Language Courses Singapore

Review by Agnes Lang

Review from Agnes Lang

Response of the school is below.

After one week of intense email communication (cause I was not in Singapore by this time) I decided to study the Advanced Mandarin fulltime program (6 month) at Spring College international and paid the application fee to process my student visa, which you need to start the class.
When I first visited the institution, I was very disappointed. They gave me a lot of wrong or unclear information.

In the email they said they use their own books, I understood they write their own books, but they use 'chinese made easy', which is very basic and used for teenagers. (although they offered to adjust to my needs afterwards).
In the email they said the term starts on 2nd of January (so I rushed to pay to get the visa in process) but in reality you can start whenever you want, basically every week after the visa is ready. In one of the last emails they mentioned in one sentence that there will be two different levels in one class with one teacher rotation. I didn't realize what that means, but in reality there is just one class and they put all people together no matter if it's a very beginner or a learner with 3000 words plus. Then you spend 5 hours in the classroom and the time will be divided by the number of students, when the teacher works which each student.

I told them already in the email I want to do the advanced 1 and 2 course (the homepage says there are 7 levels), and as they never told me the opposite or that there are no other people doing advanced level (to my question they responded, yes there are enough people!) I thought it will be like it says on the homepage, but I was the only advanced one.
All in all the information was very unclear and they should have told me to come first and see and then I can decide, due to the wrong information of the term commencement date I was rushed to decide. When I was already in Singapore I asked two times for trial lessons to see if I like the concept of multiple levels in one group, but they said they cannot provide.
As I am language teacher myself I doubt if the concept of multiple levels works efficient, maybe for beginners but not for beginners and advanced together, must be very difficult for teaching.

I reclaimed the application fee, but just got 50% back, they handled it professionally. They offered me to study at the other campus, but the situation was similar and I didn't like that they didn't want to let me sit in class and see how they teach.
I was lucky that I didn't pay the whole study fee, you do that after the visa is ready, but before you can start class and do the placement test. I think it is not good that they let you pay for half year if you don't even know you like it and they don't know how you fit to the other levels cause they won't let you do the placement test first.
The teachers seemed all very nice, I think there is just a big information problem on their homepage.
I want other people to be careful with the information they get from schools in general, the best is to check it out personally and do trial lessons!


Reponse by Spring College International

We regret that Agnes did not find our Mandarin courses suitable. We understood from Agnes that she previously signed up for an advanced full-time Mandarin class with a different institute in Singapore and was told last minute that the class had been cancelled due to a lack of student interest. We understood that she wanted to start taking the course as soon as possible and have done our best to make this possible for her.

We recognise that under time pressure, communication from both sides was not always as clear as it should have been. We regret this and it is a good reminder for us to keep improving the way we communicate.

The class in which Ms. Agnes would be placed had only 5 students, and it is this small number of students that, in our experience, makes the combined classes workable.

We appreciate that Agnes has been constructive in helping to resolve this issue, for example by suggesting trial classes. Unfortunately, we cannot provide trial lessons. This is in order protect the quality of our classes. If we were to place students taking trial classes into our regular class, it would disturb the learning experience of our current students.

It is true that for lower levels, we use the book "Chinese Made Easy", and this is the book that is customarily shown when prospective students wish to see the course materials. But we employ our own materials for students at a more advanced level.

In usual cases, the school does not refund the application fee because the application fee is submitted to the ICA (immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore) for student pass application. The school had decided to refund Anges 50% of the application fee because we felt that the School should hold some responsibilities as well.

We also wholly endorse Agnes' advice to - whenever possible - visit your language school before signing up. If you are considering taking a course with us, feel welcome to drop by at either of our branches. We are open on weekdays 9am-9pm and Saturdays 9am-6pm and will be glad to answer all your questions and concerns.

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