Mandarin for adults, FAQs | 语言和文化学校-成人部,常见问题解答

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Do you teach Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese in your language courses?

The language taught in all our courses is Mandarin Chinese, in simplified characters.

I'm not a student at the University. Can I take the course?

Yes. Our 12-week courses are not university-accredited, so they're open not only to staff and students at the University, but also to the general public from all walks of life.

What is the course fee?

For a 12-week Mandarin evening course (24 hours total):

Staff/public: £120 excluding coursebook
Students/seniors: £100 excluding coursebook

For a one-week Survival Chinese Crash Course (10 hours total):

Staff/public: £60
Students/seniors: £50

What is the course structure?

Survival Chinese Crash Course

Five two-hour classes over one week, Monday to Friday, 6:30—8:30pm. The course is run twice a year: During Freshers' Week in September and the week before the Spring Semester.

We recommend taking this course before starting the 12-week Beginners 1. The crash course is also free if you enrol on the beginners course.

Chinese for Everyone Mandarin language courses

Spread over 12 weeks, with one two-hour class per week, this course teaches Mandarin systematically with a solid foundation in all four language skills.

The 12-week Mandarin courses can be followed in several semesters: from Beginners 1, Beginners 2, Upper Beginners I and II, Intermediate I and II, Upper Intermediate I and II, to Advanced. A set of required textbooks is listed below:

  • Beginners I - Chinese in Steps Vol1, 1st half - HSK1
  • Beginners II - Chinese in Steps Vol1, 2nd half - HSK1, HSK2
  • Upper Beginners I - Chinese in Steps Vol2, 1st half - HSK2
  • Upper Beginners II - Chinese in Steps Vol2, 2nd half - HSK2, HSK3
  • Intermediate I - Chinese in Steps Vol3, 1st half - HSK3
  • Intermediate II - Chinese in Steps Vol3, 2nd half - HSK3, HSK4
  • Upper Intermediate I - Chinese in Steps Vol4, 1st half - HSK3, HSK4
  • Upper Intermediate II - Chinese in Steps, Vol4, 2nd half - HSK4
  • Advanced - HSK 5 Standard Course - HSK4

HSK/Chinese Proficiency courses

Running alongside the 12 week courses, HSK/Chinese Proficiency courses can be taken in addition and include extra tuition and test-preparation.

Held on Wednesday evenings, these courses are free for those enrolled on any of the 12-week courses, for students of China Studies at SEAS, and for those who will take HSK tests at our test centre.

If you aim to take the internationally-recognised Chinese Proficiency Tests (HSK and/or HSKK test), you are strongly advised to take this course.

Using a set of HSK standard textbooks and workbooks, the courses are designed for a systematic study for the language, therefore can be taken on their own, or taken as tutorials assisting the above 12-week courses. 

If you are not registered for a 12-week course and still want to take the HSK course, the fee for a HSK course is the same as a 12-week course.

  • HSK1 - HSK Standard Course book 1 - 150 words taught
  • HSK2 - HSK Standard Course book 2 - 300 words taught
  • HSK3 - HSK Standard Course book 3 - 600 words taught
  • HSK4, Lower - HSK Standard Course book 4A - 1200 words taught
  • HSK4, Upper - HSK Standard Course book 4B - 1200 words taught
  • HSK5, Lower - HSK Standard Course book 5A - 2500 words taught
  • HSK5, Upper - HSK Standard Course book 5B - 250 words taught

Spoken Chinese courses

These courses focus on speaking and listening skills (not currently running).

Business Chinese

This course relates to common social and business situations (not currently running).

When and where?

All courses take place on weekday evenings, 6:30-8:30pm, following the University Semester dates.

The University has two semesters in an academic year, therefore, you can take two courses in a year.

Venue: Bartolome House, School of Law, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, S3 7ND.

How do I register and enrol for the course?

Please register and enrol for the courses via the University Online Store, which should be open several weeks before each semester.   

University Online Store:      

Search for "Mandarin" or "survival"

Teachers cannot collect payments during classes. Course fees need to be paid online via the Online Store. If you have any queries regarding course fees, please phone +44 114 222 8447.

We will open more than one class if we have more than 15 registrations at the same level. However, if we have less than five people enrolled on a course we may cancel the course due to insufficient numbers.

Where can I get textbooks?

You can purchase textbooks either at the Confucius Institute office (via the University Online Store) or on the market.

Books at the Confucius Institute, via University Online Store: Please search for "books" or "Confucius"

Once paid, you can collect the book at the Confucius Institute office, located at 2 Palmerston Road, S10 2TE.

Chinese in Steps, one volume, £16 HSK Standard Course and Workbook: £16

Alternatively, you can collect book during the first week of the semester at Bartolome House.

Can I get a refund?

Refunds for course fees (minus the fees of the sessions attended) can be obtained within the first three weeks of classes.

Only under exceptional circumstances can refunds be provided after the first three weeks.

Can I get a Certificate of Participation for the course?

Students who attend at least nine out of the 12 classes can be issued with an Attendance Certificate to confirm their participation on the course.

I'm an Undergraduate, can the course be counted towards my HEAR scheme?

Yes. We are part of the University Language for All. If you started your studies at the University of Sheffield before September 2021 and attend at least nine out of the twelve classes, you can apply for the HEAR scheme.

If you started your studies after September 2021, you will now record your extra-curricular activities and experiences in your mySkills portfolio instead of HEAR. You can access mySkills via Career Connect in Muse.

I am under 18, can I join a Chinese evening class?

The evening courses are generally for people aged 18 and over. Please contact us at +44 114 222 8447 to discuss your options. We provide courses for young learners aged 3.5—18 on Saturdays.

I speak basic Chinese but have only learned Pinyin before. Are students on your courses required to learn Chinese characters?

A spoken Chinese course was offered with an emphasis on listening and speaking, but it is not running at the moment. The 12-week Mandarin Chinese courses focus on four language skills including reading and writing.

If you are unsure which level is for you, please contact us (Tel: +44 114 222 8447, or email before registering.

I am a Cantonese speaker and want to learn Mandarin. Which level is for me?

We suggest that you contact us (Tel: +44 114 222 8447, or email before you register.

Cantonese speakers frequently join our classes, and we can advise on a suitable course based on the student’s level of spoken Mandarin and ability to read Chinese characters.

Is the course accredited?

Yes, HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) is a standard evaluation of Chinese language ability, and as such can provide a reference point for employers and education institutions.

HSK is also one of the requirements for Confucius Institute scholarships that allow you to study in China.

More information and a link to mock exams can be found on our Chinese proficiency tests page.

The Confucius Institute is a registered HSK Centre, offering HSK/HSKK tests in February, March, May and December.

All of our 12-week language courses are linked to HSK tests, although the test is not a compulsory part of the course.

Are there any opportunities to study in China?

Yes. The Confucius Institute Scholarships, offered by Hanban (the CI Headquarters), provide opportunities to study for either four weeks, one semester or one year at a university in China. Scholarships for degree studies are also available. 

Where can I get more teaching and learning resources?

The Confucius Institute office at 2 Palmerston Road, S10 2TE, houses a Chinese Language and Culture Resource Centre, which has a comprehensive collection of over 8000 textbooks, literature volumes, dictionaries, audio-visual materials, language learning software and periodicals.

These resources can be borrowed from the centre. The centre also provides a study space for revision and language exchange.

More information can be found on our Resources Centre page.

Is there a way to find a regular language exchange partner?

The Sino-English Corner (SEC) is a language and culture exchange group that provides a language practice platform for learners and native speakers of Mandarin and English.

Participants enjoy the friendly, informal atmosphere at SEC events and often use SEC as a link to find a regular language exchange partner.

Chinese-English language exchange socials are held on Tuesday evenings between 7-9pm during university semester time. SEC also organises several major cultural events every year, including celebrations of Chinese festivals.

Follow SEC on Facebook for updates.

My child would like to study Mandarin as well. Do you have Mandarin for children and parents at the same time?

Yes. Our courses for young learners aged 3.5—18 are held on Saturdays during school term times, and parents can also attend and participate. 

Can I attend China-related seminars, cultural events and Chinese festivals?

Yes. Most of the events are open to the general public.

The Confucius Institute runs a programme of China-related seminars and events throughout the year. These are mostly advertised to our students via email network and via the Confucius Institute Facebook page.

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