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CET Academic Programs


CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio of semester, summer, and short-term customized programs for college, high school, and pre-college students in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Known for strong academics, professional program management, and supportive student services, CET strives to integrate students into their host communities, adopt environmentally conscientious practices, and promote diversity and inclusion across all programs.


1155 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
United States


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During my time with the CET Beijing: Internship program, there was undoubtedly a sufficient amount of growth in my overall progress in learning the Chinese language. In addition, my understanding of Chinese culture was broaden due to my exposure to the people of China and my ability to discuss cultural differences with them. Although there is no pledge to speak Chinese with a few exceptions in this program, the combination of CET's Chinese classes, elective classes, and an internship was often quite rigorous and consuming of time.

I have seen much improvement in my language ability by the end of the program, mostly due to excellent instruction from Chinese teachers. Class sizes in general were significantly smaller than the traditional classroom, allowing for a much greater amount of participation. Having two weekly one-on-one Chinese sessions was also highly beneficial as I was able to talk to a teacher about material outside of the curriculum to supplement my learning. Although there was no strict language pledge put into place, I would sometimes push myself to use Chinese when I spoke others who could also speak English at a proficient level such as the local Chinese roommates who lived with us study abroad students.

The housing accommodation on campus was superior to the dorms I am accustomed to at my home university. The dorm rooms we lived in were regularly cleaned and well-maintained by the staff. It was very convenient to have a private bathroom within my own room rather than a communal one. The rooms were also equipped with air conditioning and any necessary furniture. Living with a Chinese roommate to practice my Chinese with and ask questions about Chinese culture definitely helped me learn so much. The program reimbursed me and my roommate for up to 70 RMB per week for cultural activities that we did together such as visiting a historical site.

The staff was always very dependable ever since the beginning during orientation when the students were first settling into life in China. Whether it was visiting a doctor or planning a trip to another city, the resident director was always willing to help the students with the challenges that they have encountered. In addition, CET also organized fun weekend excursions for the students such as to the Great Wall and Qingdao while allowing time for independently planned activities throughout the course of the summer.

Above all, I genuinely enjoyed my time in Beijing, China and would recommend this program to anyone interested in improving their Chinese language ability, living in and learning about China, and meeting great people in the process!

How can this program be improved?
In addition to the internship itself, there was a mandatory internship seminar that went along with it; however, did not provide too much educational value and the work completed for this class was not very purposeful. There were also some problems concerning internship placements for some individuals during the beginning of the program.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for sharing your experience with us Benny! We're glad you had such a positive experience in Beijing! -Shelley Jessee, Director of Marketing, CET

Yes, I recommend
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CET's Intensive Language Program is rigorous and challenging (They don't call it "intensive" for no reason), but easily the most valuable asset to my Arabic language learning. Prior to this summer, I was terrified of this program and could hardly speak Arabic. I arrived barely able to say more than the basic information about myself.

From day one, the CET staff are incredibly kind and supportive, willing to do anything to help you succeed in learning the language. The classes are small, interactive, and allow you to build relationships with your peers and your professor. The workload, while a lot, was all valuable and sets you up to grow your vocab tremendously and communicate conversationally with others. It was a challenging summer that allowed me the opportunity to grow both academically and personally. I can't even express the amount that my Arabic improved from this summer. I had been studying Arabic for two years prior to this summer and those two years of studying were worthless compared to this summer. The language pledge is one of the most beneficial aspects of the program, forcing you to speak 24/7 and grow in your ability to speak conversationally. I struggled a lot during the summer, but the CET staff were always so helpful and kind - they felt like my 2nd family by the end of the summer, and I always felt comfortable enough to express any problems I was having. They are accommodating and supportive.

The program excursions were one of my favorite parts of the summer. Wadi Rum and Petra are absolutely beautiful and allow you the opportunity to see other parts of Jordan. Prior to the trips, you study relevant vocabulary in class that relates to the trips. I loved how the program intentionally ties together our class work and the trips we took. I learned how to explain where I had traveled during the summer and different aspects of each location.

I cannot express how valuable my time abroad was. It was the most challenging and rewarding summer I have ever experienced. I don't regret it at all and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. If you are serious about studying Arabic, this program is the next step.

Response from CET Academic Programs

Hi Kassidy, Thanks for sharing your experience in Jordan! We're glad you got so much out of the program and that your language skills progressed so much! -Shelley Jessee, Director of Marketing, CET

Yes, I recommend
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This program provided structure and facilitated opportunities that I could of never done for myself. In China, building connections is culturally a key part of both daily and business life which I wasn't used to; however, the staff at CET works hard to not only provide you with meaningful connections, but also teach you how to create your own.
Before studying abroad it is important to consider what your priorities are, especially if you want to participate in a summer program. I did the summer internship program, which upon later realization didn't adequately fulfill the priorities that I originally had in mind. For example, I wanted my internship to really give me a glimpse of what non-profits are like in China. However, because of the brevity of the program I didn't feel I had enough time to accomplish this. Also, if language learning is a huge priority for you, I would recommend the Intensive Language program because without a language pledge it is up to you individually to speak Mandarin with the other people in the program- and often that kind of self-discipline can be difficult. Nevertheless, I believe not having the language pledge helped me foster relationships with other people on the program that I might of not been able to foster otherwise.
Ultimately, CET is a well-developed program with superb staff that helps you create meaningful long-lasting relationships with both the Chinese roommates and other participants.

How can this program be improved?
Many other students and I felt that the internship course was a waste of time, especially considering our busy schedule. I would recommend making the class more relevant to our internships, or cutting it out entirely.
Yes, I recommend
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OVERALL: My experience in this program was positive. I learned much, had fun, and was challenged.

MY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES: I have been learning Arabic in some way or another for the previous ten years, much of which included learning dialects, so I was ahead of the curve in regards to the language portion. I have informally studied abroad in both Egypt and previously in Jordan, meaning I went on my own and sought out a school. Each of those trips were a month long, whereas this trip was two months long.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The CET program as a whole is very encompassing, which is a great feature for anyone who has never been abroad or has little experience with the language or country they are traveling in. Both the internship and language classes include a long and short trip, language partners, and the experience to live with a Jordanian roommate. The academics include tests, cooking classes, research paper written in Arabic, and various presentations on topics, of which are usually chosen by the student.

The internship class includes some required reading materials, journal entries, an academic and experiential research paper on a topic related to your internship site, and an presentation on your site location.

Because there are many more reviews about the language classes on this site, and because there isn't much of a difference between the academics of the internship and intensive language classes, I will forego talking about it here. My overall experience with the academic portion was positive.

I interned at the Center for Women's Studies at the University of Jordan.

The good:
I enjoyed getting out of class and seeing other places. I got the opportunity to meet other people and hear some difference experiences and stories that I would not have heard otherwise.
I was able to "audit" master-level classes that were taught in Arabic. That was a neat experience.
I was able to help staff and students out with their research needs. Everyone was very nice.

The bad:
-The summer session is short, very little opportunity to contribute.
-Especially for academics, there was little going on. I would have had even less opportunities to do things if I didn't come with a good grasp of the language before.
-The work of the academics, report writing, and internship work can be conflicting and difficult to deal with. Some people, especially because of the shortened summer schedule, questioned whether the internship was actually worth it.

I read about the language pledge before coming to the program but didn't realize it was a cornerstone of the program. I personally really liked the language pledge and the challenges associated with it. I see others saying that it's requirements should be lessened for those with lower levels, but that seems backwards to me. The lower level students are the ones who benefit most from it. In addition, if that is something that detracts from this program, then go to another program! There are plenty of others. But, having heard from other students who came from other programs, they stated that CET was the most beneficial to them.

There will be groups of people who do not use the language pledge when they can avoid it. This can be frustrating. Set out what you want from this program and stick with the people who have similar goals.

How can this program be improved?
I found the staff to be flexible, so whatever problems I had were resolved quickly. Despite various challenges and frustrations, I don't think there are suggestions I would make to improve the program itself.
The value of the summer internship (not saying anything of the other semesters' internships) was questioned in many students' mind because of how short it was. But, students are allowed to switch from the internship program to all academics if they wish (probably not the other way around), so this too, is solvable.

Bottom line is that students should consider what their ultimate goals are for studying abroad and pick the program that best suits those goals!
Yes, I recommend
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CET Kunming

I chose the CET Kunming Program chiefly because of its Language Pledge component, and its reputation as a first-tier study abroad academic institution. Individually, I was not disappointed in either respect; classes were rigorous, and the Chinese roommate kept me honest to the Language pledge as much as possible. By the end of the two-month program, I was speaking fluently and with confidence. Also, my character writing improved substantially; I struggled at first with strict standards for handwriting, but over time adjusted my habits and found success. Also, the Chinese roommate component is fantastic; every roommate (not just your own) is excited to chat and exchange with you, and most are eager to share local sights, pop-culture, and restaurants with you.

On the flip side, making friends with classmates using only Chinese was challenging in the beginning, due to varying levels of Chinese ability and the strict Language Pledge. Also, the class schedule truly keeps you working hard weekdays, which although exhilarating left me quite tired by the weekend. In short, I didn't get to travel in-country as much as I'd hoped on the weekends, and only near the end of the experience found space to bond with my American cohort.

I would recommend this program to any student who is eager to improve their Chinese ability across the board, and excited to spend a summer studying hard in a beautiful city. Opportunities for engagement with Chinese students are copious, and I have made lifelong friends on this program.

How can this program be improved?
Front-loading more cohort activities in the beginning weeks of the program will catalyze group cohesion, using shared experience as an avenue to friendship.
Yes, I recommend


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