Foreign students studying Chinese in China
are often puzzled by the fact that Putonghua, the so-called Chinese national language, is not widely used as imagined. The popularity of local dialects and accents makes it difficult to obtain standard Mandarin in daily conversation. You have to be careful about choosing language schools and what you do there.
Look at the statistics of Chinese immigrants in this city. The influx of Chinese immigrants from different backgrounds often makes Putonghua more popular. For example, in Beijing and Shanghai, although local accents and dialects are very common, more than 10 million immigrants from different provinces have to speak standard (or close to standard) to communicate with each other.
Look at the number of universities. Most undergraduates born after the 1980s are easily exposed to standard Mandarin. They can help create an ideal environment for practicing standard pronunciation.
Don't think that the north of China, born in Standard Mandarin, must learn Standard Mandarin more ideally than the south. For example, Henan Province next to Beijing is an important cradle of ancient Chinese culture, but the language of the local dialect is standard Putonghua. For some people, the accent of Northeast China (home of the Qing Dynasty Royal family) was considered vulgar rather than standard.
Avoiding rural areas, in addition to popular tourist areas such as Yangshuo or Lijiang in Yunnan, this is very popular among Chinese tourists. In these scenic spots, you can get to know many people from all over China. Their accents are usually close to the standard, but they also provide a good opportunity to expose different accents.