About Lakeside

The Lakeside Institute provides more than just top-notch teachers and language programs to learn Chinese. We are your home in China.

Our language training, cultural activities, social community, and furnished apartments give you everything you need to settle in and learn to live like a local.

China visa

Getting your China visa can be a little confusing, but we will help you sort it out!

Graduated students holding a chinese diploma

China visa

Getting your China visa can be a little confusing, but we will help you sort it out!

Why come to our campus?

  • Stay in one of China’s most livable cities

  • Customize your course package and curriculum

  • Socialize with other students and expats

  • Join city walks, hikes, and cultural workshops

  • Learn faster in an immersive environment

  • Focus your learning with up to 20 hours per week of instructional time

  • Choose from group and one-on-one classes

  • Grow your professional network

  • Surround yourself with Hangzhou’s poetic scenery

  • Experience China’s cutting-edge digital lifestyle

Our Campus

Our campus was designed with your needs in mind. Take class in a fully-equipped classroom with comfy chairs. Head to our coffee shop for a coffee and a bite to eat. Take a breather in our courtyard garden. Socialize or join a workshop in our student lounge. Retreat to the library for quiet study time. Lie down or take a power nap in the zen room. We have everything you need for a comfortable study experience in China.

Teacher standing in from of group to learn Chinese
4 images displaying experiences of people that learn chinese in hangzhou

More than Mandarin

We believe language instruction is just a foundation. Real learning is what happens outside of the classroom. Our goal is to help students use and also learn Chinese in real life. Join field trips, social gatherings, career workshops, and hands-on cultural experiences. Participate in a community and immerse yourself in a multicultural environent.

Learn more than a language. Gain unforgettable experiences.

More than Mandarin

We believe language instruction is just a foundation. Real learning is what happens outside of the classroom. Our goal is to help students use and also learn Chinese in real life. Join field trips, social gatherings, career workshops, and hands-on cultural experiences. Participate in a community and immerse yourself in a multicultural environent.

Learn more than a language. Gain unforgettable experiences.

About Hangzhou

Hangzhou is a modern city with a thriving tech industry. But before it was China’s Silicon Valley, Hangzhou’s claim to fame was its beautiful natural scenery. Surrounded by mountains and tea plantations, Hangzhou offers the best of both worlds – urban convenience in a green oasis.

Hangzhou is known for being more laid-back than frenetic Shanghai, but it’s still an economic powerhouse – it was named the “Best Chinese City for Investment,” by the World Bank five years in a row and was named “Best Commercial City in China,” by Forbes five years in a row. Both Chinese and expats consider it to be one of China’s most livable cities.

Hangzhou’s unique combination of traditional culture and cutting-edge innovation make it an ideal base for experiencing the real China.

Expand your career horizons

  • business Chinese courses

  • professional networking events

  • board of business mentors

  • cross-cultural leadership trainings

  • connections with local startups and founders

  • local company tours

  • internship and job-search assistance

  • corporate tourism programs

Financing your trip

Studying abroad can make a dent in your wallet. Don’t worry – we offer scholarships and funding resources to help you finance your program!

Financing your trip

Studying abroad can make a dent in your wallet. Don’t worry – we offer scholarships and funding resources to help you finance your program!

Housing options

  • Private studio apartment

  • Shared apartment with Lakeside students

  • Shared apartment with Chinese university students

  • Homestay with a Chinese family

  • Hostels and Airbnbs (see a list of our recommendations)

Life in Hangzhou

Home to three UNESCO world heritage sites, hundreds of tech startups, dozens of hiking trails, and world-famous scenery, Hangzhou offers a unique way to experience China. Hangzhou’s balance of natural beauty and traditional heritage with urban convenience and modern innovation lets visitors experience the best of both worlds.

Hangzhou offers a laid-back lifestyle with plenty of options for dining, sightseeing, and recreation. We may be smaller than Shanghai, but we’ve still got nightlife! Cocktail bars, sport bars, rooftop lounges, clubs, whiskey bars, we’ve got it all.

Why learn Chinese in Hangzhou?

Many people assume Shanghai and Beijing are the best places to learn Chinese. After all, they’re the biggest and most international cities, right?

Exactly…and that’s why it’s so easy to live there and speak English every day!

If you want to learn Chinese quickly and authentically, you need to immerse yourself. The best way to do this is to go somewhere where few people use English. Somewhere like Hangzhou.

In Hangzhou, you’ll find a lower overall English level than Beijing and Shanghai. Don’t worry – the Lakeside support team is there for you if you get stuck! The best thing about Hangzhou is that you can enjoy all the comforts of an international city while maximizing your opportunities to speak Chinese.

Top 10 reasons why Hangzhou is the best place to learn Chinese

1. Few English speakers. Maximize opportunities to practice your Chinese with locals!

2. Close to Shanghai. You can go there whenever you want, but you don’t have to live there!

3. China’s most beautiful city. Outdoor lovers will be amazed at Hangzhou’s hiking trails and giant forest parks!

4. Tight-knit expat community. Hangzhou’s expat community is small and tightly-knit. It’s easy to make friends and get support when you need it.

5. Tasty food. Not crazy about spicy Sichuan or sugary Shanghai? You’re in luck – Hangzhou cuisine is mild and light, suitable for every palate.

6. Famously livable. Hangzhou is a compact city with great transportation, walkable streets, wide bike lanes, and lots of options for shopping and dining.

7. Friendly locals. Hangzhou is known for its laid-back, friendly people. You will have plenty of strangers striking up conversations with you here.

8. Perfect balance of natural tranquility and urban convenience. Want to get out of the city and take a hike in the mountains? You’re just 20 minutes away from 49 square kilometers of bamboo forests and tea plantations!

9. Fantastic Chinese immersion environment. If your goal is to immerse yourself in Chinese language and culture, Hangzhou will offer you better value than expat hubs like Shanghai and Beijing, where nearly everyone speaks English. Not only will you have more opportunities to practice your Chinese – you really won’t have a choice!

10. Welcoming community. Hangzhou locals are known for their warmth and hospitality, and the expat community is small and tight-knit. You will find it very easy to meet people and make friends here.

Got a question about studying Chinese in Hangzhou?