Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Language Schools 

Back at the cheap school. I signed up just before the October holiday. I had gone back to my former tutor at Sinoland, but she was busy this semester. She offered to help me find another tutor, but I was hesitant, because I don't know any of the other teachers there. I decided to stop by one of the cheap schools I had attended in the past. I went to where it was located the last time I attended, but there was some other business occupying their office. I asked them about it, but they didn't say anything specific. Fortunately, as I was getting on the elevator, a man who had seen me asking questions came up and told me where they had moved to. They are in a much smaller office above McDonald's. I assume they have lost a little business due to the deflation of the Won against the dollar.

There are several private language schools in Wudaokou. Generally, they fit into two broad categories:
In addition to those two, there are, of course, the various university programs. The university programs attract students by appealing to people who are not familiar with China. It's really easy to enroll in BLCU by signing up on their web site. But the university programs tend to be lecture oriented, with larger classes. They are also more expensive, although you save a lot by enrolling directly rather than going through an international exchange program.

If you live in Beijing, especially if you live near Wudaokou, the private language schools are definitely the way to go. The ones designed for foreign business people tend to cost a little more, but they also employ more sophisticated learning methods. I had a tutor at Sinoland before last semester, So I went back there a few weeks ago to look her up, but she told me that she was really busy this semester. That's why I returned to one of the cheap schools I had attended before. The lower cost is attractive, and, even though their teaching method is not as sophisticated, there is something to be said for a course that facilitates an hour and a half of language interaction every week day. 30 kuai for an hour-and-a-half. My tutor at Sinoland was very good, but last year I paid 80 RMB per hour, and this year the price has gone up to 100. So a two hour session once a week cost more than going to class five days a week at the cheap school.

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