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Best Places to Learn Chinese in Adelaide

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published October 30th 2019
The Best Things in Life are Confucian
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This way to Chinatown (Anthony Alvarez-Eng / BY-SA 2.0)


The Chinese language has over 1.2 billion native speakers. Mandarin is the most common dialect, the official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Port Adelaide hired a Mandarin-speaking commentator to raise the profile of the AFL in Asia and our local Chinese community.

Mandarin is a tonal language, using 5 tones to convey different meanings for the same words. It sounds intimidating but with the right teacher, you'll skip an early night when you really want dinner (shui jiao means dumplings or sleep, depending on your tone).

Enjoy your Chinese holiday or chat with former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

In Adelaide, start with these top 8 options:

School of Languages - throughout Adelaide
This government school provides high school courses in government, Catholic and independent classrooms across Adelaide.

While the school focuses on year 7, 8-10, and 11-12 high school students, there are vocational courses for adults.

The Beginner course covers relationships (family, friends, greetings), lifestyles (dates and times, numbers, daily activities), and experiences (work and school, holidays and hobbies). The Continuers course builds on these topics to expand you vocabulary and the Background Speakers course explores the Chinese culture, including film, literature, art, history, and politics.

Enrol at School of Languages.


University of Adelaide - Level 9, 115 Grenfell Street, Adelaide
The language courses at our city's uni are geared for leisure and business travellers to interact with Mandarin-speaking friends, relatives and colleagues.

Start with the 8-week introduction course to practise the most common phrases for daily interaction. You'll also learn about traditional etiquette in Chinese societies from one of Adelaide's best Mandarin language teachers.

To continue your journey eastward, signup for the first year Chinese course, either in a 30-week enrolment or an intensive 10-week immersion. If you're keen to master Mandarin, the uni offers 2nd, 3rd and 4th-year courses.

Enrol at University of Adelaide.


WEA - 223 Angas Street, Adelaide
The Workers Educational Association, a non-profit community college, has the best value Mandarin language courses in Adelaide.

Start with ten weeks of 2-hour sessions in the Chinese Mandarin for Fun and Travel course for the basics to enjoy a holiday in Asia. You'll learn to socialise, ask questions and engage in general conversation.

To delve deeper into Chinese culture and writing, enrol in the 24-week level 1 course, then continue onto the 32-week level 2 extension.

Enrol at WEA.

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Mandarin Belief


Vocational Language Learning Centre - 5/116 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide
VLLC have created a 3-tier proficiency structure, guiding students to achieve social, intermediate and then vocational certification. Each course includes reading, writing and speaking, beginning with the foundation social skills including travel bookings, directions, food and drink orders, sightseeing, time and medical queries. Online learning builds on your face-to-face lessons, with homework and chat sessions hosted on the Net.

The intermediate study allows you to settle into China, finding an apartment, reading and writing business forms, listening to news stories and cope with the ultimate awkward encounter - the dentist.

Vocational certification will help you with the trickiest job interview questions, resume writing, opening a bank account, discussing current affairs and appreciating cultural nuances. Prices and schedules are customised for your needs, based on your current vocab, aims and availability. Enrol at VLLC.


Better Chinese Australia - Toorak Gardens, Seaton
BCA teaches Mandarin to children and teenagers with songs, stories and games.

The beginner course is aimed at children aged 4 and older. Toys and pictures are used as visual prompts as students. The continuer and intermediate courses will expand their vocabulary with conversation practise, reading and writing.

A special literature course for advanced students uses a variety of texts to develop stronger listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Enrol at Better Chinese Australia.


Listen and Learn - throughout Adelaide
Just like Language Trainers, Listen and Learn differ from the conventional classroom group lessons, providing one-on-one Mandarin tutoring based on your needs, time and place preference and current skill level.

The tutor can provide the lesson in your home or office, with either general-purpose conversational Mandarin for social or travel goals or business-level language, to hone the techniques to wow prospective employers, investors or corporate clients.

If you're learning with a friend or a corporate group, one-to-many lessons can be arranged.

If you prefer to learn via a webcam, the also host Skype sessions.

Get started with a free 15-minute online test. Enrol at Listen and Learn.

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Talk to a dragon (Anthony Alvarez-Eng / BY-SA 2.0)


Language Trainers - throughout Adelaide
Take the free online Mandarin language test or a trial Skype lesson, before learning the lingo.

You'll be matched with an experienced tutor to arrange a lesson plan to match your schedule. They'll provide worksheets and guides as they teach you the basics, including greetings, numbers and travel queries. You'll progress to the tricky techniques to read and write the beautiful Mandarin script.

As the lessons are all one-on-one, the content is highly customised, with pricing dependent on your aims and instructor preference. Enrol at Language Trainers.


Adelaide Chinese Language and Culture Meetup - throughout Adelaide
If you're searching for friendly Mandarin-speaking locals and fellow English-speaking learners to chat with, this Meetup group is ideal as you each hone your vocabs.

Meeting regularly for language exchange sessions, casual dinners, films and festivals, you can indulge your love of Chinese culture with like-minded souls. RSVP at Meetup.


Where do you feast on sweet but strong-smelling Durian Ice Cream or spicy Chow Mein as you learn to speak Mandarin? We'd love to hear your comments.



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Why? Experience Chinese culture
When: Various sessions available
Where: Throughout Adelaide
Cost: Free starter options available
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