Mandarin, Arts and Culture

Image of hello in Mandarin
Image by Nikolai Garcia

Evening language course at the University of the Arts London (UAL) Language Centre in London. Learn to speak Mandarin and explore Chinese arts and culture.

During this 8 week course you will be exposed to authentic language through listening and reading activities with an emphasis on functional and practical uses. The classes focus on speaking, pronunciation and reading, and on written communication.

Over the course of the programme, you will explore a variety of interesting topics such as architecture, design, fashion and society, whilst improving your ability to communicate confidently in the language.

The weekly classes take place at our High Holborn location, 3 minutes' walk from Holborn underground station in central London. Classes are from 6pm to 8.30pm 1 evening a week.

The course includes a termly cultural experience in collaboration with the UAL Social Programme, which is built into your language development.

See the course details section below for the full syllabus, overview and outcomes for the course.

Mandarin dates and fees

Term 1DatesPriceBooking and availability
Mandarin Beginner Part One

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Tuesday 31 October 2017

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Tuesday 5 December 2017


Please note, this course is now fully booked.

We'll be running more courses from 29 January 2018.

Please sign up for more updates.

Mandarin Beginner Part One course details

Mandarin Beginner Part One overview and outcomes

Our evening language courses are built around an arts and culture context. You will explore a variety of topics including architecture, cuisine, culture, design, fashion, society and more.

Over the 8 weeks of the Mandarin Beginner Part One course, you will:

  • get an introduction to asking and answering simple questions on familiar topics
  • learn functional language such as ordering food and exchanging personal details
  • learn vocabulary related to food, the arts, the city, travelling, professions, leisure and your home
  • work on your interactional, listening and speaking skills
  • learn about regional Chinese cuisine, contemporary artists, Chinese cultural and society
  • learn to recognise familiar words and phrases concerning you, your family, your immediate surroundings, and the topics outlined above
  • look at Pinyin to help you recognise writing as well as practise writing the characters yourself in the form of blogs, postcards and business cards
  • experience the art of Chinese calligraphy using traditional brushes, ink and rice paper.

There is a focus on oral communication and pronunciation as well as using language for functional and practical purposes.

You will be able to take part in Social Programme events, which we will announce on a termly basis in line with your syllabus and chosen language of study.

Course details: 

Week no.Session topicLanguage contentArts and culture content*
1Introduction to Language, Arts and Culture


Talking about names
Introduction to Pinyin and tones

Introduction to the Chinese writing system
Numbers 0-10

Exchanging contact details (phone and email)

Contemporary artists

2Cuisine and Culture

Numbers 11-999

Food / Drink Items

Ordering in a café or a restaurant

Phrases for daily use

Pinyin: initials and finals


Regional cuisines

3Art and Politics

Talking about your background (nationality, where you live)

Y/N questions: use of 'ma'

Exchanging personal details
Chinese characters: recognition

Controversial artists

4Urban Spaces

Talking about jobs

Where you study/work
Meeting people and presenting yourself

Use of question words: what, where, etc.

Chinese characters: strokes and stroke order

From university to work

Exchanging business cards

5Movement and Time

Months, days, weekdays and birthdays
Talking about family members

Typing Chinese characters

Write an email to a penfriend

One child policy

Migrant workers


Numbers 100-9999

Describing a city
Talking about your travel plans

Constructing sentences

Write a postcard

Landscapes: old and new

Urbanisation in China

Travel advice

7Fashion and Society

Colours and clothing

Shopping for clothes

Use of measure words

Gifts and souvenirs

Fashion and brands

8Design and Architecture

Talking about your favourites, e.g. food, artist, city, etc.

Public spaces and signs

Modern structures

Experiencing Chinese calligraphy


*Note: These are some of the possible topics you will cover and they may differ according to student needs and interests.