Huayang Academy has 3 campuses throughout Yunnan province. Kunming is the capital of Yunnan province and the biggest city in Southwest China. This guide is for anyone thinking of learning Chinese in Kunming. Pros and Cons, things to do, places to see and how to get out of dodge when you need time away from the city.
Kunming is a city of around 6 million people lying just above the tropic of cancer and at an elevation of 1900m. With a history of almost 2,500 years Kunming is a fascinating city and a hub for China-Southeast Asia transport, business and culture. More recently Kunming hosted an American airbase during WW2 home to the famous flying tigers. The weather is a defining factor for Kunming which is known to many as Spring City or the City of Eternal Spring thanks to it’s mild weather year round.
Cost of living
Cost of living is probably the biggest factor for the majority of students. Anyone who wants to learn Chinese in China will be happy to know Kunming has a much lower cost of living than any of the big cities in China such as Beijing or Shanghai. Our school offers group classes for as little as 5,000 rmb per semester which is around $720. Many students add 1 on 1 classes on top of this so one semester of immersive dedicated study will cost you around $2,000 to $3,000 if you are very serious about making quick progression. Contrast this with some schools charging over $2,000 per month for tuition you know it is great value.
Renting an apartment in Kunming will surprise many western students who are used to sky high rents. We had a student from London whose rent in Kunming for one year was the same as one months rent in London. Rent for a 2 bedroom apartment near our Kunming campus starts around $200 per month.
Groceries and eating out are also extremely cheap. If you live a local lifestyle you can spend as little as $40 dollars per month on food.
Since the weather is so good in Kunming you can also cut costs by taking part in free activities with our staff and students who love hiking, football, cycling and rock climbing.
Coming to learn Chinese in China is a big step for anyone to take so settling in quickly is of utmost importance. Unless your Chinese is quite good it can be hard to settle in without the help of other expats. Luckily our brilliant staff will help you get an apartment, sim-card and bank account as well as helping you find others that share your interest.
Our school in Kunming is located close to many great foreign hangouts. Bars like Barfly and cafes like Salvadors are unofficial international embassies where you can find cycling groups, dance troupes or anything else you’re into.
One of the best things about Huayang Kunming is the student community we have from all over the world. As soon as you come to our school you will be greeted by our staff and students with fresh coffee and Chinese tea.
Coming to China to learn Chinese pretty much means you are a dedicated student. You need to make sure you make the most of your time from the get go. Whether you are doing group classes or 1 on 1 classes it is good to get to school early and practice with staff and students. Huayang Kunming is very close to the best Universities in Yunnan such as Yunnan University, KUST and Kunming Normal University. This means you can easily find language partners to practice Chinese which of course is a massive part of learning Chinese. Apart from that you can always speak with our staff about your goals and they can help you set up a study plan going forward.
Learning Chinese can be quite tiring. Spending 4 or 5 hours a day learning one of the most difficult languages in the world is not easy and you will need regular time off to wind down. Our students love getting out of Kunming and into the mountains cycling, hiking and rock climbing. Luckily our campus is within 25 minutes of great hikes and trails.
A little closer to home you can take some time to visit bars and restaurants near the school. You will always find some staff or fellow students willing to join you and share stories. There are also football clubs, cricket clubs and basketball groups that meet regularly. Within 5 minutes of our campus you will find rock climbing walls, skate parks and much more.
When you really need some R&R you can get to Vietnam or Thailand for less than $50 each way if you book at the right time.
Getting around in a new city is very important and the faster you become familiar with your surroundings the happier you will be. Public transport and share bikes are very good in Kunming and cheap to use. You can buy a bike for $10 or $20 which is a great way to see Kunming. Electric bikes are very popular with people living in Kunming. They cost $150-$500 and are very convenient to use, it is a good idea to try one out when you land as many people never do and when they do after a year of living here really regret not getting one sooner.
Working while studying is possible but you need to get a work Visa. Because of the need for English teachers in Kunming it is quite popular for people to teach English while studying Chinese. This is very appealing because while the cost of living is very low the wages for foreign teachers are quite high. Normal teacher wages are around $20-$30 per hour.
We tried to fit all we could in this blog post but it is a work in progress so please contact us with any other questions and we will answer you and add them in.