An unforgettable learning experience!
While preparing my trip, I compared several schools in different cities in China. This school seemed to have the perfect combination: not too large, the opportunity to take an intensive course at any date in a place that is worth visiting and for an affordable budget, knowing it was the winter holidays in China and that I was traveling alone.
I made the right choice!
Huayang Academy offers small group classes on several dates during the year, as well as individual classes, which can be customized to your needs (duration, frequency, level, intensity, subjects ...). I had been in contact by email with Lynn a few months before my arrival. First I contacted Rosy in Kunming (firstname.lastname@example.org), who put me in contact with Lynn, who is in charge of the school in Dali. She was always very friendly, informative and flexible, so we came easily to an agreement. She found a very good and friendly teacher for me. During my stay, she was there to answer any questions. Lynn and my teacher PengYun spoke fluent English, which is not so common in Yunnan. My teacher also spoke a little French.
I had chosen « A la carte » one-on-one classes, based on 3 classes daily - 45 mns each. I also chose to practice a bit on my own, thanks to the audio-exercises and the book the school had provided, though this was not mandatory. The method they provided was the same as the one used in the prestigious Beijing University. It turned out that I learned more in 5 weeks than I previously had in one year studying online!
The teaching was 100% customized to my needs and I was able to put what I had just learnt into practice immediately. My teacher went far beyond my expectations. For example, she took me to several places in and outside Dali Gucheng (old town), which I would never have been able to discover on my own. She even introduced me to some of her friends and other relationships with similar centres of interest, which made my stay unforgettable.
As far as accommodation is concerned, I had chosen to stay at the school, which turned out to be a great choice too. Simple & comfortable, it is more like renting a studio without the paperwork. This place actually used to be a hotel, but the rent is much cheaper. There is always someone around in case you need anything.
Just outside the school, there is a small family-run Chinese restaurant open daily from early morning to evening, they have a great variety of dishes ranging between 6 and 25 Yuan. There are also plenty of other possibilities around, but this one was my favourite.
In general, I found during my stay that Chinese people are helpful, friendly, reliable and solution-oriented, though never over-protective nor intrusive.
I felt at home immediately and will soon be back!