Centre for Continuing Education

Chinese Mandarin Course 101: Intensive (Beginners)

Chinese. Learn Chinese with us.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

In partnership with the Confucius Institute
Offered in association with the Confucius Institute at the University of Sydney. The Confucius Institute is based on a partnership with Fudan University, in collaboration with the Office of The Chinese Language Council International in China (Hanban). It is managed by the the Office of Global Engagement. The first to be established in New South Wales, the Institute has attracted thousands of people to its popular Chinese language and culture programs.

Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

This course combines 1011: Standard and 1012: Standard. It covers Integrated Chinese Level 1 Part 1, Lessons 1 to 5 and is taught over four hours per week in two sessions. The content is also available over two hours per week in one session by completing Chinese Mandarin 1011: Standard (Beginners) followed by Chinese Mandarin 1012: Standard.


This course aims to:

  • Introduce 180 vocabulary items
  • cover the basics with simple, graded activities on essential topics such as greetings, family, dates and time, hobbies and visiting friends
  • introduce essential grammatical structures
  • position pinyin close to characters so you can focus on speaking and pronunciation
  • introduce the system of character writing---hanzi, as a guide to literacy
  • concentrate on the four skills of language: listening, speaking, reading and writing.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • master the Chinese phonetic system and read Chinese pinyin with correct pronunciation and tones
  • discuss 180 vocabulary items and recognise around 230 Chinese characters
  • exchange basic greetings in Chinese, introduceyourself and others, ask and answer questions about personal details such as name, last name, nationality, family members etc.
  • introduce your profession and ask about other professions in Chinese
  • employ basic Chinese kinship terms and describe a family photo in Chinese
  • tell and speak about time and dates, talk about one’s age and birthday
  • invite someone to dinner, arrange a dinner date
  • say and write the terms for basic personal hobbies, ask about someone’s hobbies
  • ask friends out to see a movie, set up plans for the weekend
  • introduce one person to another, compliment someone on their house
  • ask for beverages as a guest at someone else’s place, offer beverages to a visitor
  • briefly describe a visit to a friend’s place
  • deliver a presentation introducing yourself and your date of birth, family members, hobbies, and favorite food and drinks in Chinese, both orally and in written form
  • gain insight into Chinese writing system and skills in writing characters in correct stroke order.


This course covers the following topics:

  • greetings – exchanging greetings and asking about someone’s nationality
  • family – looking at a family photo and asking about someone’s family
  • dates and times – taking someone out/inviting someone out to dinner in their birthday
  • discussing hobbies, eg would you like to play ball?
  • visiting friends – visiting a friend’s home and at a friend’s house
  • the verbs 姓 (xìng), 叫 (jiào), 是 (shì) and有 (yǒu)
  • the adverbs不 (bù), 也 (yě), 都 (dōu), 还 (hái) and 才 (cái)
  • the particles的 (de), 吧 (ba) and 了 (le)
  • the conjunction 那么 (nàme)
  • the modal verb 想 (xiǎng)
  • the preposition 在 (zài)
  • numbers (0, 1–100)
  • usage of 二 (èr)/两 (liǎng)
  • dates and time
  • measure words
  • word order
  • questions ending with 吗 (ma) and 呢 (ne), question pronouns, alternative questions, affirmative + negative (A-not-A) questions, questions with 好吗 (hǎo ma)
  • 去 (qù) + action
  • verb + object as a detachable compound
  • 一下 (yí xià) and 一点儿 (yì diǎnr) moderating the tone of voice
  • adjectives as predicates.

Intended audience

Suitable for beginner A1 level students.


No prior knowledge of the language is required.

Delivery style

Delivered in the form of an interactive workshop where active participation is encouraged.

Prescribed text

Both simplified and traditional character versions of the textbook and the two workbooks are available, however the simplified version will be taught in the classroom. You can also opt for the electronic version of materials.

While the Textbook is required, the Workbook and Character Workbook are optional, but recommended.

In addition to purchasing online, you may also be able to source textbooks from our preferred textbook suppliers.

Textbooks should only be purchased after confirmation is received from us. This usually occurs up to five days prior to commencement.

Suggested textbook suppliers


Language Book Centre

Take your enrolment confirmation and a copy of this page to the Language Book Centre to receive a 10% discount off the price of the recommended text.

Please note that in some cases, our suggested supplier may not stock your prescribed text. Please check stock availability prior to signing up for any membership.

Please note

Selected courses that teach spoken language may include use of language immersion (course instruction in the selected language) as part of the training strategy.


  • $100 repeat class ($200 for intensive classes) - Conditions apply
  • Small class size
  • Central location

Language courses are offered in four terms each year during January, April, July and October.

Apply for the language repeat discount.

What others say.

  • When I started my course 3 months ago, I never thought it would be possible to read or write any Chinese Characters at all. I was just going to concentrate on Pinyin and nothing else. I was very wrong! It was a huge surprise when only 5 weeks into my course I was writing my homework in Chinese to introduce my family members. This course is amazing! From the price, to the facilities to the amazing teachers!

  • I really feel I have learned a lot in this course. I started the course out of casual interest but now I find studying Chinese fascinating. I really love the fact that our two instructors wanted us to learn all four competencies – reading, writing, speaking and listening. We were indeed truly blessed to have good instructors. After ten weeks I can really say that my Chinese has now improved.

  • Both of the tutors were wonderful Chinese language teachers. I am amazed at how much I was able to learn in a short course from them.

Chinese Mandarin Course 101: Intensive (Beginners)

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