CET Beijing

Video and Photos

CET Classroom
CET Classroom
CET students ready to speak at a Green Finance Summit
CET students ready to speak at a Green Finance Summit
Hiking in Anyang
Hiking in Anyang
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 54 reviews
  • Academics 8.7
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.2
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.4
  • Housing 9.2
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 31 - 45 of 54
Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Sydney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Ashlin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Deborah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Better Than Anything I Expected

As someone not exactly fit for a study abroad - having had mild depression and anxiety throughout my college years, going to a foreign country where the language nor the people were familiar to me was a very sound choice.
I was scared of whether I could do the internship that I found, something that was exactly what I had asked for, incorporating business and publishing all in one neat package, and I didn't know how I would do in this new environment.
The program was amazing. I was not just a tourist, although I had plenty of time to do that, but the program cared for me in a way that I didn't think about the money being paid - although I tried to remember. They truly love their students.
When I was struggling, they checked up on me. When I needed to talk, they were always there with encouragement and advice. The classes are difficult, but very good. You learn a language for real, and they're serious about leaving you with amazing skills.
I was able to go on trips with plenty of time left to explore with my roommate, who was a lifesaver for me who couldn't speak a full language. I learned the most from her than anyone else. If anyone ever is worried they can't do it - you can. And this program is something I'd really recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I could think that could improve this would be doing more trips or having more interaction between the Chinese roommates and the study abroad students. Pairs of roommates/students work together, but rarely groups of both hanging out. However, friends are still made and I still made good Chinese national friends.
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Sai-kit
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hong Kong-Thai-American in Mainland China

For most Americans, when they say "Asian" or even "Asian-American" they lump all of East Asia and South-east Asia together. However for me as someone with cultural heritage from both Thailand and Hong Kong I find it really important to tell people that I'm not just a Asian-American or even a Chinese-American, I am a Hong Kong-Thai- American. I've heard stories, whether from my co-workers in China or from CET, that Chinese-Americans are usually judged at a higher standard than most people. While this might be the case for others, I really didn't feel this was true. First, my name in English is "translated" from my Cantonese name, sounds that don't even exist in Mandarin, so whenever I introduce myself people, including the CET teachers, assumed I was Korean. I also have really dark skin so people assume that I have southeast Asian blood in me and therefore can't speak Mandarin either. For me, I was really lucky because I looked foreign enough where most people wouldn't judge me too harshly if I messed up, but at the same time I looked "Chinese" enough that people wouldn't feel like they should practice English with me.
In terms of how my background affected my Chinese learning in class, I'm really grateful for the teachers at CET. One thing I was really worried about is the fact that a lot of the words I know in Mandarin Chinese are more Southern/Taiwanese style Mandarin, but the head teacher, Qu laoshi, assured me that this wouldn't be a problem. Her reasoning is that as Chinese-Americans, we've grown up using that terminology and while that terminology isn't necessarily standard, it isn't incorrect either so she sees no need to force us to change that habit. I was also horrified that they would try to change the way I said the pinyin "sh" and "s"s. Once again I say it with a Southern accent. Actually at one point I did get into an argument with one of my teachers, but that argument quickly melted away as we continued the lesson. My other Chinese teacher said that as we are in the 300 level class, it is too late to change our accents. She thought it was more valuable to learn new grammar and words rather than to change something like grammar. I agree with this reasoning. The point of language is to communicate and I feel like no matter what accent you have, some one will always think you have an accent.
My Chinese teacher was also really good at telling me when I was using a Cantonese/Southern way of saying something rather than the Mandarin way of saying something. Rather than saying I was wrong, she would simply say that in the mainland they don't use that phrase/word and tell me what they use in the mainland. The teachers I've had in the past would straight-out say I was wrong so I'm grateful that the teachers in CET have a basic understanding of other dialects.

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Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In Shangri-la. The Actual Shangri-la

One of my favorite experiences when I was studying abroad in China happened over Fall Break. When my friends and I were in Shangri-la in Yunan, we were tired and hungry from a long and windy bus ride. We decided to have a recommended Tibet-style meal for late lunch. We ate ground yak meat (amazing), spicy Tibetan tofu (amazing), bread with caramelized cheese honey (amazing), and yak milk tea (amazing). This was one of the most unique, memorable, and tasty meals of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
I did consistently wonder what this program would have been like with a language pledge. I gained a lot from using English at my internship and with my American friends. However, I understand my Chinese language could have improved much more if I hadn't used my English so often.
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Lyric
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Luke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Christopher
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Angela
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Caitlin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Read my full story
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Bozhena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Love
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Jeremy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Ana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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; sdixon@academic-travel.com