Chinese Language and Culture

Learning Resources

Discover the incredible world of Chinese language, traditions, and modern society, and learn Chinese (中文 zhōngwén) along the way. We welcome you to explore Chinese language and culture with CLI as your guide.

Chinese Language and Culture Learning Resources

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12 Chinese Proverbs About Learning

12 Chinese Proverbs About Learning

Proverbs—short phrases stating a general insight or lesson—are integral components of almost every language. Communicating complex concepts vis-à-vis memorable sayings, proverbs are used to impart inherited wisdom, historic tales, and moral lessons. As Chinese...

An Introduction to Chinese Numerology

An Introduction to Chinese Numerology

Chinese homophones have a profound influence on Chinese culture. In Chinese numerology, certain numbers are considered to be auspicious (吉利 jílì) or inauspicious (不吉 bùjí), mainly due to their pronunciation. The numbers 2, 8, and 9 are generally considered to be very auspicious…

A Brief Introduction to Chinese Grammar

A Brief Introduction to Chinese Grammar

Perhaps you’ve already committed to learning Chinese and are wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. Maybe you’re simply curious to know how Chinese grammar works. Whatever your motivation, if you’re interested in discovering the basics of Chinese grammar, you’ve...

Every Country and Territory Name in Chinese

Every Country and Territory Name in Chinese

As a student of the Chinese language, country names are incredibly useful to know. Chatting about world travels and the geopolitical issues of the day is a common occurrence when meeting Chinese friends and colleagues at home and abroad. How many countries and...

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Chinese Characters

Introduction to Simplified Chinese Characters

Introduction to Simplified Chinese Characters

Most Chinese characters look complicated to the outside observer, but not all characters are created equal. There are two main Chinese writing systems, traditional and simplified. Traditional characters are based on historical Chinese writing systems with roots...

How Many Characters are There in Chinese?

How Many Characters are There in Chinese?

We know there are quite a few Chinese characters (汉字, Hànzì), but how many, exactly? The answer depends on perspective. Are we considering all characters in existence throughout China’s long history or “just” those used in modern times? The number of unique Chinese characters…

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Characters

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Characters

If you learned Chinese characters in Mainland China, you may be surprised to find that you can’t understand most text you see when traveling in Taiwan or Hong Kong. There isn’t anything wrong with your eyes. The simplified Chinese characters people in Mainland China...

The 100 Most Common Chinese Characters

The 100 Most Common Chinese Characters

Have you ever wondered what the most common Chinese characters are? In a language of approximately 50,000 individual characters, mastering the most commonly used Chinese characters—and knowing their order of frequency—will benefit you on your path to language...

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Chinese Culture

Journey into the World of Chinese Tea

Journey into the World of Chinese Tea

China is synonymous with tea, and tea with China. In fact, the history of tea in China is almost as long as the history of China itself. Despite the recent rise of coffee, tea continues to enjoy great popularity. Read on to learn about the past, present and future of...

The Guilin Opera: A Storied Chinese Tradition

The Guilin Opera: A Storied Chinese Tradition

Guilin Opera is a beloved artform celebrated in southern China. In fact, it is one of country’s ten major opera styles. Utilizing Guilin dialect (桂林话, Guìlín huà) and other regional languages (方言, fāngyán), this traditional performance art…

What is the Chinese Calendar?

What is the Chinese Calendar?

Modern China, like the vast majority of countries in the world, utilizes the Gregorian calendar—our standard solar-based calendar—as its primary means of tracking time throughout the year. That means January 1 in Paris is also January 1 in Beijing. Yet as with…

Chinese Lanterns: Their History and Modern Uses

Chinese Lanterns: Their History and Modern Uses

Like so many Chinese traditions, Chinese lanterns have a long history dating back thousands of years. Over the centuries, lanterns have become a staple Chinese item, particularly in times of celebration. Different types of Chinese lanterns exist for…

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Chinese Holidays

A Brief Guide to the Chinese New Year (春节 Chūnjié)

A Brief Guide to the Chinese New Year (春节 Chūnjié)

Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival (春节, chūn jié), celebrates the beginning of the Chinese year based on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. The Chinese calendar starts each new year with 立春 lìchūn, which officially marks the first day of spring.

China’s Qingming Festival, Explained

China’s Qingming Festival, Explained

Qingming Festival (清明节 or Qīngmíngjié in pīnyīn), also called Tomb Sweeping Day or Pure Brightness Festival, is an important traditional Chinese holiday. The festival is celebrated both in China and among members of Chinese communities around the world. The main...

A Brief Guide to the Seven Major Chinese Holidays

A Brief Guide to the Seven Major Chinese Holidays

Holidays are an essential part of Chinese culture. Most are festive, and all involve family. The vast majority of Chinese holidays stem from local traditions that have existed for thousands of years, while others were born of modern political and cultural movements....

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Traveling in China

Xi’an Travel Guide: An Insider’s Look at Xi’an, China

Xi’an Travel Guide: An Insider’s Look at Xi’an, China

Considered by many to be one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization, Xi’an is a fascinating travel destination. Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi Province and is endowed with some of the world’s best archeological sites and local cuisine. As of 2018, the city’s population was over 12 million.

Nanjing Travel Guide: Welcome to the Southern Capital

Nanjing Travel Guide: Welcome to the Southern Capital

When living in China or contemplating a visit to the country, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many places waiting to be explored outside of Beijing and Shanghai. For instance, Nanjing, the ‘southern capital,’ is a city which features a unique mix of...

Harbin Travel Guide: China’s Winter Wonderland

Harbin Travel Guide: China’s Winter Wonderland

Harbin is the northernmost major city in mainland China. The eighth-most populous city in the country as a whole, its metropolitan area hosts a population of over 10 million people. First founded in the late 19th century as the Trans-Siberian Railway arrived in the...

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Guilin 桂林

An Insider’s Guide to Guilin

An Insider’s Guide to Guilin

Guilin is one of China’s most beautiful locations. In fact, an ancient Chinese proverb claims “Guilin’s mountains and rivers are the best under heaven” (桂林山水甲天下, Guìlín shānshuǐ jiǎ tiānxià). With magnificent karst mountains reflecting on its many rivers and lakes, Guilin has a breathtaking…

Beautiful Photos from Guilin

Beautiful Photos from Guilin

Guilin is a sightseer’s dream, a photographer’s oasis, a nature enthusiast’s playground, and for the language learner’s of the world—Guilin is an unparalleled treasure trove. This post is a shout out to a few of the many talented photographers who enrich the IG-sphere...

Guilin Featured on CNN.com

Guilin Featured on CNN.com

Yesterday CNN featured an article on Guilin’s Princes’ City. You can also read more about 王城 (Wáng Chéng), the “Princes’ City”, in CLI’s recent article on the topic. Guilin is steeped in thousands of years…

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Learning Chinese Online

Top 8 Ways to Learn Chinese Online

Top 8 Ways to Learn Chinese Online

Although ideal, it’s not always possible to learn Chinese in China. While complete Chinese immersion is the best way to go, it’s amazing how much Chinese you can learn online. The internet connects us! Here are CLI’s top 8 methods to learn Chinese online…

Top 5 YouTube Channels for Studying Mandarin

Top 5 YouTube Channels for Studying Mandarin

Anyone who has searched “learn Mandarin” on YouTube might agree that the sheer number of results is overwhelming. We have good news for you: it is possible to learn Chinese on YouTube! A handful of channels consistently deliver…

An Official Review of Yoyo Chinese (2020)

An Official Review of Yoyo Chinese (2020)

Have you heard of Yoyo Chinese, a popular online platform for learning Mandarin? Established in 2012 by native Chinese speaker and expert teacher Yangyang Cheng, the Yoyo Chinese curriculum utilizes videos, flashcards and an extensive range of other educational...

What is Skritter?

What is Skritter?

Skritter is a fresh, inventive way to master Chinese characters. If you’re not a current user, take the following steps to get hooked up immediately—trust us, your Chinese skills will thank you. Because each platform offers its own study mode, the first move is to decide if you want to use the tool online or via your mobile device.

What is Anki?

What is Anki?

If your goal is to memorize lots of new information (think: Chinese characters), consider utilizing a spaced repetition system. Studies show that doing so can dramatically improve one’s retention and recollection of information. Anki packages this system into an easy-to-use interface in which users can create original flashcards or download…

Why Learn Chinese With CLI

Personalized Instruction For Every Student

CLI provides personalized care and attention wherever and whenever you need it. From pre-departure planning to study objectives, program logistics and your safety and well-being, we put forth our full energy and expertise to deliver the ultimate experience learning Chinese in China.

Our Programs

Enroll in a CLI Program Today!

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Learn Chinese in China

One-on-one instruction and complete immersion within a safe, friendly language environment is among the most direct paths to Chinese fluency. Begin your stay in Guilin anytime and improve your Chinese each day in a focused and welcoming community of learners.

Learn Chinese Online

CLI’s online Chinese lessons bring the classroom directly to you, providing the flexibility to continue your school or work commitments while learning Chinese. Our online lessons are held to the same high standard as courses taught at the CLI Center in Guilin.

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Custom Travel Programs

Each year, CLI partners with a select number of schools and associations worldwide to organize customizable study experiences throughout China. Explore this section of our site to learn more about joining a travel group or arranging a custom program of your own.

Community In Guilin

Meet the CLI Team

Echo Zhan 詹雪宁

Echo Zhan 詹雪宁

Director of Operations

Echo grew up in Baoding, Hebei, a northern Chinese city with history dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 24 CE). After completing her B.A. and M.A. degrees at Guangxi Normal University’s College of Chinese Literature, Echo joined the CLI team in January 2010 and in the ten-plus years since has contributed to nearly every aspect of the Institute’s development. 

Dayong 勇立莹

Dayong 勇立莹

Mandarin Instructor

Dayong joined the team in the summer of 2009 and is CLI’s longest-serving Chinese teacher. Dayong is from Harbin (哈尔滨), capital city of China’s chilly northeastern province of Heilongjiang (黑龙江). When asked to produce a bio for the CLI homepage, Dayong said, “At CLI, I’ve learned that the world is a big place, and every single person in it can be your teacher in some way.”

Anias Stambolis-D’Agostino 昕梅

Anias Stambolis-D’Agostino 昕梅

Resident Director

After a summer abroad in the coastal city of Qingdao, Anias vowed to return to China to improve her language skills and deepen her understanding of contemporary Chinese society. She moved to Guilin with CLI’s Teach in China program in 2016 and joined the team as Program Manager in 2017 and Resident Director in 2019. Anias is fluent in Chinese.

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What Our Students Say About CLI

The Chinese Language Institute

Ready to Learn Chinese?

Learning Chinese in China is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you can benefit from in countless ways. We invite you to explore Chinese language and culture with CLI and look forward to welcoming you to our global community of Chinese learners.

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learn chinese in china
learn chinese in china

CLI is dedicated to helping students from around the globe learn Chinese and explore China’s incredible culture and traditions. Reach out to us anytime, day or night, and we’ll respond within two weekdays.