Chengdu - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Knowing Chinese helps a lot as most taxi drivers and local vendors do not speak English. There is increased number of restaurants and cafes with English-menus but still most local places will have everything written in Chinese. - Aug 2017

Chengdu requires more Chinese than other major cities in China, where people are used to speaking English with foreigners. However, it is not impossible to get by here. Locals are quite friendly and patient with people who speak little to no Chinese. - May 2016

It helps a lot. There is more and more English spoken in Chengdu, but if you are going to be out in the markets, running errands, etc it's helpful to have at least some basic Chinese. I say Chinese rather than Mandarin because what's spoken in Chengdu is often a mash-up of traditional Mandarin and the local dialect, Sichuan-hua. All this being said, I didn't find either the language or communicating to be nearly as hard as people make it out to be. I had 3 weeks of language at FSI plus a few tutoring sessions and I was able to pick up enough to easily make my way around the city and even have some decent conversations. People in Chengdu tend to be patient and friendly with foreigners struggling in their language skills. - Aug 2013

The more, the better. There is little English spoken here, and much of it is very scripted. If you go off the script that the service person knows, you are out of luck. - May 2013

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More