It's a shame no one answered yet because I'm thinking of immersing myself next year as well, I have hit a wall therefore an intensive program could be beneficial to fast track my oral skills. The sooner I can capitalize on Mandarin instead of Español the better...
Last Edit: Mar 26, 2010 23:00:27 GMT -5 by Ganbare!
I have never ever studied in Mainland China, but I have had to make presentations in Putonghua in the Mainland PRC. So, I would argue that you do not even have to go the Mainland PRC to immerse yourself -- I used to do it right in New York City even.
However, I think that the main point is you need to clarify your goals first. If your goal is a level of mastery, then the programme and the teacher are certainly more important than the geographical location. If you want to make contacts (for whatever reason), then you want to be in a location where it is easier to make those contacts - Beijing and Shanghai are obvious choices.
However, if you want to isolate yourselves from foreigners and immerse yourself with locals, you might want to choose a location where it will not be convenient for you to hang out with foreigners. If you are particularly interested in some aspect of Chinese history or culture, then you want that available nearby.