Experience China Course 2018


Monday 23 July  –  Friday 3 August, 2018

The Experience China Course is a two-week immersive course that equips UK teachers with basic knowledge of Chinese language to begin teaching beginner-level Chinese in their schools upon their return to the UK.  It also serves as a catalyst for the introduction of Chinese in their schools or supports any existing Chinese teaching.

“Going on this course has been a revelation for me. I truly enjoyed the Chinese culture and its language. I am really keen on starting a club in my school in order to hopefully pass on the love I have for China to my students. I thought the construction of the language and the Chinese characters (though complicated to memorize) very fascinating”. – Maud Risacher at Harris Academy Bermondsey

Click  here to download the 2018 Experience China Course Guide

Who should apply?

If you are a primary or secondary teacher who has little or no previous knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and are looking to teach beginners’ level Chinese language in your school (maintained and independent), or if you are training to become a teacher, then this course is for you. All applicants need to provide a rationale of why they want to take the course and how they plan to develop both their own Chinese and the provision of Chinese in their school. Applications must be supported by the school leaders. The support letter should outline how the school intends to implement the knowledge the teacher gains from this course. If you are a current PGCE trainee teacher, then a support letter can come from your course tutor. A letter of support can include the teacher/student teacher’s linguistic ability, teaching ability, and enthusiasm to learn Mandarin Chinese and her/his potential to take it back to her/his job as a teacher of MFL. 

Places are limited on this course, so the commitment you or your school leader can demonstrate towards teaching Chinese will strengthen your application.

Successful applicants will be required to do a self-study Mandarin online course developed by the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute prior to their learning experience in China. A further online course will be available for participants upon their return.

How to apply

Application is now open, click here to fill in the Survey Monkey form. Before you fill in the form, you probably would like to have an overview of the questions. Click here to view the application questions.

Once online application is completed, we will ask you to send a scanned copy of the supporting letter from your school leader or PGCE tutor to chinesenetworks@ucl.ac.uk . The deadline for all applications is Friday 23rd February, 2018.


How much will it cost?

Participants will cover their own airfare, food, visa costs and travel insurance. All other course costs are generously covered by Hanban.

Format of the course

The course in China comprises of 30 hours’ tuition each week (30 hours x 2 weeks). Tuition focuses on developing participants’ pronunciation, speaking and listening skills; participants also cover some reading and writing of Chinese characters. Participants can enjoy a number of cultural activities and excursions arranged by the organisers.

At the end of the course, participants should be able to teach beginner-level Chinese in their school. They are also expected to continue with Chinese language study upon return to the UK.

Certificates are issued to all participants upon their successful completion of the two-week course in China.

Topics covered in the course

Topics covered include: origins/history of Chinese language; Chinese characters; pinyin and tones; basic greetings and introductions; numbers; family; food and drink; other topics related to daily life; using a dictionary.

By the end of the course, all participants are able to:

  • understand key words and phrases that fall within the above topics
  • talk about the above topics
  • use simple phrases/sentences
  • recognise some simple Chinese characters
  • write some basic Chinese characters
  • have a basic knowledge of Chinese language
  • have a good foundation to lead to further study of the language
  • be able to look up simple words in the dictionary
  • have an understanding of how to teach Chinese as a foreign language.

Partnership with East China Normal University (ECNU)

The UCL IOE Confucius Institute works in successful partnership with ECNU, who contribute generous staff time, support and resources for the running of the Experience China course.

ECNU provide the highest quality of training for the teachers.  They both serve as national bases for teaching Chinese as a second language and have made great efforts to expand their programmes for international students. With their strong reputation for pedagogical expertise, ECNU is the ideal partner for this course.

Evaluation and impact

Previous participants have started the teaching in their school and a number are continuing with study of the language. Some are also hoping to return to China for further study. Participants hold a variety of roles in primary and secondary schools and all are in a good position to promote Chinese in their schools.

All participants are required to provide feedback.


Register your interest

Email Naomi Li at Naomi.li@ucl.ac.uk to register your interest to attend this Shanghai course.


Read stories about participants from previous years’ programme.

Interview with Lars Kabel

Interview with Astrid Fiess