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For students whose primary goal is Chinese language acquisition, the Alliance offers intensive language instruction in China’s capital city. With a language pledge that requires students to speak only Chinese, 20 hours of language instruction per week, and immersion in the birthplace of modern-day Mandarin, students make rapid gains in their language skills—and put them to immediate use while exploring one of China’s most vibrant urban centers.
As a prerequisite for this program, students must have completed two semesters of prior Chinese language study. Students may also opt to take one course in English on Popular Culture and Social Change in China.
Students may enroll for a semester, summer, or academic year, or a combination of a semester and summer term. Students are encouraged to consider spending their second term in China in a different Alliance program to deepen their knowledge of China's regional diversity.
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For a total of 15-18 credits in fall and spring terms and 9 credits in the summer term, students take the following courses:
Classes are offered exclusively for Alliance students. Chinese language course placement is contingent upon the results of a placement exam after arrival in China. Language classes have a maximum of 8 students per class and are taught by language faculty selected and trained by the Alliance.
Fresh from a massive urban renewal in conjunction with the 2008 Olympic Games, China’s bustling capital city of Beijing is the nation’s political, educational, and cultural center. It has more universities and research institutes than any other city in China, making it the intellectual hub of the country. Beijing’s 3,000 years of history is reflected in its art, architecture, music, and traditions. Among its innumerable attractions are the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and the nearby Great Wall. While the city is replete with historical treasures, modern Beijing is buzzing with restaurants, museums, and movie theaters.
Check out this interactive map to locate the Alliance's resources across Beijing:
View Alliance On Location: Beijing in a larger map.
Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) is located just east of the vibrant and international university neighborhood of Wudaokou (五道口) in the Haidian District（海淀区）of North West Beijing. Wudaokou is close to a number of universities and research institutes and is home to a growing student population. Minutes from campus, students will find themselves in the heart of Wudaokou surrounded by a large shopping mall, movie theater, grocery stores, and many restaurants serving Japanese, Korean, Mexican and American cuisines in addition to a wide variety of Chinese cuisines. Students also have easy access to coffee shops and book stores along with other cultural resources and the rich academic ambience in the immediate vicinity of BLCU and the Haidian District at large. The Wudaokou subway stop, located on line 13, makes exploring the entire city extremely convenient. Even the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube of the 2008 Olympic Games are just a short bus ride away. BLCU’s exciting central location is a perfect place for the international student in Beijing.
Founded in 1962, the Beijing Language and Culture University (北京语言大学）is considered to be one of the nation’s premier institutions for the teaching of Chinese language and culture to foreigners. The majority of Chinese Language textbooks are written at BLCU by BLCU professors. These books are used in Chinese classrooms across the United States and throughout the world. BLCU confers degrees at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels and is comprised of 11 faculties and research institutes. The university hosts 14,000 foreign and Chinese students. It is located in the Haidian district, which is home to the majority of Beijing’s universities.
For students whose primary goal is Chinese language acquisition, the Alliance offers intensive language instruction in China’s capital city. With a language pledge that requires students to speak only Chinese, 20 hours of language instruction per week, and immersion in the birthplace of modern-day Mandarin, students make rapid gains in their language skills—and put them to immediate use while exploring one of China’s most vibrant urban centers. As a prerequisite for this program, students must have completed two (2) semesters of prior Chinese language study.
Students may also opt to take one course in English on Popular Culture and Social Change in China.
Chinese Language (required, 20 class hours/week, 15 credits)
Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. Courses emphasize the integration of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks by Alliance program and course.
Syllabi for the following courses are forthecoming:
Students may opt to take one course in English:
BEIJ SOCI260 Contemporary Culture and Social Change in China (3 class hours/week, 3 credits)
This course examines the transformation in Chinese society since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, with emphasis on the changes brought about in the wake of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Topics include the developments in urban and rural social transformation introduced by the reforms, the changing relationship between the individual and society, the urban and rural divide, and population control and the one child policy. Students will explore the social consequences of China's rapid integration into the global economy. All students complete a Capstone Project as part of this course.
For students whose primary goal is Chinese language acquisition, the Alliance offers intensive, full-immersion language instruction in China’s capital city. With a language pledge that requires students to speak only Chinese, 21 hours of language instruction per week, and immersion in the birthplace of modern-day Mandarin, students make rapid gains in their language skills—and put them to immediate use while exploring one of China’s most vibrant urban centers.
As a prerequisite for this program, students must have completed two semesters of prior Chinese language study. Intensive Language Students also participate in a wide range of activities as well as a Field Study Trip during the semester. Students do not take courses in English or conduct a Capstone Project.
Students receive 9 language credits for this summer program. The summer program is 8 weeks long, with 7 weeks of instruction.
Chinese Language (required, 21 class hours/week, 9 credits)
Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. All courses teach listening, speaking, reading, and writing and include opportunities for practical language application outside the classroom. The Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.
One important and distinctive component of the Alliance's semester-long programs in China is the Capstone Academic Research Project. Capstone projects challenge students to engage with Chinese people and deepen their own understanding of one aspect of Chinese policy, society, culture, or business practice. Within the Intensive Language program, only semester students choosing to enroll in the optional 3-credit elective course will be required to complete a Capstone Project.
The Capstone Project is a research project that makes use of more than academic readings and published research. While these are important components of research and should be included in the project, the Capstone is meant to help students take advantage of their setting. Students use resources they would not have access to at their home universities. Students also incorporate interviews, participant observation, and other methods to create a final paper and presentation. Many students develop their Capstone as part of a senior thesis or broader future research project.
The Capstone Project is a graded component of the optional core course taught in English, Contemporary Cutlure and Social Change. The Capstone Research Project comprises 40% of the grade for this course. Graded project work includes a project abstract with a problem statement and research methodology outline, a PowerPoint presentation, and a final paper.
Summer core courses do not include a Capstone component.
"My general idea for the Capstone Project began the popular notion that the Chinese have had hardly any incorporation of dairy products in their diet from an early point in history. Growing up on a dairy farm, I was appalled with the discovery! I was interested to find out more about the perceptions of dairy and the habits concerning dairy products among China’s general population. I was also intrigued to learn more about why there has been minimal exposure to dairy in China, why this has been the case for so many years, and what really sparked the beginning of the market surge for dairy products in recent years. As I have conducted research and gathered information from multiple interviewees, I have been better able to understand recent industrial trends, current and future industrial expansion and investment, foreign involvement and competition, and general insight to the dairy industry’s relationship with the Chinese government."
A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience, and the Alliance for Global Education takes the process of credit and grade conversion seriously.
The Alliance provides information on credit transfer and conversion at the time that a student chooses courses. Credit appears on transcripts issued by Arcadia University at the completion of a student's term of study abroad. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time academic load a student carries while abroad.
All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Arcadia University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Arcadia University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Any grades that appear on an Arcadia transcript must meet Middle States' standards.
Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course they take while enrolled on an Alliance program. Although policies at students' individual home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi. As noted above, all Alliance courses are reviewed and approved by Arcadia University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Arcadia University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
At the conclusion of a program, the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University sends an official Arcadia University transcript to a participant's home school and an unofficial copy to the participant.
Because universities abroad have different administrative structures, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:
If you have a question about the process, please feel free to contact your program manager responsible.
Please note: Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance due to program fees. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.
Beginning in 2014, the Intensive Chinese Language program in Beijing will run spring, summer, and fall terms each year and follow the calendar below.
The Alliance Orientation is MANDATORY. You should make your travel plans accordingly.
Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities and excursions, and field study trips, the Alliance STRONGLY DISCOURAGES students from hosting visitors until the end of the semester. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit AFTER the program has ended.
More details will be available via the Accepted Students portal during fall 2013.
|Spring 2014 Program||$ 14,350|
|Summer 2014 Program||$ 6,990|
|Fall 2014 Program||$14,350|
The program cost includes tuition and fees, pre-departure materials, guidance with applying for a visa, orientation, housing, weekly activities, all textbooks, the services of a full-time Resident Director, medical and evacuation insurance, and a one-week Field Study Trip and a weekend trip in the fall and spring semesters and a five-day Field Study Trip in the summer term.
The program price does not include airfare to China, meals, passport and visa fees, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included. Students who opt to live with a Chinese host family must pay an additional fee.
The opportunity to engage in Chinese language and studies in the spring, and pursue an internship during the summer term is invaluable. Because the Alliance recognizes the significance of building a strong foundation in the spring to pursue meaningful fieldwork in the summer, all students who opt to complement a spring semester with the Alliance by pursuing a full-time summer internship will receive an $800 discount, in place of the standard $500 continuer discount.
The Alliance encourages students to enroll for more than one term and to consider studying with more than one Alliance program. Students who continue into a second term with the Alliance receive a $500 discount on the program fee for the second term. All combinations (two semesters, semester plus summer, two semesters plus summer) are possible.
Students are housed in the International Student Dorm #17 in double rooms with other Alliance students. Rooms include: two single beds, two desks, two chairs, small book shelves, cabinets, desk lamps, TV, and air-conditioning, and a private bathroom. They are also wired for high-speed internet. Bed linens, including blankets and pillows, are provided by the dorm and cleaned once a week. Towels are not provided. Each floor is equipped with washing machines. Students can purchase tokens for the machines at the front desk of the dorm. Tokens cost approximately 4 RMB for the washing machine and 8 RMB for the dryer. There is also a kitchen with a stove and microwave on each floor. Students are able to borrow some basic cooking equipment from the Alliance.
Additionally, students in Beijing who have completed at least two semesters of Chinese have the opportunity to live with a host family near the BLCU campus half-way through the semester during the spring and fall semesters, and following orientation during the summer term. Prior to joining their host families, students reside in BLCU’s International Student Dorm, mentioned above.
The homestay option provides students with an excellent opportunity to develop a more intimate understanding of Chinese culture and language through discussing and witnessing topics on Chinese culture, tradition and social life raised in the classroom with locals working and living in Beijing up close. Moreover, students who choose this option find countless opportunities to improve their Chinese language skills.
Host families provide breakfast and dinner meals while students are responsible for providing their own lunches throughout the week. Host families provide all three meals on the weekends unless students attend organized excursions or choose not to dine with the family due to other plans.
It is also important for students to understand the changes in lifestyle that are required in a homestay and should enter this arrangement with an attitude of flexibility and openness. Students need to be prepared to follow culturally-appropriate forms of behavior, and to respect their hosts’ needs, homes, and efforts in providing accommodation and cultural experience. Alliance staff are readily available to help smooth your transition into your new life and address any issues or questions that may arise.
There is an additional fee for the homestay option. For a detailed list of costs associated with the program, including the homestay fee, please visit our Program Fee page.
Students interested in this housing option should speak directly with the Program Manager, Julia Levy.
Each student in Beijing is paired with a Chinese graduate student whose major is teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Alliance students and language partners meet one-on-one for Chinese tutoring three times a week for an hour per session. However, students and their language partners often meet more regularly than the minimum requirement to explore Beijing together. In addition to tutoring, language partners also help Alliance students become oriented to campus life.
Meals are not included in the Alliance program fee. Students can choose to eat at the small restaurants on or nearby campus or eat in the dining halls, using meal debit cards. Students should budget $9 per day for meals.
Vegetarians will find that good food is available in China. Most restaurants serve lots of vegetables, tofu dishes, and staples such as rice, noodles, or dumplings. Note that some restaurants may use animal fat in preparing dishes.
Throughout the semester, students are invited to take part in a full schedule of excursions, events and lectures - all designed to enhance their understanding of China and the historical and modern influences that impact its culture and people.
The Alliance arranges extra-curricular classes which may include Chinese painting, calligraphy, cooking, taiji or other martial arts, pottery, seal carving, or paper cutting. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.
Students visit the great historical and cultural monuments of the capital, including the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace. Specially designed activities also include visits to Beijing's art districts, lectures on China's environmental protection policies, and/or workshops on Chinese food culture. A trip to a village outside of the city will allow students to better understand rural life in China. Below is a sampling of activities from previous semesters. Specific activities for future terms are subject to change:
Students visit the Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square, typically during their orientation. The tour is followed by Wang Fujing shopping street tour and Chinese acrobat show.
This tour includes some of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Beijing, with beautiful traditional Chinese courtyard houses. Previous students visited a local artist's house and paper cutting gallery. They also enjoyed lunch with a family in one of the courtyards and learned to make dumplings.
For the hiking expedition, students travel to Hebei province to hike an 11 kilometer stretch of one the best-preserved original sections of the wall.
Students and their sociology professor visit the Chinese Ethnic Minority Park for an introduction to the 56 official minority groups in China via their unique dress, cuisine, music, and dance.
Four "AmCham" staff members met with Alliance students to talk about US-China relations, trade policies, and cooperation between the American Chamber of Commerce and the US and Chinese governments. They also introduced their personal study abroad/work abroad experience and offered suggestions for professional development in a China focused career.
Past Beijing students had the opportunity to learn firsthand from local writers, filmmakers, musicians, and/or calligraphers about Chinese art forms.
During this activity, students visit the resting place of 13 Chinese emperors. The tombs are located approximately 30 miles north of downtown Beijing at the tranquil foot of the Jundu Mountains.
The Alliance organizes a one-week field study trip for students during the fall and spring semesters and a five-day field study trip during the summer term. Destinations may vary but usually include Yunnan or Qinghai province. Through exposure to China’s social, economic, and geographic diversity, as well as regional and ethnic inflections to the Chinese language that has been a focus of their studies, students gain a richly textured sense of the many realities that exist within China.
Yunnan province in southwestern China offers China's most diverse ethnic minority population, stunning scenery, and a rich history. Students gain deep insight into Yunnan's local culture and artistic heritage. They have the opportunity to experience urban life in Kunming, visit small Yi and Miao minority villages, and hike in the gorgeous, mountainous areas of this province. Participants of the trip may also explore the great natural beauty of the Stone Forest, the rain forest of Xishuangbanna, or participate in an extensive encounter with the Bai minority culture in the ancient town of Dali.
Located on the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai is considered one of the most beautiful regions in China. Students may visit Ta'er Monastery, one of the six most famous Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world, travel to Qinghai Lake, the largest salt water lake in China and one of China’s best bird watching sites, or explore the ancient tombs of Liuwan. Students behold the breathtaking scenery, witness the contrast in development in the region versus the coast, and gain a deeper understanding of Qinghai’s minority nationalities.
The location of the five-day summer field study trip varies each year. In the past, summer Beijing students have traveled to Xiahe, Qinghai, and Xi'an. Due to the full-time professional commitment and shortened term, summer students enrolled in an internship will not participate in the extended trip.