The first time you will meet a Hutong School member will be at the airport, holding a red sign and waiting for the smile that looks like the one on the picture you sent them. And I promise that a smile will appear at the latest when sitting in the taxi, seeing the city’s skyline appearing in front of you. From the first moment on, Hutong School provides you all the information you might need for traveling to China and helps you find your place in a vibrant city that sometimes moves faster than anyone could follow.

Preparation impossible

You might be shocked at first; being thrown into a different culture with a completely different language and habits that seem to be weird at first. Of course, you were prepared, weren’t you reading travel magazines and books in China for quite a couple of weeks? And didn’t you go through Hutong School’s web page for, like, a million times? But let me tell you: there is no way you can plan the things that happen after touching down in China. On the way to your apartment, you try to imagine how your flatmates will be like, whether you will enjoy your internship in China and if the language will be easy to learn … there are just so many question marks in your head that need to be turned into answers! Well, they will. After getting to know your flatmates, finally memorizing the way from your apartment to the subway and from the subway to Hutong School, and maybe even your first day at your new office, you start realizing that you are here! It will no longer seem unbelievable and crazy, you start getting used to the adventure you were looking for when you signed up for Hutong School.

We are here for you

After the first ‘ooowww yeah I made it’ sentiment you might feel a bit lost, Travelling to Chinawhich is really understandable considering that you left behind everything you love. For that matter, it would be a good idea to just come by Hutong School – even if you don’t have lessons! You would be surprised by how many people just go there to have a chat, get information on what to do while in Beijing/Shanghai or talk to the teachers in Chinese. The atmosphere at the school is always friendly, and over a cup of coffee (or maybe even two?) you get to know people very easily.

Also really helpful for making new contacts are the evening activities Hutong School organizes. And no, it’s not about playing bingo and drinking tea – the school actually offers really interesting courses and tours! You will have a whole lot of fun over cooking traditional Chinese dishes, painting in Shui Mo style or even with sugar, watching football games or a movie together.

International feeling

Whenever you are feeling frustrated about learning Chinese, finding it difficult to talk to Chinese people or have the urge to talk in your mother tongue – or at least any language you know – it’s always a good idea to jump into the school! You will hear many different languages whirring through the rooms, starting with English, of course, then Chinese, for obvious reasons, but also French, German, Italian and other languages are very common; just start speaking and there probably will be somebody who gets what you’re talking about! Most of the Hutong School staff and students can speak more than two languages and are always up to learn a few phrases in other languages, so be prepared!

Home abroad

Getting to the airportThe Hutong School team will also reveal the best spots to have Chinese and foreign food, dancing to the music you like or to just hang around. Whatever you need to know, at the school you’re in good hands!  It might sound weird, but if you just arrived and still suffer from culture shock, a few minutes there will cure just about everything. When entering the school there will always be people you know, which helps you stop thinking of being all alone and lost in that huge city you have probably never visited before. Also, don’t miss to talk to the teachers! It is always good to have a little Chinese talk apart from the practice you get during the lessons, and nobody at the school will mind saying the same sentence twice so you can understand better. Yet, you can talk to anybody about anything, let it be the latest activity, something you just experienced on the streets or, of course if you need help or information. Just be you, be friendly and open, and you will soon be a part of the Hutong family!

To help you prepare for your big trip abroad, check out our China Survival Guide or our roundup of the 8 essentials things you’ll need once you get here.

Theresa Hirsch
Marketing Assistant Intern