Where can I learn Chinese in Kitchener-Waterloo?

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Renison Continuing Education offers non-credit Chinese language and culture courses so you can build your confidence and deepen connections with your Chinese peers, colleagues, and relatives!

Learning Mandarin may be easier than you think! Only about 3,500 Chinese characters (out of 80,000) are necessary for everyday conversation. 


Registration deadline: January 12, 2024.


These courses are not available for UW degree credit.  Our courses are designed for adults.  Students must be a minimum age of 15 to register and participate in a Community and Professional Education Course. If a student is between the ages of 15 and 17, a parent or guardian is required to complete and submit a consent form.

Winter 2024 Course offerings (CL)

Course code and title Dates Day and time

CL110 Conversational Chinese 1 - CANCELLED

January 23 to March 26, 2024 Tuesday, 6:30pm to 8:30pm ET
CL120 Conversational Chinese 2 - CANCELLED January 25 to March 28, 2024 Thursday, 6:30pm to 8:30pm ET

NOTE:  language classes this term will be held online synchronously at the time listed above.


Registration deadline: January 12, 2024.

Private Tutoring Options

We may be able to offer you one-on-one tutoring with one of our instructors should we not be offering a course that suits your needs this term. The fee for this service is $500.00 CAD (plus HST) for 10-hours of tutoring. For more information, please contact: cape@uwaterloo.ca.

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Certificate policy for Chinese courses

After the successful completion of the highest level course in a course series (i.e. level 3), along with a minimum of 70% of the classes attended, you will be eligible to receive a certificate of completion.

Tuition fees, discounts, & cancellation, withdrawal, & refund policy


Tuition: $275.00 CAD (language courses); $165.00 CAD (calligraphy course)

+ HST 

NOTE: beginning March 2023, Renison continuing education’s administrative fee will be incorporated into the total tuition price as listed above and will be charged to all registrants.

NOTE: the fees above apply for our credit-free courses; private tutoring one-on-one with an instructor may be offered for a fee of $500.00 CAD (plus HST) for 10-hours of tutoring. For more information please contact: cape@uwaterloo.ca.

Tuition Discounts

Tuition discounts are no longer offered for language courses. 

For further information, please contact cape@uwaterloo.ca

Cancellation, Withdrawal, and Refund Policy

  • If a course is cancelled, the full tuition fee (inclusive of the administrative fee) will be refunded to students in full or they may defer their registration to the next term (deferrals can be made once).
  • The administrative fee of $15.00 CAD is non-refundable unless the course is cancelled.

*The administrative fee applies to all students regardless of whether they have previously taken a Renison continuing education and/or Renison non-credit course previously.

  • Studentsmay withdraw from a course up until the registration deadline for a full tuition refund. After the registration deadline, students may withdraw up until the day before the second class and be refunded 80% of their tuition. After this date, refunds will not be issued.

Requests to withdraw should be sent in writing over e-mail to cape@uwaterloo.ca

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How to register & How to pay (CL)

How to register

Registrations must be submitted through our student portal. Follow these steps to register for a continuing education course:

  1. Visit the Continuing Education Courses page in portal.
  2. Select ‘Details’ next to your course of interest.
  3. Select ‘Details’ next to the course session you want to register for (if there are no course sessions listed, dates have not yet been confirmed for upcoming classes; please check back later).
  4. Select ‘Add to Cart’; if you are not signed in to or signed up for an account, you will be prompted to do so now.
  5. Once in your shopping cart, select ‘Checkout’.

You will receive confirmation of your registration through e-mail to the e-mail address attached to your account. For questions about your course, please contact cape@uwaterloo.ca.

If you run into issues with registration, signing in/up, or have questions about portal, please contact renison.sace@uwaterloo.ca.

How to pay

Upon checkout in our student portal (see How to register for further instructions), you will be prompted to pay via online credit card payment.

NOTE: alternative payment options may be available, please contact cape@uwaterloo.ca for more information.

Course descriptions (CL)

Conversational Chinese 1

This course is for students who have no previous knowledge of the Chinese (Mandarin) language. The course seeks to develop basic listening and speaking skills in Mandarin by exposing students to basic sentence patterns through engaging in simple dialogue and using a Roman character spelling system that is easier to master.

Prerequisite: none
Course code: CL 110

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Conversational Chinese 2

This course seeks to expand students listening and speaking skills by introducing carefully tailored sentence patterns with grammatical explanation, which will build from simple to complex language points. 

Prerequisite: Conversational Chinese 1 or equivalent
Course code: CL 120

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Conversational Chinese 3

In the third level of Conversational Chinese, students will be introduced to more sentence patterns and vocabulary with a focus daily life and interactions.

Prerequisite: Conversational Chinese 2 or equivalent
Course code: CL 130

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Conversational Chinese 4

This course is a continuation of CI 130 and aims at developing students’ conversational skills. By building up vocabulary and enhancing their knowledge in grammar structures, students will be able to carry on more complicated conversations in daily situations.

Prerequisite: Conversational Chinese 3 or equivalent
Course code: CL 140

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Integrated Chinese 1

This course begins training students in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) while also introducing everyday Chinese cultural norms and customs. The fundamental rules of learning Chinese script are introduced and the easier forms of basic strokes and character components are studied.

Prerequisite: none
Course code: CL 115

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Integrated Chinese 2

This course further develops students discourse ability in both speaking and writing. The reading content is expanded in order to strengthen the student's reading comprehension.

Prerequisite: Integrated Chinese 1 or equivalent
Course code: CI 125

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Integrated Chinese 3

By the end of this course, students should have mastered four types of simple Chinese sentences, six question types, and four-hundred basic Chinese characters.

Prerequisite: Integrated Chinese 2 or equivalent
Course code: CL 135

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Intermediate Chinese 1

In this course, attention is paid to the instruction of grammar, vocabulary, and discourse with a gradual increase in difficulty.

Prerequisite: Integrated Chinese 3 or equivalent
Course code: CI 215

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Intermediate Chinese 2

This course further develops students vocabulary while expanding their knowledge of everyday Chinese cultural norms and customs.

Prerequisite: Intermediate Chinese 1 or equivalent
Course code: CL 225

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Intermediate Chinese 3

The reading content is expanded while gradually omitting pinyin in order to strengthen students reading comprehension.

Prerequisite: Intermediate Chinese 2 or equivalent
Course code: CL 235

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Advanced Chinese 1

This course further expands students grammatical knowledge and ability to communicate with native Chinese-speakers.

Prerequisite: 150 hours of Chinese and 1,000 word vocabulary or Intermediate Chinese 3
Course code: CL 315

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Advanced Chinese 2

In this course, each text is an article on a social or cultural theme. Emphasis is placed on training students to understand complex sentences and passages, identifying more Chinese characters, and expressing opinions on social and cultural problems.

Prerequisite: Advanced Chinese 1 or equivalent
Course code: CL 325

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Advanced Chinese 3

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to express complex ideas in Chinese fluently and demonstrate competence in interaction with native speakers with a vocabulary of 2,000 Chinese words. Students will be able to read and write complex sentences and articles as well as achieve H.S.K. Grade 5 or equivalent.

Prerequisite: Advanced Chinese 2 or equivalent
Course code: CL 335

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Business Chinese 1

In this course, students will develop comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Mandarin specifically related to the Chinese business environment.

Prerequisite: Advanced Chinese 3 or equivalent
Course code: CL 417

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Business Chinese 2

This course is a continuation of Business Chinese 1.

Prerequisite: Business Chinese 1
Course code: CL 427

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Business Chinese Workshop

This workshop is designed for professionals in the business community preparing for short term or long term stays in China. In addition to teaching basic conversational Chinese, the focus of the workshops may include seminars on subjects such as Chinese law, politics or economics, as well as cross-cultural management and Chinese business culture. Workshops are tailored to meet specific needs and requirements and are delivered at a time and in a place to suit the individual group.

Prerequisite: none

Workshops for individuals, businesses and community groups are available on request. Please contact cape@uwaterloo.ca for more information.

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Advanced Cultural Chinese 1

Through its straightforward format, this course helps students understand the breadth of Chinese culture and its importance to human civilization. Topics include traditional Chinese ideology, traditional values of China, ancient Chinese literature, science and technology of ancient China, Chinese cultural relics, ancient architecture, arts and crafts, and folk customs.

Course Code: CL 416

Prerequisite: CL 300 Level Courses's (Advanced Chinese)

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Advanced Cultural Chinese 2

This course is an introduction to Chinese history, evaluating a vast time span beginning with 'Primitive Society,' through to the Opium War of the 1840s and ending with the rise of Modern China. Topics include historical stories regarding different dynasties, historical events, and figures in ancient and modern China.

Course Code: CL 426

Prerequisite: CL 300 Level Courses's (Advanced Chinese)

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Advanced Cultural Chinese 3

This course is a brief introduction to Chinese geography. Topics include a general survey of China, resources and environment, transportation and water conservancy, land of charm and beauty, ancient capitals of China, enchanting cities, and traveling around China.

Course Code: CL 436

Prerequisite: CL 300 Level Courses's (Advanced Chinese)

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Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine

This course introduces a broad understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) through covering its history and development. Student’s will learn the key components of TCM including how TCM’s unique theory and treatment system are used for health and well-being. Topics such as how TCM could be used within existing healthcare systems and for their future development will also be covered. This course focuses in on both the historical and philosophical bases of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

*Please note: This is an introductory class that is designed for beginners.

Prerequisite: none
Course code: CL 118

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Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy and Brush Painting

This introductory course is intended for those with little or no knowledge of Chinese calligraphy and painting. It offers not only an opportunity to appreciate some standard Chinese calligraphy styles, but it also provides a hands-on experience with Chinese brush writing, painting, and the excitement of understanding the wisdom behind the composition of characters. Through a step-by-step approach, students will be able to build up their essential brush painting skills required for the completion of a simple painting and create one-of-a-kind personalized cards.

Prerequisite: none
Course code: CL 119

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Basic Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an excellent exercise for building strength and for self protection. It is also very effective in helping to reduce high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, gastric ulcers, and other chronic diseases.  It also contributes to weight loss, stress relief, regular sleep patterns and greatly enhances health and fitness. Tai Chi is increasingly regarded as a sport with health and mental benefits. It is gentle, focusing on fluid, circular movements that are relaxed and slow in tempo. The Yang style is especially popular since it is easy to learn and practice, has graceful movements, and is done in a slow, continuous rhythm with hidden strength.

Prerequisite: none

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