Learning Chinese effectively

Hi Guys, I have been in country for around 4 months and have been having twice-weekly 1 to 1 chinese classes with a tutor.

Whilst I am making some progress, learning a lot of new vocab and grammar, I do not feel as though my day to day conversational skill is improving as fast as I would like it to. The main reason for this is that I have only minimal contact with the outside world and don’t get any opportunity to learn how to converse in a ‘real world’ setting.

The 1 on 1 lessons are good in that a) I get to pick a teacher I can work with, b) I get 100% of the teacher’s attention during lessons, c) we go at my pace and don’t need to worry about anybody else. However, the main drawback is that I have no other classmates to learn and struggle with.

I have been weighing up a couple of options:

  1. Continue with 1 to 1 classes and supplement this with some Language Exchange - anybody have any advice on LE? It looks like there is a lot of demand for it, but is it real and does it work?
  2. Jump into a full time course (Shida etc), but this is a different type of commitment and I would like to hear some first-hand experiences of what people think about these courses before jumping in.
  3. Any other groups of foreigners out there who meet regularly to help each other learn Mandarin?

Appreciate any advice or comments people may have :slight_smile:

Those three options are all great ideas. Another opportunity is to join a club or something, like a martial art or a bicycling club, something where communication can be done through more than just speaking, and just converse with average people there.