As China grows into an economic powerhouse, more people are coming from around the world to study, work, and learn Chinese here…and as one of the most livable cities in China, Hangzhou should be their top choice!
That’s what the Hutong School team were thinking when they founded Hutong School Hangzhou. In a rapidly growing city, Hutong School Hangzhou helps people from around the world connect with the local community, make sense of local culture, and learn about the brave new China while improving their Chinese.
Hutong School’s Chief Operating Officer Sabrina Zeng always believed in Hangzhou’s potential as an international hub. Hailing from a tiny mountain village in Jiangxi, Sabrina followed her passion for teaching Chinese to university in Harbin, where she majored in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Sensing that Hangzhou held some new opportunities, she moved here 8 years ago and never looked back.
Sabrina struck out on her own as a freelance teacher and eventually opened a school in her own coffee shop across the north gate of Yuquan campus. She loved the freedom of freelancing and the satisfaction of solopreneurship, but after ten years in the industry, she saw the need for Chinese language education growing, and she wanted to make a bigger impact.
That was when Sabrina met Ted Ouyang, an entrepreneur who was looking to establish an independent Mandarin school in Hangzhou. The two of them shared the same vision of building bridges between China and the world through language training and cultural experiences. They assembled a team of experienced teachers and operations staff, and in October 2017, Hutong School Hangzhou was born.
Sabrina says that in her ten years as a Chinese teacher, during which she taught Chinese to more than 1000 students, she learned that language is really a tool to help people achieve their goals, and that students who learn to live like locals get the best results. This is the philosophy of all the teachers at Hutong School Hangzhou: to help students from around the world break out of the “foreigner bubble” and experience Chinese culture firsthand through comprehensive language classes, cultural activities, community events, and internship programs.
Hutong chooses teachers based on both their teaching expertise and their unique background. All Hutong School teachers are native Mandarin speakers with teaching certifications and a minimum of 1000 hours of teaching experience, but most of them previously worked in other fields. Hutong School’s teachers have diverse experience in industries from tourism to finance, which helps them understand diverse students with different goals. In addition to teaching certifications, teachers all complete a three-month training course and have monthly evaluations.
Hutong School’s teachers focus on finding the right pace and challenge level for their students. All courses are customized to your needs. Group classes are available for HSK levels 1 to 4, which covers the majority of learners. For higher levels and specialized content, custom private lessons can cover everything else. Want to pass an HSK test? There’s a program for that. Need to learn professional Chinese communica-tion and industry-specific terms for your work? Hutong teachers with business backgrounds have you covered. Too busy to get to class? No problem—Hutong offers in-house tutoring! Whatever the class format, Hutong School teachers are trained to keep English to a minimum and immerse you as much as possible in Chinese. The school is also a proud recipient of the iStudy Guide award of Educational Excellence.
To help students connect with the community and have opportunities to practice their Chinese, Hutong School Hangzhou organizes a wide range of events and activities each month, including hikes, city walks, language exchanges, Chinese corners, company visits, handicraft and cooking workshops, and field trips to nearby villages.
One popular event is the biweekly Bilingual Night, which brings Chinese and foreign language learners together to improve their Chinese and English skills through interactive games, topic discussions, networking, and activities. Bilingual Night alternates with Chinese Chit Chat, a Chinese corner for learners who want to immerse themselves in 100% Chinese conversation. Both of these events are open to all and are great opportunity make new friends, speak Chinese outside of a classroom, and have conversations beyond regular daily small talk.
In addition to language classes for the local expat community, Hutong School also offers all-inclusive packages for visitors arriving directly from overseas. Inclusive packages are designed to simplify your transition to China and give you peace of mind, including everything from visa services and apartment rental to airport pickup and practical assistance. They’ll even help you get a SIM card, open a bank account, and register on WeChat and Alipay!
One of Hutong School’s unique offerings is the Internship Program. Many students are looking to increase their international work experience, and an internship in China can add a lot of value to your resume. At the same time, local companies and startups can benefit from greater diversity in the workplace. Hutong School Hangzhou cooperates with a broad network of local companies to match foreign students with internship opportunities, assisting with integration and language studies through the process.
Currently, Hutong School Hangzhou operates out of WeWork at 292 Yan’an Road, where students can enjoy the convenient location, West Lake views, free coffee and beer, and use of stylish WeWork common areas and private booths for studying and classes. The school is located directly above Longxiangqiao Metro Station on line 1, exit D4, on the 7th floor. Classes are available between 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Monday to Friday. To answer growing demand, the school plans to open branches in Yuhang and Xiasha in the coming year.
Hutong School is kicking off the new semester with new group classes and internship cooperations. Students and expats who want to improve their Chinese and explore Hangzhou’s career opportunities should not miss out!
For more information about the Internship Program and Intensive Chinese Program please visit the website: www.hutongschool.com/learn-chinese-hangzou
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