There are at least five or six universities in Hangzhou which offer Chinese courses. Zhejiang University is among the best universities in China and its Chinese course has attracted about 300 foreign students at one time – out of about 600 foreign students studying Chinese in Hangzhou. The class is big and the teaching is so so. That is what I heard from the students who attended their classes.
Quite a lot of them changed to Hangzhou Teacher College because the class size is small and their foreign student dormitories are very new and well furnished. They have apartments of two bedrooms, with air-conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen, a balcony, and it costs about 60 yuan per day to have your own room and share the communal area. The apartment can be of a 3-star hotel quality. Two Americans told me of the same experience. They started at Zhejiang University and then decided to come to Hangzhou Teacher College because of a smaller class size and better accommodation. The campus is in the city center, and that is cool. They also say the teaching is not bad, and the teachers are willing to listen to their needs and adapt the teaching.
There are many other universities offering Chinese courses in Hangzhou. That includes Zhejiang University of Technology, Zhejiang University City College, Zhejiang University of Commerce, Zhejiang Forestry University and Zhejiang College of Tradtional Chinese Medicine. I cannot really comment on their programs or quality of teaching. But I heard that Zhejiang Forestry University has a beautiful campus and the teaching is not bad.
You can also find language schools in the city. Manda School of Chinese was set up earlier this year and wonderfully run by a Hong Konger and a German. But they have left the school and Manda is now run by local Chinese. Babel Language Training Centre, Tefle Academy, and Nova are three other language schools that offer Chinese programs, mainly to expatriates living in the city. These schools are all located in the Yellow Dragon area, the new business area.
If you go to China to study, prepare for non-Western style of teaching. Quality of teaching is a BIG problem, it seems to me. How can a rigid and centralized planned teaching system nurture creative teachers to give inspiring and professional teaching? So far I’ve not heard of a particular university or school that teaches Chinese being recommended just for its excellent teaching. If you know of one, let me know.