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Mandarin Chinese Language Classes in the U.S.

By Edited Aug 4, 2015 2 0

Is There a Confucius Institute Near You?

There are more ways than ever for adult beginners in the U.S. to learn Mandarin Chinese. From inexpensive online courses featuring chat, games, and live camera-enabled lessons, to websites that can help connect students with native speaking instructors at a low cost, there are plenty of choices out there for those who don't have time for an in-person class.

But in many ways, at least when starting out with this difficult language, there's no substitute for face-to-face interaction with a skilled Chinese language instructor. One major benefit of in-person group classes is the connection one can easily and naturally form with one's classmates and teacher, and the built-in support, encouragement, and constant motivation that often grows out of a classroom setting.

If you choose to pursue the in-person, group class route to learning Chinese, what are your options? Believe it or not, there are literally hundreds of Mandarin Chinese language classes open to adult beginners in the United States, and many of them are surprisingly inexpensive. From Chinese culture centers, to schools and non-profits specializing in teaching Mandarin Chinese to children and adults alike, in most states you've got plenty of options.  

You could start by finding out whether you have a Confucius Institute in your area. Confucius Institutes are a fantastic choice for beginning Chinese language learners in the U.S., as they are directly connected with the Chinese government (i.e. built-in legitimacy and quality assurance), and for the most part affiliated with reputable U.S. higher education institutions. But keep in mind that in addition to the 70 or so Confucius Institutes listed here, there are plenty of other Mandarin Chinese language schools, institutes, and centers across the country to choose from. 

For your reference, here's a list of Confucius Institutes in the U.S., noted in most cases by a university or college with which they are affiliated (you can find websites for all of these on Google!):

Alabama:

Troy University

Alaska:

University of Alaska Anchorage

Arizona:

Arizona State University

University of Arizona

Arkansas:

University of Central Arkansas

California:

San Diego State University

San Francisco State University

Stanford University

UCLA

Colorado:

Community College of Denver

Connecticut:

N/A

Delaware:

University of Delaware

Florida:

Miami Dade College

University of South Florida 

Georgia:

Atlanta (Emory University)

Georgia State University

Kennesaw State University

Hawaii:

University of Hawai'i at Manoa 

Idaho:

N/A

Illinois:

Confucius Institute Chicago

University of Chicago

Indiana:

Confucius Institute in Indianapolis

Purdue University

Valparaiso University

Iowa:

University of Iowa

Kansas:

University of Kansas

Kentucky:

University of Kentucky

Western Kentucky University

Louisiana:

N/A

Maine:

N/A

Maryland: 

Confucius Institute at Maryland

Massachusetts:

University of Massachusetts Boston 

Michigan:

Michigan State University 

University of Michigan 

Wayne State University 

Western Michigan University

Minnesota:

University of Minnesota 

Mississippi:

N/A

Missouri:

Webster University

Montana:

University of Montana 

Nebraska:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nevada:

N/A

New Hampshire: 

University of New Hampshire 

New Jersey: 

Rutgers University 

New Mexico:

New Mexico State University 

New York:

Alfred University 

Confucius Institute at China Institute 

Binghamton University 

Confucius Institute for Business (SUNY Global Center) 

Pace University

Stony Brook University 

SUNY College of Optometry  

University of Buffalo 

North Carolina:

North Carolina State University 

Pfeiffer University 

North Dakota:

N/A

Ohio:

Cleveland State University 

Miami University 

University of Akron 

University of Toledo 

Oklahoma:

University of Oklahoma 

Oregon:

Portland State University 

University of Oregon

Pennsylvania:

Penn State University

University of Pittsburgh

Rhode Island:

Bryant University

University of Rhode Island

South Carolina:

Presbyterian College

University of South Carolina

South Dakota:

N/A

Tennessee:

Middle Tennessee State University

University of Memphis

Texas:

Texas A&M University

University of Texas at Dallas

University of Texas at San Antonio

Utah:

University of Utah

Vermont:

N/A

Virginia:

George Mason University

West Virginia:

N/A

Wisconsin:

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Wyoming:

N/A 

Washington:

Confucius Institute at the State of Washington 

***

Learning Chinese isn't easy, and unless you're a language learning prodigy (most are not!) it can be quite discouraging early on. Whatever the approach—whether it be primarily through memorizing grammar points and vocabulary lists, or using contextual cues and realistic scenarios to acquire language more naturally—the key factor determining your success will be whether you put this new knowledge into practice.

More than anything, learning a language requires real-world application. For Chinese, this could mean fearlessly trying out the new food-related phrases you've learned on an upcoming visit to your neighborhood Chinese take-out (just make sure they speak Mandarin and not Cantonese or something else!). It sounds scary, but you'd be surprised how delighted most people are when you attempt to speak to them in their native language.  

However you do it—use that new language! It'll help your brain process and retain what you've learned, and it'll give you the confidence to continue on your journey toward conversational fluency in Mandarin Chinese. You really can do it! 

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