Study Abroad in China: Intensive Chinese Language in Harbin – City & Daily Life
The northern city of Harbin has a surprising history. Built largely by Russians in the early 20th century, the city quickly became a center for trade. During the 1920s, Harbin was China’s fashion capital as new designs from Paris and Moscow reached there first before traveling south to Shanghai.
The city was also home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Asia. Russian and European Jews took refuge in Harbin, and by the 1920s, 20,000 Jews called Harbin home. Among them were the parents of Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009.
Today, Harbin is a reflection of its history and location. Visitors find Baroque facades next to Russian bakeries. A research museum commemorates the city’s former Jewish community. The dazzling ice festival warms the heart during the frigid northern winter. Above all, CET Harbin students find the Mandarin standard and the people welcoming—a perfect spot for studying Chinese.
Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), a large institution of over 40,000 students, hosts the CET Harbin program. The HIT campus is centrally located. Nearby public transportation provides access to all of Harbin’s major sites of interest. The campus is chock full of amenities: cafeterias, grocery stores, a library, study lounges, a swimming pool, sports facilities, a medical clinic, and scenic paths for strolling and jogging.
CET Center in Harbin
CET Harbin occupies one floor of an international student dormitory on the HIT campus. This floor serves as the program’s central hub—dorm rooms, the CET office and a student lounge are all on this floor. There is also a kitchen for student use.
Students take classes in one of the campus academic buildings, a five-minute walk from the dormitory.
CET students reside in an international student dormitory directly across from the campus tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. CET students have discovered that pick-up games are a great way to make Chinese friends.
Dormitory rooms are arranged in suites, with two rooms sharing one bathroom. Each room is shared by a CET student and a Chinese roommate. All rooms have internet access.
Meals are not included in the program fee. Most students choose to eat breakfast and lunch in campus cafeterias. For dinner, students explore the array of inexpensive eateries around campus—Chinese, Russian and Korean options are all available. Some students cook their own meals in the dormitory kitchen.
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 HIT students who are accepted into the program after an extensive application process. While roommates take their own classes at HIT, they participate in all other parts of the CET program: excursions, activities, the language pledge.