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Chinese Languages: Classes & Camps
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Learning Mandarin Chinese
I love languages and am beginning to learn Mandarin Chinese from an online
program through the library. I have learned a little basic vocabulary but I
think I need some in-person practice to get it firmly in my brain. I did some
web searching and didn't find many resources for adults to learn Chinese in the
Bay Area. Can you recommend something, or do you have ideas about a good way to
get some practice? It doesn't have to be a class. I have 2 young kids, so free
time and money are in short supply. I live in East Oakland.
Four ideas for Mandarin practice, based on my own experience.
1. Meetup.com has an East Bay Chinese group that meets in South
Berkeley. I used to go with my baby.
2. The Oakland Public Library Asian branch in Chinatown has a kid's
program in Mandarin Saturday mornings. Parents participate too and it's
good for beginner level Chinese learners.
3. It isn't too hard to get a Mandarin exchange partner on Craigslist if
you post or check the activity partner posts.
4. I've been told that many Chinese-speaking families hang out at the
park in Albany village every day. I know it's a bit far from you, but
that way you can bring the kids. You might check small parks in any
Chinese-populated area near you and probably find the same thing.
A couple of ideas. You could try to find a conversation partner who's a
speaker. You practice your Mandarin, they practice their English. I did
about 10 years ago through Cal's English program for international
might check with English language schools in the area or universities.
also try craigslist. There are also a number of meetups for Mandarin
the bay area. Look on meetup.com. Of course nothing beats actually being
China, but I know that's tough when you have a family. Man man lai ba!
fellow Mandarin speaker
This may or may not be a practical solution for you, but it would be an effective
one: taking Mandarin at Mills College (also in East Oakland). The director of the
Chinese program at Mills is Chiuhung Chen. She runs one of the most effective
language-learning programs I've ever seen in operation. Her pedagogical methods are
rich, fun, and evidence-based. Many of her students have conversation partners in
China - just one of many resources she finds for them. Mills is great for Moms,
too. A safe, friendly campus. Not just students, but staff and faculty take
Chinese at Mills. wo ai wo de zhongwen lao shi
Hello, I am interested in enrolling my daughter at East Bay Chinese
School. It's website states it was established in 1981 but I don't see
any reviews on BPN. Any reviews or experiences would be most
appreciated, thank you!
My son was a student at East Bay Chinese School for four years. Looking
back, his first year teacher was fine. The second year teacher was not a
good fit for my son, who was transferred to another teacher mid-year. The
following two teachers were good.
The biggest problem he had was some of his classmates were always
misbehaving and distracting the lessons. Teachers were having problem
controlling such behavior. Parents must volunteer a certain hours each year
or they pay more if they do not volunteer. Some of those parents do not
speak English, which sometimes made them seem rude.
My son had a lot of homework each week and that took his time away from his
regular school work. I would say he learned some Mandarin at EBCS, but
nothing to write home about! My son is learning Mandarin online now and he
is much happier.
Former EBCS mom
Hi everyone: I'm new to the neighborhood and am seeking suggestions for independent
high school study for Chinese mandarin. My son is enrolled as a 9th grader at
Maybeck High and they don't offer Chinese. I've already contacted Tilden Prep, and
Berkeley high independent study. Does anyone have other suggestions? I'd consider a
private tutor but am not sure how to receive high school credit going that route.
Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks Elaine
Mentoring Academy on College near Rockridge BART offers Mandarin I and II
employing the Middlebury Language program and a tutor. Courses are approved.
My daughter has been taking mandarin lessons on Saturdays
for about 2 years. We try practice the language at home,
but she tends to respond to me in English. I am looking
for a mandarin immerson summer camp in the east bay where
she can practice conversational mandarin with other
children. Does anyone have experience with the Hip Wah Summer Camp, and the
Shu Ren Summer Camp?
Mom of a 6-year old
You may try Ya Ya Chinese School
(https://sites.google.com/site/yayachineseschool/). My 6-yr old daughter,
with some language experience and have been there for almost 2 weeks and
she really enjoy the loving, relaxing enviroment in Ya Ya. Ms. He the lead
teacher is experienced and kept kids at all age well entertained and
enthusiastic to learn the language through songs, games, and some gong-fu.
And delicious lunch is provided as well. Check out more info on their
website and their summer camp is still open for enrollment.
The Hip Wah summer program
provides a wonderful camp experience
including Chinese culture, arts, music, and Mandarin language
instruction. It is NOT immersion, and the level of instruction is
fairly low (they assume no prior Mandarin knowledge). Registration
takes place in February and many classes fill quickly. This year's
program has already started.
Another program to consider is New Sprouts in Oakland. I don't know
anything about Shu Ren.
Hi: Regarding the Mandarin immersion camp inquiry...
This may not be in time for the current summer, but I wanted to post a
message for parents to keep in mind perhaps for next year re: summer camp
recommendations. We sent our son to Shu Ren's Mandarin Immersion camp
last summer (for many weeks) and can recommend the teachers and staff
there as great (smart, patient and hands-on). We had other plans for most
weeks this summer but I imagine that the camp is just as good as the
I'm looking for a Chinese language class for young kids. A
class after school or on the weekend. I know kids pick up
languages easily when they are young and want to take
advantage of this opportunity. I am looking for a class in
Oakland or south Berkeley. Thanks
My 7 year old has taken a lively and fun Mandarin class with
Po-Wen Chen on Monday afternoons at the Albany Community
Center on Marin Avenue for the past three years. Po-Wen is a
wonderful, warm, committed teacher. The kids learn songs,
basic vocabulary and characters, and play lots of games.
Po-Wen has classes for kids ranging in age from 1 - 7. She
has a masters degree in child development and really knows
how to reach her students. Alison
I have been pleased with the program offered by CCEA New
Sprouts in Oakland.
My preschooler attends the Saturday morning Mandarin class
near Lake Merritt. Fall 2010 enrollment has just started for
the session starting in September. There are also classes
for elementary school age children.
I've found it to be a great way to expose my little one to
the language (she started when she was 2). They also have a
parent-and-tot (starting at 18 months) class on Friday
mornings. For the younger kids, it's very much play- based,
and they also provide you with access to an online resource,
so parent and child can practice during the week.
The website is: http://www.cceanewsprouts.org/
Shu Ren International School offers after school Mandarin
classes at their campus in Berkeley. They also have
additional cultural enrichment classes such as martial arts
and Chinese music. More information is on their website:
http://www.shureninternationalschool.com/ shu ren mom
I'm hoping to find a great Mandarin language summer program for my son, who
is five. We'll be back in the Bay Area for a month (as we've moved away!), so I'm
hoping to find something that runs 3-5 days a week, 1-3 hours a day, for
weekly or monthly sessions. Any chance you know of one?
former berkeley mama
Shu Ren International School
in Berkeley offers a Mandarin
summer camp in two-week sessions throughout the summer. Our
son is in school there and attended the camp last summer and
had a lot of fun. The teachers are great and the kids learn
a lot of Chinese. Registration forms are available now at:
shu ren mom
A long time ago I took a couple of years of Mandarin and still retain a
little bit of the spoken language, but very little of the writing. I
would love a class that would refresh my basic knowledge and perhaps do
some writing and character recognition. Are there any evening or
weekend classes like that for adults in the East Bay?
UC Berkeley Extension has a whole language department. They have classes in
Arabic, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese and Spanish.
Try UCB Extensions. My friend took their night classes a few years
ago and liked the teacher. Because she wasn't a native speaker (not
to say she doesn't pronounce Chinese well), she was really good at
teaching to the beginners as she understands where they're coming
UCB staff/faculty used to get discounts at Extension.
Hi. Does anyone know of a summer camp that provides decent
language study in Chinese or French? We prefer those
abroad immersion camps. Please let me know if you have any
I came across your posting. I happened to take my son and
his friend to China last summer 2007 for a Chinese
immersion program through Sino Language Gateway. Both of
them do not know any Chinese language. The program lasted
about 3 weeks. The kids learned the Chinese language, and
culture. At the end of the session, we travelled to Inner
Mongolia for about 4 days. I didnmt expect my sonms
language capability to improve dramatically but what I
found was the boys are much more willing to speak the
language. The program itself is really well-organized and
safe. You can check their website, it is
I'm looking for information on Chinese language learning, both
summer camps and after school or weekend, for my 5 year old
daughter who's currently in kindergarten.
Does anyone have new info.?
Keystone Chinese School is held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 12:00.
It located in Albany and good for kids from age 4.5 to 16. For
details, please visit their web-site at
My children, age 10 & 11, have been studying Mandarin Chinese at
home for the past three years. Their tutor has done wonders,
but an immersion program would really help their conversation
Is there any East Bay school or camp or playgroup or meeting
that specializes in Mandarin as a second language? Heck - a
Chinese speaking basketball team! Mainly, we want a meeting for
a few hours a week where they had to use Mandarin socially.
Also - any suggestions on visiting China/HK/Taiwan specifically
to help their language skills?
It's not hard to find immersion in any of the major cultures of
the SF Bay Area. One just has to have an open mind and a good
In the case of Mandarin Chinese, the easiest immersion is in the
Mandarin speaking Christian (invariably fundamentalist
Protestant) churches. There are many in the East Bay, and most
have active childcare and children's programs. Several also
offer a free homestyle Chinese lunches after their Sunday
services. Some are bilingual or trilingual.
As long as you can tolerate a bit of religious instruction, the
Chinese churches are a very good bet.
My 12-year-old son will be going to Beijing in 2 summers. He
will be studying the language during this time, but I would like
to get him started. He has taken a bit of Japanese during an
after-school program, but otherwise has no exposure to any Asian
Do you have any suggestions on how best to proceed?
My daughter's Mandarin teacher just sent me this email (below)
last week. We've really enjoyed taking classes at the Albany
Do you know any child who is going to be in 3rd through 6th or
7th grade this September and wants to learn Chinese? Annie Wei,
my mentor, will teach an upper grade beginning Chinese class at
Albany Community Center at 10:15 am in the Art Room. (If she can
have minimum of 6 children sign up for her class.) Annie has
more than 20 years of experiences of teaching children
Mandarin both in the US and Taiwan. She taught in East Bay
Chinese School for more than 10 years. Couple years ago, after
she retired from the East Bay Chinese School she started
teaching in Alameda Community Center (mostly FCC families) and
one of the Piedmont Elementary schools. Please pass the
words to your friends and hopefully we can have this class
starts on 9/6 too.
Feel free to contact me for any question or concern. Hope to see
you all in
phoebechen at comcast.net
About learning Chinese (Mandarin), any good suggestions
will depend on the learner's ability and interests.
I taught Mandarin to Japanese adults and children for six
years. In my teaching experience, it is key to emphasize
Mandarin pronunciaton for children because children have
an ear for pronunciation, whereas the older the adult, no
matter how you teach they are set in their pronunciation.
The other point is that for children, a small amount of
time every day is good for studying (adults might do fine
with twice a week for longer times, but not so with
children.) Good luck to your son!
Can anyone recommend a chinese school summer program for a 5
The Berkeley Chinese School (located in Albany) has a summer camp,
as well as a preschool and after school program during the school
year. The phone number is 510-525-9666.
I have seen the Chinese Summer Camp on the newspaper couple of
weeks ago. The school is called Berkeley Chinese School, I think.
It starts from preschool, Kindergarden and etc. I was planning
to send my daugther, but she is too young for it. The number is
Hi! Friends of ours from Boston have been looking for a Chinese
(Mandarin)-language summer camp in the Bay Area or elsewhere for their two
kids, 9 and 6. They already speak Mandarin in the home with their mother,
so they would be looking for something a little more advanced than
beginners' courses. They are also interested in an environment that
stresses not only academics, but arts and athletics/recreation. Thanks for
any leads! Linda
There is some info at this website: http://www.newconcept.com
I have heard of a summer camp conducted by the Pacific Rim Academy in
Emeryville. They are a bilingual (Mandarin/Japanese English Montessori
School, ages preschool through elementary).
this page was last updated: Nov 4, 2014
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