My Weekend of 100% Mandarin

Just wanted to share my weekend away in the north of the UK with Mandarin Retreat - a relatively new company who specialise in providing immersive Mandarin speaking environments outside of China.

I had a super time with 15 other people speaking only Mandarin with other students and native speakers.

I cannot state enough how much this helps rebuild confidence having been away from China for 3 years now.

Personally I spoke about a lot of stuff, understood near enough everything and learnt some really useful new words and phrases.

The group had a mixture of different accents from Wuhan, Chongqing, Tianjin and Jiangsu so it was a great chance to familiarize ourselves with different accents and habits.

On my journey home I found my mind was thinking in Mandarin subconsciously which really surprised me :sweat_smile:

I highly recommend trips like if you ever stumble across them.

This particular event was with a company called - I’ll definitely be going on more in the future.

Any questions, you’re welcome to ask :slight_smile:


Hi Max,
Thanks so much for sharing this - I’ve been looking for something like this! I’m currently somewhere between HSK3-4 but lack the opportunity to practice my speaking so it’s not great. Do you think this would be suitable for a non confident speaker? Or would it be most beneficial to someone near fluency?
Thanks in advance for any advice based on your experience.

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Thanks Jemma, glad it was of use for you.

There was actually a vast mixture of speakers from complete beginner to more advanced. I think at HSK3-4 you’d slot in absolutely perfectly.

The Chinese speakers we had were super patient and some really made an effort to tailor the conversations to the level. I think you are the sort of person who would benefit the most from it given you current level.

One tip if you do book up - spend two weeks before really cramming information and listening to podcasts and media. I cannot tell you how big a difference this made for me.

When you are there - listen to what the natives say and to mimic them. A good example - they all used 基本上 a lot (meaning generally). Typically I don’t use it, but after hearing it so much I’ve shoe-horned it into my daily conversations now. Little things can make a big difference.

I actually just published an article about the trip if you want to get a more detailed look at the trip - Mandarin Retreat (Our Review) || Why You NEED To Go

Hope to see you on one of the retreat’s soon.

Hi Jemma, thanks for your comment. I’m Mischa, co-founder and organisor of Mandarin Retreat. To reiterate what Max said, rest assured you would be fully supported on our retreats and we make sure all levels are catered for.

We have experienced Chinese tutors who attend our trips and are used to working with elementary and intermediate learners. One of our organisers, Ryan, is also a Chinese learner at around HSK3. He has attended several of the events and wrote a blog about how he’s used them to full effect here: The Beginner’s Guide To Surviving a Weekend of Total Chinese Immersion – I'm Learning Mandarin

If you’re interested, we offer a 30 minute Zoom call with our organisers to go through what to expect from the weekend and answer any queries you might have! If so feel free to drop me an email on [email protected]

I followed your weekend at Mandarin Retreat on Instagram and it looked very interesting. Seemed it was not only about the immersive use of language but also the culture! Once I’m back in Europe it surely sounds like a great way to practice speaking Chinese in a fun way!


Glad you enjoyed the stories Stefanie.

Yes a lot of the retreat is placed on cultural activities. I really liked the mixture they provided.

The Saturday was a lot of fun :slight_smile:

Thanks Max & Mischa, I’m now booked onto the June retreat and looking forward to it! Jemma

Wow that’s super. Really gutted I can’t actually go now as I know other lady who booked, a good friend of mine from LTL. Look out for Juliette and say hi from me!

Hope to meet you on another one Jemma :slight_smile:

Awesome! Will email soon with more info :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi Stefanie, you hit the nail on the head! We aim to give our retreaters a full on cultural experiences with activities lead by our teachers including calligraphy, dumpling making and mahjong. If you’re interested you can subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with future retreat dates: Subscribe - Mandarin Retreat

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