towards the education of its students is as follows: “We focus on teaching Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language in China. Students learn Mandarin Chinese, while being exposed to the Chinese culture at the same time. Our greatest strength is focusing on the basics – teaching the language in an effective way!

Study Mandarin Chinese in Shaghai, China!

All of our energy and attention we devote to you and your desire for learning our language and to get to know our country and culture.” Our AFLS in Shanghai is recognized by several prestigious accrediting organizations such as the International Association of Language Centers; ALTO – the Association of Language Travel Organizations; and WYSE – the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation.

Additionally, the school is accredited by Berlin State Government to provide Bildungsurlaub for all of our German students who enroll through Think Abroad. American students who are currently enrolled in a university are also perfectly eligible to earn US college credit from classes taken at our AFLS in Shanghai. However, regardless of your background or country of origin, every student will ultimately be taking Mandarin courses at an outstanding private language center, that is committed to the foreign language acquisition of its students.

The goal of every Think Abroad immersion program is to present as many opportunities as possible for students to be speaking, and engaging in the language of the host country they are living in.  With the accompaniment of formal lessons, led by an accomplished and experienced instructor, students are guaranteed a well-rounded, and detailed methodology towards their learning of a foreign language.

Our AFLS in Shanghai is no different. Students will be speaking the language everyday with their teachers, fellow classmates, and native Chinese on a day-to-day basis, as well as living in one of the greatest cities in the world. So pack your bags, and get ready to be immersed in the Shanghai culture and life in China.


Think Abroad!

Shanghai, much like New York, is known in the Asian world as the city that never sleeps. It is the largest city in China, and one of the largest in the world with a population well over 20 million people. This amazing city is located on China’s central eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Shanghai is 664 miles from China's capital. Beijing. 

Due to its favorable port location, in the early 20th century, Shanghai prospered as a center of commerce between the east and the west. Over the years, Shanghai has evolved to become the world’s busiest cargo port, and it has been described as the “showpiece” of the world’s fastest growing economy.

Study Mandarin Chinese in Shanghai, China!

As a result of the intense development, and trade with the west, Shanghai is a uniquely cosmopolitan, and culturally sophisticated city. Shanghai’s Pudong skyline, with its magnificent skyscrapers and modern architectural design is exemplary of the city’s fusion with Western influences. Shanghai is also considered the cultural and technological epicenter of Asia.

Due to the fact that there are a large amount of tech corporation headquarters and manufacturing plants located in Shanghai, the latest trends and innovations in modern technological design are on constant display throughout the streets of Shanghai. Shanghai is the birthplace of Chinese film, as well as a current leader in fashion design and clothing trends, hosting many international fashion festivals throughout the year.


Despite the influx of Western culture, fashion, and design, Shanghai proudly preserves its cultural heritage in the old Shanghai neighborhood, where temples nestle down alleys, featuring traditional street markets, and classic Chinese gardens.

Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and experiences four distinct seasons. All in all, the warm spring and cool autumn are the more comfortable seasons and best times to visit Shanghai, China.  In winter, cold northerly winds from Siberia can cause nighttime temperatures to drop below freezing, and although not usually associated with snow, the city can receive one or two days of snowfall per year.

Shanghai's Climate Summary
January to February Coldest time of the year with a possible tinge of snow
early March to early May Pleasant; a great time to visit
mid-May to July Warm and rainy
July to August Hot temperatures during these months
late August to
late September
Warm and rainy
October to December Cool and pleasant; a great time to visit


Our AFLS in China is located in Shanghai’s People’s Square, a former horse racing course, and current large, public plaza that is the site of many of Shanghai’s municipal government buildings, restaurants, markets, museums, and cafes; an ideal place to learn and practice Mandarin given the vast amount of people trafficking throughout the city streets.

There are three subway lines that intersect at the People’s Square which gives students an accessible and affordable way of traveling to and from the school, while also allowing them the opportunity to easily travel to any destination within Shanghai.

The school boasts a diverse collection of age, ethnicity and nationalities among its student body, with students from all over the world represented, ranging from the ages 7 to 80 years old. Still, the average age of most students in attendance is between 23 and 35 years of age. The majority are college students, however there are many professionals, young and old, who are enrolled in the language courses as well, especially considering China’s rapidly growing economy, and Mandarin Chinese becoming an essential language for international business. Classes at our AFLS in Shanghai are offered year-round. Students with previous language training in Mandarin may start their classes any Monday of the year; however, beginning language learners must be enrolled in time to begin classes on official start dates, which happen once every month.

The small classes allow the students to receive close, personal attention from their instructor to further emphasize concepts covered in any given lesson plan. The minimum duration of stay at our school is two weeks. However, if a student desires to have a more solid foundation of Mandarin Chinese, they are advised to stay for at least a month, so that they may further ingrain many of the difficult aspects of Mandarin Chinese (Intonation, over 2,500 Chinese characters) that are difficult to learn for most Westerners in only a short period of time. Within the course curriculum, the school places a strong emphasis on both practical and essential language skills such as reading, writing, grammar, speaking, and listening comprehension. Half of the class time is devoted to speaking and listening comprehension, role-playing, group dynamics and vocabulary games.

The remaining class time is spent reviewing and practicing dealing with ordinary occurrences and typical daily situations. Teachers rotate classes every four to eight weeks if possible so that students have the opportunity to hear a different accent from another teacher, and to take classes from an individual who has a different style and approach to instructing a class. At the conclusion of the course, students will be required to fill out a questionnaire that will ask them to evaluate their overall experience.


Students who wish to bring their laptops along can utilize the school’s vast Internet connections, computer labs, and resources. The school has WiFi throughout, which can be accessed anywhere in the school. In addition to WiFi access, there is a computer lab with over five computers that are all equipped with high-speed Internet and additional word processing applications. Students can rent cell phones or buy international phone cards phone to make calls home.






Upon arrival, students will take a short placement test to determine their current level of Mandarin fluency. Based upon the student’s scores from the test, they will be placed in the appropriate class level that matches their present speaking and comprehension abilities.

General Features: There will be no more than 10 students in a given group.  The minimum age to be eligible from the program is 16 years old and the school boasts a truly international student mix. Each class is 50 minutes in duration and there is a 10 minute break in-between classes. The school requires a minimum stay of two weeks. All students receive a certificate upon completion.

Standard Course: Achieve rapid progress in your Mandarin Chinese by focusing on practical language skills of speaking, listening, and reading phonetics with an emphasis on oral conversation. This is a group course. Classes meet for four group lessons a day, 20 hours per week Monday through Friday. Course focuses on practical conversation skills. The standard course is broken up into five different levels to accommodate the various abilities of different students.

Elementary: you will learn Mandarin Chinese Phonetics, tones, basic words, grammar, and

sentence structure. Understand simple messages, instructions and directions. You will be able to talk about everyday activities and use basic grammar constructions.

Lower Intermediate: Carefully selected topics allow you to quickly improve your spoken Mandarin Chinese, focusing on vocabulary, grammatical skills, and sentence structure.

Explore the cultural differences between China and your home country in the classroom. A deeper understanding of the culture will rapidly improve your understanding of how Mandarin Chinese in used in real life.

Upper Intermediate: You are well on the way to fluency in Mandarin Chinese. The skills and knowledge gained through teacher-driven interactive classes will enable you to process conversation without having to first translate back to you mother tongue in your head.

Advanced: At this developed stage, students will see drastic improvements in their ability to understand written word from newspaper articles to contemporary Mandarin Chinese literature. Students will converse on a wide range of topics, while fine-tuning their Mandarin Chinese language skills.

Daily timetable
First Lesson: 9:00 - 9:50 Review
Second Lesson 9:50 - 10:40 Vocabulary
Class Break 10:40 - 10:50 Class Break
Third Lesson 10:50 - 11:40 Grammar
Fourth Lesson 11:40 - 12:30 Conversation
Standard course ends
Lunch Break 12:30 - 1:30 Lunch Break
Intensive course starts
Fifth Lesson 1:30 - 2:20 Listening/Speaking
Class Break 2:20 - 2:30 Class Break
Sixth Lesson 2:30 - 3:20 Reading/Writing

Intensive Course: Six group lessons per day. Classes start at 9 am and finish at 3:20 pm. Your Mandarin Chinese language skills will improve immensely in this intensive course. All students can earn college credit with any of the Mandarin courses at our AFLS in Shanghai, China.

Combined Course (25 or 30 hours): This course combines the best of both worlds. Four group lessons in the morning then a lunch break in the afternoon. You can add one or two private lessons for review and extra practice or to focus on any other areas of interest you might have, such as business, medicine, law, or any other industry specific lexicon.

Long Duration/Semester or Year Course: Learn Chinese characters. Read and write Chinese. Prepare for HSK exam (www.hsk.org.cn). Study at a Chinese university. Increase marketability for future endeavors. Available for 3, 6, or 12 month stays.

Executive Private Tutor (1 on 1 or 1 on 2): Your experienced teacher will customize your Mandarin Chinese class to maximize your progress. Students learn at their own pace and on their preferred timetable in this one-on-one setting. The class schedule can be arranged from 1 to 15 lessons per week.

Summer Camp Program: This program is offered June to August. Students take 20 language lessons per week and will participate in many cultural and social activities after class.

Students are guaranteed to receive 24-hour supervision by the school’s staff. There are three options to this program: the full camp, the day camp program, and the family package program. The full camp option implements a total immersion environment, 24 hours a day. The day camp option allows students to take part in classes and weekday activities with full camp students, but to stay with their families during evenings and weekends. The family package option is for traveling families who require special arrangements to be made. The Age groups are 7-11 and 12-17 with activities and courses specifically designed for each group. Please inquire for more details.

Chinese Character Course: This course is an adjunct to any additional course and is taught as a private course. The character course includes reading and writing Chinese characters and moving from characters to words. With the help of pictures and by combining different components of a character, teachers will utilize various educational strategies to facilitate learning. This course will assist students in mastering more than a thousand Chinese characters.

50 + Program: This is an ideal opportunity for mature students to study Mandarin Chinese, learn about the Chinese culture and to meet and travel with people of similar age group and with similar interests. This two-week program includes 40 lessons (20 per week) and seven cultural activities after class. Students can live with a homestay family, in a hotel, or in an apartment setting. This course is offered on specific start dates. Please inquire about these dates if interested.

Sample Activities for 50 + Program
Welcome Dinner Cultural Workshops Calligraphy
The Bund Old Town Acrobatic Show
Guided Tours and much more! Yu Garden
Third Lesson 10:50 - 11:40 Grammar
Fourth Lesson 11:40 - 12:30 Conversation
Standard course ends
Lunch Break 12:30 - 1:30 Lunch Break
Intensive course starts
Fifth Lesson 1:30 - 2:20 Listening/Speaking
Class Break 2:20 - 2:30 Class Break
Sixth Lesson 2:30 - 3:20 Reading/Writing


Our AFLS in Shanghai provides students with the option of enrolling in various cultural programs and activities. Through participating in these cultural activities, students will have the opportunity to utilize the language skills acquired in the classroom in Chinese society and allow themselves to become accustomed to the realities of Chinese life.

In addition, students will be able to view Shanghai life and culture with a deeper sense of understanding and appreciation after partaking in any one of the authentically Chinese cultural and social outings. Some of the activities that are offered to our students include but are not limited to: Chinese calligraphy, paper design cutting, dumpling making, water painting, martial arts, museum visits, shopping trips, and much more. Activity schedules for all events are located at the school’s front desk where students can sign-up for the activities that interest them the most. However, be sure to tell all your friends! There is a minimum requirement of at least three student participants in any given activity course for the program to commence and take place.


The school has over fifty teachers. Of these, 60% are full-time with an average of 2000 hours of experience teaching Mandarin to foreigners. The school director reports that: “All of our teachers are professionally trained, each one has a university degree, and some also hold Masters’ degrees and a certificate to teach Mandarin as a foreign language. Strong professional skills together with a warm and caring attitude set the school apart from our competition.” The teachers at the school are not only highly qualified Mandarin Chinese instructors, but they are also fun-loving, enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about foreign language education, and have a deep seated interest in their students’ success and enjoyment in and out of the classroom.

Each instructor is required to complete a rigorous, live training course, that prepares them to teach Mandarin to non-native speakers, as well as learn how to anticipate questions and issues that may arise during class. As part of their ongoing education, all of the teachers participate in one-on-one training sessions as well as quarterly developmental seminars.




There are many different housing options provided for Think Abroad students. We work hard to ensure that each student’s housing requirements, specifications, and accommodation needs are sufficiently met. Our AFLS in Shanghai offers 4 types of housing options for our students.

Single Room Shared Apartment
: All students in this setting will have their own bedroom, but will share a kitchen, living quarters and bathroom with other students in the apartment. Roommates will be from around the globe. Meals are not included in the single room shared apartment; however, the apartment is fully equipped, furnished and students have will have access to a microwave, stove, pans and cutlery to prepare meals.

Homestay: For students who desire an authentic Chinese experience while living in Shanghai, Think Abroad highly recommends the homestay option. The Homestay is when a student is housed with a native Chinese family. The family will provide traditional meals, facilities, and some linens for their guests.

However, the ultimate benefit of the homestay option is that it will allow the student to greatly enhance their Mandarin Chinese abilities due to the countless opportunities to practice speaking, and hearing Mandarin Chinese in a traditional, family environment. This real-life exposure to the language will increase your confidence and ability to communicate in Mandarin Chinese!

Please read Think Abroad’s article about living in the homestay setting with your host family. In the homestay setting, you will have your own private room, 2-meals (breakfast and dinner) and shared bathroom. Most homestay accommodations are located less than 50-minutes by public transportation to the school.

Studio Apartment: This option is when students come with their partner or with a group. These apartments are mostly newly renovated in residential buildings. Most private studio apartments are located 30-minutes by foot or 10 minutes by public transportation to the school. No meals are provided, but the apartment is equipped with a microwave, stove, cutlery, and a refrigerator.

Hotel and Serviced Apartment: The school can also book a hotel or serviced apartment within walking distance to the school according to your preferences and needs. On your application, please let us know if this option is for you.

Contact us for pricing details



Airport Transfer: Airport pick-up and drop off is optional, but is highly recommended for all students. This option is the safest and most convenient way of arriving in China. If you have the opportunity, we recommend taking the MagLev (superfast elevated train – mean: 260 mph & max: 311 mph) to the airport in Pudong.

A school representative will pick-up and take all students directly to the school or accommodation. At the international arrivals terminal, the school driver will be holding a sign with your name on it. For pick-up, there is a fee, as well as for drop off.