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 students who have already started their Chinese language studies and 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.
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 local deals. Everything you do will be part of your learning experience.
We want you to feel at home in Beijing, so we will 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 get professional experience 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.
Please plan to arrive between 7am and midnight of the arrival day. If you are booking a late night arrival, you should plan to arrive in the late night of arrival day rather than the day before.
**NOTE FOR STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE POST-SEMESTER TIBET TRIP: The dates for the Tibet trip are May 5 - May 15.
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. This is an intensive program designed to maximize your time studying in Beijing. It is for students serious about improving their Chinese and learning more about China.
Fall, spring, and academic year students must enroll in a minimum of 16 semester credit hours. Because of the heavy demand of Chinese language study, we encourage you not to overload.
In order to meet the 16 credits hour requirement, you take a required 10-credit Chinese language course offered at varying levels, and select one of the following options:
*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 Center faculty take 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 a strict language pledge at the IES Abroad Beijing Center and 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.
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 4,000 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.
While adding study abroad to your résumé is impressive enough, adding an internship is even more powerful, and can help distinguish your application for graduate school or a job opportunity in today’s competitive job market.
Here are just some of the ways your internship will set you apart:
An internship provides an invaluable cultural experience, and helps you develop professional and personal skills. All IES Abroad internships are supervised and offered as academic options earning 3 IES Abroad credits.
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.
As living in homestay requires a unique commitment on the part of students, we will interview all arriving students to determine if a homestay is right for you. Homestay opportunities are limited, and we ask that only students seriously committed to being part of family apply.
Residence Halls with Chinese Roommates
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 located in the IES Center and are wired for high-speed Internet access and the facility includes student lounges, shared bathrooms, washing machines, and kitchen facilities.
Meals are not included, but you can eat at one of several university cafeterias, prepare your own meals in shared kitchens, or 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 to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
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 and internship 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). You also experience the “IES Abroad Beijing Marketplace” where you can purchase supplies, such as discount guidebooks, maps, and paper and electronic dictionaries while getting tips from the local vendors about learning and living in Beijing.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Beijing through our cultural events, such as:
Although your adventure begins in Beijing, our field trips take you to other great cities and destinations in China to provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Beijing.
IES Abroad Beijing takes the language classroom on the road with Mobile Learning Field Study Trips. Language instructors lead you to regions of China and experiences not easily accessed through independent travel. You select one extended mobile learning trip per term. The cost of this extended mobile learning trip is included in your program fee. You will also have at least two three-day weekends to travel independently throughout China.
Extended Mobile Learning Trips
The Silk Road
Retrace the footsteps of Marco Polo along the fabled Silk Road. See the terracotta soldiers in the ancient capital of Xi’an. Voyage through the western deserts to the oasis cities of Urumqi and Kashgar. Learn more about the culture of the Uighur people of Xinjiang while visiting mosques and bazaars. Hike through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of China while experiencing the country’s ethnic and culinary diversity.
Travel by train with your language instructors from China’s North Korean border in Jilin Province to China’s border with Russia in Inner Mongolia. The journey starts at the Tianchi, a giant crater lake on the border of North Korea and explores life in China’s ethnic Korean cities. The trip travels through colonial Harbin and ends on the Hulunbei’er grasslands.
Northern Yunnan: The Road to Shangri-La
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.
Southern Yunnan: Mekong Border Region
Travel down the Mekong Basin to China’s borders with Myanmar to explore how China is linking up with Southeast Asian countries through trade agreements and infrastructure development. This field trip also analyzes the sustainability of China’s plans in the region, and you meet with local government officials along the way to discuss these issues.
Optional Tibet Field Trip
An optional 8-10 day 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.
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.
Since 2006, our Center has been located on the west campus of Beijing Foreign Studies University. The campus of BFSU features a new library, a small but decent gym, sports fields, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The Center is in Beijing’s northwestern district of Haidian, home to more than 20 universities and serves as Beijing’s largest residential district.
Jeremiah Jenne 张志劢老师 (addressed as Zhang Laoshi)Director
Contact Zhang Laoshi for general questions about the center, center policies, Area Studies courses, health and safety, or preparing for life in Beijing.
Office: Room 424
Jeremiah Jenne is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the University of California, Davis. He specializes in 19th-century Qing history and is currently researching anti-foreignism and colonialism in the coastal ('treaty port') cities of the Qing Empire. He previously served as the Associate Director for China Studies at IES Abroad Beijing. Other research interests include the Qing as an imperial(ist) power, the construction of identity during the Qing Dynasty, nationalism in modern China, and gender and the family in Late Imperial China. He is also a regular contributor for The Economist Magazine and an online contributor for the Atlantic Monthly. His essays have appeared in China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance and The Insiders Guide to Beijing, 2009 Edition.
Ms Zhao Ning 赵宁老师 (addressed as Zhao Laoshi)Associate Director
Contact Zhao Laoshi for questions about Chinese classes, language placement, and other issues related to the Chinese instruction at IES Beijing.
Office: Room 421
Ms. Josie Wang 王嘉穗老师 (addressed as Wang Laoshi)Student Affairs Coordinator
Contact Wang Laoshi for issues related to arrival in Beijing, student housing, homestays, and visas. Also If your flight plans change and you are going to be late or arrive early, please contact Wang Laoshi.
Office: Room 417
Xiaomeng LinAcademic and Internship Coordinator
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.