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Study Abroad
Beijing - Contemporary China & Chinese Language Add to favorites
  • Beijing, China
Why Beijing?

Beijing is considered the place to study Chinese in China—it sets the standard pronunciation for the rest of the country. As the political, intellectual, and cultural capital of China, it is also an ideal place to study contemporary China. The people of Beijing are friendly and proud to be from this fascinating city, making it a perfect environment to study abroad.

What You'll Study

Our Contemporary China & Chinese Language program offers students an array of Chinese language courses, including upper level, topic-based Chinese language electives, and area studies courses taught in English. This program will benefit students who want to rapidly expand their knowledge of written and spoken Chinese, and their knowledge about China in general.

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 (twice a week) combine for an intensive study of Chinese two hours daily, four days a week. Advanced students may select additional 2-credit topical language classes, such as Modern Slang & Pop Culture, Personal & Business Communication, and HSK Preparation.

In addition to your Chinese language coursework, you will choose from 3-credit Area Studies courses (taught in English) in disciplines such Asian Studies, International Relations, Political Science, and Literature to complement your language studies.

Daily Life

Beijing will be your classroom. Visit Beijing’s most significant palaces, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, and learn about the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Enjoy local customs, tea tastings, and regional cuisine—like jian bing crepes, zha jiang noodles and an assortment of jiaozi dumplings. You can also practice your language skills and witness what you learn in the classroom first-hand by going to local markets and bargaining with vendors for the best deals or simply exploring this magnificent city. 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.

You are here

Why Beijing?

Beijing is considered the place to study Chinese in China—it sets the standard pronunciation for the rest of the country. As the political, intellectual, and cultural capital of China, it is also an ideal place to study contemporary China. The people of Beijing are friendly and proud to be from this fascinating city, making it a perfect environment to study abroad.

What You'll Study

Our Contemporary China & Chinese Language program offers students an array of Chinese language courses, including upper level, topic-based Chinese language electives, and area studies courses taught in English. This program will benefit students who want to rapidly expand their knowledge of written and spoken Chinese, and their knowledge about China in general.

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 (twice a week) combine for an intensive study of Chinese two hours daily, four days a week. Advanced students may select additional 2-credit topical language classes, such as Modern Slang & Pop Culture, Personal & Business Communication, and HSK Preparation.

In addition to your Chinese language coursework, you will choose from 3-credit Area Studies courses (taught in English) in disciplines such Asian Studies, International Relations, Political Science, and Literature to complement your language studies.

Daily Life

Beijing will be your classroom. Visit Beijing’s most significant palaces, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, and learn about the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Enjoy local customs, tea tastings, and regional cuisine—like jian bing crepes, zha jiang noodles and an assortment of jiaozi dumplings. You can also practice your language skills and witness what you learn in the classroom first-hand by going to local markets and bargaining with vendors for the best deals or simply exploring this magnificent city. 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.

$4 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit more then $4 million each year to our financial aid programs.

Academics

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 15 semester credits.

In order to meet the 15-credit requirement, you take a required 6-credit Chinese language course and choose between a combination of the following:

  • 2-4 IES Abroad Area Studies Courses (3 credits each)
  • 2-3 IES Abroad Language Elective Courses (2 credits each; must be placed in 300-level Chinese or above)

Heritage Students

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 a 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.

Courses

THIS IS A LIST OF POSSIBLE COURSE OFFERINGS.  THE AVAILABILITY OF COURSES VARIES FROM TERM TO TERM.

Art
Course Name Term Language Credits
AR 180 - Chinese Calligraphy Spring, Fall English 2
Asian Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
AS/EC 312 - Modern Chinese Economy Fall, Spring English 3
PO/AS/GO 318 - Chinese Government and Politics Fall, Spring English 3
PO/AS/SO 301 - Contemporary Chinese Society Fall, Spring English 3
Chinese Language
Course Name Term Language Credits
CN 102 - Chinese Language in Context: Novice Abroad I Fall, Spring Chinese 6
CN 203 - Chinese Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I Fall, Spring Chinese 6
CN 320 - Writing Letters & Emails: Personal & Business Communication Fall, Spring Chinese 2
CN 351 - Chinese Language in Context: Independent Abroad I Fall, Spring Chinese 6
CN 370 - Modern Slang & Pop Culture Fall, Spring Chinese 2
CN 380 - Fluency Through Film Fall, Spring Chinese 2
CN 390 - Current Events Through Newspaper Reading Fall, Spring Chinese 2
CN 403 - Chinese Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad II Fall, Spring Chinese 6
CN 420 - HSK Preparation Fall, Spring Chinese 2
CN 520 - Chinese Language in Context: Advanced Chinese II Fall, Spring Chinese 6
Economics
Course Name Term Language Credits
AS/EC 312 - Modern Chinese Economy Fall, Spring English 3
Government
Course Name Term Language Credits
PO/AS/GO 318 - Chinese Government and Politics Fall, Spring English 3
SO/GO 331 - Labor Movement and Social Change in China Fall, Spring English 3
History
Course Name Term Language Credits
HS 331 - Late Imperial China Spring English 3
HS 333 - The History of Beijing Fall English 3
Political Science
Course Name Term Language Credits
PO/AS/GO 318 - Chinese Government and Politics Fall, Spring English 3
PO/AS/SO 301 - Contemporary Chinese Society Fall, Spring English 3
Sociology
Course Name Term Language Credits
PO/AS/SO 301 - Contemporary Chinese Society Fall, Spring English 3
SO/GO 331 - Labor Movement and Social Change in China Fall, Spring English 3

Partner Institution(s)

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.

Field Trips & Events

Students in the Contemporary China & Chinese Language program will go an overnight field trip to the Great Wall, as well as participate in one extended multi-day field trip included in the cost of the program.

GUIZHOU or NINGXIA

Fall | 10 Days

  • Live with a Miao family in a Miao viallage near Kaili. Experience traditional Miao cuisine, song and dance, and help with a rice paddy harvest. Hike the ancient Huaxi cliffs in Guiyang, and finally visit the Huangguoshu waterfalls in Anshun City.
  • Travel to the autonomous region of Ningxia in the northwest of China. Visit the West Xia Imperial Tombs, Qingtong's 108 pagodas, and Liupan Mountain National Park. Then visit the Zhongwei City environmental protection area to understand how China administers it's desert regions. Enjoy sheepskin rafting of the Yellow River and sand sliding.

GUANGXI or YUNNAN

Spring | 10 DAYS

  • 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.
  • 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 course-related trip takes you on an exploration of ethnicity in Yunnan Province.

NOTE: The location and duration of IES Abroad field trips are subject to change at any time.

Daily Life

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.

Orientation

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).

Get to Know Your New City

Experience the Great Wall

Just a one- to two-hour drive from downtown Beijing, the Great Wall is a breathtaking site to see! You’ll visit a rugged, unrestored section of the Wall and stay overnight with a local family in a neighboring village.

Hang Out at Taikoo Li Sanlitun

This modern shopping area is where you’ll find cutting-edge technology and designer stores next to huge bargain markets.

Explore the Forbidden City/Palace Museum

Be sure to visit one of China’s largest heritage sites, which was the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1420-1912).

Tour the Houhai Hutongs

Wander the ancient alleyways in this cool lakeside neighborhood. Rent a paddle boat then relax in a sidewalk café.

Visit 798 Postmodern Art Zone

Home to international art exhibits, fashion shows, and more, this popular art district in northeast Beijing features world-famous Chinese artists.

Housing

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.

All of our housing options present language-immersion environments 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. 

Homestay

Homestays provide the ideal environment for learning about China and improving your Chinese language skills. Our homestays are usually 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.

International Student Dormitory with Chinese Roommates

Depending on availability, you have the extraordinary opportunity to live with a Chinese student in BFSU's International Student Dormitory. 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 dormitory, 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 Ethernet and WiFi Internet access and the dormitory includes 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.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Beijing through our cultural events, such as:

  • Traditional Chinese painting and seal cutting
  • Guest lectures from leading scholars, journalists, and experts on Chinese culture
  • The Chinese Oratory Challenge
  • Karaoke (KTV)
  • Pronunciation and poem recitation club

Volunteering

If you are interested in volunteering while abroad, staff in Beijing can provide you with contact information. In past years, students have taught English and instructed science experiments in elementary and secondary schools. Other volunteer placements have included a women’s call center and an NGO assisting children with various disabilities. Volunteering is a great opportunity for cultural immersion and students find it significantly contributes to their language development and vocabulary expansion.

Program Cost

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Term: Spring 2018
Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2018 $11,755 $3,245 $230 $15,230


Term: Fall 2017
Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Fall 2017
Academic Year
$11,525
$20,735
$3,175
$6,350
$230
$455
$14,930
$27,540

Use our budget worksheet to calculate your costs

$4 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit more then $4 million each year to our financial aid programs.