I accidentally stumbled upon CRCC Asia on the internet after searching for a Mandarin language course in the UK. Immediately I was hooked on the idea of going to China to learn so I decided to sign up to the two month language course they provide in association with Mandarin House. What I ended up experiencing was not just a language education, but also an insight into another culture which I quickly became addicted to. My experience with CRCC Asia ended up influencing my aspirations as I now am keen to pursue a career in China.
The service provided by this company is excellent. I was saved the trouble of arranging a visa as this was organised for me. Upon arrival in Beijing (which I strongly recommend should be your destination of choice) I was met at the airport by English speaking supervisors who took a group of us straight to our accommodation in Shuangjing, which was very comfortable and spacious. From our flats we could see the China World Trade Center and the CCTV tower which are in the business district of Guomao, five minutes’ walk from where we were staying. The supervisors then provided us with a cultural introduction session which is essential if you haven’t visited China before as it is surprising how different the social and business practices are. On the first night we had a meal provided by CRCC Asia which gave us a taste of Beijing cuisine and introduced us to some of the customs at the table which were useful at later times when I ate with locals. When I ran into problems, the company was very helpful in arranging assistance. I required a small operation on my leg whilst in Beijing and the CRCC Asia staff gave me information about the best hospital to go to and offered translation services if needed. Overall, they were very professional, helpful and took the stress out of the trip allowing me to enjoy my time in China fully.
The language course is excellent, I would suggest you use the first month to learn the language as it is very useful for travelling around the city. It is likely that a member of whatever group of people you end up with will be capable of some Mandarin so the language course is not essential, however I would recommend it highly. In the two months that I studied the language, I went from knowing three words to having a vocabulary which allowed me to have conversations on a great variety of topics. Ordering food, directing a taxi and arguing with salespeople in the silk market about the prices (which is worth knowing how to do!) all became easy. The second month of the language course was much more challenging than the first. The initial four weeks are spent giving you a grounding in the language, from teaching you the four tones of mandarin, to basic conversation like explaining where you live in relation to other things and ordering food. The second four weeks are more grammar intensive and require much more work.
Overall I would say that the language course offered by CRCC Asia and Mandarin House is invaluable, not only has it been great in helping me to communicate with more people, but it has supplemented my CV and made me far more employable in companies which have connections with China.
Overall I am glad that I found CRCC Asia, they provided an experience that has been fascinating, enjoyable, personally enriching and has shown me the career opportunities that China has to offer. I would recommend this course to anyone, it looks great on your CV and with a lot of the admin handled by CRCC Asia you can make the most of your time out there. I can’t wait to return to China!