Study Abroad in China: Intensive Chinese Language in Beijing – Academics

Beijing: Fall & Spring Academic Requirements

All students enroll in a full load of intensive Chinese language classes. Classes are grouped according to level and linked together by themes—money matters, holidays, family. Classes work together to improve every aspect of student language skills: Lecture classes introduce new material. Drill classes reinforce accurate usage. One-on-one classes troubleshoot individual errors. One-on-two classes target fluency. Discussion classes practice real conversation. Language practicum takes students out of the classroom to speak with locals.

The exact combination of Chinese language classes depends on the student’s language level:

  • Beginning and intermediate students take one comprehensive core course.
    Core course: 280 total hours. 17 recommended credits.
  • Pre-advanced students take one core course and one elective (literature, business or newspaper).
    Core course: 224 total hours, 14 recommended credits. Elective: 56 total hours, 3 recommended credits.
  • Advanced students take one core course, a Classical Chinese course and one elective (literature, business, newspaper).
    Core: 182 total hours, 13 recommended credits. Classical Chinese: 42 total hours, 2 recommended credits. Elective: 56 total hours, 3 recommended credits.
  • High-advanced students take one core course, a Classical Chinese course and one elective (independent study, colloquial Chinese).
    Core: 182 total hours, 13 recommended credits. Classical Chinese: 42 total hours, 2 recommended credits. Elective: 56 total hours, 3 recommended credits.

View all course options and download syllabi.

CET went above and beyond my expectations. The language immersion is key and the fact that it is one of the most challenging things I have ever done only made it more worth it….The levels of freedom and guidance strike exactly the right balance, and living with a Chinese roommate was 10 times better than living without one. If you want to completely change the way you learn Chinese, choose CET. — Philip Delvecchio, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Beijing Summer 2012

Beijing: Summer Academic Requirements

All students enroll in a full load of intensive Chinese language classes. Small-group classes are balanced by daily one-on-one practice sessions. Classes are grouped according to level and linked together into one comprehensive course. Students cover one year of Chinese language study in eight weeks. Out-of-classroom language activities require students to practice what they’re learning in natural settings. 160 total hours. 8 recommended credits.

View all course options and download syllabi.

Beijing: January Term Academic Requirements

All students enroll in a full load of intensive Chinese language classes. Classes are grouped according to level and linked together into one comprehensive course. Classes revolve around weekly themes, like Chinese holiday customs or political reform. Assignments take students to sites around Beijing to practice Chinese with locals. Lively group performances on Fridays allow students to show off new skills to teachers, roommates and peers while committing concepts to permanent memory. Some students enroll in JanTerm only. Many use JanTerm as a warm-up to the spring term that follows. JanTerm is open to students with at least three semesters of previous Chinese language study. 100 total hours. 5 recommended credits.

View all course options and download syllabi.

Classroom Matters

Prerequisites

There is no language prerequisite for the fall, spring and summer terms. Students of all Chinese language levels are welcome, including heritage learners and beginners. That said, given the intensive nature of the program and full-time language pledge, CET only accepts beginning-level students who can demonstrate their commitment and seriousness of academic purpose on their application.

The January Term is open to students with at least three semesters of previous Chinese language study.

Language Class Placement

Chinese language class placement is determined by:

  • The results of a placement exam taken upon arrival in Beijing.
  • The student’s transcripts.
  • The student’s Chinese language ability as demonstrated in the application.

Adjustments to placements are made during the first week of classes.

Chinese Language Pledge

The more you practice, the more you improve. All students uphold a full-time Chinese language pledge (even beginners!) Students tell us that the language pledge is challenging and frustrating at first, but well worth it in the end.

Because the language pledge depends on the commitment of the students, CET accepts only those who are excited for the challenge.

Academic Rigor

Students take 20 to 25 class hours per week, depending on the term. They can expect to spend at least one hour preparing for every hour spent in class. This curriculum, coupled with the program’s Chinese language pledge, results in an intense academic experience.

How do students survive? First, they prepare themselves before departure for this challenge. Second, they soon discover language learners’ fuel: the thrill of discovering that you can suddenly express in Chinese an idea that, just last week, was out of reach.

Heritage Learners

Every term, this program welcomes students who have acquired some Chinese language (usually speaking skills) from their home environment. In the past, CET has accommodated these students with character-writing tutorials. These tutorials, coupled with the regular CET curriculum, help students catch their writing skills up with their speaking skills.

Outside the Classroom

Out-of-Classroom Language Practice (Fall & Spring)

The program arranges excursions to sites around the city, encouraging students to practice Chinese in new settings. Past students have toured local art galleries, brushing up on artistic vocabulary and interviewing the artists. Others have ventured to a Buddhist temple complex and learned the words for specific Buddhist practices and rituals.

Overnight Academic Excursions (Fall & Spring)

Twice each fall and spring, students depart Beijing and venture on an overnight excursion together. These excursions are conducted entirely in Chinese, and allow students to practice their Chinese language skills in different environments.

  • The Historical Trip.This excursion takes students to a city of historical significance like Xi’an, Pingyao, Anyang or Nanjing. Part of the experience is the getting there. Students travel as locals do—by hard-sleeper or bullet train, and stay in simple, but comfortable hotels.
  • The Adventure Trip. Past trips have taken students camping on the Great Wall, to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, or on a retreat to a rural village where they spent the night in village homes.

Extracurricular Classes (Fall & Spring)

Extracurricular classes are arranged according to student interest and conducted entirely in Chinese. Recent classes have included Chinese cooking, painting, calligraphy, music, martial arts and chess.

Out-of-Classroom Language Practice (Summer)

During the summer term, out-of-classroom activities are designed to provide students fun ways to explore Beijing while working in some Chinese language practice.

For a midsummer break, the program arranges one overnight weekend trip to a nearby city of historical significance, like Xi’an, Pingyao, Anyang or Nanjing. Students travel by train and stay in simple, but comfortable hotels.

Out-of-Classroom Language Practice (January Term)

The January Term activities are language-based and conducted entirely in Chinese. Students might:

  • Learn to play mah-jong.
  • Cook dumplings.
  • Star in a skit night.