Languages at Leicester

Chinese Language, Culture awareness and Social etiquette

This training is available to all staff free of charge, but also to members of the public as a fee paid course. This is for you if you have no prior knowledge of Mandarin (or so little that you effectively want to start again from scratch).

Course objectives

  • To enable staff to use Mandarin Chinese language at a basic level to break the ice introducing themselves and starting conversations. The objective is to help Chinese students at Leicester to feel welcome and therefore reduce anxiety. The familiarity of the Mandarin language can help to reduce anxieties and provide confidence to carry out conversations in English. It will be reassuring for students to see that UOL staff have an interest in their language and way of life.
  • To raise awareness of Chinese culture and customs when engaging with students. Most of the message in personal interaction is carried through body language, gestures, eye contact and the pace and tone of the voice. Hence, choosing when and how to deliver information could help to facilitate communication reducing noise and misinterpretations. A deeper understanding of Chinese culture and demeanours would enable staff to interact and communicate with Chinese students and colleagues in a more friendly and effective manner.
  • To enable staff to experience learning a foreign language and a culture different to their own. This experience would not only foster empathy, but it would also enable staff to identify cultural barriers and find suitable solutions.

Key information

Course starting October 2024

  • Course: Day and Time TBC
    Delivery: On-campus (face-to-face)
    Timeline: TBC
    Lengths: 10 weeks (30 learning hours)
    Fees: £140 (Free to University staff and ECRs*)

*University staff/ECRs are required to complete the training (attending at least 70% of lessons).

This course will be taught in a small group. It requires a minimum of 7 and it can have up to a maximum of 14 students. The course fee includes all tuition, access to Blackboard, handouts and any tests/exams, but not a textbook. 

Term runs from January to March. The full course comprises 30 learning hours. Lessons are two hours long and take place once a week.  

Enrol now

Entry level

No previous knowledge of Mandarin Chinese language or its culture is required. The course is suitable for absolute beginners.

Course content

  • Language greetings. Self-introduction: Name, nationality, occupation
  • Where are you from? Directions
  • Family members. House.
  • Food and drink. Chinese breakfast. Fruits and juice. Popular Chinese dishes.
  • Health and illnesses. Body parts. Related illnesses. How to keep health.
  • Travel: Transports and weather.
  • Shopping. Chinese currency terms. Basic sentences for shopping.
  • Social Etiquette. Chinese educational system. Difficulties that current graduates meet.
  • University life. Why Chinese people come to the UK for further study. What difficulties they meet in the UK.
  • Question time: open mind discussion. Colours. Revision.

Culture and social etiquette

  • Chinese elements: The Great Wall. Peking opera Discover Confucius.
  • Human relationships: Guanxi. Chinese hospitality. The exchange of gifts.
  • Fengshui. The secret of numbers. Gardens and bonsais.
  • Tea or coffee. The elegance of tea. Chinese cuisine-colour of food. Table manners-importance of chopsticks, drink to drunk for business/showing relations.
  • Differences between Chinese and western medicine.
  • Pop culture: Travel abroad. WeChat.
  • Fashion. The ultimate luxury products-Chinese people’s favourite.
  • Red and yellow to Chinese people.
  • Culture misconceptions (East & West). Discussion about past experiences faced by staff.


The tutor will provide all necessary handouts and resources.

Our approach

This course is taught in Mandarin Chinese and English. Our programme aims to develop the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as cultural awareness and knowledge of social etiquette. It provides a good balance between understanding the culture and the language to enhance effective communication and interaction. It supports comprehensive and productive skills in speech and basic writing through authentic based activities and guided practice in the use of Mandarin Chinese language. Staff will be encouraged to seek opportunities to learn and practise the four skills outside the classroom taking advantage of learning resources provided by tutors and the programme. The group size is limited to 12 students and planned to allow interactive practice with individual feedback and advice on progress.

Progression route

If you wish to study the language in more depth you are welcome to join the Chinese (Mandarin) Beginners course.

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