Mandarin Chinese is one of the six official languages of the United Nations (UN). In 2010, the UN dedicated a specific day, April 20, as Chinese Language Day to highlight the contributions of the Chinese language to global culture, and above all, to encourage people around the world to learn Mandarin Chinese. Today, Mandarin Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the global community, and its impact is far-reaching, shaping the international communication sphere.

At The UWI, we recognise the immense value of learning Chinese, not only as a means of intercultural communication, but also as a gateway to opportunities in academia and business. Chinese was first introduced in 1999 at the Centre for Language Learning (CLL). Since then, the programme has seen tremendous growth, with its beneficiaries going on to pursue diverse career paths, excel in academic pursuits, and engage in meaningful cultural exchanges.

In celebration of UN Chinese Language Day, CLL is delighted to highlight our diverse range of programmes designed to help individuals of all ages embark on their journey to mastering Mandarin Chinese and embracing Chinese culture.

Public Stream Programme

The classes offered in the public stream are designed to cater to learners who would like to develop a solid foundation in Mandarin Chinese, with an emphasis on honing their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The programme consists of six courses spanning three levels, Levels 1A to 3B. A wide range of linguistic and cultural topics are covered from self-introductions, ordering food to visiting the doctor's office. Learners have the option of pursuing classes online from the comfort of their home, or in-person at the CLL.

Foreign Language Requirement (FLR) Programme

If you are interested in pursuing Mandarin for credit, you can sign up for Mandarin Chinese as part of The UWI's foreign language requirement. The FLR Chinese programme consists of two courses; CHIN 1007 (Part 1) and CHIN 1008 (Part 2). Each course carries three credits. Similar to our public stream programme, they present learners with a comprehensive overview of the language, focusing on building proficiency in the four basic language skills.

Introduction to Asian Culture I (Workshop)

This is a new addition to the CLL. This workshop exposes prospective students to the culture of two major East Asian countries, China and Japan. The programme is open specifically to young learners at the secondary school level and it aims to help them to develop communication skills, open-mindedness, and respect for cultural differences. The workshop is five days in length and will be offered in July 2024 for the first time. For more information on this workshop, contact us at:

As we celebrate UN Chinese Language Day, let us embrace the beauty of Mandarin Chinese and China’s vibrant culture.

For more information, visit the Centre for Language Learning at

Ms Janine Lutchman is Mandarin Chinese tutor at the Centre for Language Learning.