Visit Language Programmes at UNHQ to view
the course schedule for Chinese and all languages
We offer language and communication courses and training activities in several formats and durations to address our clients' needs. 

Course icon Welcome to the Chinese Language Programme!

Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world. It is not only spoken in China but also in the important Chinese communities around the world. China is the world’s second largest economy and a major geopolitical player. It is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. More and more UN offices and staff members work with the Chinese language. The UN celebrates the Chinese Language Day on 20 April every year.  


For all the growing attention it has attracted, Chinese remains a rare language skill. There is an increasing demand for people who can work with Chinese-speaking clients and operate in a Chinese cultural context. Therefore, Chinese proficiency can put these multilingual talents several steps ahead of the rest of the workforce. The Chinese language carries one of the world's oldest continuous cultures, which intricately weaves into many customs, traditions, values, and wisdoms. The experience of learning the language can deepen one’s personal growth. 


Despite its unique writing system and tones, Chinese is not as hard as people might think. Without verb conjugation (e.g., marking tenses in verbs) and noun declension (e.g., marking genders or numbers in nouns), this language has a relatively uncomplicated grammar. Furthermore, technology is making it easier to learn the writing system. Several popular character input methods are used by Chinese speakers on mobile devices and computers, so typing through a romanized keyboard is becoming the primary way that Chinese texts are generated.    


As introduced in the sections below, the Chinese Programme at the Language and Communications Training Unit (LCTU) offers a series of general language acquisition courses and a wide range of specialized courses. Additionally, the LCTU offers a Chinese Summer Immersion Programme that takes place in China. Participants can gain valuable insight about the Chinese people and culture by exploring the country and interacting with local Chinese students and scholars.


Methodology icon Format & Method: 

The Chinese Programme offers a series of general language acquisition courses that advance through levels and a variety of specialized courses that improve Chinese language skills in different areas. Both types of courses utilize live sessions that feature synchronous interactions with the course instructors and activities that can be completed outside of the live sessions at the learners’ own pace in an online learning platform. The Chinese Programme adopts the communicative approach in teaching, which emphasizes identifying authentic communicative needs and practicing the language in authentic communicative situations. The programme also emphasizes building a solid foundation of pronunciation and literacy. 


 General Chinese Courses: 


Chinese general courses aim at developing comprehensive Chinese language skills — listening, speaking, reading, and writing — and achieving Basic (UN I), Intermediate (UN II), and Advanced (UN III) levels of proficiency, as defined in the United Nations Language Framework. Courses progress from lower to higher levels, forming a sequence of learning. A Chinese general course features 30 hours of learning that includes group live sessions that are scheduled on a weekly basis and self-paced learning activities that are hosted in an online learning platform. 


Communication icon Specialized Chinese courses

Chinese specialized courses help learners improve their Chinese knowledge and performance in such areas as pronunciation, conversation, grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, and writing. These courses complement the general courses to help learners achieve the proficiency levels that are defined in the United Nations Language Framework. The Chinese Programme also offers courses that explore the UN Sustainable Development Goals and discuss how to use gender-inclusive languages. Chinese specialized courses vary in lengths, formats, and modalities. A typical course involves 15 to 20 hours of learning and include live sessions and self-paced learning activities that are hosted in an online learning platform. 


Assessment icon Assessment

Assessment is an integral and mandatory part of Chinese general and specialized courses as it ensures homogeneity and effectiveness in each course. The Chinese Programme implements a continuous and frequent analysis of learners’ performance using multiples types of assessments that are used throughout the course rather than merely at the end. Participants are evaluated holistically based on their attendance and participation in the synchronous sessions as well as their performance in the asynchronous tasks and quizzes on the virtual platform. 


Language Learning Resources for the Six UN Official Languages

Learners can find a variety of authentic language resources to develop, practice and reinforce their language skills. Enjoy Learning the Six UN Official Languages on Your Devices is a package of resources featuring mobile applications for language learning and UN applications as a source of authentic language. *The package has been compiled for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement of any of the products described.

Customized Training Solutions

Request a tailor-made learning solution for the communication needs of your office or department. Contact the Customized Training Team via 

Language Proficiency Exam

Prepare for the LPE (Language Proficiency Exam), an internal United Nations exam. See the registration instructions on the LPE page of the HR Portal. Prepare for the exam by taking one or more Language Programme courses.