Purple Bamboo offers communication-oriented classes, business topics, and rhetoric, as well as HSK and spoken Chinese courses at all different levels. Prices for one-on-one classes are between RMB 120 and RMB 500, while prices for group classes depend on teachers’ experience.
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User reviews of Purple Bamboo
My background in Chinese learning has been very varied, from learning as a child at Chinese sunday school and learning for a year at university to not practicing or using it for years. I came to China to improve my Chinese, and at the same time work. Unfortunately, my work is all in English, and I pretty much work 6 days a week for over 9 hours a day! So I have not had the opportunity to practice my Chinese as I had hoped. Fortunately for me, Purple Bamboo offer an extremely flexible schedule not only for when you have lessons, but also for your language level (as various other reviewers have already explained), so I am able to have evening classes from 7:30pm until 9:10pm.
I've now completed one set of lessons and paid for another, they do not take summer holiday breaks so you can keep studying over the summer! My Chinese has definitely improved with the Purple Bamboo and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for not only flexible learning material but also a flexible time schedule.
Anyway, enough rambling, the other review here is far more detailed than mine is and has all the information you need to know to make the best decision for you. Safe travels!
During my two years of master's degree study at Beida, I studied Chinese at BLCU summer school once, Peking University (1 semester) and Purple Bamboo (about 80 hours so far and counting). I only had 4 hours of Chinese with my master's program during the first year. I was about HSK 3 when I started the BLCU summer school. Before I had no Chinese training.
BLCU: 4 or 6 hours a day. 11600 and 19100 yuan respectiively. I have done 6 hours/day summer school. Extremely unproductive. 10-15 people classes.
Peking University: 4 hours a day (on average, not fullly fixed schedule). 18000 yuan. At least 10 people classes. Very unproductive.
Purple Bamboo: 1 on 1 classes. 160 hours. About 12000 yuan. You won't need to do more than 8 hours a week, which makes 20 weeks (average semester is 15/16 weeks). They won't even let you distract yourself by taking notes. They take the notes for you and send you all the new words, grammer phrases and whatnot with an email right after the class. Extremely productive.
For my experience, my Chinese imporved in 80 hours of Purple Bamboo more than the BLCU and Peking university combined.
Purple Bamboo = 60 hours || apprx. 6000 yuan
BLCU Summer School + Peking University = Apprx. 420 hours || 24000 yuan
Even if I assume that I learnt the same amount of Chinese in both cases, price/performance factors by 28 times on Purple Bamboo's behalf.
Let's dig into the quality of the service. First and foremost, they tailor the class according to your demand.
- If you want to improve your speaking, study HSK or have specific training, they will concentrate on your need.
- You can to 2 on 1, 3-4 on 1 for cheaper prices.
- You can pick from different packages and buy a smaller package with less hours.
- You can ask for teachers with high experience for a slighly higher price. My teacher had 3 years (the least they provide) of experience and I'm completely content. There are 5 and 7 year options.
- They don't compel on you their books and all that nonsense.
Some other points are:
1. If your schedule is not fixed, they try very hard to adapt to you and they are good at it.
2. You can make it less than 8 hours a week. I am doing 6 hours a week and they are totally fine.
3. You fix a tentative schedule in the beginning and they send you an expected schedule with the topics to be covered.
4. The teachers are better than the state universities by default. It is a private institution so this is not even worth mentioning.
5. They keep very well track of you. You get a WeChat message before the class and at the end of the week for the upcoming week's schedule to confirm beforehand. They even ask you what you want to eat and drink for the class, and have them ready for you.
6. Even the classrooms are way more comfartable compared to the 'primary school like' classrooms of state universities.
7. They even give you gifts here and then, so on and so forth...
This list can go on but I will cut to the chase: Purpble Bamboo is a very underpriced service. If you want to save your time and money, and really learn Chinese (hence keep yoursef motivated), it is the best service I know so far that provides everything at one place. My only regret is that I was able to hear about it after 1,5 years into my China experience. I write this post so that other people won't suffer like me to find such a decent service in China, where the conventional Chinese teaching methods are quite inefficient and outdated.
PS: Unless you have an extra motivation like passing HSK 6 in one/two year(s) so that you can enroll in an undergrad/grad program at a Chinese University, or you're in love with the language, Chinese is not an easy language to keep yourself motivated with. Most students study at state universities on an exchange program, so their fees are covered. Even paying for the state universities might not give you enough motivation for it is a tiring experience to get up early in the morning everyday to go to your Chinese class, and then you're expected to do hours of homework from the boring text book. Therefore, if you come to China with the purpose of learning the language, chances are high that you will not.