Practice Your Chinese Skills

At the Chinese Language Institute we understand and hold a deep respect for the process of gaining fluency in Mandarin. Learning Chinese requires practice and commitment, amongst many elements. While the most direct route to Chinese fluency is arguably studying in China (at the CLI Center) the memorization of vocabulary and characters are a necessity on the path to fluency — thus making self-study integral to language learning.

Using technology is often a nice way to spice up self-study. This blog post highlights a fun, free, Mandarin learning app called ChineseSkills which ‘gamifies’ the learning process while mixing listening, reading, writing and speaking skills into memorable graphics and simple gameplay. ChineseSkills also has a built in SRS — plus the company’s logo is a cute little panda, and who doesn’t like pandas?


The following are our 20 favorite summer-themed flashcards from ChineseSkills:


You can download ChineseSkills at the App Store or on Google Play and follow them on Facebook.


We hope to study Mandarin in China together some day soon. Don’t forget to follow CLI on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


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10 Reasons to Study Mandarin in Guilin

Great public transportation of Guilin

Near and far Guilin is connected with buses, 面包车, domestic and international flights, conventional & bullet trains (it’s now 2.5 hours to Guangzhou from Guilin by bullet train).


Ideal city size at 1 million people

Guilin is large enough that it offers many of the options you’d expect of a modern city yet Guilin’s small enough that you can traverse the city in about a 30 minute bike ride or 12 minute taxi cab ride (which would cost roughly 15rmb, about $2.50 USD).


Guilin has both city + rural lifestyles

Guilin has the feel of a hybrid between country and urban. Downtown is bustling with excitement while riding a bicycle 20 minutes in any direction will take you to tranquil countryside.


Guilin’s fresh, delicious food

There are markets and fruit vendors every few blocks. Guilin’s cuisine is based on fresh, in-season ingredients. Beyond specialities like 米粉,Guilin boasts countless restaurants representing the many varieties of Chinese cuisine. You can also find an assortment of international eateries in addition to six vegan restaurants.


The Guilin accent is a beautiful blend of the many Mandarin accents

The Chinese accent spoken in Guilin could be described as being based on the northern accent with southern qualities. As a foreign student learning to recognize and understand the nuances of accents you’ll be empowering yourself to understand all accents throughout China. Conversely, learning in the north will not prepare you for travels around the country.


The vast majority of locals don’t speak English or other foreign languages

Mandarin is the common language of Guilin. Every interaction you have in Guilin is a language and cultural learning opportunity. cal·ligrafia efímera

Photo by Xavi


Guilin is full of friendly locals interested in sharing Chinese culture

Guilin has few foreigners which means locals go out of there way to make new foreign friends. With seven universities, Guilin has a young energy and demographic eager to engage in cross-cultural exchange.


Guilin’s low costs

Guilin’s cost of living is affordable. When budgeting between $500-$1000 USD per month for food, housing, transportation and fun one can lead a very comfortable lifestyle in Guilin. The average income of a local resident is less than $400 USD per month.


Guilin is one of the cleanest cities in China

The Chinese government has limited the factory industry in Guangxi favoring Guilin’s clean air, water, and environment.


Guilin’s scenery is the most beautiful under heaven: 桂林山水甲天下

Arriving to Guilin is like entering a Dr. Seuss fairytale land. You wouldn’t be surprised to spot a friendly magic dragon flying amidst the undulating karst mountains. Aside from being surrounded by vast countryside, there are over ten large parks throughout the city. We hope to study Mandarin in China together some day soon. Don’t forget to follow CLI on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Share the knowledge:

Follow CLI for Chinese learning resources:


Opening image by Helminadia

The Best 30 Flickr Photos from Guilin

Guilin is beautiful! Her rivers, lakes, and mountains are only a portion of that beauty — it’s also her people and their culture which help make Guilin such a marvelous city. We spent countless hours curating Flickr’s best images to bring you this inside look at the magic of Guilin. Enjoy!

The Best 30 Flickr Photos from Guilin

三十 A View of Guilin at Night

guilin night view 桂林夜景

Photo by Still92

二十九 River-crossing with Bicycle


Photo by Christopher Lewis

二十八 Sidewalk Calligraphy


Photo by Alan Lew

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

– Ibn Battuta

二十七 Biker with Umbrella

Biker with Umbrella

Photo by Bernd Thaller

二十六 Viewpoint Over the City of Guilin

Guilin, China

Photo by Peter Stewart

二十五 Sun & Moon Pagodas

Pagodas del Sol y la Luna (Guilin)

Photo by Domingo Leiva

二十四 Bamboo Boats in Guilin, China

Traffic On Water

Photo by LainaK-Wong

二十三 Yangshuo Intersection

Yangshuo, China

Photo by Bernd Thaller

二十二 Rainy Day in Guilin

Guilin Painting

Photo by Azam Abedi

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”

– Oprah Winfrey

二十一 Reed Flute Cave, Guilin

Reed Flute Cave, Guilin, China

Photo by Pierre Nordström

二十 River’s Bend a.k.a. Horseshoe Bend

River's Bend (Horseshoe Bend of Asia!!)

Photo by Dan Ballard

十九 On Jiefang Qiao Overlooking the Li River

De paseo en Guilin

Photo by Josemere

十八 Karst Window

Karst Window

Photo by Chris Kealy

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

– Mary Anne Radmacher

十七 Beautiful Sky in Guilin, China


Photo by Paul Reiffer

十六 View of Guilin from Fubo Hill

View on Guilin from Fubo Hill

Photo by Thomas Bächinger

十五 Portrait of a Guilin Local Man

guilin grandpa

Photo by John Marshall

十四 Cormorant Fisherman Stands Tall


Photo by Andy Beales

十三 Reflections in Still Water Inside the Reed Flute Cave

Lair of the Dark Knight

Photo by Peter Stewart

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”

– Henry David Thoreau

十二 Li River Fisherman

Li River Fisherman

Photo by Paul Weeks

十一 Downtown Intersection at Night

Guilin, China

Photo by Ilya

Expert Cobbler

Guilin, China

Photo by Michael Steverson

Cormorant Fishing on the Li River, China

The Old Fisherman

Photo by Daniel Cheong

Reflecting Sun Pagoda in Downtown Guilin

The Sun Tower // Ri Ta // 日塔

Photo by Vladimir Yaitskiy

Cormorant Fisherman with Lamp

Cormorant Fishermen ~  Interview with BlackRapid

Photo by Dan Ballard

Sun & Moon Pagodas

Sun and Moon Pagodas

Photo by Peter Stewart

Guilin Cormorant Fisherman Takes a Smoking Break

Smoking in the Blue Hour

Photo by Andy Beales

Early Morning Cormorant Fisherman in Guilin

Michael Steverson

Photo by Michael Steverson

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.”

– John Steinbeck

Awe-inspiring Campsite

TENTative Sunrise

Photo by Andy Beales

Portrait of a Guilin Local Woman

Les Marques du Temps

Photo by Daniel Cheong

Sunset at Longsheng Rice Terrace

Sunset at Longji Rice Terrace

Photo by Shashin Surti

We hope to study Mandarin in China together some day soon. Don’t forget to follow CLI on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Share the knowledge:

Follow CLI for Chinese learning resources:


Opening image by Andy Beales