The Hutong School Chinese Language Program Review

Review

The Hutong School is a popular private Chinese language school with two campuses in China and this review will walk you through the pro’s and con’s from a student’s perspective.

 

About

The school was founded by a group of Chinese and Europeans who came together to fill a growing demand for private language schools in China. The school was founded amongst the hutongs of Beijing in 2005. The Beijing campus has now moved to Sanlitun but the name has stuck as the school has grown. The school has also now gone global with campuses in Shanghai, Moscow and Sydney.

 

Programs

The Hutong School offers language programs in Beijing and Shanghai comparable to other private language schools, with a range of small size class options all the way up from beginner to advanced. The school is also certified by the Hanban Institute to host HSK tests and holds HSK examinations once a month. Most students study at the program for 3-5 months and young professionals tend to take classes in the evening and on weekends.

The school offers four programs:

  • Intensive Chinese Program, which consists of 20 hours of class per week, equal to 4 hours/day.
  • Flexible Chinese Classes, offers a more personalized approach and flexible class hours.
  • Corporate Classes, where you can study at the office or wherever and whenever you want one-on-one.
  • Internship Program, complete an internship with a company in China while still studying 4 hours of Chinese class per week and enjoying weekly cultural activities.
  • Volunteer program, offers the combination of a volunteering assignment in a China-based NGO, cultural and NGO-focused activities and Chinese classes.
  • Summer camp, a summer language and culture immersion program for 15-18 year olds

The school offers accommodation options which is recommended for students new to China. This is because coordinating your own short-term accommodation can be difficult due to language barriers and the challenge of negotiating with Chinese real estate agents.

Hutong School China

Tuition

Tuition fees at the school are naturally more expensive than university language programs due to smaller class sizes and student services provided. The tuition fees class are considered upper midrange for the market, but much more affordable than other specialised programs including IUP in Beijing. Tuition fees at the school are the same both in Beijing and Shanghai, but accommodation is slightly more expensive in Shanghai. See the links for full information regarding intensive language study fees and internship program fees.

 

Location

Beijing

The Beijing branch has an excellent location, located in the heart of the bustling Sanlitun area. The school can be accessed by subway (10 minutes walk from Tuanjiehu on Line 10). Sanlitun is a popular hangout for shopping, bars and is in close proximity to a number of multinational companies. The financial district of Guomao is also two stops away on Line 10 and Chaoyangmen is five minutes away on a tuk-tuk vehicle. Sanlitun is therefore a well suited location for those working or interning in the area. The school offers a student card so you can access discounts nearby. Accommodation around Sanlitun is cheaper than Guomao and Chaoyangmen and so it might be worthwhile living nearby if you do choose to find your own accommodation. A room in a share house around Sanlitun ranges from 2,800-4,500 RMB per month depending on exact location and quality of housing.

Shanghai

The Hutong School is located down a cool side road in Shanghai, complete with an awesome rooftop which is perfect for speaking Chinese to yourself during the day or for Friday night drinks! The campus is conveniently located near Changshu Road Metro Station (Line 1 or Line 7). There is a full range of bars and restaurants nearby to check out after class or on weekends. The school also offers a student card so you can access discounts nearby. Accommodation for a room in a share house within the area should be about 3,000-4,500 RMB per month if you opt to organise your own accommodation.

 

Reputation

The Hutong School has been around for a while – over ten years now- and has a solid reputation as a quality language program. The Hutong School was the first Chinese language school under foreign management officially licensed by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The school is also accredited by WYSETC and works in cooperation with embassies, Chambers of Commerce and international MBA programs. In 2008 during the Olympic games, the wife of Jacques Rogge – President of the IOC – came to the Hutong School for a crash course in Chinese. The program is also well known in regards to teacher quality and experience, as each teacher is qualified in teaching Chinese as a second language.

Hutong School

 

Atmosphere

With class sizes limited to a maximum of 8 students and average class sizes being usually 3-5 students, the school offers an intimate learning environment and good access to teachers.

The student demographic is predominately European and American, as well as having a good spread of other nationalities, including from Latin America, South African and the Middle East. Younger students tend to have a very active life exploring the local area, socializing and exploring the night scene. At the same time there’s plenty of students focused more exclusively on their studies. At the Beijing campus students are often more into Chinese culture, and tend to have previous Chinese language study experience. Shanghai is a more popular option for those new to China and who want to ease themselves into China, or eat French food at nighttime!

 

Opportunities

The school offers 2-3 cultural activities a week. These include cooking classes, exhibitions, night walks through temples, weekend trips Great Wall and more.

An add-on opportunity of studying at the Hutong School is the Internship Program which can run for 1-12 months. Placements are available with several hundred local companies through a matching process via the assistance of the school. The internship option is available in numerous sectors, with the most popular being those in Business Development, Marketing & Sales, and Finance & Consulting. Internship company partners include the likes of Siemens all the way to small Chinese companies. Internships are also on offer in Chengdu in west China. Internships usually offer a small stipend from companies. Keep in mind though that the internship placement is not free and is part of the package the school charges for this option. While there are cheaper ways of lining up an internship in China, the visa support, accommodation and one-on-one support that the school offers does make life a lot easier. If you’re new to China then it is recommended you take this easier option and let the school organise everything for you!

Accommodation is available for students completing the internship program through the school but is optional. Again, if you’re new to China then we’d definitely suggest you to consider taking the safe route through the school. If you are looking at completing an internship for 6-12 months then you might want to look at organising your own accomodation. Asia Options has more information about housing in China that you can check out. 

 

Final Verdict

The Hutong School is a good option for students who have the budget and are looking for a relatively stress-free, fun and rich cultural experience in China. Location, student service, external activities and outside the classroom opportunities that the school offers all stack up to pretty good value. A lot of people new to Beijing and Shanghai also underestimate how many things can go wrong in China, including finding accommodation, securing an internship or even having Chinese teachers who are qualified! So this program is definitely a very safe option in that regard. The Hutong School is also a good choice if you’re looking at combining an internship with your studies as not all language programs offer this combined option. However, if you have already spent an extended period of time living in China and are confident with organising accommodation and have some existing contacts with industry, then it would be much cheaper to line up an internship by yourself.

 

Hutong School
8 Total Score
0 Users Score (0 votes)
Pros

Well organised
Great community
Internship program
Good location

Location
Affordability
Classes and Materials
Opportunities
Atmosphere
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