When I came to Beijing, the thing I was the most uncertain about wasn’t the air quality, whether I’d like the food or if I could drink the water. It was actually what my average day to day life would be like. So for students as curious as I was, I decided I would make this blog post to take you through a day of what it’s like to study at IES Beijing. I’m currently in the Language Intensive program, so this is our schedule, but if you sign up for the Contemporary Issues program, note that your schedule will be a bit different.
7am – Wake up and do some last minute studying for the daily “听写“ quiz that begins every day when the bell rings for class to start at 8am.
8am – Class starts with a quick 15 minute “听写“ quiz. This class is a lecture style-class with all the students in your level.
9am – The second chinese class begins. This class is often a little bit smaller than your lecture and will focus on the grammar structures for today’s lesson. In between classes is a 10 minute break and many students run to one of the two convenience stores on campus, or one of the shou zhua bing/jian bing on campus for a quick bite to eat. A shou zhua bing is a crispy piece of flatbread with fried egg, chicken or a slice of bacon, lettuce and a spicy sauce in the middle. A jian bing is an eggy crepe with chicken and crispy crunchies (and sometimes cilantro!) on the inside. Both are popular breakfast foods and incredibly delicious
10am – 3rd hour of Chinese class begins! Often we do an activity at this time to practice new vocabulary and grammar stuctures.
11am – Time for your Chinese elective! This can be anything from Chinese slang to idioms, to everyday chinese class! This semester I’m doing a film-making class, where we write and direct our own short 20-minute film in Chinese!
There are no classes scheduled between 12 and 1:30, so you can have a long leisurely time for lunch. A local market on campus sells cheap jiaozi, noodles, fried rice and veggies and this is a favorite lunch spot for most of the students.
1:30 to 5 are the area studies classes. Classes are usually one and a half hours and it’s uncommon to have two area studies classes in a row.
Any time during the time you’re not in class, you’ll have an hour-long one-on-one session with a tutor, where you’ll work on pronunciation and really make sure you have the grammar for the lesson down pat.
If you don’t have an internship, wednesdays are nice because we have no class (unless you take the theater class). Most students take advantage of this extra time to sleep in, do laundry, go shopping or get some extra studying done.
After class, most of us try to get our homework and studying done as quickly as possible for the next day.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alexis Cobau is a Junior at the University of Michigan, majoring in Chinese and International Studies with a concentration in International security, cooperation and norms. She is excited to be returning to China for the first time since her original foray into study abroad in Harbin, China on an NSLI-Y State Department scholarship as a rising senior in High School. This will be her sixth year studying Chinese and she can't wait to spend it exploring Beijing. When not practicing her Chinese characters and tones, Alexis enjoys reading, writing, drawing and cooking.</span></p>