ChineseForUs Review: (Features, Content & Costs)
I have just tested out an online Chinese course called ChineseForUs. If you want to learn Chinese but don't know where to start, then it is worth checking out this ChineseForUs review.
In this post, I will describe the structure, features, and content of the Chinese courses available, and discuss monthly subscriptions and discounts. I have also posted several videos from the course below throughout this review so that you can see what to expect from the courses.
Through ChineseForUs, you can access online Chinese courses in writing, pronunciation, tone, speaking, and more. In this review, I'll evaluate how effective these courses are and then explain why I would recommend this platform for beginners.
By the end of this review, you'll be familiar with the best features of the platform and my favorite aspects of the courses.
You can check out the free lessons available on the website to see for yourself why ChineseForUs is a great resource for learning Chinese online.
What Is ChineseForUs & Who Are the Founders Teaching Chinese?
Founded by Lili Hao and Chuck Kilgore in 2016, ChineseForUs is a college-level learning experience online.
All content on the site was designed specifically for this platform and is based on over 20,000 hours of learning Chinese at an all-encompassing and thorough level.
Lili Hao has a master's degree in Chinese linguistics from the prestigious Sichuan University and has taught Chinese as a second language in several universities in China.
Chuck is a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese and HSK Level 6 proficiency. He studied Chinese for 5 years at Sichuan University and continues to learn to this day.
ChineseForUs benefits from the unique perspectives of both a native Chinese speaker with a master's degree in linguistics and an English speaker who learned Chinese from scratch.
This learning platform that Chuck and Lili co-created is based on ideals of professionalism and enthusiasm for language learning.
Since the company began, they have developed HSK-compliant courses for learners working toward exams. The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) test is China's only official test of Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers.
Lili has experience teaching Chinese at a certified HSK test center and her educational expertise helped to shape the comprehensive and affordable courses that make up the learning system of ChineseForUs.
Available Courses at ChineseForUs
There are 4 units in total and 5 lessons per unit. Each lesson has 2 topics, 1 focuses on speaking and the other on Chinese characters.
There is also one quiz per topic, one long dialogue, and one long story per unit. Finally, there are two assigned presentation tasks per unit.
The course is thorough and encompasses all aspects of learning Chinese, from speaking and writing to reading and listening.
HSK1 and HSK2
The HSK1 course and the beginner course are actually two separate courses on ChineseForUs, allowing for a more in-depth learning experience.
Other online Chinese courses are likely to combine these levels.
The intention is that you lay the groundwork with the beginner units before moving on to the HSK1 units.
The structure of the first two HSK courses is similar to the beginner course but with 10 units each and 3 lessons per unit.
The lessons cover content appropriate to the HSK1 and 2 levels, but in much more depth than you might expect. The units are incredibly thorough and go beyond exam preparation; you benefit from a solid base for learning Mandarin.
The HSK3 course has 50 lessons in total and promotes a more independent study approach for learning new characters than the previous levels.
The quizzes in HSK3 test your ability to understand whole sentences and words in context, rather than in isolation. This is very helpful for your overall listening and reading abilities.
There are currently no higher-level HSK courses available on ChineseForUs, but the depth and breadth of study offered at the HSK3 level still surpass that of other courses offering HSK3 Chinese on different platforms.
Pinyin is a system of romanization for the Chinese written language and is used to teach Mandarin pronunciation to students familiar with the Latin alphabet.
The pinyin drills course teaches the Pinyin alphabet and the sounds associated with each letter. All lessons come with listening drills and interactive videos and quizzes.
The character writing course instructs how to write full characters and simplified characters, basic strokes, and fundamental strokes so you can write and read the traditional Chinese script.
Unlike the Pinyin drills course, this does not involve listening and speaking, as Chinese characters relate to meanings, not sounds.
This hands-on writing course teaches you to write Chinese characters with good handwriting and explains the meaning of common and useful characters.
The Chinese tone drills are a vital part of speaking and understanding spoken Chinese. The lessons do not focus on single-tone pronunciation for long and quickly move on to pronouncing tone pairs and whole sentences.
One thing I have discovered as a beginner is that it is vital when you learn pronunciation in Mandarin that you do not isolate the sounds and tones. Their meaning will change depending on the context. Therefore, these lessons are detailed and thorough.
The ChineseForUs quizzes include a lot of listening activities and practice with the third tone, which is an area many non-native Chinese speakers find challenging.
Supplementary Learning Material
Finally, there are the supplementary How To Say... In Chinese and Speak Chinese Like A Native courses. These are great resources if you want to learn Chinese in more depth.
These Chinese lessons focus on learning to communicate like a native speaker, with lots of practice listening and repeating, and the use of interesting turns of phrases.
Within the portal, the teachers highlight that there are more supplementary lessons to come.
ChineseForUs Course Contents
- Video Lessons: 300+ videos throughout the courses, all very well-made, engaging, and thorough;
- Practice Tasks: 200+ situation-based tasks to help you learn Chinese in a practical context;
- Speaking tasks: students put learning into practice and upload their work for peer review;
- Writing tasks: hand-writing and typing practice for everyday life;
- Review Lessons: incorporating each unit’s new words and grammar points into a dialogue and a story. Students listen and read aloud, memorizing new information in an engaging way;
- Over 100 PDF writing sheets (a practice sheet is for in-class study and a homework sheet is for further study);
- Quizzes: 200+ lesson quizzes to test you as you learn Chinese
- Final exam: Final content for assessing progression, including presentations and quizzes.
To complete a course, click the "Mark Complete" button on each page in all lessons, practice tasks, reviews, and quizzes.
Other Great Features of ChineseForUs
The Learning Road Map
There is an in-depth road map and a fast-track learning plan for beginners. If you want to learn Chinese in the fullest and most all-encompassing manner, you can follow the Complete Path for A Solid Foundation plan.
Resources and Extra Materials
Extra materials can't hurt, but you're not required to buy any textbooks or other resources to complete the ChineseForUs courses. You can access more resources on their Youtube channel.
Plans and Prices
The full-price cost for a monthly subscription is 39.99$ USD/mo. However, there is currently a 30% discount so you pay 24.99$.
The six-month plan costs 14.99$ USD/mo at full price and with the 30% discount it is 9.99$. So, for six months, with the discount, you pay 59.94$ in total.
Finally, the best value plan is the annual subscription for just 13.99$ USD/mo full-price and 8.99$ with 30% off. With this plan and the discount, you pay 107.88$ USD every 12 months.
Don't forget to use the promo code advertised on the site.
What You Get For Your Money
With a great value subscription plan, you gain full access to all on-site content from the in-depth and affordable courses: Chinese video lessons, quizzes, audio, practice tasks, plus any future lessons published during your subscription term.
You will also get a certificate of completion at the end of the course. This is not an official language proficiency certificate, which some employers and schools might require.
My Experiences With The ChineseForUs Courses
What I Liked
I liked the multi-media quizzes with audio and pictures that give instant feedback so it is like having an in-person teacher. Interactive learning is a great way to stay engaged and build on your mistakes.
I also like the focus on traditional characters, as these are essential to learning. The video lessons have Chinese character subtitles, as well as Pinyin and English.
When the dialogue is played in revision lessons, only the characters are shown the first and last time you hear it.
Finally, I was very impressed by the in-depth and all-encompassing nature of the lessons. No stone is left unturned. If you want to learn Chinese thoroughly, this is the only site for you.
What I Didn't Like
The cost for a 1-month subscription is pretty steep, so you have to be dedicated to a longer period of study.
Moreover, the platform is not compatible with Internet Explorer, though this is only a minor inconvenience.
Would I Recommend ChineseForUs?
Yes, I would recommend ChineseForUs to beginners and intermediate learners.
The depth and quality of the lessons, quizzes, and practice activities go far beyond most online courses and they set you up to pass the HSK1, 2, and 3 exams with flying colors.
If you commit to a 6-month or annual subscription the courses are very reasonably priced for the content and resources offered.
You do not need to buy any additional resources, so it is an accessible, affordable, and thorough platform for learning Chinese.
FAQs from Chinese Learners Relating to ChineseForUs:
Is Chineseforus free?
ChineseForUs offers several free Chinese language lessons, quizzes, and practice opportunities for all courses. However, with a premium membership, you get full access to 300+ more lessons.
Unlock full access with a month's subscription, or for better value, commit to 6 months or a year. Look out for the current 30% off promo code.
Can You Be Taught Chinese Online?
Yes, you can learn Mandarin Chinese online. It is not a quick or easy process, but with a great course and determination, it can be done!
What is the best APP for learning Chinese?
While ChineseForUs is not an app, it is the perfect site for beginners in Chinese. However, if you are looking for an app that is less thorough but a quicker study than ChineseForUs, you can try out ChineseSkill or Duolingo. These apps will get you through exams if you put the time in.
How do Chinese linguistics differ from English?
Chinese is a tonal language, so you need to learn how your tone can impact the meaning of a word. There are four tones in Chinese: flat, rising, one that falls and then rises, and one falling. You can also say a syllable with no tone at all, which some refer to as the fifth tone.
Summing Up: My Review of ChineseForUs
If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese online, there are not many better places to do so than ChineseForUs, where you can learn Chinese through videos, interactive quizzes and practice features, writing sheets, Pinyin drills, tone drills, and more.
You will learn to read and write characters, build correct sentence structures and perfect your pronunciation, all with the best resources included in the price of your monthly Chinese lessons. For as long as you have an active subscription you'll have access to all future updates.
Learn Mandarin Chinese online and share China's language with its 1,177 million+ speakers worldwide. Good luck and welcome to the Chinese online community.