The Top 5 Classes to Take While Visiting China

Just a visit to China is a learning experience within itself. With hundreds of historically significant sites and a distinct culture, a sightseeing trip around Beijing, Xi’an or Shanghai can educate you in ways that you may have not expected. However, if you want to take your learning one step further and turn your trip to China into an all around educational experience, here are a few classes/workshops you should consider joining while you’re there.

Beijing Cooking Classes

China is a culinary hot spot with dishes that have claimed famed in countries all over the world. And, between the street food and plethora of restaurants, any visit to the country is bound to be a foodie paradise. Beijing, in particular, is full of culinary specialties, making it a fantastic location to learn a bit more about Chinese cuisine. Between visits to the Summer Palace and wanderings around the Forbidden City, schedule in a cooking class to take home skills that will prove to be better than any other souvenir. Visit Hutong, a centre with a focus on culture and educational experiences in Beijing. In their cooking courses, students will learn about Chinese food and cooking techniques while crafting three traditional dishes. Once finished, students will get to eat their creations and take the recipes home to re-create them in their own countries.

Photo Credit: Google Image

Photo Credit: Google Image

Tai Chi School

For those who prefer a little more physical action, the Tai Chi School in Yangshu has got your back. Located in a Qing Dynasty house, the school focuses on this traditional technique ranging from beginners to well seasoned students. Established in 2012, the school has been offering a stunning setting for students to learn under the techniques of Master Wu Heng Dong and Wu Yuping. Tai Chi has been popular around China for centuries and offers many benefits in the ways of body building, self defence and health. The primary focus of the school is to enhance skills in Tai Chi Qi Gong, Pushing Weapons such as swords, fan and staff and Chen Style Tai Chi. They also teach Tai Chi Boxing, 42 Sword, Yang Style 24 and Southern style Shaolin Gong Fu.

Photo Credit: Google Image

Photo Credit: Google Image

Chinese Language Course

Mandarin Chinese can be a difficult language to comprehend and while travelling around China, you may find it challenging to communicate. Taking a language course before you get into the meat of your trip can be just as helpful as it is fun. Where else could you learn a few key phrases in class and then step right out the door and actually use them? Plus, when you get back home from your visit, you can impress your friends and family by showing them the language skills that you learned while away. Speaking a bit of the local language also comes in extremely useful not only in helping you get what you want or need but also gaining respect from the locals. Located right in the heart of Shanghai, Mandarin House offers Chinese lessons for adults of all levels.

Photo Credit: Google Image

Photo Credit: Google Image

Calligraphy Class

This ancient art form is quintessentially Chinese, making it a fantastic way to dig deeper into the culture. Learn a new skill that will impress your friends and family and be a creative outlet for you to use when you get back home. Considered one of the four arts of the ancient scholars, calligraphy holds great weight in China. Work with passionate and experienced professors in small groups to receive plenty of focus and attention while learning this new craft. Located in the Hutongs of Beijing, you can enjoy traditional surroundings in the lovely outdoor courtyard to make the whole experience seem even more authentic.

Photo Credit: Google Image

Photo Credit: Google Image

Zen Meditation

Buddhism is the main religious practice around China and with it comes Zen Mediation. Many people as well as monks all over the country are known to practice it, making China the perfect destination to try it out for yourself. Push away all thoughts of stress and worry and sit down with your classmates to learn from your Zen master. Students will sit cross legged on small floor pillows as they are guided into the practice, learning how to quiet the mind and let thoughts leave as soon as they come in. Aside from the practice itself, the teachers usually introduce their students to some Zen philosophy, making it easier to dig into the practice itself. Located in the China Culture Centre in Beijing, make it a pit stop after a hectic day of sightseeing around the city.

Photo Credit: Google Image

Photo Credit: Google Image

Also check out this video for the top 5 things to do in Beijing!

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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.