I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I LOVED my time in China, and honestly, most of it came down to the school I studied at. I felt my language skills come together quickly, I saw parts of Kunming I would have never otherwise explored, and I made life long friends. Here’s my experience.
As you all know by now, I spent 8 weeks studying Chinese in Kunming, China.
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, Kunming is a fantastic home base. It’s pretty easy to get to loads of different destinations.
More than three months ago, when I was in the process of looking for a language school, I was frankly overwhelmed. I decided to go for Keats Language School, as it had boarding, meals, private lessons, and a gym membership included (gym!!!).
My experience at Keats has been nothing short of amazing.
The one thing that really sets Keats apart from other schools is the staff. The teachers are not only the people giving you lessons; they become your friends. Every day, you have four hours of private Chinese lessons (although you can also do six hours or opt for semester classes if you live in Kunming), so these teachers really get to know you, and they tailor your lessons to your interests and goals.
I absolutely loved my two teachers. They’d teach me vocabulary, sentence structures, and general knowledge about China and the language; they somehow made these classes interesting and engaging. In high school, Chinese was my least favourite subject. These teachers made me want to learn.
Once a week we’d have an outdoor class. These classes ranged from going to the flower market to going to a lotus park, and everything in between. Again, the outdoor lessons are tailored to your interests. We went to an Asia Expo, where different countries showed up and showcased a little bit of their culture… definitely down my alley.
My last week, we were tasked with shopping for different ingredients and cooking instruments, and we flavoured alcohol with rose petals and Yangmei (waxberries).
Life at Keats is easy. The meals are served in the dining room, and the chef is fantastic at accommodating to recommendations. You either live in the same building or in the hotel across the street, so you don’t have to worry about finding reliable accommodation… Everything is set up for you!
Keats is located in central Kunming, just a 15 minute walk away from the central downtown, and a 15-minute bus ride from Green Lake (eat at The Park there!) Our little local pub is O’Rileys, which is always fun to visit on weekends. If you need a break from your daily routine, the train station is an engaging 40-minute walk away (or 10-15 minute taxi ride).
I’m blown away with how much I’d learned within my two months at Keats. Within the first week, I’d already seen an improvement in my tones and pronunciation. Of course, like any language, it gets frustrating at times when you don’t feel as if you’re progressing, but your teachers are always there to motivate you. Looking back, there was constant learning and progression, and now, having left the school, I see exactly how much I’ve learned.
Keats tends to attract a really incredible crowd… I was so inspired by the other travelers; they had been to places far and unexplored. There were the most interesting couples and families; there were solo students who had been studying for months; there were short-term people just passing by. I really did enjoy the company of everyone I had met, and I loved hearing their stories.
If you’re heading to China to study Chinese, I cannot recommend Keats more. I had the best experience here. I made lifelong friends, explored beautiful places, and went from only being comfortable enough to say “I don’t speak Chinese (in Chinese)” to being able to get around and converse.
To my teachers- Thank you so much for showing me a side to learning that I hadn’t experienced before. You make me want to become fluent. You both inspire me daily.
To my friends- My time wouldn’t have been the same without you. I am so lucky to have experienced all I had with you guys by my side.
For more information (and to book your place!!!), please go to the Keats website.
I decided to come to Keats and paid for my studies on my own, however, I’ve partnered with Keats School to bring this post to you. Of course, all opinions are my own and 100% honest! A big thank you to all companies that allow Unexpected Occurrence to run.