The following frequently asked questions are genuine and authentic questions received from many prospective students from all over the world.
Do you think The Harbin Mandarin School is the right place? What are the qualifications of your teachers? Do they have the appropriate teaching certificates?
At The Harbin Mandarin School all our teachers are fully qualified. This means that not only do they have the relevant university degree in teaching foreigners Mandarin, they also have the government teaching certificate as well as various other teaching related certificates and work experience. We are incredibly proud of our teachers and their qualifications and unlike many language schools in China, at our school you won’t find young, inexperienced interns working for free attempting to teach the students. The Harbin Mandarin School is absolutely the right place for serious and passionate students who want to learn Mandarin at any level from qualified teachers one-to-one.
Is it possible to have accommodation one or two days before starting the course, to give me some time to recover from jet lag?
Of course, this is possible and we also encourage this arrangement especially if you have been travelling for long distances. We collect you in person from the airport and take you directly to your furnished accommodation. Remember The Harbin Mandarin School is totally flexible to your requirements. We will ensure you get settled in and that you have the orientation tour before you begin your classes. Don’t forget in the accommodation building there are two family run convenience stores and just out side is a KFC and Pizza hut should you need some comfort food.
Is there a gym near the school?
In the immediate vicinity there are five gym options all ranging in price.
1) Baoyu Tianyi
2) S Gym
3) Baoyu Gym
4) Powereach Fitness
5) Fit House
Please note that most gyms in China may not offer membership for a week or two, you most probably have to purchase a month or more. The prices get cheaper the longer membership you take out. Usually the membership advisor will offer you a 1-month package, a 3-month package, a 6-month package and so on.
We are more than happy to accompany the student to any gym they may be interested in joining.
How exactly the classes operate? How many hours per day and per week will students be learning with a teacher? What textbooks will we be using?
The Harbin Mandarin School’s private one-to-one intensive Mandarin tuition with private accommodation includes 4 hours private one-to-one intensive Mandarin tuition, 5 days per week. Usually students have their classes Monday to Friday and enjoy the weekends off exploring Harbin. Timings for the 4 hour classes are totally flexible, however most students usually choose to study from 8am until 12 noon and after class they enjoy the delicious and nutritious freshly prepared school lunch. Some students have also had their 4 hour class in the afternoon from 1pm until 5pm and they usually arrive at the school for 12 noon and enjoy the lunch before the start of their class. Remember we are flexible and you can even arrange class at weekends or evenings.
The tuition is completely tailored to the individual student’s needs, therefore the structure of the classes vary, however as an example the 4 hour class could be split into one hour for speaking, one hour for listening, one hour for reading and the final hour for writing. The class and learning structure is totally flexible and should you wish to focus more on a particular skill such as listening then this will be catered for.
We welcome students to bring their own textbooks or learning resources, however we also do supply these and we have a preferred textbook which we supply free of change should your level or study plan require it. Remember, students’ requirements vary from beginner to advanced, from focusing on speaking and listening skills to mastering character writing; therefore each student will discuss and consult with a teacher who will tailor make a study plan to suit their own unique requirements.
After I paid the deposit, how and when do I pay the rest of the fees?
We only require the deposit upfront before your arrival. We request you pay the rest of the full fees within seven days after you have arrived. Please pay fees by bank transfer or by cash if you wish.
Is the accommodation close to the school or is it in the same building as the school? Where exactly are they both located?
The Harbin Mandarin School and the students’ accommodation are located incredibly close to each other in the Dao Wai district. Both the school and the accommodation are located in high-rise buildings. They are located adjacent to each other with one main road separating them which is the Daxin Street. The walk between the school and accommodation is under five minutes and literally just involves crossing the Daxin Street and entering the gated community. You can see the accommodation building from the school and vise versa. When you arrive as part of the orientation tour before your study commences, you will be taken to see the school and the surrounding areas.
How far is it to the train station from the school?
The No. 64 bus stops right outside the school complex on the opposite side of Daxin Street. The 64 bus is convenient and goes directly to both stations without any need to change. Estimated travel times from the school to the Harbin Central Station is about 15 minutes, and from the school to the Harbin West Station is about 40 minutes.
How far is it to the biggest bookstore from the school?
The No. 94 bus stops right outside the school complex on the opposite side of Daxin Street. The No. 94 bus is convenient and goes directly to the biggest bookstore without any need to change. Estimated travel times from the school to the biggest bookstore is about 30 minutes.
Do you arrange the visa?
We do not arrange the visa. The visa should be applied for by yourself at the Chinese embassy in your current (or home) country. We supply you with an official invitation letter that must be submitted with your visa application. The invitation letter is evidence to support your Chinese visa application.
I would like to study the normal 4 hours per day for 5 weeks, however my husband wants to come with me and we will obviously be staying in the same accommodation, therefore what do we pay?
You will pay the normal 5 weeks study with accommodation cost as per our website. As your husband will be in the same room as you, there is an extra charge RMB 50 per day for his accommodation.
The accommodation and the school have free internet – does this mean I don’t have to bring my laptop with me? Are there some computers in the school I can use?
We recommend you bring your own laptop as we sometimes encourage you to use them during class for writing essays and listening to recordings. The school does not have individual computers for students to use. Also many students love to take their laptop to the local coffee shops and do extra study or sit there and enjoy surfing the web and catching up with news and friends.
Do you provide a certificate after we have completed our study?
Yes, we can arrange The Harbin Mandarin School certificate that will detail how many hours of private study you have completed.
Can I teach English in Harbin?
Because you will be on a tourist or student visa it is illegal to work in China. You can only work legally in China on a correct work visa. We do not recommend you work illegally during your stay here.
Can I send my deposit using PayPal?
Unfortunately, in China to use PayPal is not a free service like in the West, and for these reasons we do not accept payment through PayPal.
I am 45 years old, do you have students of my age group in your school?
We have welcomed students of all ages and even retirees. Because we are one-to-one school age has nothing to do with your class or tuition.
Does the invitation letter arrive in the post or by email?
We will send a scanned copy to your email, please print and submit it along with your visa application at your local Chinese embassy. Please note that a printed copy is perfectly acceptable.
Do I have just one teacher or can I have two?
When you arrive we will discuss this with you. In the past some students have had one teacher for two hours and then a different one for the next two hours. Many students have just the one teacher but we are very flexible, we can meet your needs once you arrive and we do the initial assessment.
Are you open over Christmas and Chinese New Year festival?
We are open all year and never close, we even have class on Christmas day and during the Chinese spring festival and New Year’s Day. Obviously, if you don’t want class on these holidays, you don’t have to, but we are always open.
Is there heating in the accommodation?
Yes of course, the rooms have under floor heating and during the winter months inside most building in Harbin, you will never be cold.
Do we have to bring our own sheets for beds? Do we have to bring our own towels?
We provide the bed linen, however we do not provide the towels, please bring your own towel or alternatively they are super cheap to purchase from the supermarkets nearby such as Wal-Mart.
Will my UK mobile phone work there? Can I get a Chinese sim card?
Your foreign phone should work perfectly fine, however be aware that your network in your home country may charge you a lot for the international roaming. We will accompany you to purchase a really affordable Chinese sim card if you like, however please make sure your foreign phone is not “locked” to your network provider in your home country, because if it is “locked”, you will not be able to use a Chinese sim card or any sim card from any country or network provider.
What can I do to get a discount?
We do not offer any discounts. Our study fees are already very competitively priced and you will find that we are one of the best options for one-to-one study in China.
How long is each lesson? 45 minutes? 50 minutes?
Our lessons are 60 minutes long and we don’t usually stop for a break, we just power through. We have various Chinese teas for refreshments free of charge.
Can you arrange for me to take HSK there?
Yes we can, we need at least a month advance notice to register you at the local centre. You will need a passport photo when registering. We will take you to register at no extra cost. The HSK test will be taken on a computer and not a hand written test.
How do I meet other people there?
We advise you go out and explore and enjoy Harbin. You have the opportunity to meet some wonderful people both Chinese and Western. Interestingly, we have had two of our students find love in Harbin and they both got happily married!!!!
The school used to make a delicious lunch for the students every day for RMB 30, but now they stopped this, why? And where can I get lunch?
The school principal Ayi used to prepare the famous school lunches however due to ill health recently she is not able to cook anymore.
Since January 2017, the school moved to a new exciting location which actually provides students with even more food and dining choices. Most students take lunch at the Chinese style canteen and restaurant located in-between the school building and the accommodation. Here the food is delicious and very affordable.
Don’t forget the accommodation and schools incredibly close and convenient location to the famous Central Street which is just ten-minute walk away! Here students have access to Walmart, McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Starbucks, Maan Coffee, Pizza Hut and endless Chinese dining options.
Does the school offer tea and coffee?
The school offers a range of free Chinese teas and coffee sachets such as Nescafe. These hot beverages are all complimentary.
Exciting news – we have a Nespresso machine for the school so our students can relish a cup of quality coffee while enjoying their studies. Thanks to our previous coffee connoisseur students who have always craved a good quality coffee while studying, we are currently exploring the idea of the Nespresso machine however we have a small charge of RMB 10 per Nespresso cup of coffee (per capsule).
Is there a quiet area inside the school or coffee shop close by I can study because I get bored in my accommodation?
Yes, inside our new school there is a comfy couch area where you can sit quietly. You can enjoy free Wi-Fi and free hot beverages while you enjoy your studying.
Alternatively, located within the gated community is a luxury clubhouse which has a gym, swimming pool and large lounge area. You are welcome to find a sofa in the clubhouse’s lounge area and use their free Wi-Fi. Beverages can be purchased within the clubhouse lounge and are at an additional cost.