I started studying in Culture Yard about 5 months after I moved to Beijing in early 2014, at this point I had absolutely no base of knowledge in Chinese at all. I took the part-time group beginner 1 course, which was 2 evening classes each week. I remember feeling so happy with my progress over that short time, I was able to finally understand a little of what was going on around me. The teaching was outstanding, and I was in a class with just 2 other girls who became good friends.
The next course I took was an intensive group class and I progressed even faster, again, the teaching style was everything I wanted; relaxed, focused but friendly. Small tests mid-course and at the completion of each course, mean you really know how you're doing. I did at one point try out another school in Beijing for a few lessons because it was closer to where I lived, and I can't even compare the two, Culture Yard is just another level, in teaching standard, atmosphere, and in their structuring of levels. You must pass the test of the previous level to move to the next, which means you are sure to always be learning with people who basically match your Chinese abilities.
After, on and off, working my way through all of the courses at Culture Yard up until the Intermediate levels, until early 2017, I have now been able to take, and pass, HSK level 4. I couldn't be more proud of what I have achieved, but also couldn't recommend Culture Yard enough to anyone who would like to progress their Chinese, whether you are a complete beginner, like I was, or of an intermediate level. I don't know if I would have come so far studying at another school, there is such an encouraging atmosphere, and you'll find that everyone really is there to push themselves and empathise with each other’s difficulties.