The best Chinese language classes in Shanghai

Get to grips with Mandarin at these top schools

Whether you've been in Shanghai for two days or two years, it's never too soon or too late to start learning Mandarin. Shanghai has language centres for all levels and types of learner and, as a city built around busy schedules, schools are able to tailor hours to suit your wants and needs – which means no more excuses.

While you’re on a self-improvement kick, you could also flex your creative muscles in one of Shanghai's other amazing classes for adults, like the best cooking classes or best art and craft classes.
EasyMandarin
EasyMandarin

EasyMandarin

You can’t fault EasyMandarin on its location, looking out over the golden spires of Jingan Temple – in fact it’s hard to fault this private language school on much. It’s a friendly place that regularly organises trips for students and offers a range of classes – private tutors, small groups, evening classes and intensive courses – led by highly trained and enthusiastic teachers. The focus here is mainly on speaking, but there are also options for reading, writing and HSK exam prep. Intensive group classes (three hours each weekday) start from 87RMB an hour, while flexible one-on-one classes are from 145RMB an hour.

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172 Yuyuan Lu
Jiaotong University

Jiaotong University

Jiaotong University offers a range of language courses for international students, including an intensive term of daily lessons or a series of evening classes. The intensive course includes daily listening, reading and writing in classes of about 25, meaning full immersion in Chinese study. It’s one of Shanghai’s best universities, so you can expect to study hard (with plenty of regular homework), but to progress in all areas of learning, with midterm and final tests on reading and writing characters.

Courses can also work out as a bargain compared with private schools, plus as a student you can take advantage of cultural classes – calligraphy, paper cutting and Tai Chi – for rock-bottom prices. It's 9,900RMB per semester plus an application fee of 450RMB.

Jiaotong also offers newer courses specifically for overseas Chinese students, or focusing on the use of business Chinese.

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1954 Huashan Lu
GoEast Language Center

GoEast Language Center

GoEast Language Centre offers custom courses with flexible scheduling, ranging from conversational Chinese to business Chinese to HSK preparation. Lessons can be one-on-one, in a classroom environment or online, and all their teachers have university degrees in a relevant field of linguistics as well as a minimum of two years of teaching experience. For group lessons, it will set you back 85-95RMB per hour and for private lessons, 160-200RMB per hour.

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194-196 Zhengmin Lu
The Hutong School
The Hutong School

The Hutong School

Popular for being so flexible and down-to-earth, Hutong School caters to all levels of language learning and all types of classes, including private and group lessons. Teachers can come out to homes and offices (including the option to tailor classes to a specific business sector), or students can study at the lovely lanehouse school. All teachers have been qualified for at least two years and receive monthly evaluations.

As the school is European owned and managed, many staff are also multilingual – an added bonus if English isn’t your mother tongue. Group classes go from 85RMB an hour while private classes from 160RMB an hour.

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16, Lane 76 Wuyuan Lu
Donghua University
Courtesy Donghua University

Donghua University

Donghua University’s Chinese classes are held at the Yanan Lu campus near Zhongshan Park – a leafy site conveniently close to the Beer Lady. This is a formal university, so you will be in the company of thousands of other students, and it might mean that you lose some of the familiarity that goes with learning at a smaller private school. But there are other benefits; mostly the price, which works out much cheaper for the same number of hours, and the fact that you will study hanzi from the beginning, along with listening and reading. Class sizes tend to be large though, especially at beginner level, which risks getting less chance to speak than in a private school. It's 5,500RMB a semester, with an additional application fee of 400RMB.

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1882 Yanan Xi Lu
Hanyuan Mandarin School

Hanyuan Mandarin School

Set in a beautiful 1920s French Concession villa with an outside courtyard (also used for classes), Han Yuan is associated with Jikei Educational Group – the biggest vocational educational group in Japan. Join group classes, small groups or oneon- one sessions – which can be tailored to focus on writing, reading or speaking, depending on needs. Plus, get free tea and coffee from the stylish bar on the ground floor. For a minimum of 50 hours, purchase a group class for 110RMB per person and private classes for a total of 6,000RMB. Free trial lesson for 20 minutes available.

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28 Gaolan Lu
Mandarin House

Mandarin House

This well-established People’s Square school offers intensive and part-time courses, oneon- one private tutoring and preparation for the HSK exam, with each student assigned to a consultant to oversee individual studies. The school can also help with student visas, arrange for students to stay with host families and offers a service to help students find internships while studying.

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650 Hankou Lu

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