Guilin was chosen as CLI's home for a variety of reasons – it’s warm; it's a safe distance from the poor air quality of China's biggest cities; it’s simple to navigate; local residents are exceptionally friendly and engaging; the cuisine is excellent; and the city has been famous for its stunning natural beauty throughout Chinese history.
The Ideal Learning Environment
“桂林山水甲天下”“Guilin’s scenery is the most beautiful under heaven.” – Chinese proverbOne of the key attractions of
Guilin is its beautiful natural landscape. Surrounded by lakes, rivers, and karst mountains that jut out of the earth like giant limestone pillars, Guilin has been famous for its breathtaking natural beauty for a thousand years.
Life in Guilin
economy and nightlife are important in creating a unique study abroad experience. The city features dance clubs, bars, gyms, yoga studios, department stores, universities, a broad variety of restaurants, excellent public transportation networks, as well as flights and bullet trains for easy travel to other parts of China.
Guilin is a city that maintains China’s rich traditional culture yet boasts all the comforts brought on by the PRC’s rapid modernization.
Guilin vs. China’s Largest Cities
“I like that CLI is located in Guilin rather than a larger city because it encourages you to use Chinese in daily experiences.” – Craig W., Summer ‘11Students sometimes assume that Beijing and Shanghai offer the best learning environments, but after extensive experience living and studying in China, CLI’s founders discovered that Guilin is a far superior location.
Guilin is the ideal Mandarin learning environment because:
Few foreign expats live in Guilin, and few locals speak English, which provides students plenty of language learning opportunities.
Locals in Guilin are friendly and curious and frequently seek to engage with foreign students.
Students are exposed to both the northern and southern Mandarin accents, which gives them a sharper ear and more well-rounded command of the language.
Guilin is both countryside and city; traditional and modern; remote and mainstream.
Guilin’s famous natural environment is protected, making the air and water much cleaner than other parts of China.
桂林山水甲天下 (Guìlín shānshuǐ jiǎtiānxià) proclaims that “Guilin’s scenery is the most beautiful under heaven,” and rightly so. Surrounded by picturesque limestone mountains, the bustling city is comfortably located along China’s famous Li River in the gorgeous province of Guangxi. Guilin’s natural landscape has proven so charming throughout history that it is even celebrated on the back of China’s twenty-yuan bill.
“One month in Guilin was more productive than an entire year of coursework in a normal college class.”– Allie Riggs, Summer ‘11Your home at CLI will present you with endless opportunities to discover China. A breathtaking natural landscape offers a hiker’s paradise, an array of restaurants and bars provide an exciting social scene, and CLI’s language and culture experience provide students countless platforms to engage locals in Chinese conversations. Guilin is a remarkable place to devote yourself to not just studying Chinese, but actually learning Chinese.
Location of Guilin within China
Guilin is located in Guangxi Province and is a one-hour flight northwest of Hong Kong, a two hour flight southwest of Shanghai, and a three-hour flight south of Beijing.
University: Hawaii Pacific UniversityChinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“CLI’s staff is focused on improvingthe student’s grasp of the Chinese language and Guilin’s charming environment is a prime place to not only learn how to speak Mandarin, but also to gain knowledge about the passion and culture of the Chinese people. My experiences with CLI are ones I will never forget.”
Allie Riggs | Summer 2011
University: Virginia Tech Chinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“The way that CLI operates has gotto be the best method to learn Chinese. One month in Guilin was more productive than an entire year of coursework in a normal college class.”
Craig W. | Summer 2011
University: Virginia Tech Chinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“I like that CLI is located in Guilinrather than a larger city because it forces you to use Chinese in daily experiences. I also like the diversity of CLI’s teachers. They each brought their own unique perspectives of China.”
Alex Gavis | Summer 2011
University: Virginia TechChinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“CLI’s location in Guilin creates aunique experience for Chinese learners. We’re able to experience both rural and city life. Guilin is a city where you can easily go out and practice your Chinese. Also, my one-on-one teachers were able to tailor lessons to my specific needs which ultimately helped me reach my language goals.”
Wilson G. | Summer 2014
University: Virginia TechChinese Level (upon entry): Intermediate I“After studying at CLI twice now,I’ve found that the greatest advantage of learning Chinese here is not only the one-on-one class environment, but also that being located in a smaller city, like Guilin, provides students with a perfect atmosphere for truly learning the language.”
Matt Dietrick | 2010-2011
University: Syracuse UniversityChinese Level (upon entry): Intermediate II“The constant immersion isdefinitely the most important aspect of CLI’s intensive Chinese program. In Guilin, most of what I say during the course of the day is in Chinese. This is much harder to do in bigger cities.”
Kevin Keller | Spring 2010
University: Arizona State UniversityChinese Level (upon entry): Advanced I“CLI is the second study abroadprogram in which I have participated, and I could not be more pleased with my experience in Guilin. My one-on-one teachers traveled with me around town and were constantly there to help me with my Chinese studies.”
Mai Lan | Summer 2011
University: Virginia TechChinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“CLI was unique in that it combinedan immersion learning environment with unforgettable recreational activities. Being in Guilin promoted an immersion atmosphere that forced me to develop my own Chinese skills.”
Kandice P. | Summer 2011
University: Howard UniversityChinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“I think the living arrangements atCLI are the most important aspect of the program. In addition to sharing a home with many Chinese natives, living in Guilin gives students the opportunity to meet others and totally immerse themselves into the Chinese culture. CLI is definitely a special place.”
Ernesto A. | Spring 2010
University: University of Chile Medical SchoolChinese Level (upon entry): Beginner I“CLI’s teachers and programdirectors were extremely helpful, knowledgeable and friendly during my entire stay in Guilin. I’m glad to have found the Chinese Language Institute and discovered the friendly people of Guilin.”
Sanne A. | Winter 2013
University: University of LeidenChinese Level (upon entry): Intermediate II“CLI has the perfect combination ofgood quality education, cool teachers, interesting activities, and great lunches! My stay in Guilin was very useful for improving my Chinese because opportunities to speak Chinese are everywhere. I had an unforgettable experience and would recommend it to anyone.”