Conversational language classes

Hi all,

I took a year of Mandarin back in college about a decade ago, and want to brush up on it. My options seem to be either a “Conversational Chinese” course at the local community college or a private tutor or learning on my own–the last is not a good option because I want to be conversant. I’ve seen these “Conversational” language classes (for Chinese and other languages) offered before and know that they don’t provide transferable credits, but** how do they differ from normal classroom instruction?** Would they be a good choice for someone who doesn’t need to discuss the intricasies of Chinese opera, but just wants to be able to strike up a conversation with a Beijing local?