Want to Learn Chinese Next Summer?

Travel with Rustic Pathways to Shanghai, China.

The Chinese Language Immersion group poses at the Bund in Shanghai.


During the summer, I traveled to Shanghai, China, for two weeks on a mission to try and improve my broken, American-accent butchered Mandarin. I signed up for a program, Chinese Language Immersion, run by Rustic Pathways, an organization that offers exciting trips all around the world for high school students.  During the summer of 2013, I traveled with Rustic Pathways on a service trip to Laos, and had a fantastic experience. After searching through various Chinese language summer programs, I decided to go with Rustic Pathways again because I know that they are a reliable, safe, and exciting organization.

Rustic Pathway’s Chinese Language Immersion program takes place on the beautiful campus of East China Normal University (ECNU). Living on an actual university campus gives students a great atmosphere to study Chinese. The program allows students to choose between having a group lesson or a private lesson. Because of my mixed Chinese capabilities, I chose to have private lessons. Every morning, I met with my tutor for around four hours (with breaks of course) to study Mandarin. Having a private lesson allowed my tutor to be more flexible and adjust the class materials to better fit my learning goals.

What’s great about the program is that after four hours of intense studying in the morning, you get to enjoy a local Chinese meal and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the famous sights of Shanghai. We got to visit the Bund, Nanjing Road, the Botanical Gardens, and various other tourist sights. Being immersed in the culture and lifestyle of Shanghai gave us the opportunity to practice the Chinese we learned in our morning classes, which is a huge benefit.

I recommend Rustic Pathway’s Chinese Language Immersion program for anyone who already has some background knowledge of Mandarin and wants to improve their skills. In just two weeks, I felt more confident in speaking Mandarin and became determined to further practice my skills to eventually becoming fluent. I definitely surprised my mother when I came home and could actually have a conversation with her in Mandarin.