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What's the Experience of Learning Chinese At Silk Mandarin

Me and my business partner Liwen Gong decided to set up our own school in 2015. Main reason for this was my own learning experience so far and her long-time teaching experience. After trying different schools as a student myself I found that basically all students were struggling with the same question:

"Teacher, what is the logic of Mandarin? All those rules you give me, they make my head spin! If only you could explain its logic to me, I bet I would be fluent before you know!"

Yes, It seemed that the teaching methods used, simply couldn't bridge the gap between Western and Chinese thinking, between Western languages and the Chinese language. Instead of offering comprehension, rules were offered, and even more rules.

To provide you with this logic, our team came up with a new methodology called Slow Motion Technique. Slow Motion Technique indeed shows you the logic of Mandarin, and more importantly, teaches you Mandarin with just ONE rule instead of dozens, and which student wouldn't like that?

There are things you wished you knew earlier in life, well Slow Motion Technique for me for sure is one of them. I do hope you will find it as helpful as I did at the time!

—— Tjibbe van Ellen (Netherlands)

Our Mission and Vision

Our Mission

We believe understanding each other’s language and culture unites people. It is our mission to teach the beautiful Chinese language and culture to all who have an interest in it, whatever their ambition, background or age, and wherever they are.

Our Vision

To become the world's most appreciated Mandarin school, because of our excellent teaching quality, our passionate service, and, above all, because our Slow Motion Technique has proven to be the key to learning Mandarin faster and with fun!

Our Mission and Vision

Our Concept - 3 F Learning
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Faster, Fun and Flexible were the words we kept in mind when designing our teaching method and our products. Indeed it is our goal to make our students learn Faster, with Fun and in a Flexible way.


Silk Mandarin Concept - 3 F Learning

Our 1-2-3 Learning cycle provides for Faster and with Fun while our Blended Learning accounts for the utmost Flexibility when learning with us.

  • 1-2-3 Learning Cycle

    Our in-house developed 1-2-3 Learning Cycle consists of 3 key elements. The 1st one is CLEVER Learning, the 2nd is EASY Memorization and the 3rd is FUN Using. Our 123 Learning Cycle symbolises this process as these three steps are repeated over and over as a cycle of continual improvement to fluency.

    1-2-3 Learning Cycle
  • Blended Learning

    Blended learning is quickly finding its way into the real and virtual classrooms all over the world and no wonder. Blended learning, a thoughtful integration of the teaching formats face-to-face and online learning, indeed offers more than just the sum of face-to-face learning and online learning. It is a bit like this picture which as a total stronger shows the meaning and origin of the character '禾he' than each of the two drawings apart would do.  

    Blended Learning

2 IN 1 Conversational Chinese/HSK
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2 IN 1 As the name suggests, our 2 IN 1 curriculum provides double benefits to our students. In the first instance you get to learn Conversational Chinese and secondly (for those who want it) there is the option to pass HSK exams at the same time. Using this curriculum we provide our students with a practical and proficient course that quickly improves your Conversational Chinese while at the same time assuring the student's level according to the HSK scale. Following our curriculum, no separate HSK preparation classes are needed, which helps our students to save time and money.

2 IN 1 Conversational Chinese/HSK
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12
  • 13-16

Level 1 (HSK 1) Having passed this first level, the world of Mandarin is opening up for you. You can distinguish the different tones, you know about 150 words and you can read Pinyin. You can understand some essential daily used words and expressions and are able to communicate in a very basic way. For example, you can say hello to people and introduce yourself, thank people and apologize, inquire about price, time and date, and also ask for direction. If you have decided to also start learning Han Zi (Chinese characters), you now can read, and maybe even write, about 175 characters.

Level 2 (HSK 2)By now, your vocabulary has doubled to 300 words and your grammar, though still at a modest level, has really improved. You can describe things by means of their features like color, position, shape, etc.. You are able to talk about more advanced topics, like the weather, your job, and hobbies. You can make an appointment and buy goods in a shop in a quite complete way. You now finished the Elementary level, also called ‘survival’ Mandarin. And if you have decided to also start learning Han Zi, you now can read and maybe even write about 275 characters.

Levels 3-4-5 (HSK 3)With passing levels 3-4-5, you have entered the Intermediate level, well done! This really is a turning point in your journey as from now on you are able to read and write Han Zi, these beautiful Chinese characters. Understanding Han Zi has broadened and deepened your understanding of Mandarin massively. You might even have found out that Han Zi really is the core of the Chinese language. You now already know about 625 characters and your vocabulary contains 600 words, your grammar has reached an impressive level, as have your listening skills and speed of speech. With all this you can talk and read in a more than basic way about many things, for example, you will feel comfortable when traveling in China because you can deal with most topics you run across, like buying train and plane tickets, booking a room in a hotel and making a reservation for a trip.

Levels 6-7-8 (HSK 4)You have now completed the Intermediate level and most importantly, you have covered about all common grammar. You also know how to use the important structures that are so typical to the Chinese language. Your vocabulary spans 1200 words and you now know about 1000 characters. You can discuss a wide range of topics in all kinds of areas, and express your ideas clearly and rather fluently. And last but not least, it is important to know that having acquired this level, you will be admitted to Universities and many Chinese companies will now allow you to apply for a job!

Levels 9-10-11-12 (HSK 5)With level 9, you are entering the Advanced level. Your vocabulary has doubled again to 2500 words and your fluency has increased almost to the level of a native speaker. Although at a moderate speed, you can now read most simple Chinese books and articles in newspapers or magazines. You can enjoy Chinese movies and TV programs and express yourself accurately and hold speeches. As you also can understand and use typical Chinese structures and sayings, and know about Chinese history and culture. There is not much that hampers your communication anymore.

Levels 13-14-15-16 (HSK 6)With levels from 12 to 16 you have reached the last and highest possible level. Your vocabulary spans at least 5000 words, it is easy to understand anything you hear or read, you can fluently express your opinion both orally and in writing. You can analyze and understand difficult texts, discover textual errors, and your speech is at such a level that you can debate about all but the very specialized topic. In short, you have the abilities of a native speaker now, congratulations!


Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) is the standardized national test used to determine the non-native speakers. HSK is the best way to get to know and test your Chinese level and is often, and increasingly, required by companies, universities and other organizations to certify the Chinese language level of an individual.

HSK consists of 6 levels in total. Levels 1 and 2 are Elementary levels, HSK 3 and 4 are intermediate levels and HSK 5 and 6 are Advanced levels. Our 15 levels have been aligned with the HSK levels but compared to the HSK levels our levels guarantee a much higher degree of speaking ability. In order to give you an idea of the knowledge you have acquired with each level we have drawn up an explanation. Between brackets have indicated the corresponding HSK level.

2 PLUS 1 Business Chinese/BCT
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2 PLUS 1 That is our curriculum to teach you Business Chinese/BCT, with the basic curriculum being the Conversational/HSK Chinese 2 IN 1. On top of that, it also teaches vocabulary, structures and phrases in different business settings, indeed 2 PLUS 1.

This curriculum, however, not only teaches you typical business related topics but also provides a great insight into Chinese business culture, manners and etiquette, which is of paramount importance when doing business in China.

2 PLUS 1 Business Chinese/BCT
2 PLUS 1 Business Chinese/BCT
  • 1-2
  • 3-4
  • 6-8
  • 9-12
  • 13-16

Levels 1-2 (BCT 1)At level 1 your business knowledge is basic, you typically can exchange business cards, fill in registration forms, like a VISA-form, order a taxi, make an appointment and you can communicate in a basic way within a business environment.

Levels 3-4-5 (BCT 2)Having acquired level 3 you are able to write basic letters and emails like sending invitations for a (business) party or an activity, make phone calls and leave messages, book your flight and train tickets, and discuss simple daily business topics with your colleagues.

Levels 6-7-8 (BCT 3)Level 6 enables you to hold meetings, express your opinion, make a detailed work plan, write short memos to your colleagues or staff, discuss basic topics with specialists such as legal, marketing, financial and HR staff. You can discuss the company's finance and understand a company's (Chinese) culture.

Levels 9-10-11-12 (BCT 4)Having acquired level 12 means you can communicate using all kinds of curriculum, like telephone, Wechat, email, (formal) letters. You can talk about most issues with your clients, colleagues or employees, and can discuss their preferences, demands, or complaints. It is easy for you to discuss more specialized business matters, like market investigations, financial budgets and legal contracts.

Levels 13-14-15-16 (BCT 5)With level 16 you have reached the highest possible level. You are now fluent in both Conversational and Business Chinese, congratulations! You can communicate fluently in any way you like, using any means necessary. You can also discuss all kinds of business. Using these skills, you can conduct job interviews, discuss training plans with HR staff, discuss investment and merging plans with your bank, discuss intellectual property and arbitration with lawyers, discuss a company's production and its expansion, and engage in any kind of negotiation.


Business Chinese Test (BCT) is an internationally standardised test to determine the fluency of non-native speakers in both Conversational and Business Chinese. It is especially used by companies to certify c.q. evaluate the level of their employees.

BCT consists of two kind of exams, one testing your listening, reading and writing skills (subdivided into BCT(A) and BCT(B)) and one testing your speaking skills, just like HSK. In our courses we have divided BCT A into two levels and BCT B in three levels, hence five BCT levels in total. HSK and BCT are interlinked: BCT 1 covers all HSK 2 vocabulary and grammar, and on top of that BCT 1 adds typical business vocabulary, structures and phrases. With each higher BCT level one higher HSK level is covered, and again topped with business vocabulary, structures and phrases.

Business Chinese especially boosts your skills in the field of Administration, Communication, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Law. With each BCT level your vocabulary expands, from some 100 typical business words for BCT 1 to some 3000 words for BCT 5.

Our 15 levels have been aligned with the BCT levels, but compared to the BCT levels our levels guarantee a much higher degree of speaking ability. In order to give you an idea of the knowledge you have acquired with each level we have drawn up an explanation. Between brackets we have indicated the corresponding BCT level.

Our Team
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Our teachers are the backbone of our institute and make it what we want it to be. Based on their long-time teaching experience and the students' feedback our Slow Motion Technique, Structure Map, 1-2-3- Learning Cycle, Magical talking Pen and our 2 IN 1 and 2 PLUS 1 curriculums came to light. And surely more is to follow!

  • Amy Amy
  • Catherine Catherine
  • Christina Christina
  • David David
  • Echo Echo
  • Fermina Fermina
  • Hannah Hannah
  • Jasmine Jasmine
  • Jenny Jenny
  • Jerry Jerry
  • Joanna Joanna
  • Lindsay Lindsay
  • Silvia Silvia
  • Siqin Siqin
  • Sisi Sisi
  • Vicky Vicky

Awards & Testimonials
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Thank you
  • Community Choice Awards 2018
  • Mandarin School of the Year
  • The Most Valuable Language School in East Asia 2019
  • Voted Best 2019 Language School
  • Voted Best 2019 Gap Year Provider
  • Voted Best 2020 Language School
  • Voted Best 2020 Gap Year Provider
  • Voted Best 2021 Language School

Awards & Testimonials


  • Justin

    Through over five months of 1-on-1 lessons at Silk Mandarin my experience has been excellent. My teacher was able to help me quickly progress through HSK 3 and has enabled a new level of confidence in my speaking and understanding. I highly recommend the school to anyone looking to make a studious effort to learning Mandarin.

    Justin United States

  • Sapna

    Learning Chinese requires real commitment, and Silk Mandarin makes it tangible and actionable for everyday use. The teachers are knowledgeable and patient so that you really feel the progress you are making. What's best is that you develop strong empathy and curiosity for Chinese culture, and have lots of fun while learning. Its a real pleasure learning Chinese with Silk Mandarin.

    Sapna India

  • Daniel

    Over the last few years I have tried over 5 different Mandarin schools and found that Silk Mandarin is by far the best. The teachers and the management are all extremely involved and passionate about teaching Chinese: it really is something special!

    Daniel Netherlands

  • Pietro

    Silk Mandarin was suggested to me by a good friend that has been studying there for some time. All the expectations I had were met: new offices, programs that allows you to have the most effective class based on your level and budget, enthusiastic and well prepared teachers, friendly and always available employees. If I wouldn't have had such a positive environment I would have probably quit Chinese class long time ago.

    Pietro Italy

  • Cid

    I've studied some foreign languages but Chinese is, by far, the toughest one for me. The Chinese mind-set, the pronunciations, the five different tones, the Chinese characters... everything is a challenge. If you propose yourself to face this challenge you will need a lot of self discipline and motivation. Having a good methodology, good teachers and supportive staff will help you to reach your goals. Silk Mandarin gathers all these qualities.

    Cid Brazil

  • Beth

    Starting HSK3 felt like an impossible and mammoth task. However when I met Lindsay, she filled me with confidence and self belief. I knew no characters and wasn't confident with HSK2 despite passing the exam. Lindsay carefully assessed my prior knowledge to ensure that my lessons were personal to my level and purposeful. Looking back, I can't believe how much I have learned since the beginning of my sessions. My progress is down to the dedication and encouragement that Lindsay gave me throughout the course. I can't thank My techer Lindsay enough!

    Beth UK

  • Max

    The classes are great fun and highly effective at the same time. The course is well structured and my teacher takes her time to explain questions and problems that might arise with grammar or vocabulary. She uses the Slow Motion Technique of Silk Mandarin to teach sentence structure. She has patience and is always of good humor. She gives out additional vocabulary at request and tries to organize class in an interactive way. Every lesson comes with a grammar review and vocabulary handout in addition to the course material.

    Max Germany

  • Alex

    I've been living in Shanghai for over five years and tried many different schools. At Silk Mandarin I've had the best experience by far and always recommend it to my friends that need a place to study Chinese. They make it fun, they care about your learning, and it works…I started around HSK 2/3 level and am now 6. Have introduced many beginners also who loved it and still go many months after starting.

    Alex Danmark

  • Ajay

    From the very first trial class I was engaged and inspired by the highly interactive and less scholastic approach of Silk Mandarin, but also how each class and stage is highly focused around building upon as well as perfecting the basics of the language. Through this process, I have also reignited my passion and curiosity for Chinese culture, which has inspired me personally to immerse myself in other areas beyond the HSK syllabus. I would thoroughly recommend Silk Mandarin to anyone looking to press reset on their Mandarin language skills, and learn from some of the best teachers in China.

    Ajay UK

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Why Us