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, a for-credit internship option, and English-taught area studies courses that utilize Beijing as a window to discover Chinese cultural and social issues.
The program is based on the campus of the prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University. Grammar classes, small drill sessions, and hour-long private tutorials combine for an intensive study of Chinese four hours daily, four days a week. Class sizes are small and the pace is intense. This is a program for students who are serious about making accelerated progress in their Chinese proficiency.
Beijing will be your classroom. Visit historic sites like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven or spend your time wandering Beijing’s maze of hutong (alleys) and get to know the community. Play chess or learn Tai Chi in a local park or experience the dizzying pace of development by interning at companies in China’s Central Business district. Enjoy local customs, tea tastings or try food from around China and around the world at one of Beijing’s many restaurants.
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.
These dates are preliminary and are subject to change. Students should not book flights according to these dates.
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 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. 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 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 have participated in debate competitions, sports teams, volunteer organizations, and other clubs and events. BFSU also features a brand-new gymnasium with an Olympic-size pool, weight and exercise room.
An IES Abroad Beijing academic internship provides an invaluable cultural experience in the global workplace, practical exposure to the demands of specific jobs, and development of professional and personal skills. Our internships also introduce you to the practical realities of Chinese society, providing a natural setting for meeting local residents and acquiring a more intimate knowledge of Chinese life. More than just a line on your resume, an internship with IES Abroad will give you skills for the future in organizational culture and inter-cultural communication.
All IES Abroad academic internships are supervised. The internship seminar allows you to earn IES Abroad credit. Satisfactory completion of the seminar is required to receive the internship’s 3 academic credits, which accompanies your 8-hour-(1 day)-per-week placement.
If you are interested in volunteering while in Beijing, staff in Beijing can provide you contact information. In past years, students have volunteered as English teachers in elementary and secondary schools, environmental organizations, LGBT advocacy groups, and at NGOs assisting children and adults with various disabilities.
Our job is to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding what 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 at all times, and adhering to household and residence hall etiquette that is in harmony with Chinese cultural norms and university regulations.
Homestays provide the ideal environment for learning about China and improving your Chinese language skills. Most of 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. We will find you a suitable “English-friendly” homestay if you don’t have Chinese language experience. 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.
You are provided breakfast and dinner by your host family, seven days a week, while the program is in session.
Residence Halls with Chinese Roommates
IES Beijing is one of the only study abroad programs in Beijing to offer students the chance to live with a Chinese roommate. 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 School of International Business. The rooms are located in the IES Center and are wired for high-speed Internet access. Dormitory floors include student lounges with WiFi, 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, privately-operated 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. 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 city bus tour that ends at Tiananmen Square for a historical lecture followed by a guided tour of 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 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
Visit a province rich with cultural and biological diversity. Learn more about the Naxi people of Lijiang. 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 10-day trip to Tibet is offered to all IES Beijing students. Choose to travel either before the fall semester or after the spring semester. IES staff and a team of professional Tibetan guides will take you from the markets and temples of Lhasa to high mountain passes and camping by the shores of alpine lakes. We will visit sites including the Potala Palace, once the home of the Dalai Lamas; Jokhang Temple, the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism; and the Sera Monastery where we will watch the monks participate in their daily debate ritual. Lodging will be in local hostels or sometimes camping in tents under the stars. Most meals and all local transportation is provided. Contact IES staff for information on pricing and schedule. The itinerary is subject to change or cancellation depending upon the political situation in Tibet.
Since 2006, our Center has been located on the west 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 serves as Beijing’s largest residential district.
Jeremiah JenneIES Abroad Director
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. His essays have appeared in China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance and The Insiders Guide to Beijing, 2009 Edition.
IES Abroad Staff
Ning ZhaoAssociate Director
Xiaomeng LinAcademic and Internship Coordinator
Jiasui "Josie" WangStudent Affairs and Customized Program Coordinator
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 Western 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 old positions at universities such as Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, People's University, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Many have been Fulbright scholars and in addition to their teaching responsibilities are editors of journals, chairs of departments, and directors of research institutes.