Study Abroad in China: Summer Intensive Chinese Language in Kunming – City & Daily Life
The southwestern city of Kunming, as the capital of Yunnan Province, is brimming with resources. The city of over five million people is a political, economic and communications center linked by air to major cities in China and Southeast Asia, and by road or rail to Vietnam, Burma and Laos. World War II helped launch Kunming’s position as a modern metropolis—the city became a refuge for eastern Chinese trying to escape wartime brutalities. Among the refugees were the wealthy, who brought their money, and scholars, who brought their expertise, both of which have helped Kunming thrive.
Today, visitors flock to Kunming for its year round mild climate and beautiful surrounding countryside. But for Chinese language learners the city also claims two particular hotbed issues perfect for class discussion. For one, as the city develops at breakneck speed, conservationists work to preserve the region’s breathtaking landscape. For another, with the province’s large population of ethnic minorities, the area provides an opportunity to examine issues of equality among minority populations. CET students use their quickly improving language skills to explore these topics and more during their summer in this fascinating city.
The CET Kunming program is hosted by Yunnan University, a large university of over 20,000 students. The beautifully landscaped campus is located near scenic Cui Lake and boasts some historic buildings—one building was used in the Qing Dynasty for students attempting the imperial examinations.
YU offers students an array of amenities: cafeterias, sports facilities, a library, stores and cafés. CET students have access to an activity room equipped with TV/DVD player, a washing machine, wireless internet and a refrigerator–all reserved exclusively for CET student and roommate use.
The campus also serves as a public transportation hub, making it a jumping-off point to the city proper and beautiful Yunnan Province.
Students share rooms with Chinese roommates in YU’s international student dormitory on campus. Rooms have private bathrooms and internet access.
Teachers interact regularly with students outside of class, attending most activities and eating dinner with students at least once a week. For other meals, students can make use of the YU cafeteria or explore the vibrant neighborhood around campus with eateries of all kinds.
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. They share everything from conversation to ping pong games to late-night snacks of guoqiao mixian (“cross-the-bridge” rice noodles, a Yunnan speciality).
Chinese roommates are Yunnan University students selected by CET for their enthusiasm for cultural exchange. Roommates attend program activities, help with homework and offer cultural advice.