45 Ways to Boost your Chinese skills

45 Ways to Boost Your Chinese

Are you quickly realizing that your semester courses on Mandarin just aren’t cutting it? If you really want to start taking your Chinese seriously and tigao that shuiping, check out these (sometimes ridiculous) ideas for boosting your Chinese skills. 



Hard luck, but your language skills are never going to be up to scratch if you continue to only study the language in your home country. The act of attending Chinese classes, whilst in China, is an unbeatable method for improving your language skills. The entire experience will be your classroom. From the moment you wake up til the moment you say “Wan an,” you’ll be living, breathing, and experiencing a world defined by Chinese characters instead of your mother tongue. It’s AWESOME and it works!


If you are a super-serious student and want to have a respectable level of Chinese, don’t solely focus on perfecting your speaking, Kou-Yu, Chinese. This seems to be the easiest (er, laziest) route that most foreigners take when studying the language. Reading in Chinese and the ability to recognize characters quickly will positively influence the rest of your language acquisition. It will also make you more legit and less of a laowai. 


Not that you need to get rid of them completely, but limiting the amount of time that you spend with other English-speakers will yield positive influences on your language skills. This can be easier said than done, of course - sometimes it is nice to have at least one person that you can vent to about how dang hard it is to learn Chinese! But stick it out. Having ample free time to hang out with Chinese-speakers means more native-speaking friends and more opportunities to pick up slang and more natural-sounding Mandarin. You won’t sound like the robot recordings from your TingLiKe!

Whether you’re on-the-ground in China already or still chugging along in your home country, here are 42 tried and true methods for improving your Mandarin skills.

- Get a job at your local Chinese restaurant.

- Find a MeetUp group with local Chinese people.

- Befriend the Chinese students on your university campus.

- Hire a private tutor for a few days each week.

- Take advantage of your Chinese professor’s office hours.

- Speak with graduate students on their best techniques.

- Find a language partner

- Go up to a Chinese student in the cafeteria and strike up a convo

- Go to the same fruit vendor over and over

- Watch Chinese television shows

- Attend a Chinese comedy hour

- Read short stories or novels in Mandarin

- Live with a Chinese family

- Avoid hanging out with other foreigners

- Ride the subway and chat with others in the train car

- Listen to Chinese music

- Go on a Chinese tour

- Hang out in China Town and drink milk tea

- Check Chinese newspapers or websites regularly

- Write a short story in Mandarin to share with your class

- Go on a run and translate the song lyrics into Chinese along the way

- Host a Chinese culture night for your family

- Go to a yoga class taught in Chinese

- Hire a Chinese private trainer

- Get an internship in a Chinese company

- Try your luck at translating

- Download podcasts that are Chinese language lessons

- Throw a Chinese holiday party

- Book your next flight ticket on CNET

- Order a new electronic dictionary from TaoBao

- Put Chinese subtitles on whenever you watch a movie

- Volunteer in China at an orphanage or conversation site

- Take a calligraphy course

- Learn the art of Chinese fan dancing

- Take a kung fu class taught in Mandarin

- Sign up for your very own Weibo or QQ account

- Change your phone settings to Chinese

- Change your computer settings to Mandarin

- Change your Facebook language settings to simplified characters

- Read Chinese comics

- Make a language pledge with your friends


Final tips to kick your Chinese up notch:

- Avoid the trap of using "很好" to describe everything. Get more creative than that. Imagine how boring you'd sound in English if you just called everything "good" instead of "awesome" "epic" "hilarious" "surprising" etc. Snooooze.

- On that note, there's more to saying "very" than "很". Switch it up with "好" or "非常" or "特".

- Don't greet others with the laowai-stand by, "你好". Stick to "吃了吗" or "出去?" to sound more authentic。

- Take your tones seriously. But seriously. Tones are the most important element (and often the most difficult) for Chinese second language learners to master, but it will reap huge rewards in the long run.


What other methods have you utilized to help your Chinese skills improve? Check our Short Term Intensive Program or our Semester Programs now to kick start your learning! 



 In-Depth-China      CSA-blog



  • Beijing

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    3610 Capital Mansions,
    6 Xinyuan Nan Road, Chaoyang
    Beijing, 100027
    Phone: (+86) 10 8468 3799 
  • London

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    154 Bishopsgate
    London EC2M 4LN
    United Kingdom
    Phone: (+44) 0207 377 84 
  • Hong Kong

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    Rm 604-7 Dominion Centre
    43-59 Queen’s Road East
    Hong Kong
    Phone: (+852) 800 968 924 


f-grey t-grey

Our Newsletter