Chicago in Beijing

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University of Chicago students posing in Beijing

Visiting Students: A Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program

June 12 - August 5, 2017         

The Chicago in Beijing Chinese immersion program offers qualified undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to study Chinese language in a completely Chinese-speaking environment, allowing students to acquire one year's worth of language study credit in just eight weeks. Students receive daily Chinese language instruction at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing and live in international student dorms on the campus of nearby Renmin University, in the northwest part of the city, about eight miles from Tiananmen Square (considered the city’s center). Beijing, a modern city with a three-thousand-year history and a lively art and music scene, is a compelling venue for cultural and linguistic immersion.

Learn Mandarin and explore Chinese culture with this summer study abroad and language immersion program! Interested in learning more? Contact us today to request more information about the Chicago in Beijing summer program.

“This program made me want to learn even more about the history and culture and has given me a great foundation to work from. Outside of school, I gained amazing memories and experiences and am even more in awe of the world.”

Tunisia K.


Instruction and Educational Activities

The intensive Chinese language courses, offered at the 200, 300, and 400-level, will be taught by University of Chicago faculty using the same textbooks and curriculum as on campus. Students pledge to speak only Mandarin while in the program, and receive five hours of daily language instruction: after a two-hour session with faculty in which new material is introduced, students will have a two-hour small group session with local instructors to provide additional language practice, followed in the afternoon by individual one-on-one sessions in which students work on their conversation and presentation skills. Biweekly “Chinese table” lunches with faculty and students and evening office hours provide additional opportunities for language instruction. Students also have "language partners": Renmin University students you can meet up with on Renmin's campus to eat in the dining hall or hang out together, and learn from each other.

Students also participate in cultural activities such as calligraphy and martial arts, and excursions to famous sites like the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and Beijing Opera. Guest speakers lecture on Chinese culture, society, and history. Students can also attend the public events hosted by the Center. Read the 2015 program recap and view the 2015 program calendar to see what sort of activities students participated in previously.

Living in Beijing

UChicago’s Center in Beijing is located in in the Haidian District, also known as “China’s Silicon Valley,” which has the highest concentration of universities, tech firms, and technology markets in Beijing. The neighborhood surrounding the Center has many stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other amenities within walking distance, and is also easily accessible by public transportation and taxi. The Center also offers terrific views of the city and the western hills.

Student accommodations are at one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in China, Renmin (People’s) University, known colloquially as Renda. Renda’s facilities, including a library, gym, outdoor sports courts, a swimming pool, classroom buildings, dormitories, and cafeterias, are convenient to both where classes take place and where students live. You can also find coffee shops, copy and printing stores, convenience stores, a post office, restaurants, and banks right on campus. The university’s compact campus will make it easier for you to integrate yourselves into the local community. For example, you can join Chinese and international students in pickup basketball near the West Gate of campus, or dance with locals during their evening group exercises.

You will live in The International Culture Exchange Center, an international student dorm near the East Gate of campus. Students in your dormitory will be from all over the world, primarily Korea, Europe, Central Asia, and Africa. You will be placed in a suite with two bedrooms, and you will share a bathroom and common area with your suite-mate. Each room is furnished with a bed, desk, chair, bookcase, closet, TV, telephone, and air-conditioning unit. Sheets, blankets, and pillows are provided. There are pay-per-use washing machines and dryers available, as well as simple shared kitchens.

For meals, students can choose among campus dining halls serving different styles of food, or explore what the city has to offer, with restaurants right in the neighborhood with a wide range of cuisines and price levels. Produce, snack foods, beverages, and other common groceries are available in nearby supermarkets and drugstores.


  • Eligibility: open to all qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have taken at least one year of undergraduate-level Chinese or the equivalent. (Sorry, but the program does not accept absolute beginners.)
  • Applicants should demonstrate strong past performance in Chinese language study, a solid academic record in general and the kind of maturity that is necessary to participate successfully in a study abroad program.
  • Apply online; please select “Summer Session” for Degree Type and “Chicago in Beijing” as Program Type option.
  • All program applications must be submitted by March 15, 2017.
  • Admissions to the program are rolling. If you are accepted to the program, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 must be submitted to secure your place in the program.
  • All students participating in the program must have a valid passport. Visiting Undergraduates will also be responsible for obtaining their own student visa

Course Details

The daily schedule will vary; review the Sample Schedule for a general idea of the program logistics.

Faculty Bios

  • Dr. Youqin Wang (program director) grew up in Beijing and graduated from Beijing University. She has been teaching Chinese and serving as the Director of the Chinese Language Program at the University of Chicago for 16 years. She and her colleagues started the summer Beijing intensive program in 2008 and moved the program “Chicago in Beijing” into the new Beijing Center of the University of Chicago in 2011. In addition to language teaching, she has published papers and books on language pedagogy and China’s recent history. She is a dedicated teacher and a walking dictionary of Beijing city.
  • Fangpei Cai grew up in the inner city of Beijing and graduated from Beijing University. He has been teaching Chinese at the University of Chicago for 30 years. His research interests include Chinese linguistics, Chinese paleography and early philosophical Taoist texts. Besides teaching the intensive summer Chinese courses in Beijing, he has been working closely with his colleagues in the Center in Beijing to care for students’ daily life, to plan their weekly excursions, and to make every participant’s studying and living in Beijing a pleasant, fruitful, and unforgettable experience.

Intensive Chinese Language Course Descriptions

Intermediate Modern Chinese I, II, III: CHIN 20100-20200-20300

This sequence aims to enhance students' reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills by dealing with topics at an intermediate linguistic level. In addition to mastering the content of the textbook, students are required to complete three language projects, including interviews with Beijing people and reports about experience in China, for the three courses. To write a diary in Chinese is required. The instructors collect and correct the diary every week. Chinese computing skills are also taught. Students meet their instructors for five hour per day.

PQ: Chinese 10300 or placement. Must be taken for a letter grade. No auditors permitted.

Advanced Modern Chinese I, II, III: CHIN 30100-30200-30300 or CHIN 20401-20402-20403

The goal of this sequence is to help students develop advanced proficiency in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. This sequence emphasizes more advanced grammatical structures, and requires discussion in Chinese on topics relevant to modern China. Over the course of this sequence, the emphasis will shift to authentic Chinese texts in an effort to better prepare students to deal with original Chinese source materials. Students are required to complete three language projects for the three courses and learn the language through social and cultural studies. To write a diary in Chinese is required. The instructors collect and correct the diary every week. Chinese computing skills are also taught. Students meet their instructors for five hour per day.

PQ: CHIN 20300 or placement. For both graduates and undergraduates. No auditors permitted.

Fourth-Year Modern Chinese I, II, III: CHIN 41100-41200-41300 or CHIN 20501-20502-20503

This sequence introduces a range of essays by journalists and scholars on Chinese cultural and social issues after 2001. Students will not only expand their vocabulary and knowledge of grammatical structures, but also learn sophisticated speaking and writing skills through intensive readings and discussions. Class meets for five one-hour sessions per day and last hour is one-to-one tutorial session. During the program students will complete three oral and written language projects in China studies. Students meet their instructors for five hour per day.

PQ: Chinese 30300 or placement. For both graduates and undergraduates. No auditors permitted.

Tuition & Fees

Program fee: $5,700

  • Includes: University of Chicago tuition, student housing while in Beijing, program excursions, and cultural activities.
  • Does not include: Air transportation between the U.S. and China, meals, and sundry expenses, student visa


Your college or university may also have FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) grants, or other grant programs, available for Chinese language study.

Other Sources of Aid:

  • 100,000 Strong Foundation - For U.S. citizens who want to study, live, and work in China.
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship - For students who already receive a Federal Pell Grant.
  • Blakemore Freeman Fellowships for Advanced Asian Language Study - For U.S. citizens or permanent residents who already hold a bachelor’s degree and have taken at least three years of Chinese.
  • Fullbright Hayes Group Project Abroad (GPA) Program - For U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are teachers, prospective teachers, or students planning to apply their language skills and knowledge of countries vital to the United States national security in fields including government, the professions, or international development.
  • The National Security Education Program - For science and engineering majors who will agree to work for a year in the Department of Defense, Homeland Security Department, the State Department, or the intelligence community. Available for Science and Engineering majors only.
  • Rotary Foundation Fellowships - Many Rotary Club chapters have scholarships for study abroad. To find a Rotary Club near you, please use their Club Locator and contact them for more information.
  • Freeman-ASIA - For U.S. citizens or permanent residents studying at the undergraduate level at a two-year or four-year college or university who demonstrate financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.

View the 2015 Yearbook.

You can also review the Register and FAQ pages for more information.

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