Starting Fall 2015, the Beijing – Language Intensive Program will merge with the Beijing – Contemporary Issues in China Program to create one cohesive curriculum called Beijing – Contemporary China & Chinese Language. If you are interested in enrolling in Fall 2015 or beyond, please visit the Beijing – Contemporary China & Chinese Language page.
Beijing is considered the place to study Chinese in China—it sets the standard pronunciation for the rest of the country. The people of Beijing are friendly and proud to be from this fascinating city—what a perfect environment to study abroad and practice your Chinese.
Our Language Intensive Program is for both beginning language learners and students who have already started their Chinese language studies. This program will benefit students who want to rapidly expand their knowledge of written and spoken Chinese. Features of the program include the strong Chinese language component and English-taught area studies courses that utilize Beijing to discover Chinese cultural and social issues.
The program is based on the Beijing Foreign Studies University (Bei Wai) campus, one of Beijing’s premier academic universities. Grammar classes, small drill sessions, and hour-long private tutorials combine for an intensive study of Chinese four hours daily, four days a week. Select topical language classes, such as pronunciation, popular Chinese idioms, business conversation, and others may be offered.
Beijing will be your classroom. Visit Beijing’s most significant palace, the Forbidden City, and learn about the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Enjoy local customs, tea tastings, and regional cuisine—like noodles and dumplings. You can also practice your language skills by going to local markets and bargaining with vendors for the best deals. Everything you do will be part of your learning experience.
We want you to feel at home in Beijing, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. With our introduction to Beijing during your orientation and our fun cultural events as a base, you’ll soon become familiar with the Beijing way of life. Take your study abroad experience one step further with an optional for-credit academic internship that can help you understand local business practices while working on your communication skills.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer courses that explore Chinese language and area studies through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
Fall, spring, and academic year students must enroll in a minimum of 16 semester credits. Because of the heavy demand of Chinese language study, we encourage you not to overload.
In order to meet the 16-credit requirement, you take a required 10-credit Chinese language course offered at varying levels, and 2 English-taught area studies courses (3 credits each) OR
Students at the 300-level or above in Chinese language proficiency can enroll in Chinese-taught area studies courses.
If you are a heritage speaker (you have a background of informal familial learning), you can take advantage of custom-designed programming that focuses on your individual language needs. IES Abroad Beijing reviews the level of each heritage student on a case-by-case basis and creates a program that allows you to progress further in small classes.
Center-Wide Language Pledge
Our Beijing faculty takes great pride in the quality of its language training. In order to create a Chinese language environment and maximize individual proficiency, you are required to observe rigorous, campus-wide language pledge on the Beijing Foreign Studies University campus. “English-friendly weekends” are interspersed throughout the semester to give you a break from the rigors of the language pledge. Students with no prior language experience are expected to join the language pledge six weeks into the semester.
This is a list of potential course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
To learn more about IES Abroad’s innovative theoretical and pedagogical approaches to teaching language abroad, refer to the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication.
Beijing Foreign Studies University
Popularly known as Bei Wai or BFSU, Beijing Foreign Studies University is one of Beijing’s most prestigious academic institutions. A teaching and research university, BFSU has a student body of 7,000 and is one of the 100 universities nationwide selected for priority development into the 21st century. IES Abroad is currently the only resident U.S. program at Bei Wai, giving you a better opportunity to integrate with Chinese students. Some students join the university student union and intramural sports activities, such as ping pong and basketball.
If you are interested in volunteering while abroad, staff in Beijing can provide you contact information. In past years, students have volunteered as English teachers in elementary and secondary schools, at a women's call center, and at NGOs assisting children with various disabilities.
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local community lives. Our goal is that when you leave Beijing, it will feel like home.
You live in a language-immersion environment to support rapid language advancement. Housing options will require a commitment to speaking Chinese as much as possible, and adhering to household and residence hall etiquette that is in harmony with Chinese cultural norms and university regulations. The final decision and allocation of housing will be made once you arrive in China
Homestays provide the ideal environment for learning about China and improving your Chinese language skills. Our homestays are located within a short walk or bus ride to the Center. All homestays feature a private bedroom. While living in a home may involve making some sacrifices of privacy and personal freedom, our Chinese homestay families are universally eager to get to know you and share their ideas, language, and culture with you.
You are provided breakfast and dinner by your host family, seven days a week, while the program is in session. Homestay opportunities may be limited.
Residence Halls with Chinese Roommates
Depending on availability, you have the extraordinary opportunity to live with a Chinese student in the IES Abroad student residence hall. Although sharing a room with a Chinese roommate may require you to make cultural adjustments and compromises,
the rewards are significant.
Students often develop strong friendships with the Chinese students in the hall, and enjoy impromptu gatherings both on and off the BFSU campus. Chinese roommates are selected from BFSU’s prestigious Chinese language department and the School of International Business.
The rooms are wired for Internet access and the residence halls include student lounges, shared bathrooms, washing machines, and kitchen facilities.
Meals are not included, but you can eat at one of several university cafeterias or prepare your own meals in shared kitchens. Take advantage of the many small, inexpensive restaurants near the campus and throughout Beijing.
Part of making you feel at home in Beijing is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
May 2014 Newsletter
March 2014 Newsletter
The program begins with a specially- designed, five-day program introducing you to the IES Abroad staff, your fellow students, Beijing Foreign Studies University, and the city of Beijing. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, cultural adjustment, and health and safety are covered during your orientation. You take an onsite language placement test to determine your appropriate language course level. One-on-one advising sessions on language and area studies classes are arranged, as well as homestay placement.
CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation and Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
Activities include “Explore Beijing” (task-based activities for you to learn the transportation system and to visit historical areas and places frequented by students), and the “Tiananmen Trifecta” (a tour of Tiananmen Square, the Beijing Urban Planning Center, and the Forbidden City).
Redefine the way you live and learn in Beijing through our cultural events, such as:
Even though your adventure starts in Beijing, our field trips and excursions take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country.
IES Abroad Beijing takes the language classroom on the road with extended course-related excursions. Language instructors lead you to regions of China and experiences not easily accessed through independent travel. You select one course-related excursion per term. The cost of this extended course-related excursion is included in your program fee. You will also have at least two three-day weekends to travel independently throughout China.
Extended Course-Related Excursions
HUNAN PROVINCE10 DAYS | FALL
Hike the mountains that inspired James Cameron’s film Avatar. Visit lush forests and villages in Western Hunan, home to the Miao Ethnic group. Learn more about China’s modern history by visiting sites including Mao Zedong’s birthplace and the famous Yuelu Academy, one of the great centers of Chinese thought.
GUANGXI PROVINCE10 DAYS | FALL
With its karst towers rising out of lush river plains, Guangxi is regarded as one of the most beautiful provinces of China. Travel north first to hike through stunning landscapes, then visit the town of Yangshuo, home to a wealth of outdoor and cultural activities.
Yunnan: The Road to Shangri-La10 DAYS | SPRING
Live with a Tibetan family in Shangri-la in northern Yunnan and explore Tibetan culture. Hike through Asia’s deepest gorge, Tiger Leaping Gorge, and explore the city of Kunming. This field study trip takes you on an exploration of ethnicity in Yunnan Province.
NOTE: IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.
Optional Tibet Field Trip8-10 DAYS
An optional trip to Tibet is offered to all IES Beijing students either before the fall semester or after the spring semester.
For the optional Tibet trip, you travel to Lhasa, learn about Tibetan Buddhism, hike high mountain passes, and visit the Jokhang Temple and various monasteries, including the Sera Monstery to observe a debate ritual. Lodging is provided either in local hostels or camping, and most meals and all local transportation are provided as a part of the additional fee.
Note: The destination of this optional pre- or post-semester trip is subject to change or cancellation at any time. You are fully responsible for all costs associated with this optional trip. No academic credit is awarded for this trip.
About the Center
Our Center is located on the east campus of Beijing Foreign Studies University near BFSU’s library, gym, and Olympic-sized swimming pool. The Center is in Beijing’s northwestern district of Haidian, home to more than 20 universities and Beijing’s largest residential district.
Zhao Ning graduated from the Northern University for Nationalities with a B.A. in the English language, and then received her M.A. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics from Beijing Normal University. She has been working at the IES Abroad Beijing Center since 2006, and has taught Chinese language classes of all levels. In 2009, she became the Associate Director of the Beijing Center, and was promoted to Center Director in December 2014.
Ms. Zhao taught at Bucknell University from 2008-2009, and has been focusing her research on Chinese language pronunciation acquisition and teaching methodology ever since. As a member of ACTFL, her recent academic research has been on the Oral Proficiency Assessment. She took the OPI Tester Training in June 2014, and is pursuing a tester certificate.
Contact Zhao Laoshi for questions about Chinese classes, language placement, and other issues related to the Chinese instruction at IES Beijing.
IES Abroad Staff
Louis VonStudent Affairs Assistant
Chuantao XiangOffice Assistant
IES Abroad language faculty are experienced Chinese language instructors from the Beijing Foreign Studies University and other universities such as Peking University, Qinghua University, and the Beijing Normal University. IES provides regular training in international second language teaching methods.
Area Studies Faculty
IES area studies faculty typically hold advanced degrees from prestigious Chinese or Western universities, have studied or taught at Western universities, have published in China and abroad, and currently hold positions at universities such as Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, People's University, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.