CLI: Chinese Immersion Program in Guilin, China

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About

Immerse yourself in Chinese language and culture with CLI! Located in the picturesque city of Guilin and officially affiliated with Guangxi Normal University (GXNU), CLI provides the premier intensive Mandarin program in China.

The fastest way to reach Mandarin language proficiency is through CLI's immersion program. CLI Immersion includes 20-weekly hours of one-on-one instruction with three highly qualified, unique CLI instructors. One-on-one instruction provides constant student teacher interaction, immediate feedback, and accelerated language learning that is often lacking with large group classes.

In addition to language courses, CLI offers weekly activities and monthly travel excursions, including cooking classes, game nights, tours of Guilin and much more. CLI warmly welcomes you to learn Mandarin Chinese in China!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 27 reviews
  • Academics 9.8
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.8
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.7
  • Value 9
Showing 1 - 15 of 27
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MATTHEW
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CLI-Good But Could be Better

CLI has wonderful teachers. I may well go back again for this reason alone. They really do care and they really do try to provide students with what they need to improve their Mandarin. The down side is that this is not really an immersion program. Once class is over, the students almost all speak English. And some of the teachers seem to encourage this. Moreover, the staff are even worse. One staff member repeatedly spoke English with me while I spoke Mandarin. And this happened more than once. The result is that the school has intensive classes, but the overall experience is not as transformative as it could be. Some of this is natural, given the high numbers of native English speakers in the program, but the school could do more to combat it if it really wants to provide an immersion program. See below for some specific suggestions.

What would you improve about this program?
If CLI wants to provide a truly first rate immersion program, it needs to: 1) require teachers and staff to speak only Chinese, inside the classroom and out; 2) recruit more non-English speakers by offering Japanese and Korean language websites; and 3) provide more native Chinese speakers on extra-curricular activities. I participated in one overnight activity that had one native Chinese speaker and eight native English speakers. From the perspective of learning Chinese, it was a waste of time.
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Stephen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What I learned in 2 weeks at CLI:

If you’re serious about learning to speak Chinese, you need to spend some time in China. CLI offers a great venue, a great one-on-one format, and great teachers, staff and fellow students to join you on your journey.

CLI has a picturesque location in the beautiful tourist destination of Guilin, with its mountains, lakes, temples, and the famous Li River. Even the air is good for a city in China. Try the 7:00 a.m. tai ji class on CLI’s 6th floor roof and soak up the scenery to start your day.

Your classes will give you solid training in all aspects of the language: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing. People of many ages, backgrounds and levels of proficiency in Chinese come to CLI from all over the world. You’ll make lots of new friends, and will have a lot of fun with the many different activities, the lunches, and the weekly welcoming and farewell dinners.

Then head out into the city and strike up conversations with local people. You’ll be so glad you did.

My two weeks at CLI flew by. My Chinese improved significantly. Next time I’ll stay longer.

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ZhouLin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience!

I met so many wonderful people coming to CLI. I became so close to many students and teacher during the 6 weeks I was staying in CLI. Many of whom opened their lives up to me in such a short amount of time. For example, one of my teachers invited me to their house for Chinese New Years (because she knew I had never experienced a Chinese New Year). It was so much fun! I had one of the interns invite me to their house in Nanning, as well as meet some of her friends. My other teacher actually took me to the train station and made sure that I made it safely there. While my last teacher always bought me good food and took me to eat my favorite Chinese foods.

Everyone (teachers, staff, and fellow students) were all so kind to me and always there to support each other.

I feel like my Chinese improved so much more than when I was learning here in the States (5 years vs. 6 weeks). The teachers were always so patient and willing to correct any mistakes I or any other students made.

Sometimes, it didn't feel like student and teacher, the atmosphere is more friend and friend (both learning from each other). During free time we would play ping pong, go out to eat, or just hang out together. There is a good balance of when to be playful and when to be serious.

I still keep in touch with my teachers and friends. And they all still help me with my Chinese. I couldn't have improved so much without their help.

After attending CLI, it has helped me decide that I want to attend a school and live overseas. Currently, I am looking at universities in China and South Korea. Thanks to them and many friends I have made along the way. I want to challenge myself and live in Asia. They all gave me the confidence to work hard to improve my language skills.

A big thanks to Nikki and Tania, for helping me get from the United States to China. I was feeling very anxious and kept worrying about traveling by myself. But they both comforted me and told me that they would be available the whole time to help me along the way. Nikki also helped me transition from my host family to living at the CLI dorms. They never questioned me on why I decided to leave they just helped me move to the dorms.

I seriously recommend CLI to anyone who wants to live in China but doesn't know the language; a few weeks in CLI and you will improve so much! For example, my father wants to teach in China but he doesn't know Chinese, I told him he should attend CLI for a few weeks so that he can get a baseline.

It's also a good experience, especially for young people who are learning how to become more independent.

What was your funniest moment?
There are so many to choose from and none that would make sense if I explained them here. All I can say is, you form great relationships with the people you are around to the point you have a lot of inside jokes and funny stories.

You create good memories.
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Phil
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is an outstanding language school

I have studied twice at CLI; first in late 2015-16 for six weeks, and then for three months in 2018. I didn’t hesitate to return.
When I got back to Brisbane in November 2018, my regular teacher was shocked (positively) at the progress I had made in that time.
The CLI teachers are engaging and interesting people and committed language teachers, and really good at what they do. One on one classes really turbocharged my learning. They allow for a mix between structured study around a textbook, and free conversation around topics that interest the individual student.
Studying Chinese in Guilin means you are surrounded by the language; you get to practise it with cafe staff, taxi drivers and CLI’s large contingent of friendly and helpful interns.
Guilin is an incredibly beautiful, comfortable and modern city.

What would you improve about this program?
I gave CLI a 10 for all categories, because it is truly excellent, but that’s not the same as perfect. The two most significant improvements they could consider would be to reduce the normal schedule of class from ten (x 2 hours) per week to 8, so students have more free time for revision and practice alone.
The second would be a greater emphasis on drills, ie practising phrases when speaking and eriting, because when an English speaker studies Mandarin, we need to “rewire” our language brains through repetition as well as in conversation, etc.
But I am not a language teacher, and they may have good reasons for disagreeing with these.
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Oluwasayo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CLI - An Absolutely Awesome Place

The most important thing about CLI is the people. I came in at 12:00 midnight on the day I arrived, yet the intern that received me took me out to find something to eat.

The Teachers are amazing. When CLI says the Class is one on one, it is indeed one on one. The teachers are looking for your strength and your interest and teaching in an absolutely contextual manner.

Most places “talk” about being a community, CLI is a place that is actually one. People enfold you with love and generosity. Administrative staff are so responsive and approachable and the interns, oh the ever serving, ever willing, ever helpful interns!
Please if you are registering, just pay for the meal plan! Chifu’s cooking is delicious and very healthy. The discussions at the table is absolutely enlightening.
I can go on and on - extra curricular activity, group trips locally and to tourist spots, the natural beauty of Guilin, the simple safety of the environment.., I must stop here! Just go now and register! Gentle Tania will work with you for a perfect experience. I am definitely coming back!

What would you improve about this program?
Know your Pinyin - at least - before you come. Don’t come as a blank slate.
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Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

4 Weeks in Guilin

Guilin is a beautiful location, and it is very easy to make weekend trips to small villages or big cities, or to any of the local tourist attractions.

CLI itself is a great environment. There are plenty of comfortable areas to just hang out between classes, or quiet places to study. The classes are challenging but also relaxed and fun. The teachers are very easy to get along with.

The 'pengyou program' is not as advertised, though for the better. There are a bunch of interns/chinese university students who basicaly hang out in CLI common areas. They are incredibly freindly and helpful, they will almost always be enthusiastic to have a chat in chinese regardless of your level, or help you with your homework, or help you buy a sim card for your phone etc. You will probably end up getting to know some of them quite well.

The community in my experience is really supportive of people at every level. Its never too early in your mandarin studies to come. There are heaps of people who arrive with basicaly no chinese and in 2-4 weeks have learnt as much as they might have in a year at home, there are also students who have been studying for years and are already at a very high level.

I can't wait to go back :)

What would you improve about this program?
The classes are 2 hours each, with a 10 minute break about half way. I think it could be better to take a 30 minute break to go for a walk or play some game, and have two 45 min lessons. I only thought of this after leaving or I would have asked my teachers if we could try this.
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Angela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible learning environment

CLI is a welcoming, challenging, encouraging, helpful, home-like environment. You will be surrounded motivated, dedicated students, and helpful friendly interns. One-on-one class is an ideal way to learn. But of course you need to be self motivated, push yourself, and take advantage of every opportunity to communicate in Chinese. Guilin is a beautiful, safe, cheap, convenient, quiet friendly little city. Take time to explore, but the best way to take advantage of CLI is to make it as much a full-immersion experience as possible!

The teachers are professional, skilled, and very patient and flexible. If you know how you learn the best, they will work with you to develop the lessons in that way. If you are a beginner and have no idea where or how to learn Chinese, they will still tailor it to your specific needs, with reasonable but challenging expectations. I could not have asked for a better learning environment.

What would you improve about this program?
All the activities and outings offered at CLI are great! However, there are students of many different levels at CLI. For more advanced students who want true immersion and more opportunities to use Chinese outside of class, perhaps offer some activities that will be only in Chinese.
Radia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you're choosing between programs, pick this one!

I absolutely loved my time at CLI. I am currently teaching English in Jinzhong, China. As a requirement for my position, I was to attend a language program over the summer to begin learning Chinese. From the moment I got to Guillin, I felt safe, supported, and ready to learn. As a first-timer in China, I was nervous about being able to navigate the city by myself, but within a week I was able to find my way around. I loved my classes, and finished one and a half books in 6 weeks. I went from not being able to say anything in Chinese to being able to hold simple conversation. I love my teachers and am really thankful that CLI's structure makes it so you can build actual bonds and even friendships with your teachers. I also loved my home stay family, although if I were to choose again I would probably stay in the CLI facilities, given that I felt I couldn't stay out late to be respectful to my host family (although I love them, and they did help my Chinese get better! Navigating the first few weeks was hard since they do not speak English, but we managed!)

My only comment is you must be self motivated to learn in this program-- a lot of what the teachers do is guide you into self-study habits and review material with you that you will also need to go over by yourself. Because it is one-on-one, you realllllly must come prepared to learn and pay full attention. That being said, I loved my teachers and do not think I could have advanced as I did without them.

What would you improve about this program?
Unsure, maybe more transparency about the pengyou program. The website makes it sound like you are paired with a Chinese student, when really you can just chat and make friends with any of the CLI interns on your own, there is no official pairing.
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Phillip
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great School

Had a great time at CLI, very nice people, teachers, and community. I thought that the curriculum and teachers were challenging, and improved my mandarin. I thought that my mandarin improved more during the month at CLI than in the last five years I had previously studied mandarin. It is also fun interacting with locals, for example ordering local food, playing soccer or basketball, and going shopping. I am excited to return soon.

What would you improve about this program?
it's great
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Dana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CLI summer 2018

I am 14 years old and have been studying Chinese for 4 years about 2 days per week. My written skills are far better than my spoken. I attended CLI this summer for two weeks and I am feeling more confident about speaking.
My sister was also with me and more experienced and she also had a great experience. The teachers are fun and teach well. They helped me with my tones and radicals and speaking.
Our room was nice, air conditioned which is needed, it’s really hot in Guilin. The other students were nice and the activities and weekend trips were fun and educational.
I hope to go back again next summer for a longer time and I would like to continue to work on my fluency.
We took a separate trip to Youngshuo to see the Impression Sanjie Liu and it was incredible.
I had a great experience and highly recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
Would like to see some weekly group classes in the evening.
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Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 Weeks at CLI

CLI is an absolutely wonderful place to improve your Mandarin! I was initially sceptical about how much I could learn in 3 weeks but CLI definitely surpassed my expectations. The teachers were lovely and tailored lessons to my learning speed so I could quickly complete chapters and move onto new material. Housing was clean and spacious, and very convenient as it's located directly above the classrooms. I really enjoyed the activities organised by CLI, especially the weekend trip: they were fun, affordable and well-structured. I had a great time in Guilin, thanks to the interesting people I met at CLI, my teachers and the welcoming locals. Would definitely recommend CLI to friends interested in learning Mandarin and looking forward to returning (hopefully soon!)

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Samuel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best place to get fluent in Mandarin

If you:
- Are a self motivated student
- Are serious about achieving fluency in Mandarin
- Can afford the tuition

...then there is likely no better place in the world to study Chinese. To really master a language, you need an enormous amount of time speaking with native speakers one-on-one. This school has a great environment in a quiet city in a beautiful part of China where you can do this all day with excellent instructors. I would recommend CLI without hesitation if you are serious about mastering the Chinese language. I have studied several foreign languages, and this is the best language learning environment I have seen in general.

Since you don't have classmates, and people come and go not confined to a particular schedule, the social scene can be a little awkward, so I suggest come to Guilin to focus on the language.

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Harry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2nd Time Attending, Still Amazing!

CLI is an amazing experience and is equally amazing in helping your language. This was my second experience ; once with my family for a 2 week stay in an apartment - this was a wonderful experience all round. I returned alone ( I am 14) for a 4 week stay with a homestay family. This experience was even better! My family were wonderful and included me in many activities. The 4 week immersion was really really helpful to language learning and I cannot wait to go back. CLI acivities and excursions are fun and the teachers and interns are so kind and helpful. They are there to ENSURE you learn Chinese, but in a really good and professional way.

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Agnes
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience in learning Chinese

I spent 2 months at CLI improving my Chinese. The support was fabulous from the beginning till the end, exact and prompt, providing proper answers to all my questions. The teaching was brilliant as I had three different one-on-one teachers who all had different styles and from whom I can learn different things. They were all really caring that I progress and used various methods. They were also very flexible - if I asked to change something, they were eager to follow, and I personally find them all very nice people. The programs CLI organized were all very diverse and quality programs from tea house visiting to weekend trips. The area where the school located is a bit out of the city center, but it is a very nice area with all facilities nearby. I can only recommend CLI to everyone, who wants to enjoy a personalized and flexible Chinese learning experience!

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Hanne
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great environment for studying

I went to study at CLI for 3 weeks. Previously I had been doing self study at home partly with a teacher for two hours a week. I thought that the CLI immersion program was great. I particularly enjoyed the one on one lessons but also liked having three different teachers. My aim was to improve my listening comprehension and my fluency in speaking. I really enjoyed studying at CLI. The teachers are great and very enthusiastic. I will I could have stayed longer.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that this is a great program. The only aspect I found disappointing was that the pengyou aspect couldn't get implemented. It was explained that the pengyou candidates were busy at university.

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About The Chinese Language Institute (CLI)

The Chinese Language Institute (CLI) is an innovative language and cultural center located in Guilin, China. Housed in its own 5-story language learning center and officially affiliated with Guangxi Normal University, CLI offers the fastest track to...
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