CET Beijing

Video and Photos

Hiking in Anyang
Hiking in Anyang
CET Classroom
CET Classroom
CET students ready to speak at a Green Finance Summit
CET students ready to speak at a Green Finance Summit
中文桌子 Friday lunches with my class!
中文桌子 Friday lunches with my class!
Friends and roommate at local park
Friends and roommate at local park
Wonderful friendships
Wonderful friendships
Buddhist grotto in Luoyang
HuaShan in XiAn

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, take a week to research and interview locals on the Chinese hukou system. 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 wifi 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.

Highlights
  • 20+ hours/week of Chinese language classes
  • One-on-one sessions for targeted learning
  • Full-time language pledge
  • Local roommates
  • Out-of-classroom assignments & learning

Questions & Answers

Reviews

92%
based on 56 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.3
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.5
  • Housing 9.2
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 56
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Abigail
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life in China's Capital

I started studying Chinese when I was 13 years old. Almost 8 years later you’d think I would be fluent by now, but alas, that is not my reality. However, within these 8 years I have developed a deep appreciation for Chinese language and culture, so much so that I made it a personal goal of mine to spend a semester abroad in China. Congratulations, 13 year old Abigail, you did it!
As you may have guessed, life in Beijing was not what I had expected. In fact, it was the opposite. The bikes, the traffic, the pollution, the population density; it is, in every way possible, the opposite of my hometown. I thought I would find pockets of similarity, and for the first two weeks, that was all I was looking for, or so I thought. Looking back, it was not similarity that I was searching for at all, it was a sense of home. Those first two weeks were by far the most difficult. Not only was I adjusting to the academic rigor of the program itself, I was also trying to make a home within Capital Normal University and trying to create a support system within my fellow participants and CET faculty. Everything was hard, everything was unfamiliar. However, that feeling of home I was so desperately searching for, along with the support system I was working tirelessly to create, came quicker than I had expected it to. There’s something about working through a mutual struggle that creates a bond between those experiencing it, and a deep one at that. I truly believe I made life-long friends while on that program, both from my college and others. I learned that I was not as independent as I once believed myself to be, and that’s okay. I learned that it’s okay to struggle, that it’s okay to lean on others when you need to and that it’s okay to ask for help. I had been so focused on becoming emotionally self-sufficient that I had forgotten what it was like to really need someone. This experience helped me navigate that dependency in a healthy way.
While the personal growth that comes from studying abroad is unbeatable, the academic growth I experienced cannot be ignored. Within my first few years of college, I had heard about study abroad experiences in Europe, ample freetime allowing students to travel from country to country on a whim. For most, academics were able to be put second. I ignorantly went into this abroad experience anticipating something similar, I was rudely mistaken. In order to stay afloat at CET Beijing, your studies must come first. This program is known for its complete language immersion with a 24/7 language pledge put into place for all participants regardless of one’s location. There are quizzes every day, tests every week, and essays every weekend, in addition to your daily homework and studying. There is a clear expectation of excellence. With these expectations and requirements, you may believe that the staff is unconcerned with students well-being, but that could not be farther from the truth. Within my academic career thus far, I have had my fair share of faculty that are uninterested in creating a relationship with me, and are unwavering in their course requirements regardless of student feedback. The teachers that I was so privileged to have at CET Beijing were excellent, in and out of the classroom. They were always willing to help, regardless of the subject matter. The office faculty made themselves available to you throughout the day leaving their door open and encouraging students to stop by, even if it was just to chat. The CET faculty had always said Beijing was our second home, and by the end of the program, I really believed them.
For students on the fence between choosing to participate in CET Beijing or choosing to stay at their home institution, my advice would be to take that chance and go abroad. It’s bound to teach you something, if not about yourself, indefinitely about the world around you. What do you have to lose?

What would you improve about this program?
Like every other program, CET Beijing has room for improvement. The main aspect being ways in which to support students as they struggle through the language pledge. Regardless of your language level, sticking to the language pledge is a challenge. I would have loved to have had scheduled meetings with faculty, once every few weeks, to be able to speak with them in English and express myself emotionally. In addition, I would have loved to meet my roommate earlier via Wechat. Being able to talk with her beforehand would have eliminated anxieties that had been built up surrounding the thought of living with a complete stranger for five months. In that way, you would be able to get a sense of compatibility as well. Not every roommate pairing is going to be perfect, but I believe that prior communication between roommates would allow for students and faculty to work together in creating a good match, hopefully eliminating some of those issues before they arise. Finally, restructuring the language practicum aspect of CET Beijing. Speaking with Chinese in public is a great way to improve your Chinese, there is no debate there. However, being tasked with interviewing people within a park, a museum, etc. always seemed to create a sense of anxiety, either within students or those being interviewed. Not to mention with China’s extensive amount of dialects, it was fairly common to not understand the interviewee’s response. Therefore, this aspect of the program, at times, felt unproductive and not entirely useful.
Default avatar
Veronica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Beijing Spring 2019 & Fall 2019: An Experience That I Never Wanted To End.

This program gives you many opportunities to learn Chinese which makes it a great Chinese program, you just have to take the leap. Nobody is going to force you. Each Semester at CET is different for example in the Fall semester the environment wasn’t as immersive as the Spring. There was too many students that quit the language pledge within the first weeks which made it hard for the students who wanted to make friends but couldn’t because the temptation to speak English was there all the time except for when class was in session. As I was at CET for spring 2019 and then Fall 2019 I had the opportunity to hear serval reasons why the Language Pledge was Impossible, but it's NOT impossible. In the past, I read reviews that said "stick to the language pledge" which I 100% agree with, but it sounds hard especially when you get into the 3rd weekend. Just Don't make an excuse for yourself as to why you can't do the Pledge. Don't tell yourself: I’ll start tomorrow, it's impossible, my Chinese level is too low, I’ll never make friends/connections, everyone else does it. Every day you will have challenges it's not easy but very possible to achieve with the help the all the CET staff and roommates. CET has a great structure, for example, Sunday to Thursday there are office hours, RD makes me feel secure, almost all teachers are friendly and ready to answer all the Chinese questions you have. The only things CET lacks is more training with the Chinese roommates help the CET Students with the culture shock. I feel like there needs to be not just a separate meeting about diversity/culture shock but also a joint meeting. I had been to China before my first semester at CET so the culture shock wasn’t a huge deal. But it is for most students. For example, I heard students say my roommate: leaves water on the floor, wash all her clothes in the sink, chews with her mouth open. Which are all normal parts of lifestyle in China. The 2nd problem is not really pushing the language pledge. Too many students start to get tricky if they notice that staff members are being too nice and not catching them when they speak English, which can ruin the experience. This program was challenging but rewarding. Starting at the beginner class was challenging. I wasn’t able to say anything except “I like …, I think…” for a while. I lost my personality at the beginning but gained much more than my personality at the end. I learn about north versus southern Chinese culture and language, where the locals eat, how to make jokes, have the confidence to ask questions/join clubs, meet new friends outside of CET, dream in Chinese, to be able to travel using Chinese, this list could go on forever. If I had the chance after graduating from University I would pick CET to study Chinese again.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is next time you start to doubt your Chinese Language Pledge ask yourself these 3 questions:  Why did I pick CET Intensive Language Program in Beijing? Have I talked to the RD/teachers about my difficulties?  How does my Chinese compare to the 1st day?
Default avatar
Jessica
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer 2019 CET Beijing Language Immersion

The program definitely focused on language immersion and getting your level of Chinese up; even though I came in with only studying one year of Chinese before the program, by the end I felt more confident in my speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing skills. The program is set up to raise all aspects of your Chinese and it definitely delivered. I would just warn that it may be more work than you're used to, and than you might think it will be; that was the case for me. Besides the academic portion they offer weekend activities and places to go which gives you opportunities to see a lot of sides of Beijing. The city has a ton to offer and I think everyone would find something they like; exploring on my own with friends was exciting too, it's just that there wasn't as much time as I would like to have to explore Beijing without having to sacrifice academics. Pairing every person in the program with a Chinese roommate was also beneficial because it was like having a companion and guide at the same time. The teachers and staff are all very caring, hardworking, and deliver well too. My experience with this program was overall very positive and I am glad I was a part of it. Two months pass by faster than you might think but packed with unforgettable memories and stories.

What would you improve about this program?
I think students before they are committed to the program and get to Beijing should know the workload and the structure of the classes. I didn't find out until I was there and I think it would've been more helpful to know.
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Donovan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Beijing: One of the Best Experiences of My Life

While I thought participating in a study abroad program that enforced a language pledge would be rather difficult, I am more than happy to say that I am extremely pleased with what I gained. I was placed into 500 level Chinese, and while I believe once you are at a higher language level, language progress becomes more slow and gradual; however, the language pledge positively enhanced all students' outcomes. I had so much fun in and out of class, whether it be prepping for my oral test topic or going to see historical attractions like the Temple of Heaven with my roommate. I met amazing people and the staff was truly amazing, especially our director, Zuo Cui, who was also my director for the CET Beijing: Internship program that I participated in during the summer of 2018. CET really goes above and beyond to ensure that students feel comfortable with their lives abroad and I am truly thankful for that.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing that I ate was pig brain and hooves. Both were surprisingly interesting but I have to say that I was not a big fan of the pig brain. I will definitely eat pig hooves again though!
Read my full story
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Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Beijing Fall

My handful of months in Beijing allowed me both depth and breadth of insight into Chinese culture, language, and society. Although my time was limited, the coursework and contact time with small class sizes allowed for me to improve my Chinese at a very expedited pace compared to learning in my American classroom. Classes were taught with student's engagement and participation in mind, ensuring that we were able to improve our language skills as effectively as possible. All of my teachers were very invested in our learning. The curriculum incorporated Chinese culture and interaction with Chinese people with language learning. Outside of the classroom CET also provided weekly activities so that we could explore Beijing together. The program is a great balance of learning inside the classroom and time to experience all that Beijing has to offer.

Living with a Chinese roommate is also a unique trait of the program and is especially beneficial for making close connections to Chinese locals. I became very close with my roommate, which had the added benefit of helping me practice my Chinese with a native speaker all of the time. I loved the program and thought that the lessons, activities, and organization of the program were thoughtful and made our time in Beijing smooth and meaningful.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come to Beijing with an open mind. Engage locals in conversation and listen without any presumptions. You will learn so much! Also, get a Chinese bank account so you can pay on your phone. It will make everything so much easier.
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Karla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go on a Cultural Adventure to the Unknown

In high school, I took a year of Chinese as a total beginner. The teacher was a native Chinese who had never left China before coming to the United States for a year. She was very supportive but also very strict. I always wandered why she seemed to be so strict with the students and, whenever scolding a student, she would relate our mistakes to how they could affect our future if they became a habit. I was able to solve my inquiry when I cane to Beijing. The teachers where supportive but strict about getting homework done correctly, arriving to class early, accepting natural consequences for mistakes and upholding the language pledge at all times. Living in such daily environment did not only improve my Chinese drastically, but also allowed me to make lifelong friendships, increase my resilience to cultural shock and improved my understanding of cultural diversity. These skills and abilities are eternal tools to foster personal and academic success.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Chinese culture is very unique, so go entirely open-minded and seek to understand rather than to be understood.
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Paige
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in China for a Year!

It is hard to "summarize" or even pick out a few experiences that represent the year I spent immersed in Chinese language and culture.
Culture shock hit me pretty hard when I arrived in Beijing. I couldn't sleep because the beds were so hard, the water was too hot, the food had too much oil, the air was polluted, I didn't feel comfortable speaking Chinese. The list goes on, but the people that made up my program are the reason I was able to continue, my roommate especially. She spoke to me when my Chinese was terrible; she introduced me to new foods, family, and friends. We were born in opposite geographical locations, education systems, and cultures, yet slowly discovered how similar we are. From her, I learned Chinese food, culture, and language, but also gained an indescribable and lifelong friendship.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go abroad for a year! It was the best decision I have made. It allowed me to make solid friendships and truly feel comfortable with the language and culture
Read my full story
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Braden
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Beijing - Intensive Chinese

The two months I spent in Beijing with the CET Intensive Chinese program have proven to be incredibly impactful, both with regard to my Chinese language ability and my life more broadly.
It's certainly an academically challenging program, with four hours of class plus a half an hour one-on-one session with a teacher every Monday through Friday (not to mention the homework) but you'll find that there's no better motivation than being in China and seeing immediate real-world benefits of your studies, such as being able to more effortlessly communicate with Chinese students, choose dishes at nearby nearby restaurants, or just get around Beijing.
I could not recommend this program highly enough to someone who's looking to improve their Chinese and who's also interested in getting to know China and its people.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
On a group trip to Datong, several students and I ordered rabbit heads.