Frequently Asked Questions & Our Answers

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page! Here, we have compiled a list of common inquiries to provide you with quick and informative answers. Whether you’re a new customer or a returning one, we hope this resource helps address any doubts or concerns you may have. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for here, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly customer support team for further assistance or email us directly to get an instant answer.

1. What are the differences among the terms of Mandarin, Chinese, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, “Guoyu” and “Huayu”? 

The terms Mandarin, Chinese, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, “Guoyu,” and “Huayu” are often used to refer to different aspects of the Chinese language. Let’s clarify the differences among these terms:


“Chinese” is a broad and generic term that refers to the language spoken by the people of China. It is one of the world’s major languages and has numerous dialects and regional variations. When people refer to “Chinese,” they could be talking about the entire language family or the standard form, which is Mandarin.

The term “Chinese” could either mean Chinese people or Chinese language.


“Mandarin”, by nature is not a language. Instead, it is the so-called vocal representation of Chinese language in a spoken way. 


Mandarin Chinese, or Common Speech (“Putonghua”), or Standard Chinese is established and developed on the basis of Beijing dialect. Mandarin Chinese has been widely used in China’s public media, radio, broadcasting, movie, school education, government agencies and companies. Cantonese is one of the largest dialect groups in China, approximately accounts for 5% of the Chinese populations. Mandarin Chinese is called “Guoyu” in Taiwan and “Huayu” in Singapore. By nature, both are Mandarin Chinese from speech perspective and there are hardly any differences in terms of communications. 


“Hanyu” is the language of the Han nationality of China. As you may know, China is composed of 56 nationalities while Han, known as the majority of the Chinese people, represents 93% of the Chinese populations. Therefore, it is not appropriate to allege that “Hanyu” is the language of China due to the fact that more than half of the 55 Chinese minorities, which accounts for 7% of the Chinese populations, have their own language systems and cultural structure.  


Accordingly, it is appropriate to say that Hanyu is the official language of the People’s Republic of China, and likewise, English is the official language of the United States of America.


Noticeably, there are two different written forms in Mandarin Chinese: Traditional and Simplified. Traditional form is more complicated in written structures while simplified form is relatively simpler in written structure, which makes learners easy to write and memorize. Currently simplified written form is widely used in Mainland China, Singapore and even part of Hong Kong while the traditional written form is unanimously used in Taiwan. 

2. What language is taught at Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center? 

At Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center, we teach Standard Mandarin Chinese in both simplified and traditional written characters based on the learners’ preferences. The texts of our Beginner-Level I program are only designed with simplified written characters, which is widely used in Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and part of Hong Kong and Macau. Except the Beginner Level I program, all our rest 9 progressive programs are designed with both simplified and traditional Chinese characters to satisfy each individual learners preferences and interests. 

3. What programs are available at Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center? 

Currently we have 10 carefully-designed Mandarin Chinese programs available. These progressive programs include Beginner-Level, Beginner Level II, Beginner Level III, Beginner-to-Intermediate, Intermediate Level I, Intermediate Level II, Intermediate Level III, Intermediate-to-Advanced Level, Advanced level I and Advanced Level II programs.  These program can be taught either on an one-on-one Private Tutoring basis, or most popularly in a group setting.  

4. I already had a certain foundation in Mandarin Chinese, what is the best placement for me? 

For learners who already had a certain foundation in Mandarin Chinese, we usually conduct a free online assessment (either by phone or via Zoom). Based on the initial results of our online assessment, we will email the learner a few free sample texts which represents our programs at different levels. This will help the learner double check which one will the best match. 


5. I have zero knowledge in Mandarin Chinese, what can I achieve through a Beginner Level I study? 

Our Beginner Level I Mandarin Chinese Program helps you learn the following: 

  • Chinese Phonetics: Initials, Finals and Four Tones 
  • Around 300 Most frequently used Chinese characters and usage 
  • Chinese character writing, pronunciation, phrases and expressions
  • Multiple situational dialogues covering various real-life communications
  • About 300 pages  e-learning materials (including an electronic dictionary)
  • Listening comprehension from daily situational dialogues 
  • Business etiquette education, Chinese history, traditions and customs 
  • Western-Chinese cultural differences
  • Additional Free e-learning materials tailored to meet your learning needs 
  • Chances for networking with class participants and share experiences​

6. What are the features of your Group Class? 

  • Meet once a week in particular week-day evenings or weekends
  • Highly flexible in schedule without worrying about missing classes
  • Highly focus on speaking, reading and listening comprehension (95%)
  • Having an opportunity to switch an concurrent group classes or same-level program offered in the future.  
  • Using the unique and proven “learn-by-cultural-correlation” approach to help you quickly gain needed knowledge and skills in Mandarin Chinese. 
  • A certain amount of customized content is integrated in any teaching program you select to satisfy you personal or career requirements
  • Laid-back and friendly learning environment without bearing the pressure of taking exams as required in the traditional schools

7. How long does it take to complete your Beginner Level I program?
Our Beginner-Level I Mandarin Chinese Program is composed of 8-Week online classes and 12 e-learning courses. Each online class runs for about 1 hour 45 minutes.  The e-learning courses are our extra complimentary learning materials for you to complete at your own pace.   


8. Can I achieve an Intermediate-Level right after I complete Beginner-Level I, Beginner II and Beginner-Level III programs?

After you complete Beginner Level I, Beginner Level II and Beginner Level III programs, you will need to close some “gaps” in order to move up to a higher level. Our featured Beginner-to-Intermediate level will be an appropriate program helping you achieve that the transition. 

A skillful mastery of 1,100 commonly used Chinese characters which are regulated by the State Education Committee of China and knowing how to skillfully apply them in writing and spoken communications marks a significant milestone that you have achieved a Intermediate level in Mandarin Chinese.

9. How can I make up a missed class?
At Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center, we strive to provide effective solutions for all registered learning members to make up any of their missed-out class(es). Registered learning members can make up the missed class by joining or switching to other concurrent or future same-level group classes when the same missed class(es) is/are taught again. Registered learning members can also apply for making up any missed class(es) through our one-on-one private tutoring arrangement. Under such an arrangement, a $70 fee will be charged for each made-up class. 

10. How do you charge for a cancellation or a late-notice cancellation for a booked class/seminar?

We charge $45 for a cancellation of a booked program or seminar. A late-notice cancellation refers to a notice of cancellation for a booked class/seminar less than 3 hours. We charge the same rate to cover the cost of instructor’s transportation,  room booking and equipment rental. For a late-notice cancellation for a class, our charge is equivalent to a typical fee for a 1 to 1.5 hour class. For a late-notice cancellation for a seminar, the fee is measured based on the actual cost incurred.

11. Can Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center offer lessons at a customer’s premises? 
Yes. We can provide lessons at customer’s premises either for one-on-one private tutoring classes or group classes.


12. Does Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center offer lessons to young children? 
Yes. We have been offering young children & youth programs since 2008.

13. Will I receive certificate after I finish a particular program?
Yes. You will be awarded a Certificate of Completion after you accomplish any of our learning program. The certificate serves as a proof that you have successfully completed a particular learning program. The certificate doesn’t award you an academic degree. 


14. What does it cost for various learning programs?
It depends on the program you choose to attend. Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center offers the most affordable and competitive pricing to satisfy your learning pursuit in Mandarin Chinese. Please feel free to text us at 312-880-97988 or go to the Contact Us page for price inquiries.

Contact Email: (Your questions on pricing will be answered instantly).


15. Could I get a discount if I recommend one of one of my relatives or friends to attend your class?

Yes. We will offer you a 5% discount for any successful referral (s) that you bring to us.


16. Does Chicago Mandarin Chinese Center recommend or offer job opportunities?

We are constantly looking for qualified teachers who are competent to deliver high-quality teaching services to our clients. You are welcome to send us your resume. Qualified applicants will be interviewed by phone or by face-to-face meeting. 

We are frequently contacted by other recruiting firms for employment of individuals who have a good foundation in Mandarin Chinese. We are pleased to recommend those job opportunities to our learning members.


17. Once I have registered and attended a particular group program, can I switch to another group program for any reason I may have?

Yes. We offer such opportunities to our existing learning members who have missed classes due to different reasons such work schedule change, traveling arrangement or family emergence etc. By switching to another same-level program, you are able to start from the very first lesson no matter the number of classes you have taken from the previous program. The one-time fee we charge for switching class is $45. 

18. Can I get a refund or pro-rated fee if I drop out in the middle of my study due to some unexpected reasons?

No. We don’t have a refund policy. Once you become a registered member at our Center, you will be responsible for the arrangement of your personal learning schedule. However, we DO have a policy to remain a chance for you to continue your studies within one year when you are available to complete the paid lessons. If there is any extra fee needed (such as class reschedule and learning materials redesign) we will let you know.  Our fee for learning materials of any learning program costs $45. Only those who have completed all the paid classes can enjoy receiving the learning materials free of charge.