Study Abroad in China: Intensive Chinese Language in Beijing – City & Daily Life
This 30-year old program is based in Beijing, China’s cosmopolitan capital city and the home of putonghua, “the common language,” otherwise known as Mandarin. The city offers something for everyone—the Forbidden City and its surrounding traditional hutong neighborhoods for history buffs; glitzy shopping districts for fashionistas; government centers for policy wonks; wholesale and flea markets for bargain hunters; galleries and museums for art connoisseurs; athletic events for sports fans. CET Beijing challenges students in the classroom and then gets them out the door to discover their niche in a city that is perfect for studying Chinese.
The program is located at the western branch campus of Beijing Institute of Education (BIE). BIE is a small college, in a quiet neighborhood, that offers degree programs in education. The campus location near the Beijing Zoo subway station provides easy access to the entire city.
There are two main dormitory buildings on campus. The west dorm houses double rooms, the CET office, a student lounge, a kitchen and a small library. The east dorm houses single rooms, classrooms, a study lounge and a small computer lab with high-speed internet.
CET students reside in a dormitory on BIE’s campus. Most students opt to share a double room with a Chinese roommate. Single rooms are also available.
Dorm rooms have been renovated and are simple, but comfortable. Rooms have air-conditioning, phones and ADSL connections.
Weekday lunches are provided in the CET dining hall. For other meals, students discover local eateries with their Chinese roommates.
Sharing a room with a local roommate is frequently cited by CET students as “one of the best parts of the program.” Many students become good friends with their roommates, and roommates often invite students to their homes for a weekend or holiday.
Chinese roommates are selected by CET from local Beijing universities. All roommates agree to abide by the full-time language pledge.
The program facilitates the roommate relationship. Chinese roommates attend excursions, plan activities and present a lecture series to their peers. Beyond this, the program steps out of the way to allow roommates to develop natural cross-cultural relationships that move beyond the host and guest paradigm.
“The two features that make CET’s Intensive Language Program in Beijing stand out from the rest of the study abroad programs are the strict language pledge and the opportunity to live with a Chinese roommate. Without these two factors my Chinese proficiency level could not have increased so quickly, and in such a short period of time. Equally important, I could not have solidified my decision to eventually work in China. Furthermore, my roommate helped me experience being a regular student in Beijing, as opposed to being just a typical study abroad student.” – Singh Paisley, Fall 2011 CET Beijing and Spring 2012 CET Shanghai alumna, Bryn Mawr College