"Great souls have the will, the weak ones go on wishing"
Here is a Chinese proverb that can help you with your learning goals. With determination and willpower, you too can become bilingual in English and Chinese!
If you are lucky enough to live in the windy city, you will have many educational resources available to you.
Whether you are a high school student or an adult, learning a foreign language can be done at any age: today, in a few clicks, you can discover dozens of Chinese tutors near you!
Chicago is an international city. Thanks to its numerous associations, schools, and language institutes, you will be able to meet a competent online Chinese tutor who are all waiting to teach you!
Here are our tips for how to take Chinese classes in Chicago.
Learning Chinese in a Chicago School
If you are a Confucius language aficionado, you can choose to test your acquired Chinese language knowledge with the Chinese SAT Subject Test.
All you have to do is prepare for it all along your high school career. Know that you are taking it, and develop the skills necessary.
The Chinese with Listening Subject Test is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of written and spoken Mandarin. Whether you learned the language in a high school class or outside of school, this test can help you highlight your achievements and interest in the Chinese language.
It consists of the following breakdown:
|200–800||60 (20-minute listening section and a 40-minute usage and reading section)||70–75|
Here is Collegeboard's explanation of what you will encounter on the test:
Based on short spoken dialogues and narratives, primarily about everyday topics. Two different kinds of questions are used: (A) a spoken statement, question or exchange, followed by a choice of three possible responses (also spoken); (B) a spoken dialogue or monologue with a printed question or questions (in English) about what was said.
Requires structurally and logically correct completion of sentences. Questions are presented in four columns, allowing each question and its answer choices to be shown in four different ways of representing Chinese: traditional and simplified Chinese characters, and phonetic transcriptions in Pinyin romanization and the Chinese phonetic alphabet (Bopomofo). You choose the one that you are most familiar with.
Tests understanding of main and supporting ideas, themes, and the setting of passages. All passages are written in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, while all questions are in English. Most questions deal with understanding of literal meaning although some inference questions may be included.
In Chicago, you will find the Chicago Confucius Institute--which will help you prepare for the SAT Subject Test.
This is a great institute, and one that exists elsewhere in the U.S.--such as when you take classes in NYC for example!
If you are a college student, the universities in Chicago offer a range of Chinese lessons!
At the University of Chicago, you can take a BA in Chinese Studies.
The objective of this Bachelor's Degree is to perfect your knowledge of Chinese culture with English-speaking and Chinese-speaking teachers. You will study the following:
- Chinese writing,
- Chinese Linguistics,
- The traditions of everyday life,
- Oral language,
- Oral expressions in order to learn to have a conversation,
- Chinese calligraphy,
- Cantonese phonetics,
- Chinese grammar,
- There is even the possibility of a language exchange program.
In addition to the BA, the University of Chicago has a language center in Beijing itself.
The UChicago Center in Beijing provides a physical presence to enhance and strengthen the University’s traditionally strong ties to Chinese thought and culture. Building upon more than a century of collaboration between scholars from Chicago and China, the Center in Beijing enables the University to expand existing activities and form new alliances and partnerships with universities, businesses, medical centers, policy groups, government agencies, and cultural organizations in China.
Studying Chinese in Chicago Language Schools
If you want to learn Mandarin or Cantonese, you can choose to go through a language institute. Language institutes are recognized for their outstanding teaching and the quality of their teachers.
Whether you live in Downtown Chicago or on the outskirts, there's something for you!
You will find an institute without any problem. Schools in Chicago are plentiful in this city.
To learn all about Chinese culture (Chinese cuisine, Chinese translation, or the famous pinyins), you can call on:
- Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center (17 North Slate Street): adult classes, children's and adolescents' classes, and business classes.
- Confucius Institute in Chicago (1034 North Wells Street): courses open to all
- Pui Tak Center (2218 South Wentworth Ave.): free classes for students and children
If you are a medical student who wants to learn about something new, you can go through the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (65 E. Wacker Plaza) to learn everything about Chinese medicine (acupuncture, Qi Gong, Tai Ji etc.)
No need to travel to China if you want to learn to write in Chinese!
In the Windy City, you can practice the language of Lao Tzu and acquire a perfect accent thanks to qualified teachers in the official language of the People's Republic of China.
Language schools are the answer if you'd like to learn to read Chinese signs, master phonetic transcription, or even have a conversation with a native!
Discover where to take Chinese classes in San Francisco...
Chicago Chinese Language Associations
Language schools are effective, but sometimes they are not for everyone.
If you want to master Chinese characters or pinyin and progress in a foreign language in the presence of natives, then cultural associations are right for you!
The purpose of these associations is to promote Chinese culture by offering Chinese classes to everyone.
Instead of going to China to improve your language skills, you can get closer to the Chinese community through an association in your own city.
The most popular associations in Chicago are:
- Chinese Community Center (250 W 22nd Plaza): a place where Americans and Chinese exchange on culture and language.
- Chinese Mutual Aid Association (1016 W Argyle Street): The CMAA aims to develop ties between the peoples of the United States and China. Trips to China are organized every year.
- Chinatown Square Association ( 2133 S China Plaza): the education department of the association will help you improve your understanding in the Chinese language.
The association is above all a place for exchange: the native Chinese Chicago citizen can teach you about Asian culture without you having to pay one yen!
If you want to learn the language of Confucius and know everything about Chinese pronunciation and vocabulary, why not opt for a free service?
Also take a look at where you could take Chinese classes in Los Angeles!
Private Tutors in Chicago
Whether you are learning Italian, German, or Japanese--private lessons are the perfect solution for you!
While sipping iced tea downtown, you can learn a language on your computer.
Chinese private lessons come in several forms:
- Private tutoring agencies (MyGuru, Elite Home Tutoring, etc.),
- Online ads for tutors (Superprof, Craigslist, etc.),
- Online Chinese courses,
- Educational apps on your smartphone,
- Private lesson ads in newspapers and in shops, etc.
If you want, you can take the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi online test with the HSK app. This test will determine your Chinese language level!
Through online private tutoring platforms such as Superprof, you'll have access to all the Chinese language teachers near you.
Are you looking to learn Chinese? 9 out of 10 Superprofs do not charge for their first hour of class. So why not take a free course and discover the beautiful language that is Chinese!
If you would like to learn, no need to leave your home. Thanks to courses via webcam, you can learn Chinese online and do adapted exercises directly on the Internet.
Are you done for the day at U of Chicago, why not take an evening tutoring class to improve your language skills?
BONUS: The Chinese Community in Chicago
New York isn't the only city with a Chinatown. Chicago has one too, and a popular one!
The Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, is on the South Side (located in the Armour Square community area), centered on Cermak and Wentworth Avenues, and is an example of an American Chinatown, or ethnic-Chinese neighborhood. By the 2000 Census, Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area had 68,021 Chinese.
Chicago is the second oldest settlement of Chinese in America after the Chinese fled persecution in California. The present Chicago Chinatown formed about 1915, after settlers moved steadily south from near the Loop where the first enclaves were established in the 19th century.
In an interview with Marketing China on August 17, 2014, Paul Fuller, founder of a marketing company in China, testified:
"In the streets of Chinatown, the smell that emanates from restaurants is reminiscent of Asia. We hear Vietnamese, Chinese, and English being spoken... In the supermarkets we find typically Chinese foods (sauces, vegetables, spices), but also calligraphy brushes, newspapers, and cook books..."
Yep, that's it: if you want to invest in some Chinese products, China Town is the place to be (or, as they say in Chinese, 的 地方 是)!
You can't deny that the Chinese culture has had a great influence on the Chicago culture!
The combined 60616 and 60608 zip codes in Chicago, as of the 2010 Census, were home to 22,380 people of Chinese descent.
The Windy City is very attractive for Chinese students, too. Less expensive and safer than New York, the city of Chicago is very well-known for its education. Chicago's universities attract many business-minded Chinese people.
The present Chicago Chinatown - which is very popular with students and businessmen alike - formed about 1915, after settlers moved steadily south from near the Loop where the first enclaves were established in the 19th century.
If you are a student, why not take advantage of the impact of the Chinese culture in Chicago and start a cultural discussion with your fellow Chinese citizens?!
Are you ready to learn where to take Chinese lessons anywhere in America?