Immersion Visit to China

March 13, 2014

Immersion visit to China to learn Mandarin

If you want to be fluent in Mandarin, an immersion visit to China is very important.


Learning Mandarin at the best school in Beijing was a great help to Mozart, even though she was already fluent from her Chinese school in Asia.


Doing a Beijing homestay combined with her boarding at the school during the week, added a lot of exposure to the language. Living with locals makes a huge difference in learning the language, understanding the culture and making friends for life.

Immersion visit to China to learn Mandarin


We've written before about the importance of immersion in our Raising a Multilingual Child series and How and Why to Raise a Global Kid.

Beauty in China - Immersion visit to China to learn Mandarin


Exploring the many World Heritage Sites in China in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an with ancient places like the Terra Cotta Warriors makes a life long impact on one studying Chinese.

Chinese festival - Immersion visit to China to learn Mandarin


Don't miss any of the festivals and Chinese celebrations if you get a chance, like this one that we saw which was fascinating and filmed live on Chinese TV all over China as we watched.

Also experiencing Traditional Chinese Medicine travel while in China is like no where else in the world.

Great Wall - Immersion visit to China to learn Mandarin

Or a trip to see the Great Wall. We were lucky to experience it without the crowds.

Trilingual Mozart Walking city wall in Xi'an - Immersion visit to China to learn Mandarin


Learning Mandarin at home and abroad is a great combo. !3 year old Mozart continues her daily practice on Chinese as we roam the world whether we are in Jordan, Spain, Southeast Asia, the USA or where ever. Skype helps her talk to friends in Chinese living in China.


We are happy that we have found a friendly Mandarin-speaking Chinese expat community here in Dallas for our short stay base, but the time in Beijing and China immersion was invaluable. 


We are exploring North America now and then onto Europe and likely South America and South Africa, but we will return to China for more immersion in the future, exploring and connecting with friends.

Have you done an immersion visit to China or plan one?

(This post was featured in the March Multilingual Carnival. Thanks Hapa Mom! )

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I haven't been to China, although I have been to Taiwan four times. My mom wants me to go to a Chinese immersion summer camp in Taiwan, and I can get free tickets because I volunteer at a Taiwanese library(TECRO.) there is a branch in Houston if Mozart wants to go. At the center near my house, everyone speaks on Chinese to the library patrons, and there are lots of books in Chinese. I showed my parents, who grew up in Taiwan,some of your videos of Mozart speaking in Chinese, and they said her Chinese was good for a foreigner. My dad said Mozart has a mainland Chinese accent when speaking Chinese. Hope to see you soon!


Sorry about those autocorrect mistakes. I meant speaks in instead of seals on, Mozart instead of moor, and there were probably some other mistakes also.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I am glad you are learning Chinese. Do your parents speak it at home? That sure helps a LOT to go with the immersion time too! ;)

That is the easiest way to learn a language, but it is amazing how many parents who have native tongues in one language and live in a country in another language, never give their kids the language.

I find it sad to see American born Chinese or Latinos who do not speak their heritage language.

DaVinci's parents were native Spanish speakers but did not pass it on sadly. Her bilingual grandfather would not even talk to her in Spanish until they were in Spain together.

We are meeting Chinese friends from Taiwan here too and there is a Taiwanese library where everyone speaks Mandarin where Mozart might volunteer.

Do you write Chinese fluently as well? That was the hard part for Mozart.

Mozart does have a mainland accent and not Taiwanese as we never went to Taiwan yet.

We have been amazed at how poorly most Chinese native speakers do with English...even lawyers or doctors who went to University in USA or other English speaking nations. Even when they have been here 20/30 years.

And how few expats in China are fluent in Mandarin.

I suppose it is because the languages are so different.They say that only 3% of native English speakers can even learn Chinese or other language so different, so we are happy that Mozart has had the opportunity to learn.

You must go to mainland China! We met an old friend ( Chinese) there who lives in Canada but was born and raised in Hong Kong. She could not speak one word of Mandarin, so Mozart helped her.

Even the Chinese struggle with their language! ;)


I ONLY speak Chinese at home(: I also read and write Chinese, although not at a 12th grade level. I am probably at a 5th or 6th grade level at reading and writing Chinese. I go to Chinese school every Sunday to learn reading and writing. I live in an area of many Asians- people call my high school wonton.LOL- my Dad gets mad if my brother and i speak in too much English at home. He says: Chinese is for home, and English is for school(: My parents are both triliterate trilinguals- my dad speaks/writes/reads English, Chinese, and Vietnamese, and my mom speaks/reads/writes English, Chinese and Taiwanese. However, they only passed on Chinese and English to my brother and I, although i can understand most Taiwanese. My first language was Chinese, but i learned to read in English before Chinese. I would still prefer going to Taiwan instead of mainland China because of the extreme air pollution in China-it sounds scary! Also, I have more family, friends, and familiar food in Taiwan. What i meant by Mozart having a mainland accent is that my parents didn't understand some parts of her videos because the accents are so different. Similarly, it is hard for me to understand my neighbor's Chinese(he was born and raised in Shanghai) because he has a different accent from me. There are so many different Chinese accents! I agree- so many native Chinese speakers are horrible at English. LOL-have you seen there horrible english spelling and grammar?! My parents still have a few problems with English pronunciation and grammar, just like I have a few problems with Chinese grammar. I correct my Mom's English papers, and she corrects my Chinese papers(:

jeanne @soultravelers3

You are very lucky that your parents are making sure you get good Chinese and English! It is sad to see so many American born Chinese lose their Chinese. Although it does seem like most at least try to do some Chinese school for the kids all over the USA.

Sounds like you and Mozart are at the same level of reading and writing in Mandarin.

There are some Chinese weekend schools here too for Chinese families.

Yes, the pollution is very scary in China and why we did not do our full immersion in China, but when we were there for 2 months in November and December, there was very little pollution and lots of sun and blue skies mostly.

If you go, that is a great time to go and avoid the pollution..there are amazing sites to see there! Since you know Mandarin, it would be very rewarding too.

They do not have things like the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Terra Cotta Army etc except in Mainland China and Shanghai and Beijing are also very impressive. We made many great friends and had delicious food.

I was a bit afraid to go to China, but we ended up liking it a lot!

Yes, like every language there are many accents to Chinese. I can't even understand some English speakers if they come from rural Scotland, UK, or sometimes Australia or NZ or deep, rural south USA the same is true in English.

I don't think the Chinese have any worse English than any other nationality that is learning it as a second language ( especially from a language that is so different).

I do think it is very funny when they are very particular about Chinese for an English speaking native, when they are suppose to be bilingual and there English is very poor. LOL. I suppose that is human nature though.

Even the principal and the teachers at my daughters Chinese school in Malaysia were quite poor in English. They tend to learn English from people who are not native speakers which doesn't help.

Even the teachers who taught English didn't speak English very well. Mostly they speak Chinglish or Manglish which is truly a different language than English...but one adjusts.

Yes, we saw a LOT of bad English signs everywhere in Asia. Mozart collected them for fun.

Almost no bilinguals are totally fluent in the same way in both languages.

Learning languages count your blessings!

Margaret Sch

Great to hear that you have found Chinese friends in Dallas. You spoke of a Latina Girl Scout troop . . . Have you found any regular activities among the Mandarin speakers to get in on? I imagine teaching Chinese via Skype to others helps keep Mozart's mind in the language! Teaching can keep proficiency and learning alive in such cases, I think!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

You are right as usual Margaret! We are still looking into what is available in the Chinese community, but Mozart is going to sing a Chinese song at a Chinese festival at the end of this month, so will connect with more there.

Also there is a Chinese library that she will probably start volunteering at.

Most of the Chinese people here seem to be from Taiwan. They do have lots of things available so that is great!

Marry Smith

I went to visit China last year.China is a very good place to travel. There is lots of heritage place in China like Beijing, Shanghai. If any body can plan to visit China please guys visit Ancient chinese culture and chinese folk festivals.

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