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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enrol in a course?

Start by emailing the Centre at <enquiry@easternroad.com.au> to express interest in a program. We will also want to know such things as what sort of timeframe would suit you, and we may also want to assess your Chinese ability to make sure what level is best for you. When there is enough demand, a course will be scheduled and we will let you know about it and invite you to attend. For regular courses you should normally be prepared to pay for the whole course at the time of the first lesson, unless you make other arrangements. (For special tutoring, payment arrangements are negotiable.)

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How do I pay for a course?

Payment is through electronic bank transfer or (for students in Darwin) by cash. After you enrol you will be told the account number to transfer the payment to.

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Can I get a refund if I do not want to continue a course?

Generally no. If you do not want to continue a course after the first lesson, then we will ask you to pay only for that lesson (i.e. pro-rata). If you continue, however, we would not normally give a partial or whole refund, since our ability to run the course for the set fee depends on having a minimum number of paying students. In this we simply follow the same practice that similar programs seem to follow: we expect students to commit themselves to their course of student (for a maximum of ten weeks at a time) and thus generally do not give refunds.

In unusual circumstances we would consider making exceptions to this policy, such as if a student could not continue for medical reasons soon after starting a course. In addition, we may be willing to negotiate a reduced fee at the start of a course if a student is aware that they can attend only part of it, such as no more than half.

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If I already know some Chinese, how will my level be assessed?

Assessment is informal, and for the sole purpose of placing you in a course at an appropriate level. An instructor will consider what you say about your past and recent study and use of the language and then explore your ability to understand and produce spoken and/or written Mandarin Chinese. This will be considered together with your reasons for studying Chinese to suggest possible programs.

Especially when students already have some substantial knowledge of a language it may be difficult to find a set program that suits them completely. In addition, if there are several students in a class, they will hardly ever be at the same level unless they are beginners or have been studying together since the beginning. The important thing is to place students in classes that are not too difficult for them, but that do provide them with opportunities to substantially increase their knowledge and ability as they usefully practise what they already know.

More advanced students may also wish to consider the possibility of individual tutoring, which can easily be adjusted to suit their own particular strengths and weaknesses.

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How do online classes work, using Skype?

Skype is a communications tool that can be downloaded from <http://www.skype.com/> and used for free, provided you do not want certain more advanced capabilities. It requires a dependable internet connection, but given that it allows both spoken and visual communication. For further information see our resource page on Skype.

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Where is the Centre actually located? Where are classes held in Darwin?

The Centre is located online, where you are looking now. This website is being maintained from two locations, mainly one in Darwin, Australia, but sometimes from one in Haikou, China, and online courses can be taught from other locations as well. We also run classes in the northern suburbs of Darwin, and students will be told where to attend these classes.

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Why are online programs only available in Australia?

We are actually willing to consider students located anywhere, but currently there are two practical difficulties with serving students outside of Australia. One is the need to pay through electronic funds transfer to an Australian bank, which may not feasible from some other countries. The second is the fact that we may not be able to schedule classes conveniently for students in quite different time zones, such as in the Americas or Europe. In addition, we understand that there are much larger online providers looking after such areas, and we see no need to compete with them.

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What do I get for completing a course? Are the courses accredited?

Like others of the same type, the courses are not accredited, and there is no award or certification for completing them, although for set courses (not special tutoring) you will be given or emailed a certificate of attendance if you attend at least 70% of the classes. Basically, you enrol in our programs in order to improve your knowledge of and ability in Chinese, and that is your main reward for completing a course. If you require any sort of certification of your Chinese knowledge or ability, you should take an accredited VET or higher education program.

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Eastern Road Language Centre ABN 34 966 793 223
Copyright © 2013-2016 by Paul Black and Zongmin Chen
Version 1.4. Last modified on 29 January 2017
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