CET Beijing: Intensive Language

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About

Want an intensive academic environment where Chinese is the the top priority? CET Beijing students sign a full-time language pledge and live with a Chinese roommate. All classes are centered around language learning, and the goal is to use your Chinese out in the city, where it counts. Practice ordering at a restaurant, share stories at a local high school, go behind the scenes at an environmental protection NGO. Your one-on-one class is designed to target your particular strengths and weaknesses. Your teachers are some of the best in the field. A highlight of the program is an overnight trip to a new city--Xi'an to see the terracotta warriors, or Hangzhou to hike around beautiful West Lake. You'll live in a dorm with new furnishings, private bathrooms, and wi-fi access. This program is for students of all levels, from beginners to heritage learners. The January Term is open to students with at least 3 semesters of Chinese language instruction.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

92%
based on 24 reviews
  • Academics 8.9
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 7.8
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 24
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Aditya
8/10

My Summer in Beijing

I had a great time in Beijing academically. I learned a lot from my teachers, who were extremely patient and caring. It was only after returning home that I realised how useful the program was to improving my language skills and how versatile my skills had become after spending time immersed there.

The university's location is also great for hanging out with locals, and the roommate component of the program is a great way to have a friend that can support your Chinese study. I think some roommates are not as interested in you as others, and this is unfortunate. Hopefully CET can do a better job checking the roommates to make sure they are participating in the program for the right reasons.

How can this program be improved?
I think the program's students can often be very relaxed with the language pledge and will choose to speak English during their spare time. This is very difficult to change because students will find ways to break the pledge if they are against speaking Chinese. Here, it is important for passionate students to make the effort to immerse themselves with Chinese friends and look outside the program's participants for friendship, as these participants can be very distracting towards language growth. I don't believe this is CET's fault as the organisers try their best to enforce the pledge.
Yes, I recommend
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Sadie
9/10

CET Beijing Intensive Language

This program was definitely challenging both academically and personally, but overall I am so glad I did it! I am confident that over the 8 weeks of the program I gained new skills, a broader perspective, and an appreciation of difference, and I came to realize and understand the major differences in culture and society between America and China. Our classes were manageable, though the work we had to put in every week could get overwhelming, and getting around communicating just in Mandarin was daunting. I definitely improved my confidence in conversing with native speakers, however, and I learned about the culture and lifestyle of Beijing locals, discovered the most popular areas and activities among my generation of Chinese people, and picked up plenty of area-specific vocabulary that I only learned by being immersed in the city environment. Apart from practicing new vocabulary and sentence structures in class, our teachers took us on trips to interview natives, explore nearby areas, and watch movies to apply our new knowledge, as well as encouraging us to practice speaking with our Chinese roommates and each other as much as possible. Our extracurriculars and excursions with classmates were super valuable in using and applying new vocabulary.

How can this program be improved?
The work paid off in the end, but during the semester I sometimes felt overwhelmed and didn't have time to go out and do or see everything I wanted to. I also think more communication and student input in general would be helpful, as I heard from a couple classmates that they didn't get along with their roommates as well as they would have hoped. With housing, I just wish we'd had a common area where we could do work - the classrooms that were open had to be locked at a certain time and lobby could get pretty busy and noisy.
Yes, I recommend
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Eleanor
9/10

CET Intensive Chinese in Beijing- Summer 2017

This program was definitely an incredible opportunity. It is very rigorous (ie- spend half the day in class and then several hours of homework), but CET's phenomenal teachers are very friendly and dedicated to their students. The CET office staff is also very supportive. Beijing is a great city to explore on the weekends.
I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this program- it definitely helped my Chinese ability improve significantly and I met some amazing people through CET. If you are looking for a chance to improve your Chinese, I would highly recommend this program.

Yes, I recommend
Laura
10/10

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

I could go on for days talking about why participating in CET Beijing was one of the best experiences of my life, but I will highlight a few of the main reasons! Firstly, the language pledge. This was the aspect of the program that I was TERRIFIED about before arriving in Beijing and it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the program. The language pledge is definitely what you make it and it is up to you to push yourself daily. But for those of you who decide you will take on that challenge with your best effort, the results are amazing! Before arriving in Beijing I never would have thought that I would speak Chinese naturally and fluently without even thinking about the English translations. The language pledge is also unique because all of your peers are in that challenge right beside you. Make sure that you have a support system who cares equally about upholding the language pledge and pushing themselves. I promise, you will not be dissapointed! Secondly, the CET staff is extraordinary. The effort and time that each of the CET teachers puts into their work is so evident in the classroom. Not only do you feel the support in the classroom, but also when you leave class. My teachers were always available to meet with me or simply talk to me via WeChat if I had any questions at all! My advice is to utilize them as resources and really get to know them as people outside of the classroom. At the end of the program my teacher invited our class to her home in Beijing which was so special! And lastly, the friends you will make on this trip will become family. I was very worried about making friends, especially when using another language to express myself, but it happened and the relationships were deep and meaningful. There is no one else in the world that understands your experience better than those you experience Beijing with, so cherish those people and those memories! I am blessed and humbled to have met all the people I did during CET Beijing. This program is for everyone, and I promise you will not be disappointed!

How can this program be improved?
I think it would be beneficial to survey the study abroad students and roommates in the beginning of the semester to get an idea of what kinds of events they are interested in participating in. I loved the Friday events at the beginning of the semester, but towards the end of the semester it seemed like people were less interested in participating. These events in the community are so important, so maybe getting more input from students would increase the participation and enthusiasm.
Yes, I recommend
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Sydney
10/10

I would do it all over again!

The CET Intensive Chinese Language program changed my life. There is no doubt that the academics are challenging and you will experience many challenges. However, this program challenges you in all the right ways. I can confidently say my Chinese ability has improved drastically. If you are planning to further your studies in Chinese having a language pledge is essential. It keeps you accountable, and I think you improve much quicker. The best part of CET was easily the people I met. I made several several friends who I know I will have lifelong friendships with. Since my program was small, we were a close knit group of students which I really enjoyed. We formed a strong support system which was comforting when your in such a new place like Beijing. Although this program is hard, I would do it all over again. I went into this program just expecting to learn Chinese. However, I learned so much about myself personally. I feel a new sense of self-confidence. This program has definitely allowed me to grow as a person and discover new things I'm passionate about. I would absolutely do this program again.

How can this program be improved?
I think the best thing they can do to improve this program is incorporating more exploring around China with your class. For example, we went to a park and interviewed several Chinese people. I wish we had more activities like that. I also think they need to improve orientation. Especially, they need to work on introducing the roommates and study abroad students better. We really didn't meet all the roommates until our trip after spring break.
Yes, I recommend
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Ashlin
9/10

Great Program

The CET program in Beijing is not only an excellent way to improve your Chinese, it can be a life changing experience. In particular, while the class and homework schedule is definitely intense, in my opinion the program provides an excellent balance of academics, planned cultural activities, and time to explore Beijing in a non-structured fashion. All of these are very important if you want to not only improve your language skills, but also gain a better understanding of China. That being said, it is also definitely the case that what you get out of this program depends on what you put into it. You have to make the effort to keep up with your studies, follow the language pledge, seek out opportunities to practice your language skills, etc.

How can this program be improved?
I think that the language pledge is a very important part of the CET program, but in my experience many if not most students did not follow the pledge or followed it only to a limited degree. I think that both communication about the importance of the pledge as well as enforcement of the pledge could be improved.
Yes, I recommend
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Lyric
8/10

CET Beijing in Review

CET Beijing was a decent experience that could have been made great with better planning,and more consideration for its students. However, the social experiences that I had with actual people from Beijing was fantastic. I made more than one friend, who could only speak Chinese, and it forced me to use my limited knowledge, and knowledge I gained through the course of CET, to actually communicate. To me this was the greatest, and best, part of CET.

How can this program be improved?
Better planing on excursions, and actually listening to students needs. I had roommates issues pretty early on in the program. However, instead of the RD changing my roommate, I was forced to live with someone who couldn't stand me, until she left on her own.
Yes, I recommend
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Luke
10/10

Life Changing

To call this program anything other than life changing would not do it justice. In many ways it was the most difficult thing I had ever done, and yet at the same time most rewarding. During the week it was constant Chinese classes, and much homework. However, the weekends in Beijing were what made the trip so memorable. I think this combination of challenge and fun is what made the trip so enjoyable. I definitely improved my Chinese, yet at the same time had the time of my life out on the weekends.

The program is top quality, with very good teachers willing to help at all times. Outside of this, I really did fall in love with Beijing. Everything is really cheap, so your dollars will go a long way, and there are many activities to do.

I would recommend this program to anyone.

How can this program be improved?
It currently has a language pledge, but I felt it only added unnecessary stress to my time there. No one I knew really followed it either, so it was just something to cause us to constantly be looking over our shoulders.
Yes, I recommend
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Christopher
9/10

One step at a time

I forced my tired eyes open and caught sight of a twelve-year-old boy stepping up to bat in a baseball game. My thoughts quickly returned and I found myself back in my place on first base covered in dirt stains. The young boy before me was named Ye Xiu Wen. His family belonged to our church congregation and I was assigned once a week to visit with his family and provide food, care, and other support. Every time I would greet Ye Xiu Wen with an enthusiastic greeting in Mandarin Chinese, “Hello, my friend, how’s it going?” I would only receive a blank stare and a slow head-nod in response, evidence that my words had once again failed to produce any meaning. I quickly found the language to be a barrier in building up a relationship with this young man, but one day made great strides when I discovered his love for baseball.
I had found an old orange beginning to rot in the bottom of my backpack. I removed the moldy mess and tossed it to Ye XIu Wen in a joking gesture. He caught the orange and pitched it right back at me. I grabbed it and this time wound up in an exaggerated mimic of the pitchers you would usually see on TV. Ye Xiu Wen didn’t miss a beat and grabbed a nearby stick and immediately wound up for a swing. I didn’t think he would actually hit it, so I pitched the orange directly his way. I was wrong. His contact sent exploding remains of my orange in every direction leaving behind a cloud of citrus. Our eyes met and lit up. It was the first time we communicated. We quickly converted the neighboring rice field into a baseball diamond and made a weekly tradition of playing backyard ball, inviting all the local children to join us in our competitions. Today was game day and as Ye Xiu Wen approached the plate my competitive nature took over. I was ready.
Knees bent, back arched, broken pool stick in hand this kid stood poised and ready for action. The pitch was made and yesterday’s edition newspaper - wadded into a ball and, bound in duct tape - went hurling towards the batter. A giant swing followed by contact sent our makeshift baseball high into the air. I took off towards the pile of rice stocks that marked second base, laughing all the while at the comical sight before me. The wind was in our favor and carried Ye Xiu Wen’s hit to the far outskirts of the rice fields. I could now hear his excited footsteps close behind me as I rounded second, my black shoes collecting new stains with every step. It was so refreshing, the humid air running across my face, my perfectly combed hair now rebelliously running free in the wind, and my new friend and I united in our sprint home. After rounding the bases safely I turned back to find my teammate in a struggle for home plate. His skinny legs, crafted from a simple rice-based diet, were in full stride, propelling that little body home. A dramatic final step was made casting up a patch of dirt. Through the cloudy aftermath the call was made: “Safe!”
I looked over to see the stern, determined face melt and give way to laughter. It was the first time I had ever seen him laugh. Such a small, seemingly insignificant image, yet it was one that resonated and burned within me. For the first time since I had arrived, I finally felt like I belonged. Ye Xiu Wen was no longer himself, no longer a young boy with a dream to be the first in his family to graduate high school, no longer a boy with the burden of taking care of a single, disabled, and bed ridden father and two sisters, no longer a boy with the responsibility for providing for his family’s financial needs, no longer the boy laughed at in school for the deformities on his face. No, he had risen above all that and in the moment he was a baseball player.

How can this program be improved?
The homework load was was pretty extensive. I often found myself missing out on activities in the community because I was constantly preparing for a test or writing a paper. I know the homework is essential for Chinese, but maybe having a standard where students are exempt from one assignment per class and choose when to use this privilege. That would students a more stress-free opportunity to see the city.
Yes, I recommend
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Angela
9/10

Great experience

I loved my study abroad experience with CET. I met some incredible people during my time here, had a lot of fun in the confusion and misunderstandings of the language barrier, and greatly improved my Chinese skills. This program will challenge you, force you way beyond your comfort zone, and will support your endeavors of learning Chinese. I'm so grateful for my time at CET. I will never forget this wonderful experience.

How can this program be improved?
I'd say at least half the people in the program weren't very happy with their roommates or their small class teachers. While this wasn't my experience, I think that this aspect of the program needs to be improved upon so students have a better cultural experience to take away from.
Yes, I recommend
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Caitlin
9/10

Great semester in Beijing!

I loved my semester in Beijing. CET's rigorous Mandarin classes quickly elevated my language skills. By the end, I was thinking and dreaming in Mandarin!

The thing I cherish the most from my time in Beijing is the relationship that I created with my roommate, a local college student. We are still in touch today and often help each other with our various homework.

Another great thing about CET was our opportunity to travel over fall break. I went with CET students to Kunming where we hiked Huashan and a few other mountains. It was so exciting to use my language skills to travel on my own in China and CET made me ready to do that.

How can this program be improved?
If CET offered another individual travel opportunity like we had during fall break that would be awesome! I learned a lot from that trip, especially about different cultures and accents within China.
Yes, I recommend
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Bozhena
10/10

A life-changing, amazing experience!

This program was an amazing experience in every single way, and one I would recommend to any college student, regardless of academic background, as a right of passage. I studied Mandarin in college for the heck of it -- it did not fulfill any requirements and was not part of my major, but I decided to take on this program as a personal challenge. Not only did my Mandarin skills skyrocket, I developed in a million personal ways, too.

How can this program be improved?
Impose the language pledge on students of higher levels of Mandarin only -- it is very difficult to adhere to the pledge when you've only had 3 semesters of Mandarin (like I did) and have no idea how to say any every-day phrases, like "close the door" or "turn off the light" in Mandarin. The pledge is enjoyable and useful when these non-textbook basics are known, but otherwise it's a bit frustrating.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Love
9/10

A Great Experience

Studying abroad with the CET Intensive Chinese Language in Beijing Program was my first time abroad, and it was a decision that I will not regret. Although I felt homesick at first, I quickly adjusted to ways of life in Beijing thanks to my teachers and the CET staff. From all the exclusions and all the fun I had in Beijing, I never felt that it was actually an academic program and that I actually am studying Chinese. To me, having to speak Chinese all the time make things seemed like I am a local there which make time flew by fast. Therefore, studying abroad with CET was one of the best experiences I have.

Yes, I recommend
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Jeremy
10/10

Anyone Can Eat!

Going to China to see the Great Wall and other sites is a cool experience, but I simply can't overlook the food. Everything I ate was different. If it was fried chicken, it had its own unique flavor, and it was absolutely delicious! I remember my friend taking me to a restaurant where we had this amazing bread dessert! Okay, I'll explain. It was the size of a third of a loaf of bread you get from the store with the inside diced into lovely little squares with ice cream on top. It wasn't just ordinary bread, though. The softness and texture wasn't expected at all. I went to another restaurant requesting the same bread to be let down by their "sorry, it's too late for us to make" notice. You will find so many other incredible dishes in China, so don't be afraid to to eat, eat, and eat more!

How can this program be improved?
I would have been grateful for a working dryer in my dorm. I ended up buying hangers to hang my clothes in my room after washing, but it wasn't fun.
Yes, I recommend
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Ana
9/10

Great Program

Before attending CET I had already done a multitude of different Study Abroad programs all around the world. CET provided me with a different experience. Through CET I was able to learn more about Chinese Culture and habits than I had learned when I was in a host family during one of my other programs. During my time at CET I became very close to some of the TA's for my class and also to my roommate, who was about the same age as the TA's. These people were not afraid to correct me when I said something wrong or to teach me little habits and customs that are normal in China instead they were so willing to help me learn.
There definitely were somethings about CET that I did not like, for example the food in the cafeteria, the lack of access to sports, but overall my experience with CET was positive and if I had to choose again where to do my study abroad I would probably choose CET.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved if we had more structured activities like sports or games. That being said I really enjoyed the freedom we got at this program.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thank you for taking the time to submit this review of CET Intensive Chinese Language in Beijing! We really appreciate all the nice things you had to say - especially considering you have studied abroad many times.

We wanted to give you a quick update on CET in Beijing since your only negative comments related to meals and access to sports facilities. At the beginning of the year, this program moved locations within Beijing. Our new campus has multiple dining options and access to more sports facilities.

Students are loving the new location! We hope you'll study abroad with CET in Beijing again so you can check it out too!

. - Sarah Dixon, CET Academic Programs; [email protected]

Yes, I recommend

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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...