Here's what our students are saying about CLA:
feel overwhelmed while still covering a large amount of material. When students answered questions correctly, she was often just as excited as her students.
Since my career plans include a lot of travel to China and interaction with Chinese business people, I want to understand the basics of the language and perhaps pick-up tips on Chinese traditions and culture. This course was everything I had hoped for. In addition to getting a basic overview of the language fundamentals, I developed a great starting point and a strong vocabulary list that will help me continue to learn Mandarin in the future."
Michael Klueber - USC Marshall MBA Candidate
"I think the CLA 16 course at the Chinese Language Academy is the best way to start learning Mandarin, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the motivation to learn the language.
By explaining the structure of the Chinese language, I was able to learn about Chinese history and how simplified Mandarin came to exist. The changes in the language overtime also reflect major changes in China, for example, the introduction of Pinyin coincided with the rapid globalization of the mid-20th century. I also observed the quick improvement of my classmates during this course. Like me, they came in without much, if any, background knowledge of Mandarin. However, after just a couple classes, they proved that they could write and speak Mandarin.
The instructor brought excitement to class. She incorporated a variety of materials into the class which made the lessons interesting and fun. She carefully paced the class so that nobody would
"The Chinese Language Academy's CLA 16 crash course gave me the confidence I needed to know that I could effectively learn the Chinese language. My instructor used a combination of practical techniques to break down this very challenging language into its fundamental building blocks. This enabled me to communicate basic concepts while laying the foundation necessary to grow upon. She was supportive and encouraging every step of the way and I could see her pride in her students' growth as the course progressed.
With Chinese Language Academy, this learning experience felt like a true partnership, so what started out as daunting became not only a joy but also something I can be proud of as well."
Christine Nguyen - Senior Software Developer
"The CLA 16 crash course in learning Mandarin Chinese was very helpful for me. My wife was born in China and has only lived in the United States for approximately 3 years now. While she speaks very good English, there are often times when we are out in a social gathering where many people are speaking Mandarin. Our considerate friends are always willing to stop and translate for me, so I may participate in the conversation, but I don’t want them to always have to extend this extra effort. In an effort to better understand and communicate with my wife and our friends, I began learning Mandarin using a self-study method. This method was very helpful, but it lacked several important elements for learning this complex language. My self-study CD’s only provided training in speaking or saying the words. Because it only provided audio, I was not able to learn how to recognize any characters and I did not learn how to use pinyin to learn to correctly pronounce the words (or to communicate in written fashion). The other element the audio course was lacking was the ability to have immediate feedback on my pronunciation.
The CLA 16 crash course was just what I needed to fill the gap left by my previous self-study. The foundation I developed in this class has accelerated my learning more than I could have ever imagined. During the course we were quickly taught how to use pinyin to sound out words and to apply the correct tone, which is crucial when speaking Mandarin. Our instructor was very helpful in providing us opportunities during the class to pronounce the sounds and words we were learning and she provided immediate feedback. It was also helpful to be learning how to speak along with other students who were beginning to learn Mandarin, so we could learn from each other’s mistakes and support each other to achieve success. In addition to the learning the Romanized pinyin, we were also trained to recognize over 100 common Chinese characters and how to pronounce common words, phrases and sentences. This class also introduces the students to many concepts, which are prominent in Chinese culture. (I even learned to sing several contemporary, popular songs in Mandarin!) I truly believe that one must understand that learning this language requires a better understanding of how the Chinese people see the world around them as well as learning to substitute Mandarin words for their English counterparts.
The instructor for this course was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer all of our questions. She was very professional and her feedback related to our attempts to pronounce the sounds or words in Mandarin was always helpful and reassuring. I don’t believe anyone felt embarrassed if they made a mistake. She was also gracious enough to offer us time to speak to her one-on-one during the week between our classes, so we could ask questions or ask for help in a specific area.
This class helped me achieve my goals. I was able to receive feedback on my pronunciation, learn how to use Pinyin, learn to recognize Chinese characters, and even learn how to type in Mandarin on my laptop! I also learned new words to expand my limited Mandarin vocabulary.
I believe the time I invested in this class has really been time well spent. I am not speaking Mandarin fluently, yet, but I believe that it is possible to achieve my goal of speaking, understanding and even reading/writing Mandarin within a reasonable period of time, so I may participate with conversations with my wife and friends."
Sean Bulanda - Compliance Executive
"I have received private 1-on-1 lessons from CLA for about 6 months and I have had a great experience. My instructor is extremely knowledgeable about the Chinese language and she knows how to teach a beginner in a fun and interesting way. Within 6 months, I developed the fluency of a 2nd year college student studying Mandarin. I learned to read and write about 2,000 Chinese characters and I now can converse in Mandarin with ease. CLA is also able to cater its 1-on-1 lessons to fit your individual needs. I am interested in doing business in China and thus my CLA instructor tailored her lessons to build my business vocabulary. I recommend the Chinese Language Academy to anyone that is interested in learning Chinese and has a desire to do business in China!
Mike Lee - Graduate Student at Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC
"The #1 thing I learned from the CLA 16 course was how accessible learning Mandarin is. Even though I am fluent in Korean, the Chinese language always looked unapproachable and formidable. However, my instructor was able to break down the components of Chinese into smaller manageable bits so I could see the steps needed to achieve my desired level of proficiency. Additionally, learning in a classroom setting with other students helped tremendously because the entire group learned together building on each other's successes and struggles. We were able to applaud and encourage one another as well as, provide an additional perspective on how to overcome a hurdle - perhaps in pronunciation or memorization.
The instruction at CLA was excellent. Our instructor was without a doubt, well qualified and experienced in teaching Mandarin to non-native speakers. Additionally, she was passionate about making sure each student whether in an one-on-one setting during breaks, the classroom as a group, office hours or through emails is provided adequate attention as the student needs it. She listens to each student when they practice speaking Mandarin and provides correction so a student does not continue with the wrong pronounciation. With a language where the tone changes the meaning of words, this is very important and crucial to learning Chinese. However, this individual attention to detail is not overemphasized to neglect the other students in the class.
Teaching a language requires practice and preparation on top of a heavy dose of patience, the instructor possesses and utilized all three to accomplish the course’s set goals. After the course, I learned how to pronounce each of the Chinese characters that make up words using Pinyin, how to write some characters, how characters have commonalities like root words and meanings, the grammar structure, how to type Chinese through Pinyin-enabled keyboards, and more about the Chinese culture.
I would definitely recommend the Chinese Language Academy to friends and family who are interested in learning Chinese. This course has not only started my journey to learning Mandarin, but will also help me in further developing a relationship with my future mother-in-law as we have something exclusive to share between us. Give the class and instructors a try and you won't regret it. Thanks CLA!"
Monica Shin - Senior Tax Accountant, Kanye Anderson Capital Advisors, LP
"I learned the basic foundations on how to speak and understand Mandarin at the Chinese Language Academy. The instructor was great! She has a great personality and made sure that we both learn and have fun. I think her emphasis in making sure we understand and can differentiate the tones and pronunciation helps to show that learning Mandarin is not as hard as most people would imagine.
I believe that Mandarin is fast becoming one of the world's most important languages, especially in the Western culture. I also think that just like learning English, learning Mandarin will only help my career, as well as add to my experience in travelling throughout Asia.
I absolutely recommend this course as it was fun and useful. It has inspired me to continue on with learning more Mandarin!"
Joseph Gunawan - Professional Photographer, Fotosiamo
"Over this short period of time, I learned more than I expected to at the Chinese Language Academy. In my conversations with people, I can discuss China as a potential super power and that China is one of the most diverse countries. When I tell people this, they are very surprised, yet I know for that in class, we discussed much of its diversity. Although I grew up knowing some Chinese, I felt that the class helped me to build my confidence in my pronunciation. I found this course different from other Chinese courses because I did not expect to learn as much about China as I did. It also helped that the instructor is from China and was able to give us a sample of the culture with her pictures and mannerisms.
Our instructor was very patient, kind, and open to feedback. I looked forward to coming to each class and found that the homework was very engaging. Believe it or not, I was surprised that I actually had to apply what I learned in class and apply it to real-world scenarios when I viewed clips of Chinese songs and I had no idea that Kevin Rudd, Australian prime minister could speak fluent Chinese although I lived in Australia for six years!
I would definitely recommend the CLA 16 course to other people. You will learn to sing in Chinese if you want to, and you will learn not to be self-conscious. Everyone is in the same boat, and we learned Chinese, yet we had fun while doing it. I thought that it was a very rewarding experience, otherwise I would not be writing this. I am very grateful."
Amy Huang - Social Worker
"At the Chinese Language Academy, I not only gained some new Mandarin language skills, but an appreciation of the history of the language and the culture of China. My instructor was very flexible and patient. She would be readily available for questions and her office hours were very convenient.
Finishing the CLA 16 course will help with my career because it has allowed me to continue gaining more practice and fluency for my social work pursuit. It will help me to become available to a new demographic and ethnic group."