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!